CLEMSON - Push is coming to shove at Clemson, and so far the it's the
defensive line being bullied.
After back-to-back days of praising the defense as a whole, head coach Tommy
Bowden was able to find some individual performances to his liking Friday,
such as the continued good play of linebacker Rodney Thomas.
But during live goal line scrimmaging, Clemson's big, experienced offensive
line had its way with the interior of the Tigers' defense.
"We need to be a lot more physical up front with our interior people," Bowden
said. "The offensive line really manhandled them today."
One other area of concern continues to be the wide receivers. Though deep and
talented as a unit, no individual has emerged as the next go-to guy, a la Rod
Gardner in each of the past two seasons.
"We haven't found Rod Gardner yet," Bowden said. "Nobody's surfaced and
separated, which I hoped would happen. We haven't found him yet, and he's the
only wideout to make a play the last two years. So that's not good."
Freshman Roscoe Crosby missed his first practice of the season Friday,
nursing a thigh bruise. He is expected to participate in Saturday's full-scale
scrimmage at Death Valley. Senior linebacker Chad Carson, also nursing a
thigh bruise, will not scrimmage Saturday.
Two other players came off the field early Friday.
Senior Will Merritt was bothered by a stomach flu, which resulted in several
vomiting incidents. Fellow senior Kyle Young was carted off after suffering
severe cramping during after-practice conditioning.
Saturday's scrimmage is closed to the public and media.
- Bowden said senior quarterback Woody Dantzler continues to look good
throwing the football, improving daily on giving his receivers "runnable
"I've asked both those guys (Dantzler and backup Willie Simmons) to be more
productive with accurate throws...," Bowden said. "Too many of them are down
there, up there, or out there where a guy has to dive to catch them. Woody's
gotten better than that from last year, and Willie's a little behind in that
- Junior linebacker David Ellis left the team Thursday.
The junior from Bishopville High School in Lamar was a two-time letterman for
the Tigers, and had moved from linebacker to defensive end during spring
Bowden gave no reason for Ellis' departure.
- Despite some reports to the contrary, Bowden said he has yet to hear
anything about the eligibility status of freshman running back Micheaux
Hollingsworth, from Hoke Co. (N.C.) High School, was forced to retake his SAT
after Clemson challenged his qualifying score. He has retaken the test and
reportedly received a score above the NCAA minimum standard, but so far there
has been no word on his status.
"We should know something soon," Bowden said.