ACC: Tig Willard

Clemson Tigers spring wrap

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
11:00
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2012 record: 11-2
2012 conference record: 7-1 (Atlantic Division co-champs)
Returning starters: offense: 6; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners:

QB Tajh Boyd, WR Sammy Watkins, T Brandon Thomas, WR Charone Peake, WR Martavis Bryant, DE Vic Beasley, DE Corey Crawford, LB Stephone Anthony, S Travis Blanks, LB Spencer Shuey; K Chandler Catanzaro

Key losses:

WR DeAndre Hopkins, RB Andre Ellington, TE Brandon Ford, C Dalton Freeman, WR Jaron Brown, DE Malliciah Goodman, CB Xavier Brewer, CB Rashard Hall, SS Jonathan Meeks, LB Tig Willard, P Spencer Benton

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Ellington (1,081 yards)
Passing: Boyd* (3,896 yards)
Receiving: Hopkins (1,405 yards)
Tackles: Willard (95)
Sacks: Beasley* (8)
Interceptions: Hall (4)

Spring answers

1. Freshman phenom at tight end: Jordan Leggett enrolled in January, and not a moment too soon. Sam Cooper tore his ACL, an injury that opened the door for Leggett, who had a fantastic spring. He had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, and he was impressive in the last two scrimmages. He’s not listed as the starter yet, but he is good enough to get there by the opener against Georgia.

2. Beasley’s a beast. He led the team with eight sacks last year, but really showed consistency in the spring. Twice had interceptions of Boyd where he made athletic plays, and he had 10 sacks in the three scrimmages. Clemson is in need of a big-play guy on defense, and Beasley could be it.

3. Solid behind Boyd. Clemson has found a No. 2 quarterback in Cole Stoudt, who threw for 304 yards in the first half of the Tigers’ spring game. He hardly played in the second half. The depth of the position took a hit when Chad Kelly was injured, but now the backup quarterback question has an answer.

Fall questions

1. Unsettled secondary. The cornerback position is a particular area of concern, but with eight true freshmen joining the team this August, the entire group could look different this summer. It wouldn’t be surprising to see at least four of those rookies earn playing time this fall, especially prized recruit Mackensie Alexander, who was the program’s highest-rated signee since former defensive end Da'Quan Bowers.

2. Center of attention: The Tigers will miss Dalton Freeman, who started 49 straight games at center. Ryan Norton is the new starter, but there’s no replacing the experience Freeman had with making all of the blocking calls and the chemistry he developed with Boyd.

3. Spotlight on Sammy: Watkins is moving to Hopkins’ old position, and all eyes will be watching to see if he looks like the same player who caught the nation’s attention as a true freshman in 2011. So far, so good. Watkins had 156 receiving yards in the spring game and looked like old Sammy.
It’s time for Clemson fans to be reintroduced to the 2011 recruiting class -- a class that was highlighted by the two best high school linebackers in the country.

Clemson’s 2011 recruiting class drew rave reviews for the signatures of Tony Steward, the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country, and Stephone Anthony, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the class.

This could be the year Clemson’s linebackers finally make headlines again.

Steward is entering his third season in the program, but as far as defensive coordinator Brent Venables is concerned, Steward is still a freshman. Because of back-to-back ACL injuries, Steward has yet to have an opportunity to show why he was such a highly touted recruit. This year should be different -- not only for Steward, but for the entire group of linebackers, which is expected to be the highlight of Clemson’s defense this year. It’s a deep and talented group that is still relatively unknown, but could produce some household names -- and reintroduce a few others like Steward -- this fall.

[+] EnlargeSpencer Shuey
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesSpencer Shuey, left, is part of a Clemson linebacking unit that coordinator Brent Venables is expecting to lead an improved defense this coming season.
“It took us a little while to get settled in, but just gaining the experience, coming back from last year, we’ve got guys that are athletic, they’re disruptive, guys who can run, strike and also have a good grasp of what we’re doing,” said Venables, who is entering his second season as the Tigers’ coordinator. “We’ve got good chemistry in that group. We’ve got good quality depth, guys that probably haven’t been on the field much, but we feel good about regardless, guys like Tony Steward and Kellen Jones.

