ACC: Michael Palmer
2009 overall record: 9-5
2009 conference record: 6-2, Atlantic Division champs
Offense: 7, defense: 6, punter/kicker: 2
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
Among those at the top of his list are the facts that Clemson finished the season ranked, won the Atlantic Division for the first time with the school’s best ACC record since 1991 (6-2), and won a bowl game for the first time since 2005.
It was an impressive season considering the doubt that engulfed the program and the staff at this time a year ago. A young head coach, an even younger offensive coordinator, a new staff and new quarterback had many questioning the direction the program was heading. Now, with the graduation of C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford, who completed their college careers with more all-purpose yardage than any other duo in college football history, the question is whether or not the staff can maintain the standard it set in Year 1.
“If anything, we’ve just wetted our appetite here,” offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. “We’ve smelled the roses to some degree. There’s no complacency here. There’s no loss of an edge – maybe a little less anxious – but at the same time what we did is we’ve positioned ourselves to where we saw what it was about. If anything we’re more driven and more excited and more waking up each day looking for those opportunities to compete and get better.
“We’re the same people we were last year, we just have a year under our belts now and we can go to work and do our jobs,” he said. “Now the question marks are more about our personnel than about us.”
With their first full recruiting class behind them and the task of replacing 10 starters ahead of them – including their leading rusher, receiver and tackler - the 2010 season is a chance for Swinney and his staff to put their stamp on the program. The Tigers are looking for new playmakers, the go-to receiver and a tight end to replace Michael Palmer, who set school records for receptions and reception yards by a tight end.
“There are questions, but I think we have more answers than we did last year,” Swinney said. “… I’d say that we accomplished a lot of our goals, but people don’t want to look at where you came from. We all get greedy. Unless you win the championship, nobody’s happy. You don’t finish the way you want. But at the end of the day, as I evaluate where we are and where we’re going, we did a good job. Hopefully we can take what we’ve built and that foundation and get better this year.”
Is there anything left for this staff to prove? After all, they did take the Tigers to a place their predecessor, Tommy Bowden, was unable to – the ACC title game.
“Until we play in the last game of the season,” said running backs coach Andre Powell, “there’s always something to prove. And then after you do that, you have to prove you can do it again.”
Strongest position: Defensive line
Key returnees: DaQuan Bowers, Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Thompson
Key departures: DE Ricky Sapp
The skinny: Not only do the Tigers return three starters up front, they also welcome back Jamie Cumbie, who was like a fifth starter at defensive tackle, and Andre Branch, who played well at defensive end. Overall, nine defensive linemen return. Not bad for a defense that had a 4-0 record against the ACC’s top four passers and finished 13th in the nation in tackles for loss and second in the ACC in sacks.
Weakest position: Wide receiver
Key returnees: Xavier Dye
Key departures: Jacoby Ford, TE Michael Palmer and RB C.J. Spiller
The skinny: It’s not good when your leading returning receiver has 14 catches, but Dye is the veteran now. Terrence Ashe started some last year and Marquan Jones was Ford’s backup, but didn’t get many opportunities. Two newcomers who might have the chance to play right away are Martavis Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins. One under the radar player is Jaron Brown, who only had three catches last year but has shown the ability for more in practice.
Click here for Boston College.
WHO TO WATCH: C.J. Spiller. It will be his final performance at the collegiate level, and if it’s anything like the way he played in the ACC championship game, you won’t want to miss it. Spiller still has several milestones within reach in this game. He needs one punt or kickoff return for a touchdown to set the NCAA career record. He needs one touchdown to set the school record and three to set the ACC record. He has scored a touchdown in every game this year and needs one more to set the school record for consecutive games with a touchdown. Spiller needs 55 receiving yards to become the first player in ACC history to reach 1000 yards rushing and 500 receiving in the same season.
WHAT TO WATCH: Clemson’s use of tight end Michael Palmer. He’s been an integral part of the offense all season, and Kentucky’s pass defense will do what it can to take speedster Jacoby Ford out of the game. That could force Kyle Parker to get Palmer more involved in the game, and the Tigers will likely try to take advantage of the inexperience of linebacker Jacob Dufrene, who will start in place of the injured Sam Maxwell.
WHY WATCH: The ACC can’t afford another loss to a middle-of-the-pack SEC team, especially if that loss comes to the ACC’s No. 2 team. Clemson enters this game on a two-game losing streak, but has proven this season it is capable of rebounding. Coach Dabo Swinney has reminded his team of their battle back from a 2-3 start which included a loss to Maryland. In order to do it again, they’ll have to play much better on defense, stop the run and win the turnover battle, which they struggled to do in losses to Georgia Tech and rival South Carolina.
