Wednesday practice report: Boyd has good day, Jackson has edge at kicker

by - Senior Writer -
Richard Jackson's consistency has given him an early-spring edge at kicker

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers ran through an early afternoon practice on Wednesday, and head coach Dabo Swinney said he continues to be pleased with the work of the first teams.

“It was a good day, an absolutely great day for football,” Swinney said of the beautiful weather on Wednesday. “I thought our first groups did some really good things. I am really pleased with first group offensive line – that group is gonna be a solid bunch, and I can same the same thing defensively.

“When you are just grinding against another good guy over and over, it’s hard to not get better when you are competitor. Where we have to get better is our second-tier guys, we have to reach down and pull those guys up. Those first guys need to do that. But we need to continue to coach them up and get them better.”

Other notes from the practice:

*Swinney said that the Tigers worked on short-yardage situations again on Wednesday, and he was pleased with the play of the first-team offensive line in those situations.

*DYE BATTLING INJURIES BUT GETTING BETTER - Wide receiver Xavier Dye is battling a hand injury and has a cast on his hand, and rolled his ankle during last Saturday’s scrimmage, but Swinney said Dye continues to impress. “He has had a good spring, and made a couple of big plays in the scrimmage. He has been limited the past couple of days, but he has been very consistent. He had some success last year, and he is a guy we are counting on, but I think there will be several guys to fill that void.

*HARPER AND ELLINGTON CONTINUE TO RUN HARD – Swinney made it a point to mention running backs Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. “Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington just continue to impress me running the football. They are both very physical guys. Jamie has improved drastically as far as being a disciplined runner. Kind of reminds me of C.J. in between his sophomore and junior year – they were both in the Wing-T in high school, and Jamie understands what is going on now.”

*QB’s HAVE GOOD DAY – Swinney said that starting quarterback Kyle Parker walked out onto the field and promptly threw a touchdown pass on Wednesday, and then said that backup Tajh Boyd had a pretty good day as well. “This was the best day of the spring for Tajh, and I acknowledged that in front of the team today. It was his ninth practice, and it was encouraging to see him getting better in the two-minute drill. He looked more poised and more comfortable. He made a lot of mistakes in that drill last Friday but he came out and fixed them today.”

*SWINNEY SAYS HAIRSTON CAN BE EVEN MORE DOMINANT – Swinney was asked if he was looking for offensive lineman Chris Hairston to become more of a vocal leader, and Swinney said the Tigers need everything Hairston can bring to the table. “We need him. First of all, we want him for what he is, but he is capable of being a dominant player. We want him to be a little nastier – he does it at times but we want more consistency with that. We need for him to be a leader, and to assert himself more in practice and out on the game field. Last year, he did not have to do that because Thomas [Austin] and [Michael] Palmer were there. We need that from him, and so far he has done a good job.”

*BOWERS GETTING KNEE BACK IN SHAPE – Swinney said that defensive end Da’Quan Bowers’ right knee continues to get better, but he is looking for more as Bowers enters his junior season. “He has been ok, but not dominant. I am not disappointed in Da’Quan. He is getting his knee back to where it needs to be, and he’s building muscle. But he needs to get to another level. He is capable of being great, a dominant player, but he is not there yet.”

*JACKSON HAS LEAD IN KICKING BATTLE – Swinney said that senior Richard Jackson has separated himself from Spencer Benton and Chandler Catanzaro for kicking duties. Swinney said that Jackson has been the most consistent of the kickers. “Richard has had the best spring, and I am really pleased with how consistent he has been. By far he has been the most consistent guy.” Swinney then said that Benton will still be counted on to handle the kickoff duties.

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