Tuesday Spring Practice Notebook

CUTigers talks with Bryce McNeal, the running backs and Tajh Boyd in this Tuesday notebook.

Another interview for Bryce McNeal, another question about his weight. It happens all the time. The redshirt sophomore from Minnesota understands everyone in Clemson wants to know what he sees on the scales.

"I came in at 165. I was tiny," he said after Monday's spring practice. "I'm about 185, now."

McNeal, who had 19 catches for 187 yards in 2010, hasn't had a sparkling spring. He admitted that more aggression would help improve his efforts down the backstretch.

He shared the positives and negatives that he's taken away from spring practice, so far.

"The positives, I'm continuing to do some good things down the field," McNeal said. "Negatives, I'm still not as consistent as I would like to be. It's not an easy job."

And that job will only be more difficult given the talent expected to arrive on campus later this summer.

Head coach Dabo Swinney sees improvement from the running back trio of Roderick McDowell, Demont Buice and D.J. Howard.

This spring, the threesome is competing for carries with Andre Ellington sidelined with an injury and Mike Bellamy still in high school.

Swinney wouldn't be very confident about having to play on Saturdays in the fall with the three that are currently carrying the ball for the Tigers' offense.

"I don't think any of them, right now, we could line up and win with today," he said. "Hopefully, with another half of spring, and a lot of summer study and a lot of summer reps with our skills and drills. Hopefully, mentally, they'll be ready to line up and play in September."

First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris thought Monday's practice performance was one of the better efforts by the three this spring.

"Each one of them brings a different attitude," he said. "Buice brings a little more of the hammer-type approach. That's what we want him to bring. He thinks he's a slash-type back. He's not, right now. McDowell and D.J. kind of bring a little more of the slashing approach. They're trying to figure it all out. They're doing a good job.

"Not only are they having to run the football, we're asking them to catch the ball, we're asking them to step up and protect."

There are two sides to the coin when it comes to having mom and dad close by.

When school's in, a good meal and respite are just a quick drive up the road. During break, it's almost too quiet.

"It's kind of a good and bad thing that my parents moved here, because I'm always close," said Tajh Boyd, who lived in Virginia before attending Clemson. "[During spring break] I felt like I Am Legend around here."

With little to no distractions during his spring break, Boyd spent some time watching film during spring break.

"I felt like I came out [to practice on Monday] and knew what I was supposed to do," he said.

CUTigers.com Top Stories