‘Playmakers emerge’ as Garrett Riley happy with spring scrimmage results

After another spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium, Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley spoke to the media about his thoughts on the results, which he seemed to have some positive takeaways from the game. 

What Riley liked especially, which he began with, was the vast variety of players that made plays throughout the scrimmage. 

“I felt like we had a lot of guys, different people make some big plays, whether it be a first down conversion, a long play, a touchdown, whatever it may be,” he said on Wednesday night.  “Running backs, some of the tight ends, receivers, and quarterbacks made a couple of plays with their feet, which was good to see.”

Garrett Riley

Riley also liked the progression of his squad at this point of the season, who are a week and a half away from Clemson’s annual spring game. 

“I felt like, really, every group there was some growth,” he elaborated. “Some of our truly young guys emerged.”

Out of these guys, he highlighted freshman receiver Bryant Wesco and Misun “Tink” Kelly. While describing Wesco as “coming into his own”, Riley has liked what he has seen out of Kelly following his surgery in the fall. 

“Tinks kind of come on [in] this back half of the spring,” he said “I felt like he’s settled in and gained a little confidence. He’s shown up in our scrimmages, the last two for sure. He’s one of those guys that is kind of like a unique weapon.”

While many of his receiving weapons are healthy, compared to last year with many key starters nursing injuries entering the spring, he is happy with where the group is at in terms of progression and production. 

Riley would also state that when playing the running backs on Wednesday, he gave a little relief to starting running back Phil Mafah, giving expected backup Keith Adams Jr. the starting tailback touches in the scrimmage. 

“Keith had a huge opportunity for himself and he capitalized,” Riley raved. “He had a huge day for us.”

He would also talk about rising sophomore Jarvis Green, who he said made “some good plays” in the scrimmage. 

When talking about the quarterbacks, the Clemson offensive coordinator thought that the spark on offense in the scrimmage came from Cade Klubnik, who would make a play with his feet to find Wesco with a deep pass. 

Riley also liked what he saw from backup Christopher Vizzina, saying that he “is becoming more confident every single day.”

“There’s competition there, for sure,” he said. “That’s what’s good.”

While Riley’s first season might not have been as expected with a 9-4 finish to the season, he is confident that his second year will be even better than his first year, crediting a more “mature” group than the year before. With almost every starter returning on the offensive side of the ball, it is expected. 

“We got an older group that’s played a year or two of the same offense and guys just really have belief in one another. . that guys are going to make plays,” he said. “That’s what I am seeing right now.”

With the losses of key leaders Will Shipley and Will Putnam, the offense has been looking for the next few guys to lead the offense going into the 2024 season. Riley said that Mafah and tight end Jake Briningstool are the successors to the past leaders, commemorating the two with a great spring so far. 

“What those guys have to do in that room, it’s a lot,” Riley said on Briningstool. “Year two for him being in this, and his development physically is going to be huge for him this next season. But he’s a guy from a leadership standpoint just [as] a guy that people look to. I’ve really seen him make strides in that area.”

Garrett Riley

The Tigers will return to a crowd-filled Memorial Stadium next weekend, with the spring game taking place on Saturday, April 6. 

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