ACC: Kavell Conner

Clemson NFL draft notes

May, 2, 2011
Clemson had a total of six players drafted, tied for the third-most selections in a draft in Clemson history, and tied for fifth-most in the nation this year. Here are a few notes from Clemson's sports information department:
  • Four of Clemson’s six selections were defensive players. It is tied for the second-most defensive players in one draft from Clemson in school history. Clemson had a school-record six defensive players taken in the 1999 NFL draft.
  • Clemson was the only school in the nation to have three defensive players taken in the top 51 selections of the draft. It was the first time in school history that has happened.
  • Five of the six selections came over the first four rounds and it marks just the second time Clemson has had five players taken in the first four rounds. The only other time was at the 1991 draft.
  • Chris Hairston was taken in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills, the second year in a row the Bills have taken a player from Clemson. Last year, the Bills took C.J. Spiller in the first round with the ninth overall pick. Prior to last season the Bills had not taken a player from Clemson since 1982 (Perry Tuttle).
  • Jamie Harper also went in the fourth round to the Tennessee Titans. Harper is just the second Clemson player taken by Tennessee since 1989. Keith Adams (2001) was the only other Tiger taken by the Tigers in the past 22 years.
  • With Harper’s selection, Clemson has had a running back drafted in each of the past three years. James Davis was drafted by Cleveland in 2009 and Spiller was taken by Buffalo last year.
  • Ten members of Clemson’s 2008 defense have now been drafted. Dorell Scott, Mike Hamlin and Chris Clemons were drafted in April of 2009, Ricky Sapp, Crezdon Butler and Kavell Conner were taken in 2010 and Jarvis Jenkins, Marcus Gilchrist, Da'Quan Bowers, and Byron Maxwell were all taken this year. Freshmen on that team could be drafted next year and could add to that total.

Clemson spring wrap

May, 7, 2010

2009 overall record: 9-5

2009 conference record: 6-2, Atlantic Division champs

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 6, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners

DE Da’Quan Bowers, FS DeAndre McDaniel, LT Chris Hairston, RT Landon Walker, QB Kyle Parker, DT Jarvis Jenkins, LB Brandon Maye, RB Andre Ellington, RB Jamie Harper

Key losses

RB C.J. Spiller, WR Jacoby Ford, LG Thomas Austin, TE Michael Palmer, DE Ricky Sapp, LB Kavell Conner, CB Chris Chancellor, CB Crezdon Butler, LB Kevin Alexander

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Spiller (1,212 yds)

Passing: Parker* (2,526 yds)

Receiving: Ford (779 yds)

Tackles: Conner (111)

Sacks: Sapp (5)

Interceptions: McDaniel* (8)

Spring answers

1. Meet Dwayne Allen. The Tigers appear to have a capable replacement for former first-team all-conference tight end Michael Palmer, who set a school record for receptions (43) and reception yards (507) for a tight end last year. Allen had three catches for 83 yards in the spring game. He could be a centerpiece of the offense next year.

2. Liking the linebackers. The graduation of Alexander and Conner hurt, but coach Dabo Swinney liked what he saw from this group this spring. The Tigers are deeper and more versatile here and will have the ability to increase the number of plays per linebacker.

3.Holding their own. Heading into the spring, the punter and place-kicking jobs were open, but punter Dawson Zimmerman and kicker Richard Jackson both retained their spots. Jackson was inconsistent last year and missed two extra point attempts, but he tied for second in the ACC with 20 field goals.

Fall questions

1. Will Parker return? The dual-sport quarterback won’t determine his future until baseball season has ended. As his spring home run total increases, it becomes more of a question. His batting average and home run totals -- Parker leads the ACC in home runs -- continue to be a factor.

2. Spiller’s replacements. What four people will combine to do what Spiller did last year? Kick returns, catching the ball out of the backfield, the ground game -- Mr. Versatility will be missed. Ellington had a good spring with 13 carries for 86 yards in the spring game, and expectations are high for Harper.

3. Reaching at receiver. With Ford’s graduation, Clemson is looking for a new go-to player. Swinney liked what he saw from the group, as Xavier Dye and Terrence Ashe both had productive springs. Brandon Clear was one of the most improved players on the roster and will be given a chance to make some plays this summer.

