First practice observations: Watson, Dye and business as usual
|Friday, August 1, 2014 7:59 PM- -|
CLEMSON – The Clemson football team stretched to the lyrics of “The Boys Are Back in Town” and then headed out onto the practice fields beside the indoor practice facility for the first practice of 2014 fall camp Friday afternoon.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so we’ll get right into it. The first observation I had was that there was a different feel to that first practice than we’ve had over the past few years. In the past, there’s been excitement and a youthful exuberance that was palpable. This year, I didn’t get that feeling, and another media member came over to me and mentioned the same thing. With that in mind, I watched a little more closely and came to the realization that for the first time in a long time, this team is led by a fairly large group of seniors and juniors. There wasn’t excitement because these guys have been through all of this before, and it was more like “business as usual” rather than trying to force the emotion.
We’ve got a lot to cover, so we’ll get right into it.
The first observation I had was that there was a different feel to that first practice than we’ve had over the past few years. In the past, there’s been excitement and a youthful exuberance that was palpable. This year, I didn’t get that feeling, and another media member came over to me and mentioned the same thing.
With that in mind, I watched a little more closely and came to the realization that for the first time in a long time, this team is led by a fairly large group of seniors and juniors. There wasn’t excitement because these guys have been through all of this before, and it was more like “business as usual” rather than trying to force the emotion.
Clemson 2015 quarterback commit Kelly Bryant of Wren was on hand to watch the proceedings, and the parents of corner
Cordrea TankersleyCordrea Tankersley
So. Defensive Back
#25 6-1, 190
Beech Island, SC
View Full Profile also took in the first practice. The Davis twins – Judah and J.D. – also took in the practice. Missing was tight ends coach Danny PearmanDanny Pearman
Assistant Head Coach / Tight Ends
View Full Profile , who is still dealing with the death of his father.
Nothing new to report on
Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
#18 6-4, 205
View Full Profile , who was as good as you would expect. He just looks the part of a quarterback ready to take over as the starter.
This is obviously the first time we’ve seen
Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
#4 6-3, 190
View Full Profile in action since he injured his collarbone, and he looked way better than I thought he would. You can tell he has added muscle, but his size wasn’t what stood out – he was accurate on almost all of his throws, and one observer told me after one bullet pass and said “freak show.” Freak show is right – Watson has all the tools to be a good one, and he showed absolutely no ill effects from the collarbone.
He was also very accurate when rolling out of the pocket to throw, and it surprised me how much velocity he was able to put on his throws while on the move.
Stanford transfer David Olson worked out with Watson, Stoudt, Nick Scheussler (who also looked good) and was a lot more accurate than I thought he would be. Morris was calling the different plays, and Olson looks like he already has a fairly good grasp on the system.
Kellen JonesKellen Jones
RS Jr. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
View Full Profile wore a bulky knee brace, but he appeared to move with very little difficulty. Defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
View Full Profile was coaching this group hard, and there were more than a few standouts. Out of the veterans, Tony StewardTony Steward
#7 6-0, 235
View Full Profile was smooth. That’s the only way to describe it – for the first time in a long time he moved with a surefooted fluidity.
Another linebacker that caught my eye was freshman
Korie RogersKorie Rogers
Fr. Outside Linebacker
#43 6-2, 220
View Full Profile , who has unbelievable speed for a man his size. Venables kept a close eye on him as well, and it was evident he has the tools to be a good one at this level. However, with so many experienced backers already on campus, will he get a chance at playing time or be forced to redshirt?
MacKensie AlexanderMacKensie Alexander
RS Fr. Defensive Back
#2 5-11, 185
View Full Profile was as good as I remembered, even though it was just drills. He dropped back to return punts at the beginning, and his speed and burst were evident. Another one that stands out was Cordrea Tankersly, who looks like he has grown an inch or two since the end of the spring.
Korrin WigginsKorrin Wiggins
So. Defensive Back
#12 6-1, 185
View Full Profile is another one that looks like he has added size – the muscle kind. There is no doubt that Mike ReedMike Reed
Defensive Backs Coach
View Full Profile has a lot of athletes to work with back in the defensive backfield.
Holy weightlifters, Batman.
Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
RS So. Tight End
#89 6-3, 230
Fort Mill, SC
View Full Profile , Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-6, 235
View Full Profile and the rest of the tight ends look like they should be able to take on defensive ends and linebackers in the blocking game this season. I know fans like to see these guys catch the ball, but there is no doubt that this group at least looks like they can block. If they can remains to be seen. However, freshman Milan RichardMilan Richard
Fr. Tight End
#80 6-3, 235
View Full Profile quickly caught my eye – he has good hands and even though he looked a little lost at times, you can tell he has all the tools.
I looked out on the field and saw a big receiver wearing No. 1 blow down the sideline, and my first thought was, ‘nice route, Martavis.’ Of course, Bryant is now with the Steelers, and the new number one is
Trevion ThompsonTrevion Thompson
Fr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-3, 185
View Full Profile . Thompson and Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
Fr. Wide Receiver
#3 5-11, 185
View Full Profile are the two that I kept watching.
Filling the leadership void
At the end of the stretching period, it was evident who was stepping into the leadership role that was left vacant by
Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
Quarterback (2009 - 2013)
#10 6-1, 225
View Full Profile last season. Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#50 6-1, 290
View Full Profile was quick to jump in the middle of the both the offense and defense to enthusiastically lead the Tiger Jacks as well as lead the team huddle before the players broke down into positions.
The first stop I made was at the offensive line workouts to see who line coach
Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
View Full Profile had working with the first team. From right to left were Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS Jr. Offensive Tackle
#73 6-4, 275
Lake Waccamaw, NC
View Full Profile , Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
View Full Profile , Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
View Full Profile , Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#78 6-3, 260
Hope Mills, NC
View Full Profile , and Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Jr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
View Full Profile . This was the first time that I’ve really watched Gore and he was extremely explosive out of his stance. Davis looked like he stayed in good shape despite spending most of the summer studying in Japan. Mac Lain is definitely a roadgrader and will pave the way for the running backs.
Wide receiver Charone Peake – who had minor knee surgery a week ago – spent the first part of practice walking laps around the practice fields and on the working out on the exercise bike.
During the “tempo” period – that begins with all of the offensive coaches running around yelling “tempo” and the players methodically getting into their groups – Artavis Scott,
Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Sr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
View Full Profile , D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Sr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
View Full Profile , Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS Sr. Tight End
#86 6-5, 250
View Full Profile and Mike WilliamsMike Williams
So. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 205
View Full Profile worked with the first team.
I spent a good bit of time watching the running backs go through ball security and change of direction drills.
C.J. DavidsonC.J. Davidson
RS Jr. Running Back
#32 5-11, 185
View Full Profile is probably the first person that caught my attention as he effortlessly went through the drills and showed good burst off the line. Late enrollee C.J. FullerC.J. Fuller
Fr. Running Back
# 5-11, 200
View Full Profile is a speed demon and was probably the quickest in 10-yard sets of all of the running backs. Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
RS Fr. Running Back
#23 6-1, 205
View Full Profile went through individual workouts and looked like he was moving fairly well. He was very tentative – as should be expected – maneuvering around the cones, but overall looked ahead of schedule. Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
View Full Profile caught the ball extremely well and showed good use of his hips to turn up field quickly.