Offense Up, Kickers Down in Tuesday Scrimmage

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - The second full-scale scrimmage of fall camp saw Clemson's offense make up ground on the defense, but now it's the kicking game which seems to most concern head coach Tommy Bowden.

Both Jad Dean and Stephen Furr were 3-for-5 on field goal attempts Tuesday at Death Valley. Both missed kicks from 26 yards out. Dean hit from 46, 47 and 34, but missed from 52 yards away. Furr made his kicks from 46, 34 and 52, missing from 47.

Furr's 52-yarder was against no rush.

"Our kickers had been doing pretty good. We have a good, competitive battle going on," Bowden said. "Jad might have been a little bit ahead, but neither one of them kicked that impressively today.

"The punters looked better. They've only had one or two bad days, but they bounced back today with a pretty good day."

Kicking aside, Bowden seemingly was pleased with the strides made by his offense since last Saturday's first scrimmage.

He got good production out of his running game Tuesday, most notably Reggie Merriweather's 70 yards on 14 carries - including a 16-yard touchdown run. And there were enough progress in all areas to satisfy Bowden that the offense is beginning to come along.

"I was kind of pleased. We hit some big plays, moved the ball a little bit better," Bowden said. "I think the second time the first team offense got the ball they went down the field, drove it and scored. The defense is still doing pretty good and I'd say had the upper hand, but we made a little bit more progress on offense and was really pleased that happened."

The offense got touchdown runs of 32 from Chansi Stuckey, 16 from Merriweather and two from quarterback Will Proctor.

Chris Jefferson had a 40-yard reception, as did Stuckey.

At quarterback, Proctor had the better statistical day Tuesday, completing 12-of-19 passes for 123 yards and one interception. Starter Charlie Whitehurst was 6-of-15 for 89 yards with two picks, but Bowden said he wasn't concerned about the junior's performance.

"I'm trying to look at a lot of things, and you don't get a lot of continuity," he said.

Pulling out his play sheet, he continued.

"These are must see things, things I've got to see today. Sometimes it's not in the most advantageous (field position or down and distance) for him, so I think some of that (stats) is a little deceiving sometimes."

One area of concern continues to be offensive line, where Bowden and position coach Brad Scott continue moving bodies around in search of the proper combination.

"We've still got some musical chairs going on inside," he said. "(Jesse) Pickens right now is doing a pretty good little job pass protecting; Roman (Fry) is flipping some at guard, flipping some at tackle. Some of the young guys...We're starting to get a little bit better feel about them, but I've glad we've got a lot more practice time."

Bowden did say it appears Marion Dukes has all but sewn up the starting right tackle slot.

Meanwhile on defense, linebackers Anthony Waters and Nick Watkins (WHIP) each had interceptions, Waters diving for his pick. Waters also had four tackles, one for loss. Rover Jamaal fudge also intercepted a pass.

Charles Bennett continued his strong preseason play with a team-high seven tackles. Trey Tate, Tremaine Billie and David Dunham had six each.

All in all the day left Bowden upbeat, but still cautious about his optimism.

"We've tried to look at a lot of people and a lot of different things offensively," he said. "Now we'll start paring down toward Wake Forest and I think we'll be able to tell a little bit more as we work on the Wake Forest preparation."

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. 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.

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