“They’ll be the leaders on our defense,” Venables said of the linebackers. “The guys have great respect for them, they all like to work, they’ve got a good chemistry about them, as well as ability.”

Clemson’s defense must replace 2012 leading tackler Tig Willard, arguably the most consistent linebacker on the team, who had 95 stops and a team-best 10.5 tackles for loss. There are plenty of options, though, and Venables began preparing them for the opportunity last November, as he rotated at least nine linebackers for about 8-15 snaps each over the course of the final three or four games.

This season, senior Spencer Shuey returns as the team’s leading tackler, and he’s a player who quietly improved and became a major contributor last year. Shuey had just 17 tackles over the first five games of 2012, but he finished the season with 93 tackles -- not bad, considering Willard played 181 more snaps over the course of the season. Venables said Shuey is a very instinctive player who “plays faster than he probably tests,” takes the right angles, doesn’t make mistakes, anticipates plays, and is smart enough that he can keep pace with some of the more athletic opponents.

“He’s invaluable,” Venables said. “When he’s out there, we play well.”

Clemson has only six starters returning on defense, and just two of the top six tacklers return, but Venables said he is confident in the depth and talent that returns at linebacker to anchor the defense.

Anthony had 77 tackles in just 459 snaps, an average of a tackle every six plays. Senior Quandon Christian also has significant experience. He started seven games last season, and had 40 tackles in 447 plays. He was a big factor in midseason wins against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech with 14 combined tackles. The staff is also excited about Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma.

B.J. Goodson is another option from the 2011 class. He was rated the No. 29 outside linebacker that year. He is big, strong, instinctive, and can play fast. Steward has made the most of the few opportunities he has had. He had 26 tackles last season, including a team-best 12 on special teams. He averaged a tackle every 5.2 plays on defensive scrimmage plays.

“I really feel good about his improvement and his understanding and just getting his strength and explosiveness back and understanding what we’re doing,” Venables said. “I’ve had a number of guys in the years I’ve coached who have torn their knees up, and it takes one solid year to get back to whatever they were prior to the injury, and he had back-to-back injuries without ever really having any kind of foundation here in college. It’s just maturity and understanding, experience and playing, but to me he’s like a freshman. It’s unfortunate. He wanted to play last year, was the consummate optimist. But that’s water under the bridge now. Hopefully some of the experience he’s able to gain will pay off.”

Just like Clemson fans expected it would in 2011.

Week 4 injury reports

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
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Here are the ACC injury reports for Week 4 from the schools that emailed them:

CLEMSON

Out
Probable
Practice note: Coach Dabo Swinney said redshirt freshman Eric Mac Lain has begun to work at offensive guard in addition to tight end. He will be an offensive guard full time at some point this season, but in the short term will continue to play the tight end position in games.

DUKE

PROBABLE
QUESTIONABLE
OUT
OUT FOR SEASON
FLORIDA STATE

OUT
OUT FOR THE SEASON
MARYLAND

OUT FOR SEASON
OUT
QUESTIONABLE
PROBABLE
MIAMI

Out
Surgery/Out for the season:
VIRGINIA TECH

Out for Season
Out
Probable
The jokes about the Clemson defense began during the Orange Bowl and have kept on rolling.

The most stale line by far: "Wait. I think West Virginia just scored again."

The Tigers have heard them all after a 70-33 loss to the Mountaineers on the biggest stage of the season. But there is nobody laughing in Clemson.

With a new defensive coordinator in Brent Venables and a new season ahead, there would be no better way to make the jokes stop than with an impressive performance against Auburn in the opener Saturday. This group simply cannot afford anything less.

[+] EnlargeRashard Hall
Douglas Jones/US PresswireRashard Hall (31) and the Clemson defense are looking to move on from the Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.
"I'm ready for a new beginning," safety Rashard Hall said.

He is not the only one. Questions about this defense have trailed Clemson since the final seconds ticked away in Miami, becoming a dominant storyline going into this season. Coach Dabo Swinney promptly fired Kevin Steele after the loss and brought in Venables, whose impeccable credentials at Oklahoma alone give the Tigers an upgrade.

The reviews so far have been extremely flattering.

"He brings a lot of excitement, a lot of energy. ... Brent Venables is one of the best coaches I've ever had," Hall said. "Just the way he leads, his enthusiasm. He is real purposeful and a get-after-it kind of guy. We have all really responded to that."

