Following the first practice of the fall, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden stated this might be his deepest team. As the team now begins full focus on Texas A&M, the head coach has seen nothing to retract that statement.
“What I have been most pleased with is the depth. We still have a lot of battles for starting positions going on. You can go right through the team. I think a lot of players will see action this fall. And that includes the freshman class. We still have some decisions to make, but I wouldn't be surprised if we played seven or eight true freshman this year," said Bowden.
The depth at running back continues to get stronger. Junior Reggie Merriweather has been steady all camp. Duane Coleman had his best performance Tuesday with five carries for 51 yards. James Davis continues to get a lot work, as he had 11 carries for 41 yards. Coach Bowden stated Tuesday night that Davis could be grouped in with the other four backs.
“We will go into the first game by committee. I will see all four of those guys in the first game. We have a good battle going on with four guys. The thing that has got James behind was assignments. He has done good picking them up though. He has been very attentive, and you can tell he is serious about playing this year.”
In past years, Coach Bowden has been able to release a depth chart following the final scrimmage. This year the competition is going too well for Coach Bowden to name his starters for Texas A&M.
“The ones and twos get about equal work. I am not prepared to name any starters just yet. It is not important for me to name starters on Thursday. The same guys are going to get the work, it will keep the competition alive. It looks like to me a lot of guys want to play come eight o’clock Saturday night.”
This pre-season Coach Bowden has seemed very upbeat and pleased with his team. Tuesday he commented on how he feels about the direction of the program.
“The thing I am excited about is the quality of depth and the way that recruiting is going this year. I like the team we have now; I like the way things are going right now. I think it is a good time to be the head coach here.”
Leadership has been a big positive with this year’s team. There were no off the field troubles in the off-season, and the attendance for voluntary workouts was unparalleled. It is tough to single out one guy, but Coach Bowden gave high praise to senior cornerback Tye Hill.
“If you had to pick a number one leader, he would get a vote. All of the guys on the team, he is the one guy that has came out everyday with a smile on his face and worked hard. He has really taken it to another level. He is working hard to have a good season.”