Tigers Open Spring Practice


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Clemson, SC-Clemson opened its spring practice season on Saturday

with a three-hour practice on the practice fields behind the Jervey

Athletic Center. It was the first of 15 spring practices for the

Tigers, a schedule that will conclude April 14 with the Spring Game

at 1:00 PM at Clemson Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers will practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next

week before taking off for Spring Break.

"We had a good practice today, "said Bowden, who must replace

many leaders off his 2006 team, including first-team All-American

Gaines Adams (who attended the practice) All-ACC receiver Chansi

Stuckey and quarterback Will Proctor (who attended the practice).

"The quarterbacks did well for the first practice. That is

obviously an important position to evaluate this Spring. We don't

have an experienced returning player at that position. Another

priority will be developing leadership on defense. We might start

only two seniors on defense this year."

Bowden also was pleased with the performance of the kickers

on Saturday. "Richard Jackson and Mark Buchholtz did not miss a

kick today. That was a good sign. We are also working with new

holders in Mike Wade and Jimmy Maners and they did a very good job

also." Buchholtz is also one of the top returning starters on

Clemson's top 20 men's soccer team.

Bowden also announced some coaching staff titles and

responsibility changes after practice. Tight ends coach Billy

Napier will replace David Blackwell as the recruiting coordinator.

Clemson had three consecutive top 20 recruiting years under

Blackwell, a first for the program since the 1980s. Bowden also

said that Brad Scott would now have the title of Associate Head

Coach, while Dabo Swinney will have increased responsibilities and

has been elevated to Assistant Head Coach.

Michael Hamlin was the only scholarship player who missed

practice due to injury. He suffered a foot injury in February that

will keep him out of spring practice for at least the first four

practices. Rendrick Taylor, who also had an ankle injury in

February, participated in the practice full go.

Andrew Diomande, a letterman receiver last year, and Zach

Green a tight end who lettered in 2004 and 2006, were not a practice

and will not return next season. Diomande, who had three receptions

last year, has decided to transfer to another school. Green will

graduate from Clemson this summer and will not return to the program.

Reserve running back Ray Ray McElrathbey was not at practice

on Saturday. McElrathbey has been suspended for the first four

spring practices due to an academic related matter. He is expected

to return to the team after spring break.

Defensive back Darius Gaither, who red-shirted last year,

attended a funeral on Saturday and missed the practice. Jacoby Ford

did not practice due to his participation in the NCAA Indoor Track

and Field Championships in Arkansas on Saturday.

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