PREDICTION: Clemson’s top two playmakers, Spiller and Ford, will be too much for the Wildcats to overcome. The Tigers’ defense will show improvement, and Clemson wins, 31-17.
QB -- Christian Ponder, Florida State
RB -- Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
RB -- Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
WR -- Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech
WR -- Donovan Varner, Duke
TE -- George Bryan, NC State
TE -- Michael Palmer, Clemson
OL -- Jason Fox, Miami
OL -- Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
OL -- Rodney Hudson, Florida State
OL – Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
OL -- Cord Howard, Georgia Tech
K -- Matt Bosher, Miami
Spc -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson
DL -- Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
DL -- Robert Quinn, North Carolina
DL -- Nate Collins, Virginia
DL -- Ricky Sapp, Clemson
LB -- Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech
LB -- Luke Kuechly, Boston College
LB -- Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
LB -- Alex Wujciak, Maryland
CB -- Kendric Burney, North Carolina
CB -- Brandon Harris, Miami
S -- DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
S -- Deunta Williams, North Carolina
P -- Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech
Clemson only needed seven plays to score on that drive, and Spiller capped it off with a three-yard run, but that was a good mix-up of play-calling by Billy Napier. He got it to the tight end, Michael Palmer, he got it to Jacoby Ford, and he got it to Spiller. That will win you some games.
It was the 13th straight game in which Spiller has scored a touchdown. That ties the school record. It was just the second time this year Clemson has scored on the opening drive.
QB: Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech (50)
RB: Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (67)
RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (63)
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (63)
WR: Donovan Varner, Duke (50)
TE: George Bryan, NC State (39)
TE: Michael Palmer, Clemson (39)
OT: Jason Fox, Miami (57)
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (53)
OG: Rodney Hudson, Florida State (54)
OG: Cord Howard, Georgia Tech (47)
C: Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (45)
K: Matt Waldron, Virginia Tech (27)
K: Matt Bosher, Miami (27)
Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (76)
DE: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (76)
DE: Robert Quinn, North Carolina (69)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (47)
DT: Allen Bailey, Miami (38)
LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (65)
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College (53)
LB: Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (44)
LB: Alex Wujciak, Maryland (44)
CB: Kendric Burney, North Carolina (59)
CB: Brandon Harris, Miami (41)
S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (57)
S: Deunta Williams, North Carolina (53)
P: Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (57)
QB: Thaddeus Lewis, Duke (18)
RB: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (62)
RB: Montel Harris, Boston College (39)
WR: Torrey Smith, Maryland (25)
WR: Jacoby Ford, Clemson (24)
TE: Greg Boone, Virginia Tech (16)
OT: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech (31)
OT: Chris Hairston, Clemson (26)
OG: Thomas Austin, Clemson (39)
OG: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech (37)
C: Matt Tennant, Boston College (29)
K: Casey Barth, North Carolina (21)
K: Will Snyderwine, Duke (21)
Spc: Torrey Smith, Maryland (17)
DE: Ricky Sapp, Clemson (29)
DE: Willie Young, NC State (24)
DE: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (24)
DT: Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)
DT: John Russell, Wake Forest (29)
LB: Vincent Rey, Duke (29)
LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami (21)
LB: Bruce Carter, North Carolina (17)
LB: Colin McCarthy, Miami (17)
LB: Dekoda Watson, Florida State (17)
CB: Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (26)
CB: Patrick Robinson, Florida State (26)
S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (51)
S: Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech (24)
P: Matt Bosher, Miami (37)
- Just when you thought Maryland couldn't lose anything else this year, the Terps lost their punter to a worse-than-expected finger injury.
- Thaddeus Lewis would like to beat Jacory Harris on Saturday, but he would also like to see his friend learn from his mistakes.
- Russell Wilson or Tyrod Taylor? The Hokies made their choice long ago, and it could prove to pay off longer than if they had chosen the dual-sport star.
- Clemson tight end Michael Palmer is a tough guy who has been determined to prove doubters wrong about his potential.
- It can never hurt to have the governor on your side, even when you're Bobby Bowden. Or, in this case, especially when you're Bobby Bowden.
- As Mickey Andrews prepares to coach his final home game after 26 years at FSU, former players fondly recall his tough love lessons.
- Miami will be without wide receiver Thearon Collier for the Duke game, the Sun-Sentinel is reporting.
- Cody Grimm is a funny guy. He's not laughing as much anymore, though, about a possible future in the NFL.
- Home-field advantage didn't mean much last weekend in the ACC.
- BC quarterback Dave Shinskie wants to help send the seniors out on a winning note.
I think I actually have them all this week ...
