Praise Beginning To Flow A Bit More Freely


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CLEMSON - While "cautious optimism" has been the hip phrase surrounding Clemson football again this week, some of the optimism is beginning to come a little closer to the surface. Even if it has to be lured.

Wednesday after practice, head coach Tommy Bowden was quick to offer praise to certain areas of his team when prompted by reporters. For instance:

- The offensive line.

"It would be hard to argue with 600 yards of offense," Bowden said, referring to the output last Saturday at N.C. State. "There's not a whole lot going wrong there."

- His wide receivers, a group that saw one of its most consistent performers so far this year - Tyler Grisham - go without a catch vs. the Wolfpack. Such has been the depth of the passing game.

"Coach (Dabo) Swinney's done such a good job with that group, and they've all got another year," he said. "We lose LaDante (Harris), and that's it. Those guys have all done a good job."

Of course Bowden was quick to offer up a little criticism, as well.

Returning to the subject of the offensive line, he expressed a concern about quality depth. Several of the backups aren't playing well enough at the moment, and that could cause problems as the season continues.

"We're playing the starters too much," Bowden said. "We need Lambert, Hairston, Grant, Medlin and those guys to step up to the plate. That's been a little disappointing."

NOTES

- Bowden said that Wednesday's practice was better than Tuesday.

"We did not have a good practice yesterday. Same heat. Same dress. It's just attitude," he said. "The attitude was really good today."

- The coach also said that bandit end Ricky Sapp had his best all-around game vs. N.C. State. Every category on which the coaches grade a player - from effort to missed assignments, from run support to rushing the passer - Sapp graded high.

The trick now, Bowden said, is consistency.

"He's been here what, 17 games? That's one. Now we need him to string a whole bunch of them together. Gaines Adams was able to do that, and look at the reward he got."

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