Young Clemson offensive linemen offer uneven performance
CLEMSON — Clemson’s young offensive line drew mixed reviews in Saturday’s spring game as the defenses combined for 11 sacks — quarterbacks just had to be touched to be considered sacked — and seven tackles for loss. The Tigers’ guards especially struggled in spots.
Still, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he was “encouraged” by what he saw with the offensive front Saturday, a front replacing three starters that did allow the offense to complete four drives resulting in touchdowns.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris feels the team did develop linemen over the course of 15 spring practices.
“I think we developed about seven offensive linemen,” Morris said. “I wish I had a few more I feel comfortable with.”
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw two first-quarter interceptions but settled down to complete 20 of 29 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. Morris said Morgan Roberts — 14 of 24 passing for 149 yards, one touchdown and one INT — and Cole Stoudt — 14 of 23 passing for 99 yards, one touchdown, one INT — are even in the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot.
Jarrett, Beasley shine
Sophomore defensive tackle Grady Jarrett produced two sacks and two tackles for loss as he consistently beat Clemson’s guards to appear in the backfield.
Defensive Vic Beasley might have the most explosive speed of any Clemson edge rusher and easily beat heralded freshman tackle Isaiah Battle for one of his two sacks on the day.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables praised the young linemen.
“Guys were active, playing with good technique,” Venables said. “We have some young guys that play with suddenness.”
Bellamy offers mixed performance
Running back Mike Bellamy showcased his explosive speed and acceleration Saturday, rushing eight times for 55 yards. But Bellamy also fumbled. The rising sophomore struggled with ball security last season. Morris said Bellamy’s long arms and lack of upper body strength make him susceptible to fumbles but he must improve in that area for the staff to fully trust him.
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