Dabo Swinney believes last Saturday's 14-8 win over Georgia Tech was Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei's best game of the season.
The sophomore in his first year as a starter completed 18 of his 25 passes for 126 yards and rushed eight times for 46 yards with a fumble. Week 1, he went against Georgia's dominating defense, and Swinney said Uiagalelei never got into a rhythm early. Week 2's easy victory over S.C. State was a chance for Clemson to work on being balanced, so he was only asked to do so much.
Swinney thinks the way Uiagalelei played against Georgia Tech on third down, where he was responsible for five of Clemson's nine conversions, gave the young quarterback some needed confidence.
"I thought it was a heck of a job on third down," Swinney said following Wednesday's practice. "Still a lot of room for improvement. That's all you can ask for. That's really what you want to see.
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"He's just too talented. At some point, he's going to put it together, and those around him are going to play like they're capable of playing and he'll see the fruits of his labor. There's nobody who works harder than No. 5."
The No. 9 Tigers head to N.C. State for their first true road test Saturday at 3:30 p.m. looking to improve an offense that's underwhelmed the last three weeks.
"We've got a lot of new people and it's all just kind of growing at the same time," Swinney said. "It's just a matter of time that this group comes together and plays like they know they can."
Other notes from Swinney
- The head coach said linebacker Baylon Spector "looked good" in practice this week. The senior missed the GT game with knee inflammation but could return Saturday.
- Only five offensive linemen played last week, and Swinney feels like he and the staff should've given opportunities to Paul Tchio, Mitchell Mayes and Hunter Rayburn.
- Also up front, Trent Howard is coming along from a developmental standpoint, and Mason Trotter, who can only play right guard because of a broken hand is getting closer to helping the O-line.
- Freshman running back Will Shipley earned the start this week after being named offensive player of the game in the previous two contests. It's a coincidence that he takes his first snaps as the No. 1 at the school his family has ties to.
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