DE Alex Albright (ankle)
OT Rich Lapham (shoulder)
LB Mike McLaughlin (leg)
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)
RB Rolandan Finch (illness)
Out for Season
J.K. Jay, OT, back
Scotty Cooper, LB, Concussion
Michael Palmer, TE, Concussion
Kantrell Brown, S, Concussion
RB Re'quan Boyette (knee) -- Questionable
CB Lee Butler (leg) -- Doubtful
LB Abraham Kromah (leg) -- OUT
WR Tyree Watkins (leg) -- OUT
RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT FOR SEASON
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASON
Out for the season
44 LB Maurice Harris (neck)
81 TE Caz Piurowski (knee)
28 CB Dionte Allen (thumb)
76 OT Garrett Faircloth (hip)
70 OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)
51 LB Aaron Gresham (knee)
97 DT Demonte McAllister (knee)
74 OT John Prior (knee)
72 DT Budd Thacker (knee)
11 LB Vince Williams (back)
27 CB Xavier Rhodes (thumb)
21 CB Patrick Robinson (ankle)
9 WR Richard Goodman (groin)
26 RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)
94 DT Justin Mincey (knee)
36 LB Dekoda Watson (groin)
Kevin Cone, r-Jr., WR (ankle)
Robert Hall, r-Jr., DE (knee)
Cooper Taylor, So., S (undisclosed)
Julian Burnett, Fr., LB (knee)
Out For Season
Kyle Jackson, r-So., LB (foot)
OL Joel Figueroa – Upper Extremity
K Matt Bosher - Illness
DB Ray-Ray Armstrong – Lower Extremity
FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity
RB Javarris James – Lower Extremity
DL Eric Moncur – Lower Extremity
DB JoJo Nicolas – Lower Extremity
LB Sean Spence – Lower Extremity
Surgery and Out for the Season
DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity
DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity
LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity
TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity
LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity
DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity
DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity
DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw
OUT FOR SEASON
Mario Carter, TE - knee
Ryan Cheek, LB - hip
Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder
Nate Irving, LB - leg
Colby Jackson, FB - knee
Everett Proctor, QB – shoulder
Jeff Rieskamp, DE – sports hernia
Rashard Smith, CB - knee
Javon Walker, S – knee
James Washington, HB - knee
T.J. Graham, WR/RET – leg
Ray Michel, LB - ankle
Jesse Riley, DB - knee
Dwayne Maddox will start at middle linebacker in place of Michel; Clem Johnson, Jamelle Eugene and Donald Bowens will return punts/kicks.
Aaron Clark (knee)
Matt Conrath (ankle)
Oday Aboushi (knee)
Landon Bradey (knee)
Darren Childs (leg)
Nate Collins (leg)
Cam Johnson (knee)
Corey Mosley (shoulder)
Brandon Woods (shoulder)
Out for Season
WR Terence Davis (knee)
DE Kyle Wilber
Don't blink, or you'll miss something in Miami. Turnovers have been killing Miami in this game -- Jacory Harris already has three of the four -- but somehow they keep finding a way to compensate for their mistakes. Immediately after throwing an interception for a touchdown, Harris found Travis Benjamin for a 69-yard touchdown to take back the lead, 34-31. It's been a hard-hitting, physical game, as several key players like Clemson tight end Michael Palmer have been left dazed and confused. Miami's linebackers are in short supply.
This seems like the kind of game where whoever has the ball last will win. Miami has racked up 405 yards so far on the same Clemson defense that held Boston College to 54, but the Canes can't afford anymore turnovers if they want to hang onto this lead. The Tigers have found an answer to their woes at wide receiver, and it's been C.J. Spiller and Palmer. Win or lose, Clemson made a statement today.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The weekly injury reports have all come in (some come in much later than others, which is why I wait until Friday mornings to do this). If you don't see 'em, they weren't sent. Maryland will miss Bruce Campbell again, Duke has a handful of key players who could miss the game at Kansas, including Vince Oghobaasse, Virginia is likely to be without Vic Hall, and Boston College will be without defensive tackle Damik Scafe. Not good news for any of those teams. It looks like UNC might -- might -- get Jonathan Cooper back on the offensive line. That would be a huge help.