Linebacker Corico Wright told local reporters: "We love what Coach Venables has brought to the table for us, what he's asked us to do. He has a lot of energy. He's a teacher, he makes sure we know what we're doing. From a defense standpoint, you see guys attacking the football whether it's in the air or on the ground, that's going to be the biggest difference for us this year."

The first order of business for Venables is rebuilding up front. With Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson gone, Malliciah Goodman is the lone returning starter on the defensive line and must take the next step in his development to carry this team. He is just about the only certainty along the line.

Grady Jarrett, DeShawn Williams and Corey Crawford are all sophomores and expected to start, with Josh Watson and Vic Beasley also expected to be big contributors. There are going to be changes at linebacker, as well, with the emergence of Quandon Christian and true freshman Travis Blanks. Wright is playing outside behind Tig Willard, after Stephone Anthony emerged in the middle last year.

Then, in the secondary, Hall, Xavier Brewer and Jonathan Meeks will all play at safety, and Darius Robinson takes over for Coty Sensabaugh at cornerback. Swinney was asked this week for his thoughts on who would emerge as a defensive playmaker this year, and he essentially said that was a large unknown.

The answers will start to come Saturday.

"There’ll be some good, there’ll be some bad," Venables told reporters in Clemson. "That’s what this season is about. The best teams I’ve had have gotten better over the course of the year. You find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Game day is part of that process. Putting guys in the right spots, hopefully we’ve been able to identify that but maybe after the first game it isn’t what you thought it was. Hopefully at the end of the day there’ll be more passing grades than not. That means you played well. You want to see your guys play with great discipline, toughness and effort. You have that, you have a strong foundation."

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage reports

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
10:00
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Not every school in the ACC gives scrimmage reports, but for those that do, I'll gladly post the highlights. Here's a look back at what happened in the ACC this weekend, according to each school's report:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Offensive highlights: Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 6 of 10 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown -- a 15-yard pass to running back Rolandan Finch, who also had eight carries for 37 yards. Freshman Harrison Jackson led the receivers with five receptions for 50 yards.

Defensive highlights: Defensive end Brian Mihalik had two tackles for a loss of 10 yards, including a sack. Senior captain Jim Noel had the lone interception.

Special-teams highlights: Kicker Nate Freese made all three of his field-goal attempts -- 30, 35 and 25 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good start, good first series and then it tailed off,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “We got soft and had some execution issues, but in general the scrimmage gives us a good idea where we’re at right and we’ll look to improve for the next one.”

CLEMSON

Offensive highlights: Sophomore receiver Charone Peake caught three passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns -- one a six-yarder from Cole Stoudt, the other 37 yards from Morgan Roberts. (Six quarterbacks got reps.) Jaron Brown caught the other touchdown pass of the scrimmage, a 56-yarder from first-team quarterback Tajh Boyd. Sammy Watkins had two receptions for 35 yards, the first two completions on the first drive of the scrimmage from Boyd. Boyd finished 5-for-10 for 105 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He also had a 32-yard rushing touchdown. Rod McDowell was the top rusher with nine attempts for 46 yards. Clemson’s running backs tallied 109 yards on 22 carries on the day, nearly a 5.0 average per carry. Andre Ellington played sparingly to give the other young backs some experience.

Defensive highlights: Xavier Brewer had seven tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. Kellen Jones, a transfer from Oklahoma who is not eligible this season, added six tackles, including two for loss, while Jonathan Meeks had five tackles. Tig Willard had three tackles and one of his two pass deflections led to an interception.

Special-teams highlights: Spencer Benton made a 55-yard field goal. Chandler Catanzaro made three of his four attempts, from 36, 39 and 41 yards.

Quotable: “It was a good first scrimmage,” said coach Dabo Swinney. “We made some mistakes, but they are correctable. I thought the defense played well. We saw a lot of activity around the ball. Xavier Brewer had a good scrimmage, as did Lateek Townsend. He was involved in three sacks and that was big.

“We have made good progress this first week. There is still much to do, but I like the attitude of this team. They come to work. They go about their business.”

