Final scrimmage begins to settle Clemson depth chart
CLEMSON – Dabo Swinney has been envious watching NFL preseason games this month. He would love to have an August jamboree like at the high school level. The pro and prep levels of football have preseason games, allowing coaches to better evaluate talent. But at the college level there is no preseason, lamented the Clemson football coach.
Without the benefit of live action against an opponent Saturday’s final scrimmage of fall camp was critical for those Clemson players battling for starting assignments, Swinney said. This fall camp is particularly important because of the youth of Clemson’s front lines and because there are no defacto preseason games early in the season. Out of the gate Clemson faces Auburn on Sept. 1 in Atlanta.
“We don’t get a preseason,” Swinney said. “This is their preseason game. This (scrimmage) is all we have with which to make decisions.”
Swinney said the coaches will have to review more film before gathering to draw up depth charts but there does appear to be separation occurring. Swinney said Cole Stoudt has an edge to be the team’s backup quarterback as he’s ahead of talented freshman Chad Kelly. The Clemson coaches continue to be impressed with redshirt freshman Shaq Anthony who has moved ahead of Joe Gore at right tackle. David Beasley and Kalon Davis continued to compete for the starting left guard position Saturday, which has been in flux all camp.
Swinney wants to get a first-team determined soon so the team can begin building cohesion in practice for the Auburn game.
In the last 10 days of practice alone, Clemson has deployed three different players with the first team at both left guard and right tackle.
“We have some big staff meetings coming up,” Swinney said. “I think you gotta say ‘Here’s the plan. We have a couple of weeks, let’s get them ready.’”
One area where there hasn’t been much concern is at wide receiver where Clemson wideouts continued to make plays Saturday. Martavis Bryant caught four passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins caught a 52-yard pass from Chad Kelly.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 13 of 22 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jenkins could redshirt
Swinney said cornerback Martin Jenkins could be a candidate to redshirt as he is struggling to get over a pair of injuries: a hip flexor and groin injury. Jenkins, a junior, is the fastest Clemson defender and led all Clemson defensive backs by allowing a team-low 5.3 yards an attempt last season, according to ESPN. Bashaud Breeland and Darius Robinson are the projected starters at cornerback but Swinney said he also likes the development he’s seen from Cortez Davis and Garry Peters.