Kelly Continues to Impress Bowden


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --For the last two weeks, Tommy Bowden has mentioned Aaron Kelly's name in his post practice report it seems every night.

Though reporters and radio personalities at practice seem surprised every time they hear his name brought up, Bowden isn't. He knew from watching Kelly at Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. that he had the goods to be a productive wide receiver in college.

"When I watched him in high school he was pretty electric," said Bowden, "but when you see him, physically he doesn't look like (he's that special).

"You have seen it, he doesn't look very strong because his body is real tall and lean," Bowden continued. "He hasn't had time to catch up and mature in the weight room yet, but he is really running well after the catch, and making guys miss. That has probably been the most impressive thing."


Kelly has been impressive for a numbers of reasons. He has good hands, has gone up and got balls out of the air, and he runs well after he catches the ball. But Bowden said the most impressive thing has been his ability to be coached; Something he told his team about after practice Wednesday.

"He comes from a very good family and he works really hard," said Bowden.
"He can take coaching. Some players can't, but he can and that's what I was telling the team afterwards, using him as an example.

"Some guys you yell at and they will draw into a shell, but Aaron didn't do that. He responded. He is coachable and the results are showing."



The results are so promising that Bowden said the 6-foot-4, 175-pound freshman could battle for a starting job in the fall.

"If he continues to make progress like he did this spring, then he is going to help us sooner than we expected. He has really had a good spring," said Bowden. "Right now he is second on the depth chart, but if he continues to do that when he comes back, then he is a guy we have to get on the field and would battle for one of those spots with Chansi (Stuckey), Kelvin (Grant) or Curtis (Baham)." La'Donte Harris will be in the same position come the fall.

"Those two guys look like they might be able to take one of those three positions," Bowden said.


Taking baby steps

Reserve free safety Roy Walker is getting better, but the biggest thing is his consistency. Bowden said he is having his good days and his bad days.
"He played quarterback in high school, then sat out for a year with an injury," said Bowden. "His biggest thing will be getting used to contact. He has had good days and bad days, but he is getting better and he is getting a little more confident."


Mr. Consistent

Jamaal Fudge has been so solid this spring at free safety, Bowden forgot he was back there. Fudge and players like Tramaine Billie, Cortney Vincent and Gaines Adams continue to receive high praise from the head coach.
Linebacker Anthony Waters made some big plays and had his best practice to date. Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons also continue to play well.


The kicking game

Stephen Furr is still pushing Jad Dean at kicker.
"He is in a pretty good position where if Jad were to falter in August, we have a lot of confidence in Stephen Furr," said Bowden. "He has kicked good this spring and probably kicked a little bit better to be honest with you." Bowden said he still has confidence in Dean, but it is nice to have a second kicker on board in case of an injury or if Dean gets in a rut.
"Jad is a pretty tough guy, I'm not really overly concerned about him more so because Stephen Furr is a good kicker. So if he was to go into the tank or something or got hurt, I would still be comfortable with Furr," he said.


Orange and White game

Bowden said he can be fairly generic Saturday with the play calling and still get a lot accomplished in the Orange and White game.
"We will try to be as fan friendly as possible with the format, but again we will still try to do enough from an organization standpoint on how we do the scrimmage," he said.
The spring game will be the same format Bowden has used in the past.
The annual Orange and White game will be at 1 p.m. in Memorial Stadium, and admission is free.


Injury update

Nose tackle Dorrell Scott will miss the spring game with a sprained ankle, while right guard Nathan Bennett was injured near the end of practice Wednesday, but is expected to play in Saturday's scrimmage.
"We haven't had that here with injuries. We have got a lot accomplished because we have been able to go out and hit," said Bowden. "We got as much accomplished as we could in that regard... It has been a pretty good spring."


Olu Babalola

Bowden said he will see how much Olu Babalola really wants to play football and whether or not he will encourage the former basketball player to stay with it.
"I'll see how much he wants to," Bowden said. "He'll have to do a lot of work this summer. He wouldn't have a chance unless he went out there and threw and caught with receivers and quarterbacks.
"That is one area where you can improve over the summer; it is not like a lineman who has to have pads on."


Goal line offense gets an F

Wednesday's goal line offensive and defensive drill got mixed reviews from Bowden. The first team offense didn't score and was 0-for-8. Bowden was pleased with the effort of his defense however.
"I'm pleased with the defense obviously for finishing the practice strong," he said. "Chances of getting in down there ought to be fairly high, but they did a really good job."

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