Simmons Shines in First Full Contact Practice
Willie Simmons makes a throw to a recevier crossing over the middle in practice on Wednesday.
Day 3 - Photo Gallery
CLEMSON, SC -- On Wednesday, the Tigers took to the practice fields in full pads for the first time this year. In a practice that lasted just over three hours the team worked on various drills before closing out practice with a mini scrimmage. The scrimmage gave the coaches their first chance to evaluate the quarterback battle between Woodrow Dantzler and Willie Simmons under the pressure of the Clemson defense. ”I thought Willie for the first time came in and did a pretty good job throwing the football,” said Bowden. “It should be an interesting battle. He made some throws late in the little scrimmage that I thought were pretty impressive. He’s just a year out of high school. He did pretty good for the first scrimmage type environment. He looked very accurate.”
Running back Terry Witherspoon was impressive with several long, tough runs against the defense. “He runs hard,“ said Bowden. “He’s a pretty good back.” Does this mean the Tigers will go to an I formation to take advantage of Witherspoon’s abilities? Not exactly. “If I die between now and the first game we might go to more I (formation), “ joked Bowden. “There are some things you can do in a one back offense that you can do with him. It is too easy to gang up on I (formation).” Last season Witherspoon had 18 carries for 47 yards.
Receiver Matt Bailey came down awkwardly after attempting a catch and suffered a knee injury that required a cart to take him to the locker room. His condition will be evaluated on Thursday. Also injured early in practice was linebacker Chad Carson. The second leading tackler on the Clemson team last season with 144 tackles suffered a hamstring pull and had to sit out the remaining practice. Carson said it was likely he would also be out of action on Friday but hopes the time during Spring break will give him time to heal. Sophomore linebacker Rodney Thomas got some extra work in place of Chad Carson .
Offensive line concerns
Bowden was not pleased at all with the play of the offensive line after the first day. “Our offensive line right now, that's the biggest concern," Bowden said. "We need a little bit more toughness out of the starting five, and I wish a couple of those guys could be put down on the second team and have one of the second-teamers jump up and take their job."
Bernard Rambert was not present at practice due to his sister being involved in a car accident. He was expected back in Clemson on Wednesday night. Rambert’s departure gave redshirt freshman Chad Jasmin the opportunity to get some more work in. Jasmin had several good runs before tiring at the end of practice.
The Tigers will resume practice on Friday afternoon. Friday’s practice will contain a lot of drill work, and end up with controlled scrimmage situations – First 10, 3rd and long, 3rd and medium and maybe some goalline. The scrimmage that was tentatively scheduled for Saturday morning has been canceled. There will be no practice on Saturday.