MIAMI

Offensive highlights: Mike James rushed for a team-high 137 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, including a 51-yard burst down the sideline. Duke Johnson had 49 yards on nine carries and four touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving. He took a screen pass from Stephen Morris 37 yards for a score.

Morris and Ryan Williams showed good footwork to elude pressure in the pocket and scramble for yards when needed. Morris completed 24 of 36 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns, with one interception. Williams threw for 121 yards and three scores on 12-of-17 passing.

Johnson led all receivers with 44 yards. Malcolm Lewis caught three passes for 42 yards, while Kendal Thompkins hauled in a team-best five catches for 22 yards.

Defensive highlights: A.J. Highsmith had a team-high nine tackles, while Tyrone Cornileus, Tracy Howard and Ramon Buchanan all recorded seven tackles apiece. Anthony Chickillo, JaWand Blue and Cornileus each recorded a sack.

Quotable: “We’ve been saying it all camp: Mike [James] looks quicker,” coach Al Golden said. “He has always been strong but now he looks healthy.

“[Duke Johnson] found [the end zone] a couple of times today. He has a low center of gravity and a knack for diving and finding the end zone.”

ACC announces players of the week

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
1:03
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Here are the ACC's players of the week, as written and announced by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK – Sean Renfree, Duke, QB, Jr., 6-5, 225, Scottsdale, Az.

Renfree completed 28-of-43 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and led Duke to a 31-27 come-from-behind road win against FIU. He directed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help erase a 10-point deficit in the final 12 minutes -- the 12th largest second half rally in school history and largest since 1989. His 43 pass attempts without an interception marks the ninth-highest single-game total in school history, and he engineered a Duke offense that did not turn the ball over.

RECEIVER – Chris Givens, Wake Forest, WR, Jr., 6-0, 195, Wylie, Tx.

Givens caught seven passes for 132 yards and one touchdown in Wake Forest’s 27-19 win against Boston College on Saturday. Givens caught a 47-yard scoring pass from Tanner Price early in the third quarter. Givens also caught a 36-yard pass from flanker Michael Campanaro that set up Wake Forest’s final field goal. Givens made the catch despite triple coverage and a defensive pass interference call against BC. Givens’ 498 yards receiving through four games is the most ever by a Wake Forest receiver through four games.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Laken Tomlinson, Duke, G, Fr., 6-3, 310, Chicago, Ill.

Tomlinson was a key member of Duke’s offensive line that yielded zero sacks against an FIU defense that entered the game ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.75). The offensive line successfully protected Renfree and opened holes for Juwan Thompson’s two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Andre Branch, Clemson, DE, Sr., 6-5, 260, Richmond, Va.

Branch had 11 tackles, three sacks and five total tackles for loss in Clemson’s victory against Virginia Tech last week. He led the team in all three areas and also had three quarterback pressures. His tackle total, sack total and tackles for loss total were all career highs. His five tackles for loss tied a Clemson record for tackles for loss in a game by a defensive lineman and was tied for second most by any player in Clemson history. Branch was a big reason Virginia Tech scored just three points. It was the first time since 1995 that Virginia Tech did not score a touchdown at home and tied for the largest margin of defeat for the Hokies at home in 20 years.

LINEBACKER – Tig Willard, Clemson, LB, Jr., 6-2, 220, Loris, S.C.

Willard had nine tackles, including seven first hits and a tackle for loss to key Clemson’s second line of defense in the Tigers 23-3 win at Virginia Tech. Willard was a big reason Clemson held Virginia Tech to just three points and just 258 yards of total offense. Clemson held Virginia Tech without a touchdown at home for the first time since 1995.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Tim Scott, North Carolina, CB, Fr., 5-11, 180, Fredericksburg, Va.

Cornerback Tim Scott tied for the team lead with nine tackles and intercepted a pass in the East Carolina red zone and broke up another pass in North Carolina’s 35-20 win at East Carolina. After the interception, the Tar Heels scored two plays later to take an early 7-0 lead.

ROOKIE – Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, TB, Fr., 5-10, 205, Davie, Fla.

