Defense Showing Signs of Swagger Returning


by - Correspondent -
<font class=caption>Lovett has been encouraged by the play of the defense.</font>
Lovett has been encouraged by the play of the defense.

CLEMSON - It's early yet, to be sure. Very early. But Clemson's defense is
beginning to show something it had virtually none of a year ago.


Swagger.


Now, before you go conjuring up memories of William Perry or Levon Kirkland -
and the great Clemson defenses of those eras - understand that this is, after
all, just spring practice. And, after all, the defense is working against an
inexperienced offensive line.


But the past few days have seen John Lovett's squad begin to exert itself -
both physically and vocally - and, in the process, again cause head coach
Tommy Bowden to question the Tigers' leadership on offense.


"As the defense has made progress, there's been less offensive skill show
up," he said. "The biggest disappointment (Wednesday) was leadership. We lost
Kyle (Young), T.J. (Watkins), Will (Merritt) and Woody (Dantzler). They had
been around here a long time and played a lot of football.


"Things started sinking today and nobody showed any signs of leadership. It
takes a while to develop and they've only had 12 days together. But it's
something that has to develop."


Meanwhile, Lovett said that while he is still looking to match proper
personnel with positions, he's been encouraged by the early play of his
defense.


"They're learning how to play together out there," Lovett said. "They're
playing hard and playing with a little bit of confidence. We're staying with
what we're doing...not expanding our package a whole lot. We're just touching
on the different fundamentals of the different packages we do."


Clemson's final spring practice will begin at 4:45 p.m. today and is open to
the public.


The spring game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Riggs Field.


SPRING PRACTICE COVERAGE
Day 1: Weather or Not, Spring Practice Underway (Photos) Day 2: Two Days In, Let the Hitting Begin Day 3: Hitting, Fights Suit Bowden Fine (Photos) Day 4: Todd McClinton Gives Trainers a Scare Day 5: Clemson Holds Football Scrimmage (Photos) Day 6: Film Grade Promotes Walker to Starting Guard Day 7: Mini Scrimmage Held Before Spring Break Day 8: Tigers Return to Practice After Spring Break Day 9: Bowden Looking for Leaders Day 10: No Report Day 11: Clemson Holds 96-Play Scrimmage Monday Afternoon Day 12: Bowden Unhappy with Lackluster Tigers Day 13: Defense Showing Signs of Swagger Returning

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