Football Returns to Practice After Nine Day Break

by - Correspondent -
Woody Dantzler is seeing more action in practice.

CLEMSON, SC -- Clemson ended practice Monday with the entire team doing up-downs - usually not a sign that the coaching staff is pleased with the team's performance. However, head coach Tommy Bowden said it was business as usual during the eighth of fifteen spring practices: he's still looking for leaders to emerge and for this year's team to develop its own personality.

"Conditioning is not a big issue for us," he said. "We work hard on conditioning in the summer. What you like is for them to come back with a good attention span and at a high level mentally. The biggest thing right now is for this year's team to start developing their own personality, their own chemistry."

That's been Bowden's theme from the start of spring drills. The team didn't practice for nine days after an early-morning scrimmage the Friday before spring break. Three practices this week should go a long way toward deciding the depth chart going into August. Already, a decision has been made to demote Akil Smith, who had been the starting left tackle. Derrick Brantley, who was behind Gary Byrd at left tackle, is now slotted ahead of Smith.

"Akil ought to be the starter," said Bowden. "He's the most talented guy we've got. There's nothing good about a talented guy not playing to his potential."

 Kevin Youngblood dives for the pass.

While Bowden has been looking for leaders to emerge, two that would have likely taken that role - Woody Dantzer and Travis Zachery - are out with injuries. "T.J. (Watkins) and Kyle (Young) and Will (Merritt) - their personalities are quiet type guys," he said. "With (Jovon) Bush, his thing is he needs to play up to his potential. (Altroy) Broderick and Braxton Williams are seniors and I haven't noticed it yet. We have to alert them that if they don't, we'll go to the next level, the juniors."

Clemson will practice Wednesday and Friday before scrimmaging Saturday.


Tommy Bowden on returning to spring practice after spring break.

Defensive left tackle Paul White was involved in an automobile accident over spring break and will miss at least a few practices. He suffered a cut to the head that required staples to close. White watched practice from the sidelines with a brace on his neck.

The entire Baylor staff observed practice Monday. Kevin Steele, a Dillon native and head coach at Baylor, was at Nebraska when the Cornhuskers won the battle with Clemson over highly-recruited quarterback Tommie Frazier in the late 80's. Frazier is now an assistant to Steele.

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