Spence More Committed Than Ever To Passing Game


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --- It was very obvious during the last half of the 2006 season why the Clemson Tigers struggled offensively. Thanks to a Virginia Tech game plan that exposed the Tigers as a one-dimensional offense Clemson went from being the nation?s top offense after the Temple game to one that was considered average at best.

The Tigers averaged just 17.6 points a game while producing a 1-4 record to close the year. The offense, which averaged nearly 470 yards a game prior to Virginia Tech, managed just 166 against the Hokies and just 340.4 over the last five games.

What was Clemson?s problem? The forward pass of course.

Clemson quarterback Will Proctor, who was confident and accurate to start the season, was unsure and inconsistent at best to close the year.

Though the Tigers will break in a new quarterback this fall, Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence revealed Wednesday the offense will concentrate a little bit more this season with the passing game.

?I?m going to be committed to the passing game more than I ever have been,? he said. ?I have always enjoyed throwing the ball and have been fascinated by the pass ever since I have been in the game, but I also strongly believe in a balanced attack and a strong rushing attack.

?But there has been a recommitment to throwing the ball here on this staff to protect (the quarterback). We want to throw the ball accurately and run precise routs and attack in that regard to help us run the ball great.?

Quarterback Cullen Harper is starting to see the benefits of that commitment so far this spring. In last week?s scrimmage, Harper threw for 170 yards, while completing 13 of 21 passes, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Ford.

?Things are feeling good right now,? Harper said. ?I still have to get better and have some things to improve on.?

Even the second team quarterbacks seem to be benefiting from Clemson?s recommitment to the pass. Freshman Willy Korn was 8 of 13 for 78 yards in the scrimmage, while Tribble Reese finished the day 5 of 6 for 29 yards and a touchdown --- a 12-yard strike to senior La?Donte Harris.

In Wednesday?s mini scrimmage Harper had a long touchdown pass to Aaron Kelly, who is having of the better performances of the spring.

- Clemson defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson played pretty well in Wednesday?s scrimmage. Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said the offensive line could hardly block him.

?We can?t block him,? Bowden said. ?When we cover the center we can?t block him. You try to single block him over the center and you can hardly block him. We can?t now maybe someone else can.?

- Byron Maxwell had a 99-yard interception return? Dorell Scott suffered a concussion Wednesday and sat the rest of the scrimmage out due to headaches? Durrell Barry missed the scrimmaged with a slip disk in his back. He has been suffering from that all spring, but Bowden expects Barry back by Saturday?s scrimmage? Backup right guard Brandon Pilgrim will miss the rest of the spring after dislocating his elbow last week? James Davis had a 60 or 70-yard run in the scrimmage.

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