Bowden Looking for Better Defensive Performance


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --- Tommy Bowden wasn’t born yesterday, and he certainly isn’t what you would call a rookie coach. So when he walked off the practice field from Friday’s rain-shortened practice he wasn’t terribly happy that his offense made more big plays than his defense.

“I was telling the team afterwards we had a few more big plays offensively then we normally have,” he said. “We aren’t really scheming defensively to stop what we are doing offensively... but I was looking for more of a leadership standpoint defensively and I didn’t see it Saturday. For the first time no one really stepped up.”


The only player that really stood out in Bowden’s mind was wide receiver Aaron Kelly. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound freshman made a diving catch on a corner route about 25 yards down the field in coverage.

“Aaron Kelly made the best catch maybe this spring of anybody,” said Bowden, “but again, he just hasn’t done (things like) that very much.”


Bowden said he is anxious to see how the defense will respond in Saturday’s scrimmage at Death Valley. He said he hopes the guys that have been flying around and making things happen will re-emerge.

“I like to see that personality tomorrow,” he said.

Because of Friday’s lack luster performance from the defense, the coaching staff will wait until they meet Saturday on the field to decide who will play. Bowden was hoping to see some of the younger guys on defense get a chance to work, but he isn’t sure if new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will do that now.

Injury update

Guard Chip Myrick hasn’t practice all week. There was no official word on why he was out, but Bowden expects him to try and give it a go in Saturday’s scrimmage. Curtis Baham hasn’t practiced the last couple of days thanks to an ankle injury. He will also try and play some in the scrimmage.


“A skill guy gets an ankle hurt, that’s the worse thing to do,” Bowden said.
Olu Babalola will not play in the scrimmage, but might return to practice on Monday if his ankle is better.

Position updates

Offensive linemen Roman Fry or Brandon Pilgrim might work with the first team Saturday. Both could see action at left guard if Myrick isn’t able to go. Bowden said he has been impressed with Fry and the staff will lock him in at a position after the spring.


“He might be one of the best two guards,” said Bowden. “Dustin Fry is doing well at center and that has allowed us a little flexibility to move (Roman) over. Now, if Dustin sinks or gets hurt, we might have to move him back.


“We need for Clint LaTray to find out if he can play or not.”


Akeem Robinson played at tight end and Zach Green worked at right tackle Friday.


Coaches Clinic

Close to 300 coaches from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were on hand for Friday’s practice. The Clemson coaches were hosting a football coaches clinic that ended with a dinner Friday night. Bowden was really impressed with the number of coaches who showed up to watch.


“There is a lot going on. Georgia’s spring game, you got the Masters and spring break,” he said. “It’s tough, I was really surprised we had a nice crowd day.”

Also in attendance was all-star running back and recent signee James Davis of Atlanta.
Saturday's scrimmage will begin at 10 a.m. at Death Valley. It is closed to the public.


Will Vandervort is the Sports Editor for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger.

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