Position Battles Heat Up as Scrimmage Looms

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Ask Tommy Bowden what he's looking for in today's first full scrimmage of the spring, and he begins to tick them off one by one.

"You'd like to see some backs start to surface, you'd like to see some dominant play at wideout. We need to find some consistent play at tackle. We know it won't be from Marion Dukes, because he won't be there, so Roman Fry needs to step up and be more consistent in all phases of his game.

"You'd like for the corner play to be more dependable, more steady. There's a bunch of things, a whole bunch of question marks right now."

Offensive tackle continues to be a sore spot for Bowden as spring practice nears the midway point.

Dukes will miss today's Death Valley scrimmage (10:30 a.m.) due to a death in the family. Fry's inconsistency has seen him demoted to second string, at least for this week, leaving redshirt sophomore Tim Debeer and unproven senior Jesse Pickens working with the first team.

Cornerback has also been on Bowden's watch list.

Tye Hill - who along with wide receiver Airese Currie will miss today's scrimmage to run in a track meet - has been performing best at the position, he said. But Justin Miller's play has been below average so far, and Bowden is looking for improvement from the player many believe to be the best on the Clemson roster.

In other news, Charles Bennett and Gaines Adams continue to hold down the No. 1 defensive end slots ahead of Vontrell Jamison and Mo Fountain. Donnell Clark and Trey Tate have been working at the top inside spots on the defensive line.

Meanwhile, Stephen Jackson has been moved from fullback to linebacker, though he will continue to act as first-team fullback in goal line and short yardage situations. Jackson will help fill a void at one of the inside positions.

"It's like with Kyle Browning (who moved from running back to cornerback), we just needed to find a way to get him on the field," Bowden said. "He's got the intensity, he's got the effort. He'll hit you hard at fullback, but we don't have a lot of fullback plays.

"He's a linebacker full time now, meetings and everything, except for those specific offensive situations."

In a corresponding move, Nigel Vaughn will move from linebacker to fullback to "help even out the numbers," Bowden said.

Earlier Kwam Williams was moved from linebacker back to defensive end.


- Bowden said he would likely sit down Monday with C.J. Gaddis and decide whether or not to move the talented redshirt freshman from quarterback to any one of a number of other positions. This comes even as Gaddis continues to impress with his athletic ability at the quarterback slot. In Wednesday's partial scrimmage, Gaddis scrambled twice for touchdown runs in excess of 35 yards.

"True, it was against third-teamers, but we were playing freeze tag," Bowden said. "All they had to do was touch him and he was down, and no one could get a hand on him."

- Bowden also said he's dealing with several players who are in need of an attitude adjustment.

"There are some guys right now on the team who think they've arrived," Bowden said. "They're very talented, but they're not playing up to their potential. That's got me a little concerned."

Bowden declined to name the players, saying the numbers were "minimal."

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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