Monday, March 23, 2009
Checking in from Clemson
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
CLEMSON, S.C. -- A few quick observations before I call it a day:
- First, Jacoby Ford truly looked like a senior at practice today. He caught a nice touchdown pass, prompting coach Dabo Swinney to challenge some of the younger guys to step up.
- Mason Cloy is getting comfortable at center, which is good because that allows Thomas Austin, the leader of the line, to stay at guard. True freshman J.K. Jay looked impressive and capable of working his way into the rotation.
- Swinney said he hopes to name a new defensive tackle coach in the next few days, and it will probably be former Tennessee assistant Dan Brooks. He was on the field today. It seems to be one of those things where the holdup in the announcement is the HR paperwork. "I've got a lot of respect for coach Brooks," Swinney said. "He's a great coach, great background, track record, recruiting and coaching. He's certainly a strong candidate."
- Very impressed with new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. There are some coaches who immediately command respect for their knowledge of the game, and he gave that impression. Home run hire.
- James Davis was watching practice and will be at pro day on Tuesday.
- Both Willy Korn and Kyle Parker are competing hard. Through the first couple of practices Korn had been getting the most reps, but he also had the most experienced. They're trying to distribute the reps a little more evenly.
"A lot of people make the statement, if you have two quarterbacks you don't have one quarterback," Swinney said. "Well, I disagree with that. If you've got two good ones, you've got two good ones. That's the situation I see emerging there. It's going to be interesting. I really believe we've got a couple of good quarterbacks. And they're both the same age. ... Maybe one of them separates, I don't know. It looks like something that's going to play out for a while. That's a good thing for me."
Overall, it seems as if Clemson has the potential to surprise some people by the end of the season. The defense will lead the way in the beginning, but they definitely intend to get the ball to their playmakers this year. That, in itself, is an improvement. This offense definitely has big-play capabilities.