Clemson Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades, Analysis for the Tigers

Greg Wallace@gc_wallaceFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2014

Dabo Swinney and Clemson are wrapping up spring practice on Saturday.
Dabo Swinney and Clemson are wrapping up spring practice on Saturday.Associated Press

At halftime of the Clemson spring game, White leads Orange 17-2. Check out the first-half analysis and grades here.

Clemson Spring Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeSecond-Half Grade
Pass OffenseBB
Rush OffenseCB-
Pass DefenseB+B
Rush DefenseB+B
Clemson spring-game stats


First-half analysis for the Clemson spring game

Pass Offense: With freshman DeShaun Watson sidelined by a collarbone injury, the spotlight shifted to fellow quarterback derby competitors Chad Kelly and Cole Stoudt. Stoudt, the senior, held the clear edge, completing eight of 13 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns (one to Mike Williams, one to Jordan Leggett). Kelly completed 10 of 18 passes for 113 yards but threw a pair of interceptions into coverage. Sophomore wideout Mike Williams was impressive, catching two passes for 58 yards and a 30-yard score.

Cole Stoudt has had a solid first half in the Tigers' spring game.
Cole Stoudt has had a solid first half in the Tigers' spring game.RAINIER EHRHARDT

Run Offense: At times, the Tigers run offense struggled to find traction, but three of the top four tailbacks managed to break off big runs. Redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman had a 25-yard run, while senior D.J. Howard had a 35-yard run (and 11 yards on six other carries). Junior C.J. Davidson carried four times for 41 yards, including a 32-yard run. Gallman showed explosiveness with his big run and a 15-yard pass reception, while Howard fumbled a ball away.


Pass Defense: Kelly and Stoudt had their moments, but cornerbacks Adrian Baker and Garry Peters both had interceptions, and quarterbacks were “sacked” (they were not live in the scrimmage) a combined nine times in the half. Senior defensive end Tavaris Barnes put plenty of pressure on the quarterbacks, piling up four sacks in the half.

Run Defense: Clemson’s tailbacks have broken their share of runs, but with sacks counted in the equation, both teams have a combined 84 yards rushing for the first half. The Orange team is averaging an anemic 0.3 yards per carry, which would not get it done in a game that counts.

Final analysis for the Clemson spring game

Pass Offense: Kelly did not play after halftime due to what coach Dabo Swinney called a “coaches’ decision” for showing poor attitude on the sidelines following a first-half decision to punt on fourth and short. Stoudt was solid again in the second half, completing seven of nine passes for 60 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Third-team quarterback Nick Schuessler picked up Kelly’s snaps and finished the game seven of 17 for 67 total yards. Tight end Jordan Leggett showed some major athleticism, finishing the game with seven catches for 59 yards and a 16-yard touchdown, and Daniel Rodriguez had five catches for 53 yards.


D.J. Howard made some tough runs after halftime Saturday.
D.J. Howard made some tough runs after halftime Saturday.Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Run Offense: Clemson finished with a total of 200 yards on 65 carries, although those totals were held down by 13 “sacks” piled up by the defense. Gallman finished with 61 yards, while walk-on Kurt Fleming was impressive, breaking a game-long 49-yard run late. D.J. Howard made a tough 13-yard touchdown run and finished with 59 yards on nine carries. With the offensive line split evenly between the teams, chemistry could also have played a factor in the run game’s up-and-down effort.


Pass Defense: There were no passing touchdowns in the second half, but also no interceptions. It should be noted that Kelly’s absence might have played a role in that, as he had two first-half picks thrown into coverage.


Run Defense: The Tigers’ running offense improved slightly in the second half, as Clemson combined for 116 yards rushing between the two squads. In the end, four backs had rushes of at least 27 yards for the game, but Clemson averaged just 3.07 yards per rush on the day combined, which is solid on any level.