CLEMSON - This spring's football practice is especially critical to Clemson because of new schemes being installed by new offensive and defensive coordinators. But lest we forget, it's also an opportunity to challenge for playing time.
Based on film study of Saturday's scrimmage, head coach Tommy Bowden listed a number of players continuing to impress the Tigers' coaching staff. It is a list which seems to be growing on a daily basis.
"Lionel Richardson, for example, right now is pushing Anthony (Waters) for a starting (linebacker) job," Bowden said following Monday's workout. "That's kind of something we really didn't anticipate. It's not that Anthony's bad, it's just that Lionel's making a lot of plays."
Others who stood out in the Saturday scrimmage included Adrian Kindred (linebacker); defensive back Jamaal Fudge, who graded out 95 percent and had nine tackles; Cole Downer is pushing Bobby Williamson at tight end; Tim DeBeer is working with Barry Richardson at first team left tackle.
Bowden also had high praise for defensive end Gaines Adams.
After suffering a slight injury in the Saturday scrimmage, Adams later re-entered the lineup and had his best day of the spring.
"You can con the trainer once you're out and not come back in," Bowden said. "But he had his most productive day...coming back after he got hurt. That's encouraging."
Bowden said backup center Roman Fry spent Monday working at guard, where Chip Myrick was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. The move "sort of force-feeds Clint LaTray" as the backup to Dustin Fry, he said.
But none of the three have impressed the coach with their snaps out of the shotgun set. No one among the group has shown any consistency thus far in camp.
"All three are not nearly as efficient with their accuracy as they need to be," said Bowden. "It makes it more difficult for the quarterback to fake, run or get a read (on the defense)...They all need work."
Bowden intimated there may be some position changes coming up soon, but would not elaborate. The only player he mentioned was fullback Steven Jackson, who after some discussion will remain on offense at least through the end of spring practice.
Afterwards, the coaching staff may consider moving him to defensive end, where he was an All-Southern Conference performer as a true freshman at East Tennessee State before the school did away with football.
Clemson will practice twice more this week - Wednesday and Friday - and scrimmage again on Saturday.
All sessions are closed to the public.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.