The Clemson Tigers completed their third workout of fall camp on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon. Tommy Bowden’s team practiced for nearly three hours in less than ideal conditions, but according to Bowden, the team did not let the weather put a damper on their focus or enthusiasm.
“Really, with the skill position players it makes them concentrate even more," said Bowden. "It makes the receivers concentrate more on catching the ball, and they have to run precise routes and concentrate on their footing. The running backs have to concentrate on holding on to the ball. So in many ways it helps from a preparation standpoint. It got a little sloppy towards the end, as far as handling the ball, throwing and catching. It was a cool and rainy day today, but I don’t think that took their focus away."
Back-up quarterback Will Proctor added after Sunday’s workout in shells (shorts and shoulder pads), “Obviously, a day like today makes you have to be precise as far as throwing the ball, and the receivers and running backs making cuts. It was good to get out in the rain like this and prepare in bad weather because we know that the weather is not going to be perfect every Saturday.”
Today was the first day the Tigers were able to wear pads, while Tuesday is the first day the team can practice in full gear. Sunday also saw some battles for starting positions begin to heat up, particularly at wide receiver said Bowden, "Aaron Kelly continues to do well at wide receiver. He has really improved from this time last year. We saw that in the spring. He is running with the first team so far, but Kelvin Grant has had three good days of practice also. We are looking for consistency from Kelvin, and so far he has been out there for every snap."
Clemson is beginning to see some leaders emerge on the 2005 team according to Bowden, as he cited the consistent play of Chansi Stuckey, Charlie Whitehurst, Jamaal Fudge, Charles Bennett, Anthony Waters, and Reggie Merriweather. All of these veterans were mentioned for practicing hard and encouraging younger teammates.
Bowden also singled out freshman running back James Davis for his work in Sunday’s practice, as well as fellow freshmen wide receivers Rendrick Taylor and Tyler Grisham.
The first practices in pads also begin to tell the tale of the offensive and defensive fronts, and Bowden wants to find depth on both. “We kind of want to wait to make an evaluation until we have full pads. Now today we did do some quick little reach drills, some technique drills, and we had the offensive line go up against the defensive line in some one-on-one drills, but those were more reach blocks and zone blocks.”
Zach Green, a red-shirt sophomore tackle from Conyers, GA wore a yellow jersey on Sunday due to a stomach virus, and was the only Tiger to miss the afternoon workout.
Clemson will continue its preparations for Texas A&M on Monday evening. The practice is closed to the public.