Photo-realistic Death Valley replica!
Spring practice observations

  by - Senior Writer - Friday, April 5, 2013 5:47 PM

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers took to the practice fields behind the new indoor practice facility Friday afternoon under sunny skies and with a warm breeze, and the practice began with Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” blaring from the loudspeakers.

Danger zone turned out to be applicable as the Tigers began the “W Drill,” a drill that Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
View Full Profile
borrowed from Stanford head coach David Shaw. It turns out that Swinney and Shaw are becoming good friends, and the “W” is a drill that the Cardinal run during practice.

In the drill, there are three levels – a wide receiver matches up against a defensive back, an offensive lineman matches up against a linebacker and an offensive lineman matches up against a defensive lineman. The ball is snapped and the physical matchups ensue, with the blockers trying to not let the defenders past a line of cones.

It’s a physical drill, and it’s easy to see where some of the scars on the helmets have come from this spring. It’s different from the “Paw” or “Oklahoma” drill the players have been running, because the cones spread out into an “W” shape, and it’s better than the usual 3-on-3 in that it simulates what actually happens out on the field.

Former linebacker Keith Adams and former defensive lineman Damonte McKenzie – both of them are helping with the defense – are a loud and supportive part of the drill, encouraging defenders to be as physical as possible.

*Linebacker Kellen JonesKellen Jones
So. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
Houston, TX

View Full Profile
was in street clothes to begin to the practice, but he went in and changed into his uniform after the first set of drills. He is battling an ankle injury suffered during the scrimmage last week, and he’s been limited in action.

One note about Jones – he had brain surgery when he was 16 or 17 after suffering seizures. Hopefully we can interview Kellen at some point over the next week and get more information.

*Linebacker Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 235
Hastings, FL

View Full Profile
was back at practice and participated in all the drills, and defensive back Jadar JohnsonJadar Johnson
Fr. Defensive Back
# 6-1, 180
Orangeburg, SC

View Full Profile
was also participating in the drills. He had a big brace on his arm.

*Coaches from Asheville (NC) High School and Indian Land (SC) High School were there, and I saw a couple of coaches from the Air Force Academy.

*During one of the early drills, wide receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

View Full Profile
was matched up against another wide receiver (it was basically a glorified stretching period), but Watkins made sure the pseudo-defensive back knew he wasn’t performing his job.

“That is not how you run Cover 2,” Watkins barked.

*Another story we are working on has to do with the offense. Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
View Full Profile
has changed the offense around a little bit, and many of the plays are being called with a numeral attached to them. I asked Morris after last night’s practice the purpose of calling plays with numbers, and he said it was an effort to get faster. He wants to be faster than Oregon or Marshall or Tulsa.

Morris said he came up with the numbering system in the off-season, and he hopes it will allow him to call plays faster and become a better play-caller. He also said that it will not allow teams to scout his offense as easily as they have in the past.

Rate this Story:
13 votes
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
    ESPN's Pollack and Palmer break down Clemson-UGA - 10 hours ago
    ESPN college football analysts David Pollack and Jesse Palmer spent the early part of Thursday afternoon on a conference call with the national media, and the early part of the call centered on the Clemson and Georgia opener in nine days and Clemson’s chances of making a run at the four team playoff. What does Pollack say about Deshaun Watson? Where does he rank Clemson's defense? Full Story »
  • Spot the ball - 1 day ago
    Full Story »
    Herbstreit doesn't like Stoudt's or Clemson's chances at Georgia - 2 days ago
    ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit thinks that Georgia’s environment and a defense helmed by former FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt will be too much for Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt when Clemson and Georgia meet in the season opener in Sanford Stadium on August 30th. Photo by Dale O. Watson / US PRESSWIRE Full Story »
    Venables talks position battles at safety and corner, talks Georgia run game - 3 days ago
    Defensive coordinator Brent Venables told the media Monday that he has been pleased with his defense through the first two weeks of camp, and with a little under two weeks left until the opener is spending time evaluating the remaining position battles. What does he say about those battles? What does he say about facing Georgia's run game? Full Story »
    Jadar Johnson turning heads in the "No Fly Zone" - 4 days ago
    Sophomore safety Jadar Johnson earned praise from head coach Dabo Swinney during spring practice, and he has continued to impress during the fall. What is the difference in his game? What does he say about the competition with Jayron Kearse? Full Story »

Post your comments

Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Sign Up for News Alerts
Daily Digest