Clemson's Taylor signs free agent contract

May, 5, 2010
Former Clemson fullback Rendrick Taylor has signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Bucs and will report to mini-camp May 17. He will work as a fullback and tight end, but also played receiver during his career at Clemson.

Taylor, who will graduate on Friday, played in 38 games for the Tigers over the past five years, 10 as a starter. He finished his career with 54 receptions for 533 yards and a touchdown and had 15 carries for 36 yards as a fullback.

Taylor is the fifth member of last year's team to sign a free agent contract and five other players were drafted two weeks ago. That's a significant bit of talent gone from last year's Atlantic Division champs:

Still, Clemson returns enough talent on both sides of the ball to repeat as division champs. The Tigers will have six starters back on defense, including four of the top five tacklers and three defensive linemen. Even though Chancellor and Butler are gone, Clemson's secondary returns players who accounted for 19 of last year's 21 interceptions.

Final East-West Shrine Game rosters out

January, 14, 2010
The ACC will have 13 players among the 106 selected to play in the 85th annual East-West Shrine Game. The only problem with this game is that it's being held on the same field that provided the worst conditions of the bowl season -- the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. We'll assume they've cleaned it up.

It's a prestigious all-star game, as 90 percent of the players from last year's roster were either drafted or signed as free agents. It's sort of like a final audition for the NFL, as the game is directed by an NFL-affiliated coaching staff, NFL officials and rules.

The ACC players will be coached by Romeo Crennel, who spent four seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns and has won five Super Bowls as an assistant coach.

This year's game will be Jan. 23 (3 p.m. ET/ESPN2). The following players will represent the ACC on the East team:

LB Mike McLaughlin, Boston College

OG Thomas Austin, Clemson

CB Chris Chancellor, Clemson

OLB Kavell Conner, Clemson

OG Cord Howard, Georgia Tech

RB Javarris James, Miami

C A.J. Trump, Miami

DE Willie Young, NC State

DT Nate Collins, Virginia

FS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech

OG Sergio Render, Virginia Tech

CB Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech

OG Chris DeGeare, Wake Forest

ACC representatives at the NFL combine

January, 12, 2010
The Sporting News published a list of seniors invited to participate in the 2010 NFL scouting combine, Feb. 24 to March 2 at Indianapolis. Here are the ACC's representatives, but keep in mind it's not an official -- or final -- list.

Boston College: LB Mike McLaughlin, C Matt Tennant.

Clemson: OLB Kavell Conner, WR Jacoby Ford, DE Ricky Sapp, RB C.J. Spiller.

Duke: QB Thaddeus Lewis, Vince Oghobaase.

Florida State: CB Patrick Robinson, S Myron Rolle, OLB Dekoda Watson.

Maryland: CB Nolan Carroll.

Miami: TE Dedrick Epps, OT Jason Fox, TE Jimmy Graham, RB Javarris James, LB Darryl Sharpton.

North Carolina: OT Kyle Jolly, DT Cam Thomas.

NC State: C Ted Larsen, DE Willie Young.

Virginia: CB Chris Cook, FB Rashawn Jackson.

Virginia Tech: P Brent Bowden, S Kam Chancellor, CB Stephan Virgil, OT Ed Wang.

Wake Forest: OT Chris DeGeare, CB Brandon Ghee.

All-ACC bowl team

January, 12, 2010
Bowl season deserves more than just helmet stickers. It deserves its own team. Regardless of whether they won or lost, these ACC players had an impact this postseason. Here is your 2009 All-ACC bowl team:

[+] EnlargeRyan Williams
Todd Kirkland/Icon SMIRyan Williams ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Offense and Special Teams

QB: E.J. Manuel, Florida State: The Gator Bowl MVP completed 17 of 24 passes for 189 yards, had 73 rushing yards on 14 carries and one touchdown with zero turnovers. He led the Noles to 415 total yards in their 33-21 win over No. 18 West Virginia.

RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: Williams ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Tennessee. He finished the season with 1,655 rushing yards and broke Kevin Jones' single-season school record (1,647).

