CLEMSON -- The Clemson football team completed its next to last spring scrimmage Saturday afternoon, as the 12:00 p.m. practice game was played in front of several hundred orange-clad spectators on a sunny day in Death Valley.
The scrimmage was marked by intense effort on both sides of the ball, featuring an earth-shaking Duane Coleman hit on defensive back Robert Reese and a leaping interception by defensive end Gaines Adams, who was also involved in a short-lived tussle with receiver Thomas Hunter.
The day generally belonged to the defense, as the first string offense managed only one touchdown against the first string defensive unit.
Bowden seemed pleased with the overall progression of the defense, saying “we scored more on the goal line, which is bad, but again, I think points allowed is number one, so we got better in that regard, and I thought that was an improvement over last week.”
Gaines Adams spearheaded the defensive attack and had perhaps the play of the game by deflecting a pass at the line of scrimmage, then picking off his own deflection. Bowden was clearly impressed with the sophomore lineman’s athleticism. “Anytime you jump up, knock the ball down and intercept it yourself - he’s very athletic and has the capability to make a lot of plays.”
The game was not without a few offensive bursts, however, as Charlie Whitehurst overcame a sluggish start to connect on eight of his last nine pass attempts, Ben Hall took over the number one tight-end spot with a solid blocking performance and two receptions, and the Tigers’ trio of physical running backs accumulated 156 yards on the ground. The smallest of that trio, 5'10' Duane Coleman, let his presence be known in a big way. After receiving a pass out of the backfield, Coleman juked his way past several tacklers, cut upfield and lowered his shoulder into Robert Reese, knocking Reese flat on his back - and his helmet ten yards downfield, much to the delight of the offensive unit and the crowd. “I’d like for them to be flip-flopped on delivery,” Bowden chuckled as he commented on the hit.
Bowden was thoroughly pleased with the tough running of all three backs. “I thought all of them ran well, I’d hate to single any of them out,” Bowden said. “Yusef ran well, and Reggie Merriweather ran well, those three guys, it would have been hard to separate one from the other today.”
Bowden and his staff will begin to take a look at Wake Forest on Monday, as they begin to try to decipher the Deamon Deacon gameplan that bemused the Tigers last year. Spring practice will culminate in the annual Orange and White spring game on April 10, at 1:00 p.m. There will be no charge for admission.
Bowden, who let his assistants do most of the talking for the majority of the scrimmage, urged his players to step up and continue to put forth strong effort in the post-practice team meeting. “You know where you want to go,” Bowden said. “It’s up to you to do what needs to be done in order to get there.”