A few observations as Tigers go thru morning practice

by - Senior Writer -
Tajh Boyd...emergency punter?

CLEMSON – The media were allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of practice Monday morning, the first day of two-a-days.

The Tigers practiced from 9:30 until noon, and then will practice again this evening from 7-to-9 p.m. There will be a practice report after the morning practice, but there will be no availability after the evening practice.

Here are a few observations from the limited time we had at practice:

*It was interesting to watch quarterbacks Kyle Parker and Tajh Boyd spend the first part of practice on one part of the field by themselves, practicing pooch punts. Some teams obviously use the pooch kick to pretty good advantage, but Clemson hasn’t really employed that as a weapon. In the first Georgia Tech game last year, the Tigers tried a pooch punt off of a fake field goal with kicker Richard Jackson, but that went awry and the punt was returned for a touchdown.

Monday, both Parker and Boyd looked adept, with Parker actually doing a fairly good job of angling the ball to the sidelines, and Boyd doing a good job of dropping high kicks inside the 20-yard line. This is nothing new, and is practiced all the time, but it will be interesting to see if Clemson employs the pooch this season.

*There were some rough edges on the punt return portion of the drill, with some dropped and fumbled punts, but once again I was impressed with the hands of freshman DeAndre Hopkins. He went back on one punt, which was far over his head, and made a Willie Mays-type of catch, and then immediately turned up field.

Also, redshirt freshman Rod McDowell continues to show why he will get playing time this season. He has an incredible burst, and gets up the field as quick or quicker than anyone other than another freshman, Joe Craig. Word is that McDowell showed out in Saturday’s practice, and he could be a dangerous option in a lot of different spots for the Tigers this season.

Also, I got a chuckle out of receivers coach Jeff Scott during the punt return portion of the drill as he chided a tentative returner, saying, “If you’re scared, say you’re scared.”

*I watched a few minutes of the defensive line running sideline pursuit drills, moving the middle of the field to the sideline in pursuit of a ball carrier, and couldn’t help but be impressed with big defensive tackle Brandon Thompson. The 6-3, 305-pound junior out of Thomasville, Ga., can flat out move for a big man.

*As we were leaving the field, offensive line coach Brad Scott was putting his group through a footwork drill, and he asked them if they watched the Dallas Cowboys-Cincinnati Bengals NFL game last night. “Did you watch that game? Did you see how quick their feet move? That is why they are in the NFL. Now move your feet.”

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