CLEMSON -- Rain kept the Clemson football team from its first practice of the spring Saturday morning.
That's good news and bad news for the players. It didn't keep the players or the coaches from getting up early, it just kept them from the practice field. And it doesn't reduce the number of practices (15).
"They've been getting up at five," said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. "Once you're up and over here, you would like to go outside. I'm sure they were anxious to get going."
The team will likely start spring practice on Wednesday. The team will practice Monday if weather allows. However, the forecast for Clemson is worse for Monday (snow and freezing rain) than it was Saturday.
The team arrived at the McFadden building at 8:30 a.m. and went over some academic information and left, according to Bowden.
"We don't want to waste a day," said Bowden. "When the NCAA puts restrictions on the number of practices, you have to meet them. You would like to meet for three hours, and you can't do that. It's a shame to get them here. You have such limited time here in the spring. We'll make it up on another day."
Clemson will likely practice on Thursday to make up Saturday's missed practice.
Bowden repeated his concern over the defense, which will be a 4-2-nickel formation. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has penciled in Braxton Williams as his starting nickel back or "star safety" as it's called in Herring's scheme. Redshirt freshman Donnell Washington (6-6, 270) has been slated as the starting left tackle on defense.
"He's done a good job academically and in the weight room," said Bowden. "If you're going to throw one in there, you like to throw one in there his size."
Other than Washington, Nick Eason (injured and out for the spring), Jovon Bush and Khaleed Vaughn are listed as starters along the front. Altroy Bodrick and Chad Carson are at linebacker. Charles Hafley is listed as the starting strong safety and Eric Meekins is at free safety. Brian Mance and Kevin Johnson are the cornerbacks.
On offense, the spring depth chart has Akil Smith, who sat out last season with an injury, at left tackle and Gary Byrd at right tackle.
"Akil left as a starter, so we'll bring him back as a starter," said Bowden. "If it had been for disciplinary reasons, it would be different. This was medical."
Will Merritt is at left guard and T.J. Watkins at right guard. "All those linemen's weight is up about ten pounds," he said. "Hopefully, we can keep a little mean on their bones."
Morgan Woodward is penciled in at tight end. "We won nine games will him at tight end," he said. "It'll be interesting to him with two freshmen what it's going to be like there."
Jackie Robinson, Matt Bailey, Kevin Youngblood and Joe Don Reames are listed as the wide receivers. Woody Dantzler and Travis Zachery are in the backfield at quarterback and running back, although neither will likely participate in the spring.
Willie Simmons will get most of the snaps at quarterback and Bernard Rambert and Keith Kelly will battle at running back this spring.
The spring game will be April 7 at 3 p.m.
Notes: Defensive lineman Paul White, who had been penciled into the spring depth chart, pled guilty to conspiring to make and distribute counterfeit money on Wednesday. Bowden wasn't optimistic that either he or Eugene Koon, who also pled guilty to the same charges would return to the football team.
"Once the university makes a decision on them, it could be a moot point," said Bowden.
Former player Justin Watts, who earned five letters in football at Clemson, has been named a graduate assistant. He'll work on the offensive video staff.
Spring 2001 Depth Chart
WR 82 Jackie Robinson 6-1 190 *Jr.
80 Matt Bailey 6-4 220 *Sr.
21 Derrick Hamilton 6-4 190 *Fr
84 J.J. McKelvey 6-4 215 Jr.
LT 61 Akil Smith 6-4 270 *Jr.
74 Nate Gillespie 6-3 271 *So
LG 50 Will Merritt 6-3 260 Gr.
74 Nick Black 6-5 280 *So.
C 59 Kyle Young 6-3 277 *Sr.
51 Brian Outlaw 6-2 245 *Sr.
RG 73 T.J. Watkins 6-3 275 *Sr.
65 Cedric Johnson 6-4 310 *Fr
RT 79 Gary Byrd 6-4 290 *Jr.
71 Derrick Brantley 6-5 300 *Jr.
TE 83 Morgan Woodward 6-0 212 *Sr.
88 Todd McClinton 6-6 250 So.
QB 1 #Woodrow Dantzler 5-11 200 *Sr.
7 Willie Simmons 6-0 190 *So.
TB 8 #Travis Zachery 6-0 190 *Sr.
20 Bernard Rambert 6-0 200 Jr.
5 Keith Kelly 6-0 215 So.
FB 10 Chad Jasmin 5-10 214 *So.
WR 17 Kevin Youngblood 6-5 210 *So.
16 Joe Don Reames 5-10 185 Jr.
85 Ronnie Thomas 5-11 190 So.
12 Jeff Scott 6-1 190 So.
# - injured, could miss most of spring practices
LE 98 #Nick Eason 6-4 255 *Jr.
91 Bryant McNeal 6-5 235 *Jr.
44 David Ellis 6-1 221 Jr.
LT 96 Donnell Washington 6-6 270 *Fr
94 Paul White 6-2 270 *So.
RT 95 Jovon Bush 6-5 295 *Sr.
97 DeJuan Polk 6-2 265 *So.
RE 56 Khaleed Vaughan 6-4 250 *So.
55 #Marcus Lewis 6-2 255 *So.
SLB 42 Altroy Bodrick 6-1 215 *Sr.
47 Rodney Feaster 6-0 210 Jr.
WLB 46 Chad Carson 6-3 235 Sr.
41 Rodney Thomas 6-0 215 Jr.
$ 48 Braxton K. Williams 6-2 203 Sr.
58 J.J. Howard 6-3 220 *So.
SS 40 Charles Hafley 6-1 195 *Sr.
25 Marcus Houskin 6-0 200 *So.
FS 3 Eric Meekins 6-2 190 Jr.
33 Ronnie Delusme 6-2 185 *Fr.
LC 2 Brian Mance 5-11 185 Jr.
36 Toure Francis 5-10 184 So.
RC 27 Kevin Johnson 6-0 185 *So.
22 Ryan Hemby 5-10 175 *Fr.
# - injured, will miss spring practices
$ - denotes star safety position