Clemson scrimmaged Friday evening, eight days before the Tigers will hold their annual Orange vs. White Spring game on Saturday, April 3 at Death Valley.
Both the offense and defense shined during different portions of the scrimmage, according to Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
Offensively, Swinney was pleased with the way Clemson ran the football. Defensively, he said the Tigers did a nice job of creating turnovers.
Here are more takeaways from Swinney’s meeting with the media Friday night:
Tight ends banged up
Clemson will be down a pair of tight ends for the rest of the spring, including returning starting tight end Braden Galloway. The senior is dealing with a finger injury, as is redshirt freshman tight end Sage Ennis.
“Braden, it’s just about having a great summer. He hurt his finger, he’s not going to be able to play next week, because he hurt his finger. So we’re having to do a little minor surgery on his finger. So he’ll be out a couple of weeks,” Swinney said.
“Same thing with Sage — he broke a finger, so he’s going to be out next weekend. He’s having surgery Monday or Tuesday on his finger.”
Other players currently out for Clemson include: receivers Justyn Ross, Frank Ladson and Brannon Spector and offensive lineman Trent Howard. Others, including offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst, are being kept out of live work this spring. K.J. Hendry and Lannden Zanders are among those out for the entire spring as they recover from offseason surgeries.
Davis Allen emerging
Speaking of tight ends, junior Davis Allen will be an important piece of Clemson’s offense in 2021. Swinney heaped praise upon the Georgia native following Friday’s scrimmage.
Allen played 350 snaps, compared to 463 by Galloway a season ago.
It appears as though he may be an even bigger part of the offense this year.
“Davis Allen is a complete tight end. Whatever you want in a tight end, he’s got everything. He is a complete guy. And Braden is a developing guy that’s going to leave here as a complete guy,” Swinney said.
“I think both of them have got great futures here at Clemson and both of them are going to be great NFL players one day. There’s no doubt about it.”
Clemson set at QB
The Tigers will not add a potential backup quarterback to the roster through the transfer portal to compete with redshirt sophomore QB Taisun Phommachanh.
Swinney said Friday that he believes in the Connecticut native and feels that Phommachanh will continue to develop before the opener on Sept. 4. Phommachanh was 5-for-17 passing for 17 yards, with an interception last year. He added seven carries for 25 yards.
“We believe in Taisun Phommachanh. He’s a guy that he’s gonna be a redshirt sophomore. He was the third guy last year. But he’s a critical piece to what we’re trying to do,” Swinney said. “We’re excited about his development. We didn’t get a full spring last year. Didn’t get a proper summer, skills and drills, all those type of things. And that’s huge.”
Behind starter D.J. Uiagalelei Clemson currently has Phommachanh and walk-on Hunter Helms. Clemson will add signees Bubba Chandler and Will Taylor this summer, assuming they don’t play professional baseball instead.
The Tigers may go to the portal if there’s a subtraction from the roster.
“You can’t go recruit a high school kid in May. So if somebody packed up and left on us we’d have no choice,” Swinney said. “But D.J. is an elite, elite talent. Just because he won that backup job last year, that’s not a knock against Taisun. Taisun has got a chance to be a great player. He’s got a chance to help this team this year. We’re gonna need him.”