Defense all smiles after Saturday scrimmage

CLEMSON - As Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony walked his way towards the interview area after Saturday's scrimmage, he welcomed any question from the media with a huge smile on his face.

Without saying a word, he simply had the look of a player coming off of a strong performance.

And it wasn't just him either.

The entire first team defense paced the Clemson football team in the final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday.

While stats from Saturday's weren't immediately available - they didn't need to be.

The defense played very well.

"We went out there thinking, 'let's have some fun today get out there and make some good plays,'" Anthony tells CUTigers. "We did some good things today. Everybody came out with an attitude today and everybody did their job. We worked well together.

"We took a step forward."

Returning the majority of its front seven from a top 25 defense a year ago, expectations are naturally high for this unit. However two weeks ago, the first-team offense came out on a 13-play drive and went right down the field in the first scrimmage of camp.

Saturday, there was nothing of the sort to report.

"I thought the defense set the tempo today," head coach Dabo Swinney said afterwards. "They played a pretty clean scrimmage. (We didn't) Have some of the mistakes we had defensively the other day." "We created some turnovers. We had a pick six on the second play of the game - Jadar [Johnson] picked it off. We mixed it up a lot today."

Players also talked about how well the front seven played in short-yardage situations, essentially shutting down Clemson's first-team offense.

"We set the tone up front today," said senior defensive tackle Deshawn Williams, also smiling after leaving the field. "We take pride on defense not losing competitive situations like short-yardage. There's that time where you have to get out there and be nasty. So we take pride in that."

The team will now get a small break as students report back to campus this weekend in preparation for the start of classes Wednesday.

After that, the attention turns towards the season opener at Georgia.

"We definitely had a good camp. We have a strong understanding of everything and we are just trying to get better everyday," Anthony said. "We really haven't talked about Georgia too much just yet. It's been more about us."

"But that's about ready to change. Real soon."