Here are the full reports:
FB James McCluskey (Achilles) – OUT
LB Will Thompson (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) – DOUBTFUL
LB Mike McLaughlin (Achilles) – DOUBTFUL
DT Damik Scafe (Neck/Shoulder) – DOUBTFULCLEMSON
Out for the Season
J.K. Jay, OT, back
Michael Palmer, TE, hipDUKE
RB Re'quan Boyette (ankle) -- Probable
TE Danny Parker (ankle) -- Probable
RB Jay Hollingsworth (ankle) -- Questionable
DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Questionable
WR Conner Vernon (ankle) -- Doubtful
RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT
CB Randez James (hand) -- OUT
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASONFLORIDA STATE
OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (knee)
DT Demonte McAllister (knee)
DT Justin Mincey (knee)
OT John Prior (knee)
LB Vince Williams (back)
RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)MARYLAND
Out for season:
Nolan Carroll (leg)
Louis Berman (leg)
Bruce Campbell (foot)
Jamari McCollough (foot)
Caleb Porzel (leg)
Joe Vellano (foot)
Tony Logan (shoulder)NORTH CAROLINA
Carl Gaskins OL Knee
Matt Merletti S Knee
Lowell Dyer C Shoulder
Dwight Jones WR Knee
Zack Pianalto TE Foot
Ryan Taylor TE Knee
Linwan Euwell LB Ankle
LeCount Fantroy CB Thigh
Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle
Devon Ramsay RB ThighNC STATE
OUT FOR SEASON
Mario Carter, TE - knee
Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder
Nate Irving, LB - leg
Colby Jackson, FB - knee
Everett Proctor, QB - shoulder
Jamelle Eugene, HB - knee
Clem Johnson, S - thigh
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - hip
Jay Smith, WR - flu
Jake Vermiglio, OT - lower leg
Javon Walker, DB - knee
Julian Williams, OG/OT - flu
Johnson will be replaced by either Brandan Bishop or Justin Byers; Williams will be replaced by Andrew Wallace.VIRGINIA
Bobby Smith (knee)
Vic Hall (hip)
Mikell Simpson (leg)
Denzel Burrell (hip)
BJ Cabbell (ankle)
Nate Collins (knee)
Matt Conrath (spine)
Chris Cook (hip)
John-Kevin Dolce (foot)
Ausar Walcott (knee)VIRGINIA TECH
Greg Boone (SC joint sprain) - probable
Stephan Virgil (knee) - questionable
Posted by ESPN.com'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.
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."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here's what came in from Clemson's sports information office Thursday night:
Dabo Swinney put his team through a near three-hour practice on Thursday afternoon at the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. He finished the practice with a four-period (20 minute) offense vs. defense competition. There was no tackling, but it was a good opportunity to have the team work on their assignments.
"We had a good day of practice," said Swinney. "The receivers showed progress today. There is a strong competition going on. Jacoby Ford is obviously the leader, but Marquan Jones has done very well and is poised to have a standout year. Kyle Johnson made a nice catch on a long pass today from Willy Korn. Terrence Ashe has looked good as well. The receivers are competing hard."
Swinney was again impressed with Rendrick Taylor today.
"He stood out again today. He is really a load to tackle, but he is light on his feet. He will see action at a number of positions. He ran hard today. Dwayne Allen also stood out at tight end. He caught a long pass from Taj Boyd and made some other nice catches.
"On defense, Scott Cooper made some plays in coverage situations and DeAndre McDaniel had an interception on a pass over the middle."
Swinney also said the punting game was good today.
"Both Dawson Zimmerman and Richard Jackson had a good day punting the ball. They had hang time between 4.6 and 4.7 and that is what you want. We should be good on special teams overall. With C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford we should have the best return combination in the country."
Swinney stayed after to practice as he is looking for a backup snapper and backup holder. Freshman Matt Skinner is the first team snapper and has done well, and Mike Wade is the first team holder. Among the snapper prospects is tight end Michael Palmer. Kyle Parker worked as a holder during that session.
Offensive tackle J.K. Jay and preseason All-ACC wide receiver Jacoby Ford were the only players who missed practice due to injury. Jay is out with a back injury and Ford has a hamstring injury. Both ran on the side during the practice.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here's a quick wrap-up from scrimmages around the ACC today. The information is from each school's sports information director:
Running backs Jamie Harper, Andre Ellington, Rendrick Taylor and Ronald Watson Jr. combined for 200 yards rushing on 36 carries and quarterbacks Willy Korn and Kyle Parker combined to throw five touchdown passes during a two-and-a-half hour scrimmage at Clemson Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.
It was the first stadium scrimmage for Clemson. The spring game will be held on April 11 at 1 p.m.
"The offense scored two touchdowns on the first two possessions on 70-yard drives, but the defense came back later in the scrimmage," coach Dabo Swinney said. "The defense had the upper hand in most of our practices up until today, so it was good to see the offense have strong performance today. Overall I was pleased with the effort, but we still have a lot to work on."
Swinney singled out some performances after the scrimmage.
