CLEMSON - It took until the final practice of the spring, but projected No. 1
quarterback Willie Simmons finally earned a degree of separation from
freshman Charlie Whitehurst.
A day after head coach Tommy Bowden questioned his offense's leadership,
Simmons put together his best practice of the spring. His throws were sharp
and crisp, and on more than one occasion he could be seen counseling the
younger Whitehurst on certain aspects of the Clemson offense.
It was no coincidence, then, that the Tigers' offense had perhaps its best
day of the spring.
"The offense got it handed to them yesterday and they responded," Bowden
said. "I'd just as soon the defense dominate two days in a row, but they
didn't. Willie Simmons had his best day of the spring, and it looks like he's
ready to take over."
With the spring game looming Saturday (1 p.m., Riggs Field), Bowden reflected
on the four weeks of practice and said he felt the team accomplished all its
Still, work remains to be done, especially on the offensive line. The
interior of that group has yet to distinguish itself, either individually or
collectively, and will remain a concern as summer evaluations commence.
One player among the group who turned a few heads in the final days of
practice is Jermyn Chester, the rising junior who opened camp at guard. But
it is his work at center the past two practices which have Bowden and his
staff raising eyebrows.
After struggling with shotgun snaps in a trial there a year ago, Chester
seems to have overcome that problem and will get a look both positions
Meanwhile Bowden, as always, will be looking for playmakers in Saturday's
"We're going to be generic, as far as formations and schemes," he said. "So
you'll want to see (wide receiver) Derrick Hamilton make a big play, or Keith
Kelly make a long run. Willie Simmons make a throw...It'll be a chance for
our kids to block one on one, and for our pass rushers to work one on one.
"Hopefully it'll be a chance just to watch these guys play football."
The spring game is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Riggs Field.