Tigers Open Spring Practice


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Clemson, SC-Clemson opened its spring practice season on Saturday
with a three-hour practice on the practice fields behind the Jervey
Athletic Center. It was the first of 15 spring practices for the
Tigers, a schedule that will conclude April 14 with the Spring Game
at 1:00 PM at Clemson Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers will practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next
week before taking off for Spring Break.

"We had a good practice today, "said Bowden, who must replace
many leaders off his 2006 team, including first-team All-American
Gaines Adams (who attended the practice) All-ACC receiver Chansi
Stuckey and quarterback Will Proctor (who attended the practice).

"The quarterbacks did well for the first practice. That is
obviously an important position to evaluate this Spring. We don't
have an experienced returning player at that position. Another
priority will be developing leadership on defense. We might start
only two seniors on defense this year."

Bowden also was pleased with the performance of the kickers
on Saturday. "Richard Jackson and Mark Buchholtz did not miss a
kick today. That was a good sign. We are also working with new
holders in Mike Wade and Jimmy Maners and they did a very good job
also." Buchholtz is also one of the top returning starters on
Clemson's top 20 men's soccer team.

Bowden also announced some coaching staff titles and
responsibility changes after practice. Tight ends coach Billy
Napier will replace David Blackwell as the recruiting coordinator.
Clemson had three consecutive top 20 recruiting years under
Blackwell, a first for the program since the 1980s. Bowden also
said that Brad Scott would now have the title of Associate Head
Coach, while Dabo Swinney will have increased responsibilities and
has been elevated to Assistant Head Coach.

Michael Hamlin was the only scholarship player who missed
practice due to injury. He suffered a foot injury in February that
will keep him out of spring practice for at least the first four
practices. Rendrick Taylor, who also had an ankle injury in
February, participated in the practice full go.

Andrew Diomande, a letterman receiver last year, and Zach
Green a tight end who lettered in 2004 and 2006, were not a practice
and will not return next season. Diomande, who had three receptions
last year, has decided to transfer to another school. Green will
graduate from Clemson this summer and will not return to the program.

Reserve running back Ray Ray McElrathbey was not at practice
on Saturday. McElrathbey has been suspended for the first four
spring practices due to an academic related matter. He is expected
to return to the team after spring break.

Defensive back Darius Gaither, who red-shirted last year,
attended a funeral on Saturday and missed the practice. Jacoby Ford
did not practice due to his participation in the NCAA Indoor Track
and Field Championships in Arkansas on Saturday.

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