RB: Jermaine Thomas, Florida State: He had 121 yards rushing on 25 carries and two touchdowns. He also had one catch for nine yards and posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season. He led FSU back from a 14-3 first quarter deficit against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

WR: Rich Gunnell, Boston College: Gunnell finished with six catches for 130 yards, breaking Pete Mitchell's school record for yards receiving with 2,659 in his career. His 61-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter closed the gap to 14-13 against USC in the Emerald Bowl.

WR: Greg Little, UNC: He finished with seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Pitt in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

WR: Jarrett Boykin, Virginia Tech: His 64-yard reception to the Tennessee 3 in the final seconds of the first half was a major turning point in the game. The Vols had already begun to head to the locker room, but officials determined there were still two seconds left on the clock. The play led to Matt Waldron’s 21-yard field goal and a 17-14 halftime lead. Boykin finished with four catches for 120 yards.

TE: Jimmy Graham, Miami: He had three catches for 30 receiving yards against Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl and became the seventh Hurricane to record at least 200 receiving yards this season. Graham closed out his only season with the Canes with 15 catches for 213 yards and five touchdowns.

OL: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech: In his final performance, Wang paved the way for a career-day for Williams, and helped the Hokies rack up 438 total yards of offense.

OL: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech: Like Wang, Render was impressive in his final performance as a Hokie, and helped Virginia Tech use a balanced offense and gave quarterback Tyrod Taylor the time he needed to make plays.

OL: Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The All-American returned to the lineup after missing two games with knee sprain and helped FSU rack up 415 total yards, 37 minutes time of possession and he did not allow a sack.

OL: Andrew Datko, Florida State: He teamed with Hudson on the left side (where two of three rushing touchdowns came) and kept a WVU team averaging 2.6 sacks per game without one.

OL: Dalton Freeman, Clemson: He graded out at 80 percent with seven knockdowns. Freeman was key to Clemson averaging 5.5 yards per rush and a Clemson bowl record 6.8 yards per play against Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

K: Dustin Hopkins, Florida State: He tied a school bowl record converting 4 of 5 field goal attempts and scoring a season-high 15 points on a windy day. His 42-yarder at the end of the first half pulled FSU within 14-13.

P: Chandler Anderson, Georgia Tech: He had a career-high seven punts with an average of 49.1 yards and a long of 59 yards. Three of his punts were downed inside the 20 and only one was returned.

Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson: Spiller finished his career with 172 all-purpose yards (68 rushing, 57 receiving), giving him an ACC record 2,670 for the season and 7,588 for his career. He finished his career in second place in FBS history in all-purpose yards.


DL: John Graves, Virginia Tech: He sacked Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton in the second quarter for the first sack of his career. He also recovered a fumble, forced a fumble and finished with three solo tackles.

DL: E.J. Wilson, North Carolina: He forced two first-half fumbles and posted five on the season after registering just one over his first three years at Carolina. He finished with five tackles and one sack for a loss of eight yards.

DL: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech: Morgan's individual stats weren't all that impressive for his final game as a Jacket, but the Tech defense (surprise!) kept the Yellow Jackets in the game, allowing just seven points after the first quarter. Morgan did have three tackles and a half-tackle for loss, but he was double- and triple-teamed all night.

LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech: The defensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Bowl finished with seven tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack.

LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College: He had 16 tackles (6 solos, 10 assists), and 0.5 TFL in the Emerald Bowl.

LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami: He recorded a career-high 15 tackles (10 solo, five assists). It marked the third straight game that Sharpton recorded double-digit tackles.

LB: Kavell Conner, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, which was the key play of the game. The fumble came with Clemson leading 14-13 and it set up Spiller’s touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 21-13.

CB: Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech: He intercepted Crompton’s pass in the first quarter and returned it to the Tennessee 44, setting up the Hokies’ first score of the game. The interception marked the sixth of the season for Carmichael, a team-high.

CB: Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech: He returned an interception for a touchdown -- Tech's first points of the game against Iowa in the Orange Bowl -- and Tarrant's fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season. He also forced a fumble, broke up a pass and had six solo tackles.

S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech: He had a team-high eight tackles, all of them solo tackles, and he forced a fumble.

S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson: He had 15 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He was a big reason Kentucky had just 277 yards total offense and just one touchdown, their second lowest figure of the year in terms of points in the 21-13 Clemson win.

