Defense dictates first Clemson scrimmage

Clemson's first scrimmage of the spring wasn't a complete dress rehearsal. Returning starting quarterback Kyle Parker didn't play because he was on the road with the baseball team.

So instead, Dabo Swinney got a chance to check out some of his other signal-callers.

Tajh Boyd ran the first-team offense at quarterback and completed 7 of 14 passes for 52 yards and a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dwayne Allen. Mike Wade led the second-team offense and completed 8-of-13 for 105 yards and a 22-yard touchdown strike to Xavier Dye.

"Tajh Boyd is making progress, taking steps forward," Swinney said. "He is learning the offense and will show more improvement as he gets more experience. He made some nice throws, including the touchdown to Dwayne Allen.

“I was also impressed with Mike Wade. He has been playing on defense at safety when Kyle Parker has been at practice and at quarterback when Kyle is with the baseball team. It is almost like cheating for him because he is such a smart guy and he knows both the offense and the defense. So when he plays quarterback he knows exactly what the secondary is suppose to do. “

The story of the 86-play scrimmage, though, was defense, which did not allow a touchdown drive of more than 25 yards. Sack numbers are a little silly since all it takes to get one is to touch the quarterback's jersey. Still, Andre Branch got in the pocket often to get three sacks, while Kourtnei Brown had two. Shawn Leonard-Horwith, Rashard Hall and Spencer Shuey all had fumble recoveries.

“The guys in orange [defense] showed some toughness and execution today,” Swinney said. "We did some good things on both sides of the ball and there was good energy on both sides. But the defense made some plays today. There were very few missed tackles."