In this year’s annual spring game, the White team defeated the Orange 30-10. Thousands of fans showed up to Memorial Stadium on April 6th to get a taste of the new team. After all, three months without Clemson Football is too long.
Although it was a pretty fair matchup, White came out on top and controlled the pace of the game. On both teams, first year players finished with the most receiving yards. Joseph Ngata had five completions for 127 yards for the Orange team. Meanwhile for White, Frank Ladson Jr. finished with five completions for 102 yards.
Returning players like Trevor Lawrence, Cornell Powell, Tee Higgins, Shaq Smith, K’Von Wallace, Chase Brice and Brandon Galloway showcased their skills as well. Unfortunately, due to injuries, players like Amari Rodgers, Nyles Pinckney, Jordan Williams, Diondre Overton, Ray Thornton III or Noah DeHond were unable to play.
Although Clemson will be without seven of last year’s defensive starters, the defense played well in the spring game. White's defense forcing more turnovers, with Orange throwing two interceptions and fumbling the ball once and White only losing the ball once, gave White valuable momentum and big advantages. White held the Orange team to 308 yards, while Orange held White to only 285 yards. The defensive back newcomer, Sheridan Jones, made his presence known as well. Jones finished with seven tackles, a forced fumble, and a pick-six to solidify the White team’s win. This impressive start will only be the beginning for this young star.
After the game, I asked Head Coach Dabo Swinney what the biggest difference in this years team compared to last years. He said “Last year’s team was just an incredible veteran team. The cake was baked. You know, we just had to cut it, ice it, and enjoy it. This team here, we’ve just heated the oven up and the ingredients are there.”
Coach Swinney goes on to say that last years team, “That was a bunch of veterans and that knew exactly what they had to do and what it takes and they were committed to that. We’re a younger football team, way younger than we were last year. With that comes a lot of energy and enthusiasm too so it’s fun.”
Although this may have been just a scrimmage, these guys took this game seriously and wanted to win. Clemson football players are as competitive as it gets, so it is no surprise that they left everything they had out on the field.
The next time the Tigers will be seen back in Death Valley will be against Georgia Tech on August 29th.