Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears


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Walk-on Greg Huegel has been the best kicker until taking a step back in the last scrimmage.
Walk-on Greg Huegel has been the best kicker until taking a step back in the last scrimmage.

The Clemson football team will assume a little more of a normal routine now that the camp portion of preseason practice schedule is over, and that means we can take a look at what we’ve learned over the past couple of weeks.

The students began classes on Wednesday, the team will hold a scrimmage Thursday and then begin their Wofford preparations. That doesn’t mean, however, that this team is ready to roll into its first game. There are still jobs up for grabs, questions to be answered and the Tigers need for certain players to get healthy in a hurry.

With that in mind, here are some quick observations of the team as a whole, including special teams.

Let’s start with the question marks, and we will follow that up with another story with the good we’ve seen.

*Is this team a national championship contender? This is where I could be a homer and charge up the masses and tell you that this squad will go undefeated and play for a national title. But I hope you want me to be objective and tell you the truth, and the truth is that this team has some holes and that an undefeated season is a longshot. It’s a longshot anyway, even if you’re Alabama or Ohio St. or Oregon, but there are enough holes that I can’t see it happening.

One of those holes is special teams, and my guess is that special teams play will cost this team a game this season. At kickoff, I’m not sure the Tigers have anyone that can consistently boot the ball through the back of the endzone. That means shorter kicks and more returns and better field position in certain situations. The loss of Bradley PinionBradley Pinion
Punter (2012 - 2014)
#92 6-6, 230
Concord, NC

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hurts here. It hurts a lot.

On field goals, I thought there were concerns even if Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Sr. Punter / Kicker
#36 5-11, 200
Alpharetta, GA

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hadn’t messed up and earned a suspension. Several field goals were blocked during the spring and that was with Lakip on the field. During the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of low line drives and inconsistency as Greg HuegelGreg Huegel
Fr. Punter / Kicker
#92 5-11, 180
Blythewood, SC

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, Alex SpenceAlex Spence
RS Fr. Kicker
#47 6-2, 190
Florence, SC

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and Christian GroomesChristian Groomes
RS Fr. Punter / Kicker
#39 5-9, 190
Central, SC

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battle for the top spot. What you want to see is that one guy just take charge and be so good it makes the decision a no-brainer. No one has done that. If the Tigers need a 44-yarder to win a game at Louisville or at home two weeks later against Notre Dame, do you like your chances?

We’ve also watched the punters during practice, and Pinion will be missed here as well. Pinion had the ability to flip the field on any kick, and he had 28 punts inside the 20 with only two touchbacks last season. Andy TeasdallAndy Teasdall
RS Jr. Punter
#32 5-11, 185
Winston-Salem, NC

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will do a good job, but he doesn’t have Pinion’s leg and we haven’t really seen anyone that has that touch to place it consistently inside the 20.

*Offensive line depth: Mitch HyattMitch Hyatt
Fr. Offensive Line
#75 6-6, 270
Sugar Hill, GA

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is going to be really, really good. Jake FruhmorgenJake Fruhmorgen
Fr. Offensive Line
#63 6-5, 285
Tampa, FL

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is going to be really, really good. But how good can they be this season? I go back to what Brad ScottBrad Scott
Assistant Athletic Director
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used to tell me – it takes three years for an offensive lineman to really “get it.” The Tigers don’t have the luxury of time with a lot of youngsters this season.

At right tackle, Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS Sr. Offensive Tackle
#73 6-5, 290
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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has been the model of inconsistency. Tyrone CrowderTyrone Crowder
RS So. Offensive Guard
#55 6-2, 330
Marston, NC

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has been inconsistent. Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Sr. Offensive Tackle
#78 6-4, 305
Hope Mills, NC

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has one start in his career. This group has to be better than average because they protect Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
So. Quarterback
#4 6-2, 205
Gainesville, GA

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. Can they be better than average from the outset? They need to be.

