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Paws up, paws down: Clemson spring game

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei throws a pass during Clemson’s 2022 spring game in Memorial Stadium on April 9, 2022.

The annual spring game gave Clemson fans an opportunity to see the Tigers in action for the first time in 2022. With the conclusion of the spring game, Clemson’s coaching staff can use the insights of the game to predicate fall camp and how best to prepare for the 2022 season.

Paws up: Clemson’s defense 

With a 15-7 victory for the White team, much could be said about the dominance of Clemson’s defense.  

Defensive end K.J. Henry produced a game-high 3.5 sacks, putting up consistent pressure on DJ Uiagalelei. Players like Andrew Mukuba, David Cote and Sherrod Covil Jr. were also significant contributors to the dominance of the White team’s defense.  

Meanwhile, defensive end Myles Murphy, Jalyn Phillips and Barrett Carter recorded their own share of sacks for the Orange team’s defense, with Murphy leading the way with three. Even with some new faces and players biding for starting roles, Clemson’s defense as a whole looked confident and ready for the fall. 

Paws down: Quarterback performances 

Although mid-year enrollee Cade Klubnik went 15-23 on the day with 106 yards, the quarterback play for both teams wasn’t anything to write home about.  

Klubnik was sacked five times on the day and on the other side of the field, Uiagalelei had similar difficulties.  

Uiagalelei went 17-36 with 175 yards and one interception. Facing off against Henry and a formidable pass rush, he was also sacked five times.  

Both had some failure connecting with receivers and overthrew some passes, but Klubnik displayed his speed on multiple occasions, including a 14-yard scramble that was the Tigers’ longest run of the day. 

Paws up: Veteran coach in new role 

Throughout the spring, players have referenced the transition on defense with Wes Goodwin as the new defensive coordinator. Players have discussed a slower approach, especially for younger players, in learning defensive schemes.  

With the dominance of Clemson’s defense on full display in the spring game, there is evident cohesion among the athletes and Goodwin assuming his new position. 

“Until you go do it, there’s always nuances that you don’t know to expect. But it’s been a lot of fun. This staff has really good chemistry already,” head coach Dabo Swinney said after the game.  

Paws down: The woes of Clemson’s rushing game 

In terms of ‘offensive woes’, Clemson struggled on both sides in their rushing game.  

The White team had -17 net rushing yards while the Orange team had -18. Sophomore running back Phil Mafah led the Orange team with an average of 2.9 yards per carry.  

Meanwhile, sophomore Domonique Thomas led the White team with an average 1.7 yards per carry. Both teams struggled to find openings in Clemson’s defense.

However, last year’s lead running backs, Will Shipley and Kobe Pace, were both out with injury for the spring game.  

Paws up: Clemson’s attitude 

Even with younger players navigating their roles of the team, the Tigers showcased leadership and unity in the spring game.  

Veteran player, Henry, expressed his contentment with how the defensive unit functioned in the spring game.  

“From a defensive perspective, it’s very exciting seeing a low scoring game and keeping it tight,” Henry said. “Individually getting better is making the team better, and I think everyone is starting to realize that.”  

With this positive attitude, the Tigers will enter the summer with the desire to improve and become ACC champions once again. 

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