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 28, 2009
ACC bowl season is under way, and there was some good, some not so good ...
  • It was a mixed performance by BC in the Emerald Bowl, and it left the Eagles with a feeling of frustration for being oh-so-close.
  • There were no moral victories for BC, but there were some positives to be taken from the game.
  • Clemson's defense did what it had to do, and Kavell Conner was leading the way.
  • UNC lost another game it should have won. Too bad for the Heels it's too late to start playing smarter.
  • Miami receiver Leonard Hankerson is playing coy about his decision on whether or not to enter the NFL draft.
  • One of the Canes' top priorities against Wisconsin will be containing defensive end O'Brien Schofield.
  • Another decade is almost over, and Georgia Tech has produced some quality players during that span.

Instant Analysis: Clemson 21, Kentucky 13

December, 27, 2009
Here's a quick breakdown of Clemson's 21-13 win over Kentucky in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl:

[+] EnlargeCJ Spiller
AP Photo/Mark HumphreySpiller finished with 172 yards and one touchdown in Clemson's win.
How the game was won: Clemson’s defense, which had become rather generous in losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech, came up with the stops it needed to in the second half and a game-changing turnover. After capitalizing on the only turnover of the game -- a Kentucky fumble -- Clemson's defense stifled Kentucky on fourth-and-8 from the Clemson 32-yard line, with Kentucky out of time outs. Ricky Sapp came up with a huge tackle and Clemson took over on downs. With the help of standout senior running back C.J. Spiller, the Tigers were able to control the clock in the waning minutes to preserve the win.

Turning point: With 11:33 left in the game, Clemson linebacker Kavell Conner forced a fumble, and Jarvis Jenkins recovered it at Kentucky’s 19-yard line for the first turnover of the game. Three plays later, Spiller scored on an eight-yard touchdown run. It gave the Tigers the 21-13 lead, an edge they would not relinquish.

Stat of the game: Time of possession was 20:15 to 9:45 in the first half, in favor of Kentucky. One way to keep the ball out of Spiller’s hands was to keep him off the field, and Kentucky was able to do that in the first half. Not the second.

Player of the game: Spiller. Clemson could not have done it without him in the second half, and Kentucky could not stop him. He finished with 172 all-purpose yards, set the school record for consecutive touchdowns in a game, and scored what would be the touchdown that sealed the win. It was quite a grand finale for the senior.

Unsung hero of the game: Fullback Chad Diehl. He was the lead blocker for Spiller and Jamie Harper, both of whom scored touchdowns in the game. On third-and-goal with about five minutes left in the first half, Harper punched in a one-yard touchdown run when Diehl knocked safety Calvin Harrison over to pave the way. It gave Clemson a 14-10 lead, the Tigers’ first lead of the game.

What it means: Clemson redeemed itself for back-to-back losses to rival South Carolina and Georgia Tech, and proved that it took this game seriously despite their disappointment about not playing in a BCS bowl. That’s a credit to first-year coach Dabo Swinney for once again getting the team focused and back on track. While it was a celebratory farewell to super seniors like Spiller and Jacoby Ford, it was also a sneak peak at the future, as Harper showed a lot of promise and was key in the win. Seniors like Spiller earned the first bowl win of their career, and set a strong foundation for 2010. The Tigers also avoided another embarrassing ACC loss to a mediocre SEC team and improved the ACC’s bowl record to 1-2.

Record performance: Spiller’s touchdown in the fourth quarter set a school-record 14 straight games with at least one touchdown.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 12

November, 22, 2009
Here are the ACC's top five performers for Week 12:

UNC’s defense -- It’s impossible to single out one player in such an impressive group effort. Cam Thomas and Kendric Burney each had defensive touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ 31-13 win over Boston College on Saturday. Deunta Williams had three interceptions, returning one 39 yards to the BC 6-inch line with 4:42 left in the game. Boston College finished with six turnovers.

FSU freshman Greg Reid -- His 48-yard punt return set up the game-winning touchdown with 32 seconds remaining and kept Florida State’s streak of 28 straight bowl games alive in a 29-26 win over Maryland. Reid returned three punts for 88 yards and now has 350 yards on 19 returns going into next week's game at rival Florida.

