Tigers Play It Close to the Vest During Spring Game


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON -- There were a lot of passes, a lot of catches, and a whole lot of
running in Saturday's Orange and White game at Clemson's Memorial Stadium,
but there wasn't anything new.

Clemson's coaching staff kept things close to the vest in the annual spring
game, waiting for the September 3 opener against Texas A&M to debut the new
offense and defense. Head coach Tommy Bowden said the offensive and
defensive schemes were limited because of the game being shown on
television.

The Tiger offense used a lot of the same three or four wide receiver looks that
they used last year and the defense stayed in a basic 4-3 defense for much
of the afternoon. "You don't want to go out there and show everything," said Clemson
quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.


What the Tigers did get to show looked good at times, however. Wide
receivers Kelvin Grant and Chansi Stuckey looked sharp as did backup
quarterback Will Proctor. But despite those performances, Bowden was still
skeptical.


"I was real pleased with the spring and how the game went," he said. "But
I'd feel very uncomfortable playing Texas A&M today."

The reason Bowden is worried might have a lot to do with his first team's
offense inability to score. Though the limitations to the play calling might
have played a part in it, the first team offense scored just three points of
the 40 put up in the two and half hour scrimmage."We would have liked to have moved (the football) a little bit better," said Whitehurst. "At least on the first team, anyway."

Whitehurst completed 21-of-30 passes in the scrimmage for 177 yards, and was
intercepted in the second quarter by senior corner Tye Hill.
While the first team offense struggled, the second team offense had few
problems against the second team defense. With Proctor at the helm,
Clemson's second team offense scored 37 points and moved the ball up and
down the field.


Proctor set a spring game record by completing 18-of-23 passes for 275 yards
and three touchdowns. At one point, the senior from Winter Park, Fla.
completed 13 consecutive passes.Grant, who caught two of Proctor's touchdowns, caught eight passes for 146 yards, while Stuckey caught 11 passes ­ most from Whitehurst ­ for 124
yards.

"Coming into the spring I wanted our team to become familiar with the
changes in terminology on offense and defense, put the top players on both
sides of the ball on the field, and develop leadership," said Bowden. "We
won't know for sure until the fall, but I think we made progress in all
three of those areas."The biggest thing about (Saturday) was that we didn't get anyone injured.
You always worry about that in a spring game."

La'Donte Harris grabbed Proctor's other touchdown toss on a 30-yard pass
play in the fourth quarter.Running back Kyle Browning, who mostly worked with the first team finished with 57 yards on 16 carries. Reggie Merriweather, whom Bowden said the
staring tailback job is his to lose, rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries.


Will Vandervort is the Sports Editor for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger.

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