Notebook: Ray Ray Adding Quality Depth To Running Back Position

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON --- Clemson?s depth problems at running back are almost a thing of the past. Redshirt sophomore Ray Ray McElrathbey has eased the coaching staff?s minds about the importance of finding another scholarship running back after he again had another productive scrimmage in Death Valley.

McElrathbey, who rushed for 62 yards in last week?s scrimmage, had two touchdowns, while rushing for 28 yards on eight carries Saturday in Clemson?s second major scrimmage of the spring. He also had two receptions for 16 yards.

?He is having a great spring,? Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence said. ?He has a home.?
McElrathbey, who is listed third on the depth chart behind James Davis and C.J. Spiller, is glad the coaches are starting to have that kind of confidence in him.

?I?m a lot more comfortable in that position and it?s nice to know that my coaches have faith in me playing that position.
?It has been a great experience.?

McElrathbey, who was a running back in high school, is improving with every practice the more about the offense he learns and understands. Bowden said he still is planning on finding another scholarship running back in the summer, but McElrathbey has taken some of the worry away should an injury to Davis or Spiller occur.

?I would still like to find one and we still really need one, but I have been really pleased with him,? Bowden said. ?It is not as critical, but if you will remember he was suspend the first part of the spring so there is always that.?

McElrathbey believes his suspension might have been a blessing in disguise.

?It helped me more than it hurt me I believe,? he said. ?It simply gave me time to collect my thoughts and know what I want to do? It gave me a chance to know what they expected out of me, that way when I came back, I was able to do it and perform.?

Davis led all running backs with 57 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while Spiller, who left the scrimmage early with wide receiver Jacoby Ford in order to participate in a track meet, rushed for 7 yards on 7 carries and had one catch for five yards.

Ronald Watson, Jr. was the second leading rusher with 14 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown.

- Clemson?s Richard Jackson was 1 for 4 on field goal tries Saturday, and his one field goal --- a 44-yarder --- hit the crossbar and bounced over.

?Richard has a strong leg, he just isn?t consistent,? Bowden said. ?It?s youth and inexperience. He has the talent and the strength. It is strictly just inexperience.?

Walk-on kicker Mark Buchholz, who also plays soccer, wasn?t at Saturday?s scrimmage because he was with the soccer team playing in one of their scrimmages.

- While quarterback Harper and Davis stood out on offense, there were also many top defensive performances. Freshman DeAndre McDaniel had six tackles and three passes broken up, while sophomore cornerback Crezdon Butler had three tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception.
Defensive End Kwam Williams had two tackles for loss, including a sack.

?(The defense) didn?t control it as much as they did Wednesday and the offense didn?t move it consistently,? Bowden said. ?I thought there was a lot more back and forth today then it was last Saturday when it was one sided and Wednesday when it was one sided.?

The defense seemed to have the upper hand during the regular aspect of the scrimmage. The offense scored four touchdowns, but only one was on a drive of over 35 yards. Davis scored on a four-yard run to start the scoring on a 25-yard drive.
Durrell Barry scored on a 39-yard pass and run from Harper, and Paul Macko and Watson also scored on short runs.

The offense seemed to have the upper hand in the goal line aspect of the scrimmage. The offense scored five touchdowns in nine possessions. McElrathbey scored two on goal line runs.

Harper had a solid day, completing 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He has now completed 27 of 42 passes for 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the two stadium scrimmages.

Willy Korn completed 8-17 for 80 yards, but had a touchdown pass dropped and another score that was wiped out when the officials called him down on a sack even though he was just tagged in the back by a defender. Tribble Reese was 4 for 9 for 47 yards through the air.

- Jamal Medlin was the only player who suffered an injury that required his removal from practice. He suffered a knee injury, but Clemson doctors said they don?t believe the injury is serious, just a sprain.

- Brandon Pilgrim missed the scrimmage with an arm injury and is out for the rest of the spring. Defensive tackle Dorell Scott sat out the scrimmage while he recovers from a concussion suffered in practice last week.

- Returning lettermen defensive backs Chris Clemons and Sadat Chambers both missed the practice as they attended funerals of respective family members.

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