Miami quarterback Jacory Harris -- It wasn’t a flawless performance, but it was gritty, and led the Hurricanes to a 34-16 come-from-behind win over Duke on Saturday. Harris, who played through pain in his thumb, threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third 300-yard game in the past four games. Duke was outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter.

Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams -- Mark this guy down as a future Heisman candidate. He rushed for 120 yards and four touchdowns against a beleaguered NC State defense, sending the Hokies’ seniors out with a 38-10 win over the Wolfpack. Williams broke the school's single-season record for rushing yards with his third straight 100-yard rushing game. He also had one of the more impressive plays of the day, dragging NC State safety Earl Wolff about 12 yards into the end zone.

Clemson’s seniors -- On its final home game in Memorial Stadium, this group left its legacy. Linebacker Kavell Conner finished with a career-high 15 tackles. Receiver Jacoby Ford had a career-high 211 all-purpose yards. C.J. Spiller set the ACC single-season record for all-purpose yards. And together they led the Tigers to a 34-21 win over Virginia and their first-ever appearance in the ACC title game.

Clemson leaves no doubt in Atlantic Division

November, 21, 2009
CLEMSON, S.C. -- They were watching the Boston College-North Carolina game in their hotel rooms. They were checking the score on their cell phones on the way to Memorial Stadium.

And in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s pregame speech, he informed the Tigers that Boston College had lost, in turn making the Tigers this year’s Atlantic Division champs before they even set foot on the field.

AP Photo/Richard ShiroClemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford's career-high 211 all-purpose yards led the Tigers to a victory over Virginia.

But Saturday was about Clemson -- about avoiding yet another embarrassing letdown when the Atlantic Division was in the palm of their hands, about proving all of the doubters wrong, and about earning their first appearance in the ACC championship game -- not having BC hand it to them.

“We wanted to win it the real way,” said senior wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who did his part in making that happen with a career-high 211 all-purpose yards in the Tigers’ 34-21 win over Virginia.

“We wanted to win it outright,” said offensive guard Thomas Austin. “We didn’t want it to come to a tiebreaker. That’s what championship teams do.”

Now, for the first time since 1991, Clemson has a chance to be a championship team again. Clemson will meet Coastal Division winner Georgia Tech at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 ACC championship game. The Tigers did it with a group effort on offense, and with adjustments in the second half on defense. They did it on a senior day that bid farewell to some of the program’s most accomplished players. They did it with a first-year coach who just turned 40 on Friday, a 30-year-old first-year offensive coordinator, and a redshirt freshman quarterback.

Sometimes, though, change is good.

“Our first goal was to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division, and we did that,” said Swinney, who received a rendition of “Happy Birthday” from the crowd with about three minutes left in the game. “Our next goal is to win a state championship against South Carolina next weekend. Our third goal is to win the ACC championship game. Our fourth goal is to win a bowl game. We’re happy today, but we’re not done yet.”

They can finally exhale, though.

After watching the Atlantic Division title slip away in 2005, 2006 and 2007, despite being in position to win it, even some of Clemson’s most loyal fans had lingering concerns heading into Saturday’s game against Virginia. Clemson did little to assuage those fears in the first half, holding a precarious 24-21 edge over a Virginia team that entered with a 3-7 record and hadn’t won a game since mid-October. Those 21 points were more than UVa had scored in each of its previous four games. The Cavaliers surprised Clemson with a lot of gimmick plays in the first half, but ran out of them in a scoreless second half.

“We got in at halftime and made some adjustments,” said first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. “There were some technical things we needed to help them on, some calls, so we dusted off a few calls and gave it to them.”

Kavell Conner finished with a career-high 15 tackles, and the defense finished with seven sacks for 54 yards. It was a pedestrian performance for C.J. Spiller’s Heisman hopes -- he set the ACC single-season record for all-purpose yards, but finished with 58 rushing yards and one touchdown. Still, he got what he came back for -- the division title.

“I think people were still on the edge of their seats,” Spiller said. “I’m pretty sure a lot of people probably still doubted us, that we would have a letdown, but the good thing about this team, we never worry about what people say about our team. We worry about what we can control and the main thing for us is having a great week of preparation and going out and proving everyone wrong.”

That seemed to be the theme on Saturday -- quite a change from the program’s previous disappointments.