"I thought both quarterbacks played well today. Willy Korn and Kyle Parker both managed the offense in difficult weather conditions and made some plays. I don't know who our starting quarterback will be in the opener, but I am confident we will have a talented player under center.
"The running backs played well. Rendrick Taylor had a good day running the ball. He is going to help us. He really ran hard and broke some tackles. I have been looking for a wide receiver to step up and make a play and Marquan Jones did that with a touchdown catch on the first possession. Marcus Gilchrist made an outstanding play on an interception late in the scrimmage."
Korn completed 4 of 9 passes for 42 yards, but two went for touchdowns, a 28-yard score to Jones and a 3-yard pass to Michael Palmer in a goal-line situation.
Parker completed 5 of 12 passes for 87 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his scores went to fullback Chad Diehl, one of 43 yards on a swing pass on the sidelines, and one on a 4-yard score. He also threw a 14-yard scoring pass to freshman tight end Dwayne Allen. Michael Wade was 4 of 11 for 35 yards through the air in the difficult weather conditions.
Jamie Harper led the running backs with 11 rushes for 57 yards. He scored on a 25-yard run during the regular part of the scrimmage and scored three times from the 1 on fourth-and-goal situations at the conclusion of the scrimmage.
The top receiver was Diehl with two catches for 47 yards. Jones had 2 for 27 and freshman Jaron Brown had 2 for 13 yards and added an 11-yard run on a reverse.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Tig Willard was the top tackler with seven, while Jamie Cumbie and DeAndre McDaniel had six apiece. Andre Branch had four tackles including two for loss, one a sack. Coty Sensabaugh had two pass deflections, Tarik Rollins had a fumble recovery and Marcus Gilchrist had an interception.
Quarterbacks Thaddeus Lewis and Sean Renfree combined to complete 17 of 29 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown to highlight Duke's 50-play football scrimmage on Saturday morning at Brooks Field.
"We had a lot of intensity today," coach David Cutcliffe said. "Thad Lewis and Sean Renfree were both very, very efficient. I was disappointed that we dropped the football in the passing game. Thad made some unbelievable throws. It's disappointing because we would have thought, as a staff, that we're further along. I thought the defense tackled well. I was really proud of our defensive front. The play along the line of scrimmage was crisp. It looked like real football.
"What a difference a year makes. A year ago I would go back into my office, take about an hour shower to recover emotionally, and today I think I can be a little normal. It did look like football out here."
Lewis was 10-of-20 through the air for 109 yards including a 42-yard touchdown to Donovan Varner. Renfree completed 7 of 9 throws for 39 yards. Running back Cameron Jones led all receivers with five catches for 31 yards.
Patrick Kurunwune led with 23 yards on seven attempts including a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
"We'll look at the tape," said Cutcliffe. "It's never as good as you think and never as bad as you think. We'll learn from it."
There were four, 10-minute running quarters. The offense scored 51 points, the defense scored three.
First downs: 17 (6 rushing, 11 passing, 2 penalties)
Rushing: (33 attempts, 158 gained, 27 lost, 131 total)
Passing: (38 attempts, 26 completions, 275 yards, 1 INT)
Offensive plays: (71)
Net yards: (406, 5.7 avg)
Return yards: (25)
RUSHING: Damien Berry 14-114, 1 TD, 54 long; Mike James 6-14, 1 TD,
PASSING: Jacory Harris 9-16, 141 yards, 1 INT, Long 33; Taylor Cook 11-14, 103, 34 long; Cannon Smith 6-8-, 31, 1 TD, 8 long.
RECEIVING: Thearon Collier 5-65, long 26; Aldarius Johnson 4-23, long 8; John Calhoun 3-13, 1 TD, long 5;
DEFENSIVE STATISTICS (Solo Tackles-Assisted-Total): Chavez Grant 3-2-5, 1 PBU; JoJo Nicholas 0-4-4; Kylan Robinson 1-3-4; Jordan Futch 1-2-3, 1 TFL, 1 PBU; Sean Spence 2-1-3, 1 TFL; Olivier Vernon 2-2-4, 1 sack (-5); Brandon Harris 3-1-4, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
FIELD GOALS: Jake Wieclaw 1-2 (made 41, miss 22)
INTERCEPTIONS: Randy Phillips 1-25
FUMBLES/LOST: Graig Cooper 1-0
Dwight Jones -- 3 for 61 yards
Joshua Adams -- 3 for 20 yards
Womble - 3 for 12 yards
Herman Davidson (LB) -- 6 tackles
Dion Guy (LB) -- 4 tackles
Kennedy Tinsley (LB) -- 4 tackles
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