Redshirt freshman tailback Giovani Bernard rushed for 146 yards on a career-high 24 carries and scored a touchdown in Carolina's 35-20 win against ECU. He became the first UNC player to rush for 100 yards in three straight games since Natrone Means in 1992. Bernard had 102 vs. Virginia (Sept. 17) and 155 at Georgia Tech (Sept. 24). Bernard, the leading freshman rusher in the nation, is averaging 109.6 rushing yards and has 548 yards on 78 carries. Bernard had 113 of his 146 yards in the first half as Carolina built a 28-3 halftime lead. Bernard now has seven rushing touchdowns, which equals the total of last year's leading rusher Johnny White.

SPECIALIST – Justin Moore, Georgia Tech, PK, So., 5-10, 171, Atlanta, Ga.

Moore made all six PATs, but it was his 40-yard field goal with 5:38 remaining that helped seal Georgia Tech’s 45-35 win against NC State on Saturday.

Weekend rewind: Scrimmage highlights

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
9:00
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A look back at the ACC's weekend scrimmages, according to each team's practice reports:

BOSTON COLLEGE

The Eagles had their third scrimmage of summer camp on Sunday evening at Alumni Stadium.

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Chase Rettig completed 11 of 22 passes for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
  • Rettig’s touchdown was a 44-yard pass to wide receiver Alex Amidon. Amidon finished with three receptions for a scrimmage-high 91 yards.
  • Tailback Rolandan Finch carried the ball 13 times for 44 yards while Andre Williams recorded seven rushes for 42 yards, including an 18-yard gain in the scrimmage’s opening series. Tahj Kimble rushed five times for 13 yards. Williams participation was cut short after seven carries because of an ankle injury.
  • Receiver Colin Larmond, Jr. had three receptions for 48 yards, and sophomore Bobby Swigert caught three passes for 22 yards.
Defensive highlights:
  • Linebacker Nick Clancy highlighted the team’s defensive effort, recording five tackles -- including four tackles for loss -- and one pass break-up.
  • Linebacker Andre Lawrence also had five tackles while sophomore defensive back C.J. Jones recorded four. Junior end Max Holloway had two sacks and linebackers Luke Kuechly, Jake Sinkovec and Will Thompson all finished the scrimmage with three tackles apiece.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore kickers Nate Freese connected on a 52-yard field goal attempt. Freese also connected from 27 yards while his opening attempt of the scrimmage (from 39 yards) missed.
CLEMSON

The Tigers had a 75-play scrimmage on Saturday morning.

Offensive highlights:
  • Quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 8-of-14 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, a 19-yard pass to redshirt freshman tight end Sam Cooper. Boyd had one interception, his first of the August scrimmages in Memorial Stadium.
  • Backup quarterback Cole Stoudt, who played against the first-team defense the entire day, was 4-of-12 for 57 yards. He threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Ford. It was the third straight scrimmage that Ford caught a touchdown pass.
  • D.J. Howard was the top rusher in the scrimmage, carrying eight times for 53 yards, and Andre Ellington finished with 37 yards on four attempts. He did not play after the opening drive.
  • Fifteen different players caught at least one pass and no one caught more than two. Dwayne Allen and DeAndre Hopkins both had two catches for 29 yards. Will Harrison had the longest catch of the day, a 31-yard reception from Tony McNeal.
Defensive highlights:
  • The first-team defense allowed just one touchdown, and that came in an overtime simulation.
  • Andre Branch had four tackles, including three tackles for loss, and a sack. Defensive end Mallicah Goodman added two sacks.
  • Tig Willard and Kantrell Brown had interceptions, and Cortez Davis caused a fumble.
Special teams highlights:
  • Sophomore kicker Chandler Catanzaro was 6-for-6 kicking field goals and extra points.
Notable:
  • Sammy Watkins missed the scrimmage with a hip injury. He is expected to return to practice on Monday. Brandon Thompson and Mike Bellamy also missed the scrimmage with minor injuries and are expected to return on Monday. Running back Demont Buice missed the scrimmage with a foot injury. Starting offensive guard Antoine McClain missed the scrimmage because of a death in his family and Bryce McNeal was out with the flu.
DUKE