“It feels good to prove people wrong,” said Ford. “Can Clemson do it? Obviously yes, we can.”

Tigers catch a break

November, 7, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON, S.C. -- In the midst of an interception, Clemson safety Rashard Hall tried to throw a lateral to DeAndre McDaniel, but instead found Kavell Conner who ran it back 29 yards to put the Tigers in scoring position at the 24-yard line. It was an odd play, but this time, Clemson was able to make something out of the Noles' mistake.

For the most part.

Clemson missed another extra point, but still leads 27-24. And there's way too much time left in this game (nine minutes) for any Clemson fans to feel comfortable. This game has been filled with game-changing mistakes, and it's fitting for how the Atlantic Division has struggled this year.

Turnovers a factor early

November, 7, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich

CLEMSON, S.C. -- What goes around comes around here in Death Valley. After returning an interception for a touchdown, Florida State let the Tigers back in the game with a turnover of their own, as a forced fumble by Kavell Conner lead to a two-play, 48-yard scoring drive. C.J. Spiller was able to punch it in on a two-point conversion, and the Tigers now trail, 17-14. It was the first two-point conversion of Spiller's career. There's not much he can't do, really.

Two plays before that, FSU fumbled, but left guard Rodney Hudson recovered it. This is an even game so far because both teams are making similar mistakes, and have the speed and talent to help compensate for them with big plays. Whichever team makes fewer errors and comes up with the key defensive stops will come out on top in the fourth quarter.

Eight ACC players on Butkus Award watch list

August, 24, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich While this list is flattering, it's also a reminder of who won't be playing for the ACC this year. NC State linebacker Nate Irving is one of the players on the Butkus Award watch list, as is BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin, whose return from a torn Achilles is still uncertain. Can the ACC repeat Butkus Award winners? Wake's Aaron Curry won it last year. The Butkus Award is presented annually to the nation's top linebacker, and the ACC certainly has a few of those worth looking at. Here are the other conference players who were recognized: Bruce Carter, UNC Kavell Conner, Clemson Daryl Sharpton, Miami Sean Spence, Miami Quan Sturdivant, UNC Dekoda Watson, FSU

Around the ACC

August, 13, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here are the reports that came in from Wednesday's practices around the league, as reported by each school's sports information office:


Clemson had its second day of two-a-day practices on Wednesday. The Tigers worked for two hours and 15 minutes in the morning and for an hour and a half in the evening.

Much of the day was spent reviewing the film from Tuesday's scrimmage and correcting mistakes. Coach Dabo Swinney felt better about his team after watching the film on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

"We played better than I thought," said Swinney. "I was very disappointed with the penalties [on offense] and a lack of attention to detail immediately after the scrimmage. And I still feel that way about those mistakes. But after watching the film we played better overall than I thought."

Swinney was impressed with the performance of his defense after the scrimmage on Tuesday and he was still happy with that performance on Wednesday.

"We have a chance to be pretty salty on defense. I look out there and really can't tell the difference between the units. I was talking to Jamie Cumbie yesterday and he said it doesn't make any difference who starts, they are just waiting to have their name called.

"There is great depth on the defensive front and the secondary. The linebackers are doing well also. I was really impressed with Kavell Conner's performance on Tuesday. He has had a terrific preseason."

(Read full post)

Around the ACC: Parker leads the way in Clemson scrimmage

August, 12, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here's your daily dose of practice reports from Tuesday, as reported by each school's sports information office:


Kavell Conner and Brandon May each had eight tackles to key the defense in Clemson's first of three scrimmages of the preseason on Tuesday morning.

Four quarterbacks worked in the scrimmage that was 87 plays in length before the team went into a short-yardage situation drill. Kyle Parker completed 8 of 18 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, a 39-yard scoring pass to tight end Durell Barry. Willy Korn was 4-for-9 for 41 yards, while Mike Wade was 4-of-7 for 49 yards. Freshman Taj Boyd, who worked with the third offense against the third defense, was sharp and completed 7-of-10 passes for 70 yards.

Two redshirt freshmen were the top receivers on the day. Brandon Ford had five catches for 60 yards and Jaron Brown added three for 48 yards. The tight ends were prominent during the scrimmage catching a combined eight passes. Michael Palmer had four catches for 33 yards.

