Clemson’s annual Orange and White game featured a lot of what you would expect in a spring game, along with some of what you would never expect. Bet you never thought you would see two overtimes in a spring exhibition now did you?
With the two teams tied at 20 at the end of regulation, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney decided it was better to have a field goal contest to avoid the kissing your sister outcome. Chandler Cantanzaro and Ammon Lakip both missed 55 yard attempts in the first OT. In the second OT Catman made a 45 yarder and Lakip missed, giving the Orange a 23-20 win over the White team.
They call these things games, but game is a pretty loose term for what happens in these events. This is not to minimize the importance of developing a team over the course of spring practice, the 14 workouts leading up to the “game” are crucial for cultivating success in the fall. The final practice, also known as the “Insert school colors here_______ Game, is nothing more than a glorified ceremonial end to the spring session and a chance to let fans get together to put entirely too much stock and thought into what they see over the course of a few hours.
With that said, consider this your friendly reminder not to put too much stock into any of the stats or storylines coming out of Saturday’s Orange and White Game. It wasn’t “good on good” it was two teams with starters and reserves sprinkled between them. With that said, you can check out the scoring summary and final stats at the bottom of the story. As you read them or if you watch the replay of the game on CSS (4/16 @3pm, 4/19 @1pm, 4/25@1pm) please remember a few key points about this spring “game” and pretty much every other spring “game” in the country:
- It is impossible to judge an offensive line unit when projected starters are spread over two teams and playing alongside reserves and walk-ons. Offensive line remains a question for Clemson, but little, if anything can be assessed from Saturday’s performance.
- It is almost always tough to run the ball in a spring game. If your team does run well in the spring game, it’s more likely you have a weakness on defense than strength in your rushing attack. Yes the defenses are playing vanilla packages, but they still know all the offensive run keys. They can usually see a run play coming from a mile away. Clemson didn’t have a great running attack Saturday, which should not come as a surprise or a concern.
- Normally you get nothing out of special teams in a spring game, but the Orange and White game’s overtimes gave both kickers a chance to show what they can do under presser. The punting looked pretty solid too. According to Swinney, this has been the case all spring, which is a good indication this could be a strength this season.
- Beware of any guy that comes out of nowhere and shines in a spring game. Usually, not always, but usually, this ends up being fool’s gold. Justin Parker and Jonathan Meeks looked great on defense Saturday, but before we put them on the All-ACC team let’s make sure they can do it against a team full of first string players running plays they haven’t seen every day for the past few weeks.
One guy that stood out that is not a fluke was Nuke Hopkins. He caught seven passes for 120 yards with one touchdown. Nuke can play and will be a weapon alongside Sammy Watkins (who was on the opposite team Saturday) this season. He isn’t this year’s Rendrick Taylor, the guy who once had 170-plus yards receiving in an Orange and White game and never was able to gain traction consistently in the regular season.
- The Orange and White teams were both mixed with starters and reserves. You aren’t going to be able to accurately judge the progress of the offensive line when the projected starters are scattered on two teams with second and third stringers.
- It usually isn’t practical to read too much into how the quarterbacks perform in spring games, both good and bad. A lot of these guys are trying to throw the ball to people they might have played with two or three snaps over the course of the spring. With that said, Tajh Boyd’s two interceptions aren’t setting off the panic meter, but he still needs to show he can avoid those types of costly mistakes. Even with unfamiliar receiver on the field with him, he still shouldn’t be making some of those egregious decisions.
- And remember, every college coach in America is undefeated in spring games.
Now for the audio:
AUDIO: Dabo Swinney postgame interivew [12:21]
AUDIO: Offensive coordinator Chad Morris [4:32]
AUDIO: Defensive coordinator Brent Venables [4:31]
AUDIO: Quarterback Tajh Boyd [4:15]
Clemson Spring Game Statistical Summary
White: Lakip 25 FG, 7-67, 12:50 (1st)
Orange: Ford 4 pass from Stoudt (Catanzaro Kick), 11-65, 9:16 (1st)
Orange: Catanzaro 40 FG, 7-31, :34 (1st)
Orange: Bryant 17 pass from Roberts (Catanzaro Kick) 3-34, 14:14 (2nd)
White: Hopkins 9 pass from Boyd (Lakip Kick), 7-52, 5:32 (2nd)
White: Lakip 27 FG, 9-53, 1:52 (2nd)
Orange: Catanzaro 20 FG, 10-73, :07 (2nd)
White: McDowell, 2 rush (Symmes Kick), 2-1, 11:50, (3rd)
Orange: Catanzaro 45 FG (Overtime)
Time: 2:30 Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees
Orange: Bellamy 8-55, Howard 12-31, Roberts 6-35, Stoudt (5-21)
White: McDowell 15-36-1, Brooks 9-26, Boyd 7 (-22), McNeal 5- (-17), McElveen (1-4)
Orange: Roberts 14-24-149- 1-1, Stoudt 14-23-99-1-1
White: Boyd 20-26-229-2-1, McNeal 4-9-49-1-0
Orange: Bryant 7-74-1, Watkins 6-66, Ford 6-57-1, Brown 3-36, Mac Lain 2-14, Howard 2-3, Bellamy 1-8, Porter 1-0
White: Hopkins 7-120-1, Peake 5-75, Humphries 5-30, Forbush 2-8, McDowell 1-13, Cooper 1-3, Seckinger 1-2, Maass 1-16, Smith 1-11
Orange: Benton 6-229-38.2
White: Pinion 8-354-44.3
Orange: Shuey 1-34, Peters 1-16, Brewer 1-9
White: Meeks 2-49
Orange: Shuey 8, Jarrett 6, Peters 6, Davis 5, Brewer 5, Robinson 4, Hawkins 4, Townsend 3, Beasley 3, Goodman 3, Thomas 3, Christian 3
White: Smith 10, Jenkins 8, Breeland 8, Parker 7, Blanks 7, Willard 6, Williams 6, Watson 5, Crawford 5
Orange: Beasley 2-13, Jarrett 2-12, Goodman 1-7, Thomas 1-1, Townsend 0.5-5, Stewart 0.5-5
White: Watson 1-8, Byars 1-9, Crawford 1-2, Williams 1-2
Fumble Recovery: Parker
Caused Fumble:: Smith