CLEMSON -- What does Clemson coach Dabo Swinney want to see from his defense? It's simple -- dominance.
Swinney saw dominance from the defense for much of the spring and it continued on Saturday in the spring game. The Orange team was shut out, no individual reached 100 total yards from scrimmage and only Tajh Boyd reached 100 yards passing.
Swinney says the Tigers essentially have the depth for two first-team defensive lines, and it proved to be a mismatch once again for a thin, inexperienced offense line, which gave up eight sacks.
"I've challenged our defense to be dominant," Swinney said. "If you make a great play on first down so what? … (focus) on the next play, the next quarter."
The defense is playing faster after having a year to digest defensive coordinator Kevin Steele's complex defense and terminology, which has also been streamlined this spring. Swinney says the defense is playing "smarter."
Steele said Saturday two key objectives were met this spring: improving depth and becoming more physical.
Swinney made a prediction following Saturday's spring game: the linebacker position -- perhaps the most embattled entering the spring -- will be the most improved this summer.
"I'm most pleased with our linebackers," Swinney said. "We are as improved at that position as any on the team."
Sophomore outside linebacker Tig Willard continues to draw rave reviews. With Swinney saying Saturday he has a chance to be "special." Another young linebacker drawing praise was redshirt freshman Quandon Christian, who was second on the day with seven tackles. Brandon Maye continued a productive spring, with a team-best eight tackles.
Spiller invited to NFL draft
On hand for Clemson's spring game, former star C.J. Spiller said he will attend the NFL draft with his family and has invited Swinney. The draft begins on a Thursday (April 22) this year, which is only the first round. Spiller is a projected to be selected anywhere from sixth overall to the middle of the first round.
Might Richard Jackson be pulling double duty this fall? Jackson boomed 10 punts for 503 yards Saturday … Spencer Benton made his only field goal attempt (37 yards) … Roderick McDowell gained 23 yards on 10 carries. … Bryon Maxwell appeared solid at corner with two pass breakups.