C.J. Spiller was the top rusher with 10 carries for 60 yards and he also added a 7-yard pass reception. Jamie Harper had three rushes for 18 yards, while Rendrick Taylor added four for 17.

The defense played well, allowing just one touchdown all day, the 39-yard scoring pass from Parker to Barry. Conner had a tackle for loss to go with his eight tackles. Jarvis Jenkins was the top tackler up front with five stops, including a tackle for loss. Ricky Sapp had two sacks to pace the defensive ends. There were two interceptions by the defense, one by Xavier Brewer and one by Carlton Lewis.

"We did some things well, but we still have a long way to go," said coach Dabo Swinney. "The defense is definitely ahead of the offense at this point and you see that at this point in preseason. But we had way too many penalties and mistakes on offense.

Clemson will be back on the practice fields for two practices on Wednesday.


The Terps continued practice without pads, spending much of the session working on timing, technique and learning the playbook.

For the second straight day, the team practiced in high heat and humidity as temperatures soared into the mid 90s. The weather may have played a role in Tuesday's workout.

"Today wasn't as good as Day 1," said coach Ralph Friedgen. "We didn't catch it as well as I like us to. But we still got a lot done. We had a lot of reps. We got a lot of young kids plenty of work. We're running two teams so I'm like a traffic cop out there."

In order to get more work for a roster which has 58 of its 85 scholarship with three or four years of eligibility left, Friedgen has split the practice into two groups, with the first and third teams squaring off against each other, and second and fourth teams working on an adjacent field.

"The good thing about this team, there's competition," said Friedgen. "Everybody has to compete. There's very few jobs that are set other than say [Chris] Turner's. But I'm looking for Jamarr Robinson to come on as well. But I'm not disappointed in the play of two young quarterbacks. I'm kind of amazed from what we have in that they're able to get out of the huddle. They're not finished products by any stretch, but they've picked things up well."


Day 4 was highlighted by several big runs from freshman running back Lamar Miller, as well as a strong showing by the tight ends in 7-on-7 action.

The Hurricanes donned shells for the second straight day. After a slow start to practice, the team picked up its pace as practice wore on.

"As a group, we started off slow today; but we finished up fast," coach Randy Shannon said. "We can't come out and start off slow and then try to pick it up at the end. That is part of practice. We have to get focused tomorrow and stay focused on the big picture."

Temperatures remained consistent with the first three days of practice, with hot, humid conditions on the Greentree Practice Fields.

The team will return to practice Wednesday morning wearing full pads for the first time in camp.

• Freshman defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Luther Robinson each recorded a sack in 11-on-11 action.
• Sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris hooked up with sophomore Travis Benjamin and freshman Kendal Thompkins for deep balls in 11-on-11 play.
• Freshman Lamar Miller had two big runs on the morning, one that went for a 60-plus-yard touchdown.
• Jordan Futch forced and recovered a fumble in full-team action.
• Tight ends stood out in 7-on-7 play, with seniors Jimmy Graham and Richard Gordon and freshman Billy Sanders all recording a catch.
Taylor Cook found Thearon Collier for a long touchdown in 11-on-11.


Wake Forest practiced for two hours Tuesday night at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex. The fourth practice of the preseason marked the Demon Deacons' final practice in shells. The squad will wear full pads for the first time when it hits the practice field on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.

"It was a little scary tonight, a lot of contact, lot of guys running into each other," said coach Jim Grobe. "We're trying to keep the guys high and on their feet but we had too many guys on the ground tonight. The good news is that they were getting after each other in a good way. We'll work harder at doing a better job of being physical but at the same time taking care of each other. We had a lot of energy tonight."

Grobe noted that the younger, less-experienced defense rose to the occasion on Tuesday night.

"I thought the defense did some better things today," said Grobe. "The past couple of practices we popped some big plays on offense and the defense kind of kept those in check today. They're moving around better. Some of our young kids, they don't know where to line up or what to do but they're flying around and playing hard so it was fun. It was a fun practice to watch. Usually at the end of finals and summer school the guys start dragging but we didn't today. It will be fun tomorrow to get out and have class behind us and not have to study anything but football for the next couple of weeks."



Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12