Clemson Football Scrimmage Report: August 18
CLEMSON, SC - Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as the Tigers wrapped up their third and final stadium scrimmage of fall camp in Death Valley.
Besides Boyd, Swinney was pleased with the play of backup quarterback Cole Stoudt, who led the offense on a scoring drive on his first possession of the scrimmage. On the next possession, the offense struck again as Boyd hit wide receiver Martavis Bryant for a long touchdown.
Bryant finished the day with four catches for 97 yards and had two touchdowns. Boyd was 13-22 for 218 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stoudt completed 4-9 for 61 and Morgan Roberts was 5-8 for 60. Freshman quarterback Chad Kelly completed a perfectly thrown 52-yard completion to classmate Germone Hopper.
"There were a lot of big plays," Swinney said. "I thought Martavis Bryant had an excellent day. Our playmakers showed up early and made some plays."
DeAndre Hopkins had three catches for 49 yards, including a 27-yard scoring pass from Boyd, while Charon Peake, Jaron Brown and Sammy Watkins also made big plays. Andre Ellington had an eight-yard touchdown run, while Roderick McDowell led all running backs for a second straight scrimmage with 65 yards on four carries.
"Coaching Swinney really came out and challenged us today as a unit," McDowell said. "I think we responded the way he wanted us to, especially early on."
Despite the big plays given up, Swinney was still encouraged with the defense, especially on the defensive line where Josh Watson, Grady Jarrett and DeShawn Williams continue to make plays. Williams also blocked a field goal on special teams.
Xavier Brewer made a brilliant breakup of a long pass and add five tackles. Jonathan Meeks added an interception. Tony Steward made a big play with a 25-yard interception return.
"We have two weeks to get dialed in," Swinney said. "We are going to turn the page on Monday after our last two-a-day (practices) and start getting ready for Auburn. We will have our guys penciled in on where they need to be."
Swinney says whatever decisions are made about the depth chart next week it doesn't mean things are finalized. Players will still have an opportunity to prove themselves once the season begins as well.
"We have to start somewhere," he said. "We have a lot of competition out there. We do not get a preseason (game) and we do not get all of those three or four preseason (jamborees) high schools get. That's how these guys find out whom to put where because it is live play and you are not going against the same people every day.
"I told the team that this is their preseason game. This is all we can use to go on and make decisions. Then from that point, it is the real deal. Can you perform on game day?"
The Tigers will find out in two weeks when No. 14 Clemson takes on 25th-ranked Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta, GA. The game is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
Long distance. Backup kicker Spencer Benton appears to be Clemson's long distance specialist in the truest sense. For the second straight week, the Myrtle Beach, SC native made a long field goal with pressure. Last week he kicked a 55-yard field goal that could have been good from 65, and Saturday he nailed a 53-yard kick that could have been good from 63 yards.
"I'm very encouraged about that," Swinney said. "He has also been very good at punting the ball right now. He is consistent."
Fan Appreciation Day. Clemson will hold its annual Fan Appreciation Day at 3 p.m. inside Memorial Stadium. All Clemson players and Coach Swinney will be available for autographs beginning at 3 p.m. The session will last for two hours. No one will be allowed inside the stadium prior to 3 p.m.