The Blue Devils held a 100-snap scrimmage on Friday night at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Offensive highlights:
  • Running back Josh Snead carried the ball seven times for 45 yards with a 13-yard touchdown run and a 13-yard touchdown reception. Juwan Thompson led the team with 71 yards on five carries, including a 47-yard touchdown run. Junior Desmond Scott added 35 yards on five attempts.
  • Sean Renfree completed 16-of-25 throws for 155 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. After making just one of his first five attempts, Renfree reeled off 11 consecutive completions, including the 13-yard touchdown toss to Snead and a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout Brandon Braxton.
  • Receiver Conner Vernon had three receptions for a scrimmage-best 51 yards with all three catches producing first downs.
Defensive highlights:
  • Redshirt freshman defensive end Dezmond Johnson returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown.
  • Linebacker Kyler Brown recovered a fumble.
Special teams highlights:
  • Redshirt senior kicker Will Snyderwine made three field goals covering 26, 37 and 47 yards.
GEORGIA TECH

Offensive highlights:
  • The Yellow Jackets scored three touchdowns on rushing attempts by three different quarterbacks. Tevin Washington directed the first-team offense and his scoring play -- a 36-yard scamper after faking the pitch -- was one of the offensive highlights of the day. Redshirt freshman quarterback Synjyn Days also scored a touchdown on an eight-yard run and true freshman Vad Lee plunged in the end zone from the 1-yard line.
Defensive highlights:
  • Sophomore Isaiah Johnson intercepted a Vad Lee pass. Senior outside linebacker Steven Sylvester forced and recovered fumbles. Linebacker Malcolm Munroe also had a fumble recovery and linebacker B.J. Machen recorded a sack.
Notable:
  • Paul Johnson indicated that David Sims, a converted quarterback, has played himself into contention to start at B-Back.
  • Sophomore B.J. Bostic is out for four weeks with an undisclosed injury.
  • Saturday was Paul Johnson's birthday. Just before the team broke its final huddle of camp, the Yellow Jacket players sang "Happy Birthday" to the head coach.
WAKE FOREST

The Deacs held a 90-minute scrimmage on Friday morning at BB&T Field.

Offensive highlights:
  • Joshua Harris scored on a 96-yard run and had 112 yards rushing on just nine carries.
  • Quarterback Tanner Price completed 18 of 26 passes and threw one touchdown, hitting Danny Dembry on a 21-yard score.
  • Wake Forest’s first offensive line did not allow a sack on Friday.
Defensive highlights:
  • Three of the first four offensive possessions ended with punts after three plays. The offense managed just one first down on its first eight possessions.
  • The defense did accumulate four sacks but none against the first team. Derricus Ellis had a pair of sacks and Zachary Allen and Kris Redding each contributed one sack.
  • Linebacker Justin Jackson led all defenders with 10 tackles. Defensive backs Jason Green, A.J. Marshall and Duran Lowe all had six tackles apiece.
Special teams highlights:
  • Jimmy Newman made all four of his field goal attempts during the scrimmage and three extra points. Freshman Chad Hedlund was successful on four PATs.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw two touchdown passes and continued to show progress on Saturday in the Tigers' final stadium scrimmage before Saturday's spring game.

Offensive highlights:
  • Boyd completed 8 of 16 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He completed a 20-yard scoring pass to DeAndre Hopkins, and a 3-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman tight end Sam Cooper in a goal-line situation. Boyd also had 10 carries for 14 yards. Hopkins finished with two catches for 43 yards.
  • Marquan Jones had a team-high four catches for 44 yards.
  • Jaron Brown had two carries for 26 yards, a 30-yard reception and a 20-yard punt return. D.J. Howard (19-85), Demont Buice (13-59), Rod McDowell (8-36) and Brown (2-26) combined for 206 yards in 42 attempts.
Defensive highlights:
  • Corico Hawkins led the defense with eight tackles, and Rashard Hall had seven.
  • Corey Crawford had an 87-yard fumble return and caused and recovered another fumble. He also had a tackle for loss and a pass deflection. Crawford’s playing time increased this week when Andre Branch returned home to be with his family after the death of his grandfather.
  • Tig Willard had six tackles, a pass broken up and an interception. Josh Watson had two tackles for loss, and Justin Parker had five tackles, including a sack.
Quotable: "Tajh Boyd has continued to improve and the game is slowing down for him," coach Dabo Swinney said, according to the team's practice report. "He has a bit of false security when wearing the purple jersey [quarterbacks are not tackled], and I need to break him of that, but he is improving. He made some very good decisions today."

