Open Date Comes At Good Time for Tigers


by - Correspondent -
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<font class=caption>Justin Miller is pushing both Brian Mance and Kevin Johnson for a starting spot..</a>
Justin Miller is pushing both Brian Mance and Kevin Johnson for a starting spot..

CLEMSON - With an off weekend coming up before the Thursday night game at
Florida State, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden plans on making the most of
the extra few days of practice.


"The open date comes at a good time," he said. "It gives us a chance to go
back and work on some fundamentals. You lack that a little bit once the
season gets going and you're busy working on the game plan all the time."


The Tigers' 30-7 victory over Ball State last Saturday showed some instances
that revisiting the fundamentals might be a good thing.


Cardinals' running back Marcus Merriweather just missed becoming the third
running back in four games to rush for 100 yards against the Tiger defense.
Merriweather finished with 96 yards, many of which came after he broke
through initial contact at the line of scrimmage.


Some of that can be attributed to fundamentals. Some of it also may be
attributed to the lack of emotion and intensity previously discussed by
Bowden.


"I wouldn't think we took a step backwards," he said. "No game is ever
perfect, but we still won 30-7. Maybe we lacked a little intensity, but it's
hard to be up every single game regardless of the opponent."


Meanwhile, Bowden also said that freshman cornerback Justin Miller's play has
been so good early this season he is pushing both Brian Mance and Kevin
Johnson for a starting spot.


Bowden continued to rave about Miller's tip-drill interception and return in
the second half against Ball State, as well as other aspects of his play.


"What he did (Sunday) I haven't seen done here in a long time," Bowden said.
"And then on a kickoff return we saw on the film that he made a huge block,
hit a guy bigger than him dead in the mouth and put him down.


"That's a true freshman, but yeah, he's pushing for a starting spot."

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