Offense, Kicking Game Take It on the Chin in Scrimmage

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON, SC -- It's hard to tell exactly how frustrated Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is with his kicking game. It's obviously a sore subject, but some calluses may have developed.

There were no hysterics Saturday when Tony Lazzara missed three straight field goals. None were that close. The first one was somehow topped. The next was hooked left. The fourth, a 19-yard chip shot from the middle of the field was easily blocked. Another walk-on kicker, Bo Charpia, was brought on for the final two attempts of the day. The first was close and the second, a 46-yard attempt, hit just short of the end line against a stiff breeze.

Bowden was asked if it was just the same story. "Yeah, looked like it to me," he said.
Bowden checked new holder Jeff Scott's distance from the center, but otherwise remained calm on the field, unlike offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. The offense, which dominated last Saturday's scrimmage, struggled Saturday in a 121-play scrimmage in Memorial Stadium.

"It was a lot better by the defense," said Bowden. "That will have to happen for us to be better - the defense come up and make plays. You know Eric Meekins made some plays. Some guys made some plays this week that did not last week."

The offense struggled with just one healthy running back, Terry Witherspoon. And Witherspoon went down during the scrimmage. "He gets hurt every day," said Bowden. "He got hurt again."

The offense gained 370 yards and scored two touchdowns after gaining 702 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns last Saturday.

The defense had 13 sacks and forced four turnovers.

"We had a lot of offensive skill guys that didn't look like they wanted to be out there," said Bowden. "They wanted to hide and that's not very good. The toughness of those guys is a question mark at this point in time."

Meekins was the defensive star. He recorded five tackles, two passes broken up and a 38-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Witherspoon provided one of the few highlights for the offense with a 50-yard touchdown run. Rod Gardner scored the other touchdown on a 15-yard reception from Woody Dantzler.

Dantzler completed 12 of 25 passes for 118 yards. He has thrown 57 straight passes over the past two scrimmages without an interception. Willie Simmons completed 14 of 29 passes for 76 yards.

"Willie looks like his ankle is still bothering him," said Bowden. "Woody looks more comfortable with the offense, which he should be. That's pretty much what I see."

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