Secondary Depth Getting Even Younger


by - Correspondent -
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True freshman Travis Pugh has moved into the No. 2 slot behind safety Eric Meekins.

CLEMSON - With his young secondary routinely getting torched and showing little signs of improvement six games into the season, Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring is doing the only thing he can.


He's making the depth chart even younger.


True freshman Travis Pugh has moved into the No. 2 slot behind safety Eric Meekins, replacing senior Braxton K. Williams. Williams has been relegated to the third spot at the position, and will get most of his playing time on special teams.


Another true freshman, Tavaughn Monts, has been moved into the No. 2 spot behind Charles Hafley at the other safety. Redshirt freshman Ronnie Delusame also is listed as No. 2 at that position, but Monts will be given the opportunity to win the spot in practice this week.


"I want to make it clear that we're not giving up and getting ready for Georgia (the 2002 opener)," Herring said. "But we've made some moves to try and stimulate competition, or hopefully find some answers. When (Eric) Meekins or (Charles) Hafley (safeties) go out, we're really shaky.


"The guys behind them have had half a season to show something. Now it's time to go with someone else."


Tavaughn Monts is now behind Hafley.


Meanwhile, Kevin Johnson's starting cornerback spot has been opened up again, with redshirt freshman Ryan Hemby getting to opportunity to win the starting spot. And redshirt freshman Donnell Washington already is being considered a co-starter at defensive tackle with incumbents Jovon Bush and Nick Eason.


Toure Francis, the former walk-on who started against UNC in place of Brian Mance, is back in the No. 2 spot behind Mance.


"We were making strides, and I thought last week's practice (before UNC) was the best week we've had this year," Herring said. "But we're lacking playmakers right now. I told the front seven they're going to have to carry the load until we find some answers in the secondary."


In other Monday events, head coach Tommy Bowden said freshman receiver Roscoe Crosby, who saw 20-plus plays in his return to the field after his knee injury, will see "significantly more" playing time Saturday at Wake Forest.


The starting wide receivers will remain the same: J.J. McKelvey (X), Jackie Robinson (Y), Airese Currie (H) and Derrick Hamilton (H).

  ACC STANDINGS
                          Conference  Points        Overall   Points

  Team                    W  L  T  For Opp   Pct    W  L  T  For Opp  Pct
  ----                    -  -  -  --- ---   ---    -  -  -  --- ---  ---
  Maryland............    5  0  0  170  82 1.000    7  0  0  252 105  1.000
  North Carolina......    4  1  0  133  68  .800    5  3  0  198 174  .625
  Florida State.......    3  1  0  155  85  .750    4  2  0  211 141  .667
  Georgia Tech........    2  2  0  125  94  .500    5  2  0  243 115  .714
  Clemson.............    2  2  0  119 145  .500    4  2  0  178 172  .667
  Virginia............    2  3  0  109 148  .400    3  4  0  143 190  .429
  Wake Forest.........    1  3  0  100 127  .250    3  3  0  141 156  .500
  NC State............    1  3  0   80 103  .250    3  3  0  141 134  .500
  Duke................    0  5  0   85 224  .000    0  7  0  105 283  .000

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