CLEMSON - As spring practice progresses at Clemson, head coach Tommy Bowden
finds himself looking for leadership on offense.
Wednesday, for the first time, his offense struggled everywhere except in
goal line situations. In the past, he need only look to Woody Dantzler to
right the ship. But with Dantzler gone, these spring sessions are as much
about finding his replacement as they are alignment and assignment.
"You lose 70 percent of your offense and somebody's got to step up," Bowden
said. "Nobody kind of stepped forward as a leader... We took a little beating
out in the middle of the field...
"Those are the times in the spring you want to see who takes charge in the
huddle. Who steps up. We didn't see that much (Wednesday)...But it takes a
little while to find it."
Naturally, most eyes turn to the quarterback when the question of leadership
Junior Willie Simmons currently holds the top job ahead of freshman Charlie
Whitehurst, and is expected to maintain that advantage even though Bowden
says "there is competition there." But both find themselves under the same
microscope where leading the team is concerned.
"Some of that's changing because there's no huddle anymore. A lot of teams
aren't huddling," Bowden said. "It used to be that you go in the huddle and
take charge...But to a large extent it's still that way. You come off to the
sideline after an unsuccessful series and the quarterback gets in their face.
(So) there's other places to do it even if you don't huddle.
In other news from Wednesday, Bowden was impressed with the play of his
"I thought the defense took a step forward...but they didn't finish it off on
the goal line," Bowden said. "The offense got down there and pretty much
scored at will. To be great on defense, you've got to finish the day. The
enthusiasm was good, and they did a good job until right there toward the
Bowden, who sometimes gets criticized for being "all offense, no defense" in
his coaching focus, belies that theory in his practice actions.
Instead of working strictly in his own offensive set, he is showing Clemson's
defense multiple looks - such as more two-back sets - in order to help the
unit continue to get its bearings under new defensive coordinator John
"I want other coaches to come in here to see us because of our defense,"
Bowden said. "That's the way it used to be here. Now they come see us for
offense most of the time. But I'd like to get it back the way it was. Or at