CLEMSON - Nobody's perfect all the time, but clearly Dabo Swinney was expecting better than this.
A 2½-hour Wednesday morning intrasquad scrimmage at Memorial Stadium was followed by a 30-minute tongue-lashing from Swinney.
"That was a good chat," junior center Ryan Norton said. "We've got some things to work on."
Clemson's head coach kept his players, coaches and staff in uniform for a half hour baking in the sun while he chewed out the team for its lackluster performance.
"I thought we hit the wall today," Swinney told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "Disappointed in our coaching which is a reflection of myself. It starts with me and stops with me. Disappointed in our attention to detail as players - way too many mistakes.
"If we would've played today, we would've gotten our butts handed to us. No question. It wouldn't even be close. It's just a disappointing day. We've had a good camp, but today I was very disappointed in the enormous amount of mistakes."
What went wrong?
"Sideline warnings, offsides, false starts, receivers lining up wrong," senior wide receiver Adam Humphries said. "To be this deep into camp, you don't want to see those kind of mental errors."
An elder statesman of the offense, Humphries had no problem with Swinney's tough love approach after perhaps the Tigers' worst day of fall camp.
"It's his job to get on us and yell at us for things like that. We've got to respond to that," Humphries said. "Things will happen during the season, if we line up offsides, we know we've got to pay the consequence."
There were some bright spots. Running back Wayne Gallman had a 48-yard scoring run, Humphries made a diving 40-yard reception, tight end Jordan Leggett recorded seven catches (including two scores) and cornerback Ryan Carter brought back an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.
Tony Steward is close to nailing down the team's weakside linebacker position ahead of Ben Boulware, and would play next to last year's leading tackler, middle linebacker Stephone Anthony. Boulware did have two sacks, as did All-American defensive end Vic Beasley.
"There were a lot of good things, but not enough good things for us to win a ball game today. Too many bad things to overcome," Swinney said. "We talk about all the time about don't lose to Clemson, you have to control what you can control. Sometimes you just get whipped, but we didn't control the things we can control today. That was very disappointing. Some of the effort wasn't where we need it to be."
Sophomore receiver Mike Williams suffered a shoulder injury Tuesday and was held out of Wednesday's practice. Quarterback Cole Stoudt ran the first team, while Deshaun Watson captained the second team.
"You're repping three groups and all that, so it gets magnified a little bit and I understand that," Swinney said. "But the standard doesn't change when you change personnel groups. The expectation is the same. Just way too many mistakes."
Even the paid professionals with whistles couldn't escape Swinney's wrath Wednesday.
"I didn't think our coaches were sharp today either. I'm really disappointed," Swinney said. "It's hard for me to expect more from our players than what the coaches give. Today was really a poor day from all of us coaches. If we would've played today, it would've been a long, long, long day."
It was a long day in Clemson since the Tigers had a late Wednesday practice scheduled as well (another two-a-day session) following a rest day Thursday. This all following two practices Monday and a long session on a muggy afternoon Tuesday.
"It's awesome that we're not playing today because we're not ready," Humphries said. "But that's what this situational scrimmage is for, to prepare us for situations we'll see in a game. We'll get it corrected, we'll be fine, and we'll come out tonight with a lot more focus and get those mistakes right."
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