Archive for Clemson

Spring practice begins- news and notes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2011 by admin

By: Cory Fravel

This figures to be one the more important spring practice periods on record. The main focus this spring is the new OC Chad Morris and the furious pace he will set. The defense has ground to make up a well with the losses of DaQuan Bowers, DeAndre McDaniel and Marcus Gilchrist.

Spring practice has started and with more energy focus than the past two years. New OC Chad Morris commands a big on field presence with his enthusiastic nature and upbeat personality. It’s clear Morris will get the most out his players and push them to get the most out of themselves.

The offense pushed through 22 periods at a furious pace and new OC Morris was very pleased with the first day of practice. There were 8-12 seconds between snaps. I can tell you now teams will have a long week trying to prepare for Clemson this fall. No one in the ACC runs anything like this offense and by early indications this offense is going to put a lot of pressure on on opposing defenses.

Morris was pleased with QB Tajh Boyd but for probably the fifth time he has emphasized the importance of Boyd working on his footwork. Boyd’s throwing motion is not of concern but his footwork is. In this offense the QB needs to be able to read the DE’s without selling his play with his footwork. This is a story line to watch throughout spring and fall camp. One note of importance is that Boyd looks to be 15 lbs lighter. He appears in much better shape than in past years. Boyd’s ability to absorb what Morris is teaching and the new fundamentals will likely dictate his success this fall. Cole Stoudt appears to be the #2 with a bullet in the case Boyd were to go down. From what I have seen I think you will see Tony McNeal redshirt.

OL coach Robbie Caldwell- folks he is making his presence felt in a very big way. Really getting after guys not letting for one second. Pushing these guys for perfect technique. I think by mid-season or earlier you are going to see a more fundamentally sound, tougher and more efficient offensive line. This was a big hire, BIG.

Lots of formations with TE Dwayne Allen lined up at FB/TE offset to the backfield blocking catching screens, running curls and flat routes. Speedster RS freshman WR Joe Craig is in the backfield in certain formation and in the wildcat formation. You have to think when RB Mike Bellamy arrives he will be used this way too.

Hot Rod McDowell and DJ Howard worked as 1 and 2 at RB’s with Andre Ellington still on the mend from toe surgery. This will be beneficial to both backs as they get more seasoned with the first team offense. DJ Howard continues to narrow the gap and close in on McDowell. Watch for this battle to escalate as spring practice continues. Coach Swinney expects Ellington to start running next week but won’t practice until fall camp. This is not as significant as Heather Dinich made this sound. All this means literally is that Ellington can start to run again and make some light cuts. Again he will not resume practice until fall camp.

Postion change- This was talked about around bowl practice and now is happening. RS Freshman Bashaud Breeland has moved from safety to cornerback. He is one of if not the best 1 on 1 defenders on the defense. I would be surprised if he wasn’t one of the starting CB’s game one.

Interesting note former Clemson CB and NY Jet Justin Miller was working with the return team on the practice field. He left after his junior year for the NFL and is back in town taking some classes to work on his degree. WR Nuke Hopkins will be at all 15 practices this spring. He will dress for the VT basketball game but will not travel with the baesketball team for the ACC tournament.

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Part 3 of my Levon Kirkland Interview

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 2, 2011 by admin

This segment covers lots of topics from kicking to how Levon watches the game.

Finally! Clemson and SC are Rivals…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by admin

Finally, Clemson and South Carolina are rivals
By: Cory Fravel

For many years Clemson has dominated the Gamecocks with little to no resistance. The fall of 2009 you could see the tide turning even though CJ Spiller was still scoring at will on nearly every team. 2009 South Carolina didn’t get a call from the refs, no good bounces they just beat Clemson and soundly.

Fast forward to the fall of 2010 and the Gamecocks frankly embarassed the Tigers in Death Valley. Here we are Tiger fans ready for 2011 but for once South Carolina until
proven otherwise is in firm

Like it or not Clemson fans South Carolina has done the Tigers a favor. The last two years of football combined with South Carolina’s baseball success has has raised the bar and refocused Clemson. I think what Gamecock fans will find out is the sleeping giant has awoke and things are about to change.