ACC practice reports

August, 11, 2010
8/11/10
8:00
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Here's a quick recap of the latest practices, with information and quotes provided by the sports information directors at each school who releases them:

CLEMSON

The Tigers had their first scrimmage on Tuesday and got in about 100 snaps in a little over two hours.

Offensive highlights: Kyle Parker completed 9 of 18 passes for 114 yards. He did not throw and interception and ran for a score on a 14-yard run. Tajh Boyd completed 7 of 18 passes for 71 yards. He had a 13-yard run for a score that culminated a 75-yard drive early in the scrimmage.

Rod McDowell was the top rusher with 76 yards on 12 carries. He had a 22-yard run and a 34-yard run on the same drive. Andre Ellington gained 45 yards in 11 carries, while Jamie Harper had seven carries for 35 yards. Ellington had the only rushing touchdown among the running backs with a 15-yard score.

Five different receivers had two catches apiece. Dwayne Allen had 2-49, including a 36-yard completion from Parker. Drew Traylor had 2-29, Terrance Ashe had 2-28 and Marquan Jones had 2-11. Jaron Brown had 2-14 and also had an 18-yard run.

Defensive highlights: Andre Branch intercepted a tipped pass and raced 25 yards for a score. Tig Willard was the top tackler with seven, while Brandon Maye, Coty Sensabaugh and Scotty Cooper all had five apiece. Jonathan Meeks had two tackles for loss. Freshman Tra Thomas had the only fumble recovery.

Special teams: Richard Jackson was 4-4 on field goals attempts, including a pair from 42 yards. Spencer Benton was 3-4 and Chandler Catanzaro made 2-3 with his only miss from 56 yards.

Dabo Swinney said: “It was a better scrimmage than I expected for the first scrimmage. We had a lot of new guys in action in Death Valley for the first time and we did a lot of mix and matching during the scrimmage. We need to perform better in the red-zone on both sides of the ball.

“Defensively, Andre Branch had the big play of the day with an interception return for a touchdown I thought he was a consistent player last year. But, he has become a physical player who is a team leader. Opposing teams will talk about 93 [Da’Quan Bowers], but they better pay attention to number 40 [Branch].

Injured: All-American safety DeAndre McDaniel, who suffered an injury near his tailbone. He was able to walk off the field on his own. I'll try and get an update for you on this today. Freshman running backs D.J. Howard and Demont Buice both missed the scrimmage as they recover from a concussion suffered this past Saturday. Da’Quan Bowers missed the scrimmage as he is home with his family after the sudden death of his father last Sunday.

DUKE

The Blue Devils held their second practice on Tuesday night.

Defensive highlights: Johnny Williams, who moved from receiver this past spring, showed that he is grasping the cornerback position well as he intercepted a deep pass down the sideline during 7-on-7 drills and also made two nice plays to force incompletions during the 1-on-1 period against the receivers.

The defense has emphasized forcing turnovers early in the preseason and came up with three on Tuesday. Along with Williams' interception, junior safety Lee Butler returned an interception for a score off a tipped ball and redshirt junior Charlie Hatcher recovered a fumble. The defense had several other pass breakups on the day, including a couple by sophomore safety Walt Canty.

Offensive highlights: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyree Watkins made several big plays, and senior wide receiver Austin Kelly ran two good routes during team drills to provide redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree with some wide open looks. The offensive line did a good job in both pass and run blocking during the first session of team drills.

MARYLAND

The Terps opened camp on Tuesday in temperatures in the upper-90s, and spent much of the practice working on individual drills to help acclimate 21 newcomers and refresh veterans. Maryland has 24 preseason workouts scheduled.

Ralph Friedgen says: “The kids showed they worked hard over the summer. We’re a little further along in some areas than I thought. I think it got hot out there at the end and they got a little tired, but overall I thought it was a good first day.”

Jamarr Robinson, who proved to be a dangerous dual-threat quarterback while filling in for an injured Chris Turner last year, enters camp atop the depth chart. The Terps also have a pair of talented redshirt freshmen in Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown, who spent a year learning offensive coordinator James Franklin’s system and look ready to contribute.

