News and notes from Friday's practice

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CLEMSON – The pistol is alive and well at Clemson.

Offensive coordinator Chad Morris took a trip to the University of Nevada recently to learn more about the “Pistol” offense, and judging by what I saw early in Clemson’s Friday practice, the formation may actually be an integral part of the offense in 2012.

Morris had the quarterbacks line up in the formation, run toward the line of scrimmage with a pitch man and then toss to a wide receiver in several drills, then go to the pitch in others. Morris then had all of his quarterbacks line up in a line and they had a contest to see which player could get the football out of his hand the quickest, a contest that starter Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
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and his quick release won almost every time.

*Quarterback Tony McNealTony McNeal
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was running through the same Pistol drill, and three of his balls came out wobbly to the wide receivers. Wide receivers coach Jeff Scott hollered back at McNeal, “If you keep throwing changeups, we are gonna send you over to the baseball team.”

*Dabo on Friday’s practice

“We missed Dalton [Freeman] today. Dalton was off at a student function that he needed to be at today. We had two or three balls get away and on the ground and I was a little disappointed in that. Freshman center in there. I am encouraged. I think the team is starting to get a little bit of chemistry. I’m really excited about Monday. This whole spring has been building toward that first big scrimmage. Monday will be the first time that it’s not a situational type deal and you just play. You play ball. Everybody is off the field. You get a good gauge of where they are. There are six practices left to kind of go from there. That film is going to be really critical for us and critical for a lot of these players as far as depth chart and where they are now. Right now it’s a moving chart. Sometimes it changes daily and it even changes during practice which is good in that we’ve got a lot of competition. I’m anxious for Monday and to see us play.”

*Dabo on playing Georgia

“I hope it happens. I’m fired up about playing one of the top teams in the country. We’ve got plenty of tough opponents. It’s a game that can go either way. It’s a game that I grew up watching- Clemson vs. Georgia. I’ve heard so many stories about Clemson and Georgia and I’d love to be a part of it. I’d love to have a chapter of that history. It’s exciting for our fans and it’s exciting for our staff and players to play one of the best teams in the country- a team that we are obviously close to proximity wise. It’s something that I think people have been looking forward to for a while and unfortunately the way things have shaken out I think there’s been talk about the schedule having to change or possibly having to change because of what’s happening within the conference. I’m certainly for keeping that game just because I think it’s a great gauge for where we are as a program when we play that game and it’s something that our fans want to be a part of.”

*Dabo on the nine-game conference schedule

“If that’s what the league thinks is best then that’s just the way it is. I’m interested to see how that all plays out. You are going to have some years where you are going to have five road games in conference so that’s a little different. That’s a change for everybody and it’s the same for everybody. You add another quality opponent. I kind of liked the old model myself where you could keep a non-conference opponent like a Georgia or somebody like that. Obviously, when you have a ninth game it’s hard to be able to continue to do that. It’s hard for us because of South Carolina. When your big rival isn’t in your conference that affects how you schedule those other two non-conference games. So, it will change a little bit as we move down the road, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to keep the Georgia series intact. I think it’s something that the Georgia fans and the Clemson fans want to see. There’s a lot of history there that’s very special to both programs.”

*On the health of the team

Sam CooperSam Cooper
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was out today with a rolled ankle, but I think he’ll be back on Monday. Zac BrooksZac Brooks
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was in a green [non-contact] jersey today with a bum shoulder. Hopefully he’ll be back with a couple days off and be ready to go on Monday as well. Other than that, pretty good. We are in pretty good shape, knock on wood.”

*What he wants to see in Monday’s scrimmage

“The trenches. Is Kalon [Davis] going to perform the whole day or is he going to be an every other series kind of guy? Is he going to endure and be the consistent player that we need him to be? He’s a player that I’m really anxious to see. I want to see those back-up guys too. Is [Ryan] Norton ready to be a viable player for us. Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
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and Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
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St. George, VA

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are two players that need to get better so it’s going to be a big day for them. The trenches are going to be a big day in my eyes. Same thing on the defensive line. Who’s going to separate- Josh WatsonJosh Watson
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Wilmington, DE

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, Tavaris [Barnes], DeShawn [Williams], Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett
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? Those are four guys that have kind of emerged as the top four. Are any of those guys ready to separate? Is Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
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Columbus, GA

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going to have his motor running every play and become a dominant guy? He’s been the back-up to the guy and now he’s the guy. Is he ready to be the guy? Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
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- I’m ready to see him get the kind of live reps that he’s going to get on Saturday. I don’t think he has probably had the reps that he’s going to get- not the competitive reps with first and second team. That’s just a couple of the spots that I’m anxious to see. Obviously, there are a lot of other guys that you are interested to see, but it starts there. “

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