It’s been 20 years of ups and downs and mediocrity for Clemson football post-Danny Ford. South Carolina forcing the issue with improved play will and has improved competition. This has made the Tigers take a look in the mirror.

Make no mistake about this- pumper or dumper this Clemson fanbase at best was divided if changes to the offense hadn’t been made this offseason. I think the changes made were good and will show big returns in the future. Dabo Swinney’s career is relying on it.

Coach Swinney to be fair will have this year and next to right the ship. Ten wins should be the standard for the 2012 football season or it should be considered a failure. The staff assembled at Clemson now is high powered and combined with the athletes in place it should produce better results.

Standards at Clemson should be high for football. In my mind with the athletes and coaching Clemson has in football should produce a 7-9 win season for 2011 followed by 2012 season where 10 wins are a must, period.

Clemson now with a legit OC in Chad Morris and with staff additions of Robbie Caldwell, Marion Hobby and Tony Elliott the Tigers are poised for change.

South Carolina fans would have you believe that they just won the the national championship. Gamecock fans you just went 9-5. Just like Clemson did in 2009.

South Carolina won a down SEC East and had the feathers beat out of them not once but twice by Auburn. The SEC championship game was a romp and it was clear the Gamecocks had no business playing Auburn for the SEC championship. What is that noise? Wait I think Auburn scored again on South Carolina.

The Gamecocks were dismantled after Lattimore was hit in the mouth by Florida State. FSU physically dominated South Carolina.

Who are you South Carolina? You beat Bama last year who struggled all year on offense. Anyone else? Every team you beat was down or reloading. Let’s keep the cart behind the horse Gamecock fans.

South Carolina will have a good team this year and probably compete for the sec east (still down) but UGA, Tenn, Florida will all be better in 2011 too. It’s too early to assume South Carolina rules the SEC East.

South Carolina is very thin at RB and TE. The Gamecocks also played inconsistent on defense for stretches. The secondary under performed all year.

Stephen Garcia is one interception away from Sprurrier’s childish hat throw, wrinkled smirk and a sarchastic comment to put him on the bench.

If Lattimore stays healthy he will give the Gamecocks another chance for a 10 win season. If Lattimore goes down like agaimst FSU South Carolina loses, period.

Like Clemson the Gamecocks lost the last 2 games and were manhandled on both occassions by AU an FSU. We won’t find out again until November 2012 if Clemson is back but you can rest assured the Tigers are working toward at it more vigorously than ever.

Are the Gamecocks favored over Clemson in Columbia this year? Probably. Should they be? Frankly yes. Does that mean South Carolina wins? No. By that point Clemson and the new offense will be peaking and revenge will be on the mind of the Tigers.

Mark this down- Robbie Caldwell NOT Chad Morris and not the defense will win Clemson more games next year. Clemson’s improved OL play from Caldwell’s presence will result in better more consistent protection for Boyd and better technical run blocking for Ellington and Bellamy. Games are won in the trenches and there is no one better than Robbie Caldwell.

One thing is for sure Tiger players and fans are hungry again and they want to win. This South Carolina winning streak will ultimately start a losing streak that is far longer. Over time and history no matter how hard the the Gamecocks recruit and play when Clemson is focused like now and re-energized the folks in Columbia will not be able to hold off the Tigers for long. The clock is ticking. November will be here soon…

 

CJ Spiller vs SC in the 2008 Game in Clemson

 

 

Part 2 with Clemson legend Levon Kirkland talking defense

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 12, 2011 by admin

This is part 2 of my talk with Clemson legend Levon Kirkland. Today we talk about the Steelers, Clemson’s offense & defense, player development and where the program is

Levon Kirkland Interview part 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by admin

Recently I spoke with Clemson and Steeler legend Levon Kirkland on several different topics. This is part 1 we will post part 2 & 3 later today and tomorrow. Enjoy.