The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Paws up, paws down: Clemson’s spring game

Matt Mynes // Photo Editor

Clemson running back Dominique Thomas (20) runs up the middle during the Tigers’ Orange vs. White spring game in Memorial Stadium on April 15, 2023.

Clemson held its annual Orange vs. White spring game on Saturday, with Team White walking away with a 20-13 victory in Memorial Stadium. 

Here are a few takeaways from the game as the Tigers head into the summer:

Paws up: Peter Woods is as advertised

Dabo Swinney and the rest of Clemson’s coaching staff raved about Woods during the spring, and he showcased why on Saturday. Running out with the first-team defense, the former five-star recruit was all over the field for Team Orange, finishing with a team-high seven total tackles (one for loss) and a sack.

Although he was often getting double-teamed by Team White’s interior line, Woods’ strength and athleticism were on display throughout the game.

“Peter is just a one-of-a-kind type of player,” linebacker Barrett Carter said of Woods. “If you put the tape on, you don’t see a player of his size, strength or speed. It’s rare to come by. I’m blessed to have him in front of me. Peter is going to be scary for opposing offenses this year and years to come.”

If it wasn’t already evident, Woods will be in the mix for plenty of playing time come September.

Paws down: Quarterbacks have rough day

Clemson’s quarterbacks struggled with ball security all day, as Cade Klubnik and Christopher Vizzina threw two interceptions apiece.

Klubnik completed 55% of his passes for 190 yards, while Vizzina completed just three of his nine attempts for nine yards. Vizzina’s first interception of the day came at the hands of freshman safety Khalil Barnes, who returned it for a pick six — the game-winning score for Team White.

Both of Klubnik’s interceptions came off pass deflections, as Team Orange’s secondary made it difficult for the rising sophomore signal-caller to fit the ball into tight windows.

“I think it was just great plays by them,” Klubnik said of his interceptions. “On the first one, it was just a tip, and the second one was just a good play by Nate (Wiggins). Obviously, we want them back, but I’m not sure what I would’ve done differently. Sometimes you just got to hand it to them. They made a great play on both of them.”

It’s worth noting that the Tigers were without three starting offensive linemen and multiple receivers on Saturday, so the quarterbacks didn’t have a complete roster to help them.

Paws up: Tight end usage

Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley seems to like his tight ends, especially when they have routes in the middle of the field, an area that the Tigers didn’t utilize much in 2022. 

As Clemson’s receivers struggled to make big plays, it was often the tight ends that the quarterbacks relied on, as 170 of the game-total 333 passing yards went to their hands.

Sophomore Banks Pope led all tight ends in receiving yards with 67 on four receptions for Team White. Meanwhile, Jake Briningstool also made his mark for Team White, finishing with 56 yards on three receptions. 

Klubnik, who was the one throwing to Pope and Briningstool, said he thinks the tight ends will “get used a lot” in the new offense.

“They had a heck of a day today,” Klubnik said. “I think the best part of our offense is that we’re going to spread the ball out. We’re going to be able to throw it to every receiver and run the ball at the same time.”

Paws up: Dominique Thomas
With Will Shipley not dressing for what Dabo Swinney called precautionary reasons, Thomas stepped up for Team Orange. The former walk-on finished with 63 yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts. Twenty of his rushing yards came on an inside run early in the first quarter when he broke multiple tackles for a first down. 

“He’s a big kid, but he’s loose in the hips,” Swinney said of Thomas. “He’s got great vision, and he’s downhill. He’s a patient runner and really understands how to run the ball. He can help us.” 

Shipley and Phil Mafah have cemented themselves as the No. 1 and No. 2 tailbacks, but Thomas made a strong case to be the third-stringer with his performance on Saturday. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *