Running Game Finds Holes In Defense Saturday

by - Correspondent -
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<font class=caption>Kevin Youngblood  had 5 catches for 99 yards and 1 TD.</font>
Kevin Youngblood had 5 catches for 99 yards and 1 TD.

CLEMSON -- Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring is the first to admit he's not sure how the defense will perform next season.

There are plenty of questions - the depleted offensive unit ran over the defense at times during a scrimmage on Saturday. The offense, besides being without quarterback Woody Dantzler and tailback Travis Zachery, was without its interior offensive linemen. Left guard Will Merritt spent Saturday getting married and center Kyle Young and right guard T.J. Watkins were in the ceremony.

Herring, though, is slowly finding some answers. The more time the freshmen and sophomores get on the practice field, the more he's able to figure out who's likely going to be ready to play this fall.

"Mance and Hafley are solid," said Herring. Brian Mance is the starting left corner and Hafley is the starter at strong safety. "There are question marks at the other corner. It looks like the inevitable is we're going to have to give Marcus Houskin a shot at that spot. We're going to be making moves in the secondary. We're going to have to find a place for Houskin."

Herring put the defense through some extra work after Friday's practice and Saturday's scrimmage didn't start off well. "Reggie killed them yesterday," said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. "They were doing up-downs for an hour and showed up pretty leg tired."

In the first two plays of the scrimmage, quarterback Willie Simmons hit receiver Kevin Youngblood for an 8-yard completion and a 68-yard scoring pass down the left sideline.

Youngblood had just 29 more yards receiving and Simmons finished the scrimmage 12-30 for 172 yards. However, the offense moved the ball well on the ground.

Keith Kelly ran the ball 12 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Bernard Rambert had 12 carries for 67 yards during the 117-play scrimmage. Chad Jasmin had 11 carries for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

"We wanted to see how Derrick Brantley and Brian Outlaw would do," said Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott. "They did well and our backs ran hard. I was pleased with the effort we got there. We haven't been that efficient with our running game earlier in the spring. But then I've learned not to say too much until I see the film."

The offense started at various points on the field during the scrimmage. The first three drives started at the offense's own 30-yard line. The next six drives started at midfield and the next three started at the defense's 35-yard line.

After Simmons' touchdown throw to Youngblood, the offense scored on a drive from midfield and three straight times on drives from the 35 - including a 7-yard pass from Simmons to tight end Morgan Woodward, a former South Florence player.

The offense then started from its own 1-yard line. Simmons drove the team to the defense's 6-yard line before settling for a field goal. On the way Rambert had a run of 9 yards and caught a pass from Simmons five yards beyond the line of scrimmage and turned it into a 33-yard gain down the right sideline.

Aaron Hunt, who hit three of four field goal attempts, hit a 23-yarder to cap the drive. "I want to get to the point where I am surprised when Aaron Hunt misses," said Bowden. "He is becoming more consistent."

The team will practice on Monday and Wednesday before the spring game at 3 p.m. next Saturday ends spring practice.

Hopefully the week will go better than Saturday for Herring. “If you’re drawing conclusions from this scrimmage I better sell my house and the offense better score 60 a game next year,” he said.

Statistical Review

Passing (Comp-att-yds-TD-int): Simmons 12-30-172-2-0; Schell 6-13-72-0-0; Carr 6-10-52-0-1

Rushing (Att-Yds-TD): Kelly 12-67-1; Rambert 14-65; Jasmin 11-42-2; Sherman 7-29; White 3-10; Simmons 7-12; Huey 1-18; Carr 5- (-1); Schell 2-(-6), Robinson 1-(-4)

Receiving (Rec-Yds-TD) Youngblood 5-99-1; Hamilton 5-58; Gardner 3-18; Huey 2-20; Jasmin 2-25; Woodward 1-7-1; Reames 1-4; McKelvey 1-9, Robinson 1-7; Rambert 1-33; Elliot 2-20

Tackles: Hafley 13, Bodrick 10, Thomas 8, Carson 6, Leake 5, Ellis 5, Francis 5, Houskin 4, Meekins 4

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