“I saw more of a leadership role by Jamarr [today],” said Friedgen. “I thought his fundamentals were better. I thought his reads were better. The guy that kind of showed some improvement was C.J. Brown. I thought he did some things better than he did in the spring. I sat in a meeting with him and to me he was a lot sharper than he has been, so maybe he’s starting to mature a little bit.”

Notable: Avery Murray, who was the listed as the backup at Mike linebacker behind Alex Wujciak, has left the team for personal reasons. Sophomore Ryan Donohue moves up a spot on the depth chart. Redshirt freshman De’Onte Arnett, a reserve defensive tackle, will also miss preseason camp. He was diagnosed with a cyst on his ankle and will be out of action about six weeks. Taylor Watson is the only other member of the two-deep who will not be a part of the 105-man preseason roster. Watson had knee surgery in the spring and is not expected back until next month.

MIAMI

The Canes had a walk-through practice Tuesday morning on the Greentree Practice Fields. They spent just under an hour on the practice fields sharpening up for the first fall scrimmage Wednesday night. After working through positional drills, the team came together and spent the rest of the session in 11-on-11, two-minute drill work.

Defensive highlights: In the two-minute drill, the first-team defense forced a quick three-and-out, and only allowed one score the rest of the session. Among the highlights were a DeMarcus Van Dyke pass breakup, a Marcus Forston quarterback hurry and a Luther Robinson sack.

Offensive highlights: Tight end Chase Ford may have turned in his best showing of camp on Tuesday. Ford caught a first down pass over the middle on a third a long before later scoring the session’s only touchdown on a 40-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline.

Up next: Wednesday’s scrimmage is closed to the public. Following the scrimmage, the team will take its first day off from camp on Thursday before returning to the practice fields for its first two-a-day on Friday.



WAKE FOREST

The Deacs practiced in pads for the first time.

Jim Grobe says: “We didn’t have the greatest practice mentally but it was a good night effort wise. The guys are working real hard, flying around and bumping into each other. We have a lot in right now offensively and defensively and the young guys are a little flustered but at least when they're making mistakes, they’re making them in a hurry.”

On the competition: “We have nine seniors and quite a bit of juniors but some of our most talented guys at spots are freshmen and sophomores. So there is quite a bit of competition right now and there are number of spots were you can feel comfortable at the top of the depth chart one day and be at the bottom of the chart the next. It’s a good position for us because we don’t just have guys that are talented at the top and there’s no one pushing them. We have talent at every position and guys know they have to come out to practice each day and get after it.”

On the quarterbacks: “We have a great group of guys right now at quarterback. I think you get a little concerned if you don’t have any talent back there but we have three or four guys that have enough talent to win. What we’re looking for right now is a guy who makes very few mental mistakes and does not turn the football over. That’s going to be the key. The flashiest guys, the fastest guy, the guy with the best arm may not end up being our quarterback. It’s going to be the guy that doesn’t get us beat. The guy that takes care of the ball the best and makes the fewest mental mistakes is probably going to be the guy.”

Up next: The Deacons continue to practice this week as they prepare for their first intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday at 2 p.m. at BB&T Field. The team will practice again Wednesday evening from 8-10 p.m. at the Doc Martin Practice Complex on campus.

Scrimmage updates

March, 28, 2009
3/28/09
4:13
PM ET

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:

CLEMSON

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.

DUKE

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."

MIAMI

There were four, 10-minute running quarters. The offense scored 51 points, the defense scored three.

TEAM STATISTICS

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)

Fumbles-lost: (1-0)

Interceptions: (1-25)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

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

NORTH CAROLINA

Rushing
Jamal Womble -- 7 carries, 50 yards
Shaun Draughn -- 6 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD
Ryan Houston -- 5 carries, 16 yards

Passing
Mike Paulus -- 12 for 15, 51 yards
T.J. Yates -- 5 for 8, 96 yards
Braden Hanson -- 6 for 7, 55 yards, 1 TD

Receiving
Dwight Jones -- 3 for 61 yards
Joshua Adams -- 3 for 20 yards
Womble - 3 for 12 yards

Defense
Herman Davidson (LB) -- 6 tackles
Dion Guy (LB) -- 4 tackles
Kennedy Tinsley (LB) -- 4 tackles

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