TigerIllustrated - Dabo calls performance best of the spring
football Edit

Dabo calls performance best of the spring

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Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney met with reporters briefly following Saturday's scrimmage. The following is an edited transcript from that meeting.
Opening Statement: "I thought it was a great, great scrimmage. Really on both sides. There was a lot of competing going on, on both sides of the ball. Probably the best day we've had all spring overall from my perspective. We made some mistakes. The thing I'm most disappointed in is that we had some critical mistakes, a fumble on the goal line, an off-sides on the five-yard line, we scored a touchdown, a holding call and defensively we created a turnover, we were off-sides, third and two, jumped off-sides on defense, some critical things like that, that can be game changers that we have to correct.
"But the competitiveness on both sides was outstanding. Offensively, man the wideouts, I thought they were outstanding today. It's the best day we've had throwing and catching. It's what we've been looking for. We saw a bunch of guys make big plays. We had Marquan who started off with a big play, Jaron Brown had three big plays and a touchdown, Xavier Dye had a big play, Brandon Ford had four big plays and two touchdowns. He's a guy that is still learning what to do and how to play fast but what he has proven is that when given an opportunity to be around the ball, he'll catch it. That's very encouraging. I'm very pleased with Brandon Ford. Terrance Ashe had two big plays and a great, great touchdown catch from Kyle Parker. Brandon Clear had some big plays.
"The quarterbacks threw the ball well, all three of them really made some plays. Kyle Parker made some great plays. Hey, don't count Michael Wade out. He is as competitive a kid as we've got. He just battles. He makes plays with his feet, scrambles around and made some nice throws today. I was pleased with him, Willy and Kyle. It's a pretty competitive situation and it's because we've got great players.
"The other thing I'm most pleased with is kicking. Spencer Benton was seven for seven with a 50-yarder to win the game. I think Richard Jackson was four of six and also hit a 50-yarder. Matt Skinner did a good job snapping the ball. Michael Wade did a great job holding.
"Spiller isn't out here, and that little 23 had a great day. Jamie Harper, wow. He made a couple of runs today that made it happen. And Rendrick Taylor continues to stand out and make plays. So I was pleased with them today.
"Up front, we'll grade the film and see, but it looks like we continue to make improvement there.
"Defensively, DeAndre McDaniel on fourth and two makes a huge play to save the game. I love Da'Quan. He made a big mistake on the goal line but was coachable and came back and corrected it. The defensive front is getting better and better. I was pleased with what I saw there. Sadat Chambers had a good day, a big interception. The secondary is improving tremendously. Same thing with our linebackers. Scotty Cooper, Jeremy Campbell, Brandon Maye, Kavell Conner all made some plays today. And No. 41, Daniel Andrews, a tough kid, makes plays. He's around the ball. I'm pleased with where we are as a football team. I'm looking forward to closing out with the spring game next week."
Q. It looked like Da'Quan was all over the place. Can you talk about his ability to take over a game?
A. "He can be special. I've said many times. He's his own limitation. He can be a very special player, no doubt about it. And Kevin Alexander, same thing. He did some things that were tremendous. He stoned Jamie Harper at the line of scrimmage one time. Da'Quan can be very special."
Q. Did Mike Wade play more because he was doing well or because you were trying to get him work?
A. "We're trying to get him as much work as we can. We think all three of them can win for us. Michael got some work with the twos, with our purple and also worked with the pride too.
"I thought the quarterbacks did well and made plays. I thought the wideouts responded well. We really wanted to work on the passing game today. I think we got better from it. It'll be a great film to watch."
Q. Are you surprised at the way Brandon Ford has stepped up?
A. "Well no, that's why we recruited him… to come in here and make plays. He's a good, young player. He's still got a lot to learn as far as how to do certain things, create space and play fast, but what he has proven is that when given an opportunity, he makes plays. We moved him up to the purple team a couple of times. He's going to be a good football player. He's got four years left. It's all in front of him."
Q. Looked like there were a few occasions where some receivers were running free behind the defense. Was that a result of the blitzes and some miscommunication?
A. "That's what happens sometimes when you have athletic quarterbacks who can scramble around and you have some man coverage, it's hard to hold up. We have to get pressure. We have to get there and contain the quarterback. That's what is exciting about the guys we have. All of them can run. Kyle made a great play on fourth down in a two-minute situation. He hit Dye on a big play. Willy did the same thing in hitting Clear on a big play. When you play man coverage, you have to contain the quarterback. It's hard to cover them all day and they can get behind a defense. We've got some speed."
Q. What mistake did Da'Quan make on the goal line and how did you guys coach him up?
A. "Did you see Kyle Parker walk in untouched? That would be Da'Quan Bowers. Then he came back and tried to do the same thing, and there was nowhere to go. I think it was Willy that time.
"That's one of Da'Quan's things. Just do what you're coached to do and how you're coached to do it. Trust your teammates to make a play. It's really him giving a great effort, but you have to be disciplined. That's what you're looking for… a disciplined player. He can't do everyone's job. You have to do your job and count on your teammates to do their jobs."
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