West: Defensive Ends Can Play 'Anywhere'

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - The statement might startle some, but when Ron West says it, he does so with conviction.

The depth Clemson has at defensive end is to be envied by teams around the Atlantic Coast Conference, he believes. And he's not afraid to tell anyone who will listen.

"When I tell you there is great competition I’m not lying to you," he said earlier this week. "I hope you understand what I'm telling you. We have four ends that could play anywhere in the ACC.


The four - seniors Vontrell Jamison (6-foot-7, 280 pounds) and Mo Fountain (6-4, 250), junior Charles Bennett (6-4, 248) and sophomore Gaines Adams (6-5, 250) - battled for depth chart supremacy all spring, a fight which will continue when fall practice opens.

But one thing is clear. No matter which two start, the second pair will see considerable playing time. At least that's the plan now, based on what West saw during spring practice.

"We were trying to do a better job of our technique on the tight end and being able to hold the line," he said of spring drills. "Then, after that, (we want to be) able to create the pressure off the ends...create a pass rush. I felt like we accomplished (quite a bit)."

Of the group, the one generating the most buzz inside camp is Adams.

Every live scrimmage this spring had head coach Tommy Bowden raving about some superior athletic play made by Adams. While he hasn't shown that consistency in every practice, Adams is earning the reputation of a big-game performer - even without big-game experience.

Even despite the fact he's officially listed behind Bennett at left end.

"(Adams) is an unbelievable athlete," said West. "He can run exceptionally well. He was a wide receiver in high school. A lot of people don’t know that. He is a big play guy.

"As he knows, he has to become a more complete player. That's what he's going to work hard to do, but he ran with the ones (first team) a lot of times on certain days."

On the right side, currently it's Fountain running ahead of Jamison. But with his size and versatility, Jamsion can expect to see time not only at end, but inside as well.

"He has really improved as far as holding the line of scrimmage and not getting knocked out of gaps, and making sure he controls the line of scrimmage," said West. "He has developed one particular pass rush technique that he really likes and he is getting better at it. We have a plan to look at him inside, too, because we think he could help us (at tackle).

"We're going to play him at both probably, and experiment some in two-a-days (in August)."

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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