Clemson, SC—Running backs Jamie Harper, Andre Ellington, Rendrick Taylor and Ronald Watson, Jr, combined for 200 yards rushing on 36 carries and quarterbacks Willy Korn and Kyle Parker combined to throw five touchdown passes during a two and a half hour scrimmage at Clemson Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.
It was the first stadium scrimmage for Dabo Swinney’s Tiger football team of the spring practice season. Clemson’s Spring Game will be held on April 11 at 1:00 PM.
The entire practice was held in a steady rain. The Clemson offense worked hard on the running game and Swinney was pleased with the results. “The offense stepped up today,” said Swinney. “The offensive line was very physical. I have been saying the offensive line has been improving and we saw it today.
“The offense scored two touchdowns on the first two possessions on 70-yard drives, but the defense came back later in the scrimmage. The defense had the upper hand in most of our practices up until today, so it was good to see the offense have strong performance today. Overall I was pleased with the effort, but we still have a lot to work on.”
Swinney singled out some performances after the scrimmage. “I thought both quarterbacks played well today. Willy Korn and Kyle Parker both managed the offense in difficult weather conditions and made some plays. I don’t know who our starting quarterback will be in the opener, but I am confident we will have a talented player under center.
“The running backs played well. Rendrick Taylor had a good day running the ball. He is going to help us. He really ran hard and broke some tackles. I have been looking for a wide receiver to step up and make a play and Marquan Jones did that with a touchdown catch on the first possession. Marcus Gilchrist made an outstanding play on an interception late in the scrimmage.”
Clemson is looking for a new starter at quarterback with the graduation of two-year starter Cullen Harper. Korn completed 4-9 passes for 42 yards, but two went for touchdowns, a 28-yard score to Jones and a three-yard pass to Michael Palmer in a goal line situation.
Parker completed 5-12 passes for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his scores went to fullback Chad Diehl, one of 43 yards on a swing pass on the sidelines, and one on a four-yard score. He also threw a 14-yard scoring pass to freshman tight end Dwayne Allen. Michael Wade was 4-11 for 35 yards through the air in the difficult weather conditions.
Jamie Harper led the running backs with 11 rushes for 57 yards. He scored on a 25-yard run during the regular part of the scrimmage and scored three times from the one on fourth-and-goal situations at the conclusion of the scrimmage. Andre Ellington had 6-43 on the ground, including a 25-yard scoring run, while Rendrick Taylor had 8-46 and scored on a three-yard run. Walk-on Ronald Watson, Jr, had 11-54 and had a three-yard scoring run.
The top receiver was Diehl with two catches for 47 yards. Jones had 2-27 and freshman Jaron Brown had 2-13 and added an 11-yard run on a reverse.
Red-shirt freshman linebacker Tig Willard was the top tackler with seven, while Jamie Cumbie and DeAndre McDaniel had six apiece. Andre Branch had four tackles including two for loss, one a sack. Coty Sensabaugh had two pass deflections, Tarik Rollins had a fumble recovery and Marcus Gilchrist had an interception.
Notes: Five Tigers, including starters DaQuan Bowers and Mason Cloy, missed the scrimmage while attending a mandatory event associated with a course they are taking this spring....Dalton Freeman, a red-shirt freshman, handled the first-team center duties in Cloy’s absence, while Branch started at Bowers’ defensive end position…the scrimmage concluded with a 49-yard field goal by Richard Jackson that would have been good from 60 yards…Spencer Benton also kicked well during the scrimmage and made a 38-yarder…C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford were both at the scrimmage, but did not play….they will be held out of all contact scrimmages this spring….linebacker Stanley Hunter did not scrimmage as he is recovering from a sprained ankle suffered in Friday’s practice…Clemson will return to the practice field on Monday and is slated to go Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week before another scrimmage on Saturday…all practices and scrimmages are closed to the public until the April 11 Spring Game in Death Valley.