*Linebacker depth. Clemson went into fall camp with 12 scholarship linebackers. That number includes Nickel/SAM guys Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Safety (2012 - 2015)
#11 6-0, 210
Tallahassee, FL

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and Korrin WigginsKorrin Wiggins
Jr. Defensive Back
#12 5-11, 195
Durham, NC

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, who are also listed as defensive backs. Wiggins was lost for the season after tearing an ACL and Korie RogersKorie Rogers
RS Fr. Outside Linebacker
#43 6-2, 235
Buford, GA

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lacked the desire to play football and quit. That leaves B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson
RS Sr. Linebacker
#44 6-0, 240
Lamar, SC

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(314 snaps), Ben BoulwareBen Boulware
Jr. Outside Linebacker
#10 6-0, 235
Anderson, SC

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(399 snaps), Dorian O’Daniel (87 snaps) and T.J. BurrellT.J. Burrell
RS Jr. Linebacker
#41 5-11, 215
Goose Creek, SC

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(96 snaps) as the veterans. Travis Blanks (1,038 snaps) has spent most of his time at safety but will likely start at the Nickel/SAM spot this season. Martin AikenMartin Aiken
RS Jr. Defensive End
#53 6-2, 255
Smoaks, SC

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has moved from defensive end to WILL but has seen zero snaps of action at that spot. That leaves freshmen like Kendall JosephKendall Joseph
RS Fr. Linebacker
#34 5-11, 225
Belton, SC

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, Chad SmithChad Smith
Fr. Linebacker
#35 6-3, 215
Sterling, VA

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, Jalen WilliamsJalen Williams
Fr. Linebacker
#30 6-0, 215
Columbia, SC

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, J.D. DavisJ.D. Davis
Fr. Linebacker
#33 6-2, 220
Clemson, SC

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and Judah DavisJudah Davis
Fr. Linebacker
#36 6-2, 220
Clemson, SC

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to add depth across the board but Joseph has been hurt a significant number of days in camp.

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Subject (Replies: 55) Author
spacer New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
TigerNet News
spacer Coot! Lol, sorry had to do it.***
TigerScott88®
spacer Lol....I thought for sure it would be..
davidhood®
spacer You scratched my orange tinted glasses.***
TigerScott88®
spacer Just throwing the truth out there.........
davidhood®
spacer Re: Just throwing the truth out there.........
HendrixTiger®
spacer Re: Just throwing the truth out there.........
davidhood®
spacer Re: Just throwing the truth out there.........
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: Just throwing the truth out there.........
lhaselden
spacer "Your" truth - not "the" truth! Thank goodness!***
tigeron®
spacer whoa, whoa, whoa, don't be hateful...
deadsolidperfect®
spacer Dhood has the best job ever. Gets to cover Clemson
DefensiveTackleU
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Memphis Tiger®
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
deroberts
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HendrixTiger®
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
deroberts
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
HendrixTiger®
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
deroberts
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Day late...maybe.
TigerTown
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
deleted
spacer I can't even begin to read that wall of caps text***
GWPTiger®
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
81tiger81
spacer Clemson feels like a penny stock this year in the media.
deleted
spacer How can the coots have a heisman winning QB...
JohnFBell
spacer Re: How can the coots have a heisman winning QB...
deleted
spacer Re: How can the coots have a heisman winning QB...
84OX®
spacer Who peed in David's Wheaties??***
Tigersense®
spacer I think this is a good, objective report. We are long on
76er®
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
Purple_Panther
spacer We have a lot of answers
elementsOfWay
spacer Is The Honeymoon Over?***
Country Gentleman®
spacer ^^^Underrated post is underrated***
GWPTiger®
spacer Somebody send Hood to Yosemite
milerock®
spacer Doesn't every team has holes and potential problems?***
JohnFBell
spacer OSU, Baylor and TCU do not.***
Tiger Woods
spacer yeah but Baylor and TCU are from the Big XII
epifunny
spacer TCU OL was a HUGE ??? going in to last year.
TigerTown
spacer Appreciate your honesty David....
sabletiger®
spacer DEBBIE DOWNER.
freakgeek
spacer With all due respect to Brad Scott, he was never a great coach.
JeffersonStTiger
spacer Dabo Disagrees
elementsOfWay
spacer I think most Tiger fans have these thought about this year
El Tigre 1
spacer So what you are saying is....
Tigerman1978
spacer He's saying...
elementsOfWay
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
ziggy_1118
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
ddclemson
spacer DH ...This article makes me believe (want to believe) Lakip
SocMan2®
spacer Kicker?? Only if we decide NOT to go for 2 - Punter??
terrier2®
spacer Deer D Hood
mapman
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
powerman®
spacer Deer Mr Hood, Honesty is overrated sometimes.***
movino®
spacer Re: Deer Mr Hood, Honesty is overrated sometimes.***
tiger tooth
spacer Re: New Story: Camp Wrap: Question marks still abound as season nears
Felix2
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supermantiger
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Orion
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