CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Fall Camp Insider: Ball security tested, pro scouts watch D-line, freshman stands out

Fall Camp Insider: Ball security tested, pro scouts watch D-line, freshman stands out


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Ball security was the name of the game during the first part of Clemson’s practice. That and a bunch of NFL scouts in attendance to see the Tigers’ defensive line.

The Tigers held the third practice of the spring Monday – still in shorts and helmets – and we were allowed to watch the first seven periods.

Scouts from the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Bucs, New York Jets, Detroit Lions, and the Houston Texans among more pro teams were prowling the sidelines and as soon as individual drills began, all of them moved over to watch the Tigers’ defensive line.

Also in attendance was Clemson linebacker great Levon Kirkland. Kirkland went to watch the linebackers, and he asked if members of the Ring of Honor were allowed to cut across the field. He was laughing when he said it, but I told him ROH guys could probably go wherever they want.

Two periods were spent on kickoff coverage, and I noticed that Mike Reed, for the third straight day, was in a thick cotton hooded sweatshirt and thick cotton sweatpants. Reminds me of wrestlers trying to make weight.

During the coverage drills, freshman linebacker Wade Woodaz drew the praise of head coach Dabo Swinney. Woodaz, running in the wedge spot, was full speed in every drill and Swiney singled hm out. I also noticed linebacker LaVonta Bentley, an absolute load, running in both the wedge and alley spots. One cameraman laughed and said, “I would hate to meet him in the A gap.”

Woodaz also took reps at the SAM spot.

As mentioned before, ball security was the focus today. Student managers, armed with the big gloves, were throwing absolute haymakers at ball carriers. Tyler Grisham and Kyle Richardson were working with the tight ends and wide receivers, and Grisham had one of those huge blue exercise balls (the biggest I’ve seen), and he would wait until the exact moment that a receiver would reach for a pass and then toss the ball off the players’ bodies and, sometimes, their face masks.

Grisham seemed to take great delight in the tosses (who wouldn’t?), but it didn’t slow anyone down. Grisham still managed to keep the tempo moving at a high rate of speed, depending on his own chasing skills or a student manager to chase the ball down, get it back to him, and then he’d toss it at the next victim.

Speaking of the student managers, when we arrived there was lightning in the area and it looked like the practice would be held indoors. However, the all clear was given just a few minutes before the first period, and they moved every single piece of equipment out to the fields and in the right spots in record time. They work hard and deserve some recognition.

Ok, back to the players. Wide receiver Joseph Ngata was in yellow (not sure why, will ask after practice). However wide receiver Troy Stellato had shucked the green jersey and was a full go.

It would be fun to watch a little longer than stretching and drills – linebacker Barrett Carter is extremely explosive, and I’d like to see him in an actual football situation.

I didn’t see defensive tackle Tré Williams during stretching or drills.

Over on the offensive side, other than the big blue balls, was a drill where two receivers have to cross in front of each other while two quarterbacks each throw a pass. One receiver runs deep out of the route and one goes short. All while Grisham or Richardson are swatting and throwing things their way (I’ve never seen Clemson run a few of these drills, so there are some fresh ideas floating around).

Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei had a pretty deep ball to Beaux Collins, but Cade Klubnik was accurate all over the field.

We'll have post-practice reaction coming up.

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