Redshirts Impressive in First Spring Practice
CLEMSON, SC -- The Clemson Tigers began their spring football practice Saturday with a three
and a half hour session in shorts. Beginning at 9:30 AM amidst the threat of
rain, Tommy Bowden began his second spring practice at Clemson.
With only a few players leaving from graduation, Bowden had an unusually
large number of players available at his disposal. This didn't seem important
to him though.
"It doesn't matter how many players we have here right now.
What matters is how good those players are. Sure, the kids here should pick
up a lot, but if we have to replace them with freshmen in the fall, then
we're really just wasting time with them."
Amongst the redshirts that haven't been seen before, quarterback Willie
Simmons and receiver Kevin Youngblood were the most impressive. Simmons
showed a knowledge of the complex offense running the second team and taking
a share of snaps with the first unit. A strong arm and great vision appear
to be his greatest strengths. Youngblood, who stands six feet, six inches
tall, showed amazing athletic ability with the ability to both run by
defensive backs as well as jump over them. One play in particular, in which
he literally jumped over Alex Ardley to catch a deep pass from Woody
Dantzler, bordered on the spectacular. Dantzler also looked good throwing the
ball, while visibly restraining himself at times from tucking it away and
On defense, Keith Adams showed why he will be a frontrunner for the
Butkis award this season, making many plays and directing the defense.
Bowden's biggest concern is the defensive line.
"I've had to challenge them.
The whole front line had six sacks in 12 games last year. That's one every
two games. Keith Adams can't do everything himself, and I told them that."
The biggest goal in spring practice, though, will be to find some depth.
"I'm concerned with the quality of the back-ups," said Bowden. " I don't
want to go through the next season playing with 5 offensive linemen and 4
linebackers. We need to get better depth."
Theo Mougros wore a yellow jersey in practice because of a bad knee.
Freshman Kevin Johnson's mother past away and he missed practice, while
Robert Carswell had an academic reason for his absence. The Tigers will go
in shorts again Monday before beginning in pads on Wednesday. They practice
Friday as well, before taking a week off for spring break.