CLEMSON - As Clemson's 2004 spring practice winds to a close, head coach Tommy Bowden finds himself split on his assessment of the Tigers.
Like most coaches, Bowden was happy to make it through the spring in relatively good health, and hopes the luck will hold one more day - this Saturday when the spring officially closes with the Orange and White game at Death Valley.
He also hoped to see more progress in certain areas.
"We didn't have a lot of guys missing workouts with injuries, so we got a lot of work done," said Bowden. "We're not where I'd like to be right now. I'm pleased with the work we've had done, but I'd like to be a little bit further ahead defensively than where we are.
"And offensively we still need to be a little more productive in the red zone. Although today (Wednesday) we were a little too productive in the red zone."
While he continues waiting for defensive stars - as well as an attitude - to emerge, a pair of transitions on that side of the ball appear to have taken hold.
Steven Jackson has impressed coaches with his move from fullback to linebacker, while redshirt freshman C.J. Gaddis has shown promise amidst his confusion in the short time he's been at cornerback.
On the other side of the ball, Chansi Stuckey's move to wide receiver from quarterback has given that unit a lift. Bowden seemed to be pleased with all three moves when quizzed about them Wednesday.
Only the question of whether or not Gaddis remains of defense lingers.
"I think they're all promising. We'll sit down with C.J., but the others I think are pretty much locked in stone," Bowden said. "I think Will (Proctor) made enough progress (at No. 2 quarterback), so the biggest thing is getting C.J. on the field.
"We'll talk personnel Monday and see the best place possible for him."
Another major concern which will carry over to the fall is the play of the offensive tackles.
Inconsistency plagued the group all spring, though Bowden became a bit defensive Wednesday when asked if he were disappointed in the players at the position.
"I'm not so much disappointed as it's just we lost two 5th year seniors," he said. "We're a ways away from being solid at that position simply because of lack of experience. I'd hate to sit here and imply that we're not getting good effort, they're not trying. It's just that we're very inexperienced there because we lost two 5th year tackles.
"I'd hate for the word 'disappointed' to be tied to my verbiage."
Saturday's spring game kicks off at 1 p.m in Death Valley. Admission is free to the public.
That day will also include an Athletic Department Surplus sale at Death Valley prior to the game. Fans should enter Gate 13 beginning at 11 a.m. Season posters will also be
available free of charge, and the 2004 Spring Program will be available for $5.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.