O&W Game Preview

CLEMSON - Saturday's Orange and White spring game is the final dose of Clemson football before Tiger fans enter the brutal three month stretch called summer.

Tiger fans ready to see what the new Clemson offense is all about will only get a small peek during Saturday's game, which kicks off 4 p.m.

With just two abbreviated peaks into practice this spring, even reporters that cover the team on a daily basis are curious to see how the players have adjusted to the scheme that first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brought to Clemson.

Here are 10 things we'll be watching for in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon:

1. TB and the Green QBs
All spring, offensive players have talked about the offense and how simple it is to understand. Three weeks in, wondering about Tajh Boyd's grasp of the offense isn't as high of a priority now. We're anxious to see how much his decision making has improved.

Boyd will be showing off his wheels and cannon for a right arm. Like every year, quarterbacks won't be tackled, only touched down. If Boyd puts up dazzling rushing numbers, an asterisk will have to accompany those statistics.

Saturday provides a glimpse to see just how far ahead of Tony McNeal Cole Stoudt is. They'll play on the White team while Boyd will be on the Orange.

2. Life in the fast lane
Earlier this week, Morris told reporters earlier that about 60 percent of the Tigers' offense was installed this spring. Before the spring, he ambitiously hoped to have 75 percent of the offense installed.

Again, the offensive display will be vanilla, but Morris said there will be some tempo to watch.

Three weeks in, wondering about Tajh Boyd's grasp of the offense isn't as high of a priority now. (Roy Philpott)
3. The big uglies on defense
With Jarvis Jenkins now gone, Brandon Thompson is finally the guy inside. With that comes more responsibility, not only on the field, but also in the locker room. Behind Thompson and Rennie Moore is a whole bunch of inexperience. They'll split up on Saturday-Thompson to Orange and Moore to White.

Tyler Shatley is the most experienced of the defensive tackles that aren't seniors. Tavaris Barnes was moved inside earlier this spring to help make up for the lack of numbers. Fellow redshirt freshmen Josh Watson and Tra Thomas will also be making their on-field debuts before Clemson fans.

4. Hot Rod and the Rookie Running Backs
D.J. Howard has nosed ahead of the other three running backs this spring. He'll be on the White team by himself. Demont Buice and Roderick McDowell are listed on the Orange team.

After Saturday, Andre Ellington is back to his No. 1 running back spot. And after Saturday, the Mike Bellamy countdown to arrival continues. Once he arrives, he'll be the fourth leg in the competition for the No. 2 running back spot.

5. The last line of defense
No more Marcus Gilchrist and DeAndre McDaniel. Hello, Xavier Brewer and Bashaud Breeland.

Brewer and Breeland, both of whom could be the most important pieces in the secondary this fall, will play together on the Orange team.

They'll be joined by Rashard Hall, Martin Jenkins and Desmond Brown.

The White team has Coty Sensabaugh, Jonathan Meeks, Carlton Lewis and Darius Robinson.

Is Rashard Hall ready to lead a secondary that will be without the services of DeAndre McDaniel and Marcus Gilchrist this fall? (Roy Philpott)
But who is ready to step up and make some plays? The void left by McDaniel is significant - both in passes picked off and hard hitting.

6. Boyd's blindside
Phillip Price played often down the stretch last season, but it was primarily as a blocking tight end-his old position. He won't be protecting Boyd on Saturday, though.

Brandon Thomas will be playing left tackle for the Orange team. He's been the backup all spring.

7. Last chance dance
Jaron Brown, Marquan Jones and Bryce McNeal need to make one more good impression before Sammy Watkins, Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant arrive to campus.

The three highly touted freshmen will come in with an eye on playing time. At least two of those three will play. Snap totals for Brown, Jones and McNeal could suffer, as a result.

Several linebackers are in similar positions.

Corico Hawkins, Jonathan Willard, Vic Beasley and Spencer Shuey are in similar positions with Stephone Anthony, Tony Steward and Lateek Townsend scheduled to arrive this summer.

8. Chicks dig the long ball
Since there was no install during practice this week, one of the focuses on the offensive side of the ball was the long ball.

Upon his arrival, Morris said he liked to take a few shots downfield every quarter. We expect to see a fair share of exactly that Saturday.

Upon his arrival, Morris said he liked to take a few shots downfield every quarter. We expect to see a fair share of exactly that Saturday. (Roy Philpott)
9. Hey, freshmen!
Breeland's name has been mentioned by coaches all spring. It all started last fall while he was on the scout team defense. Kevin Steele compares him to Marcus Gilchrist. Heady stuff, especially when you consider the source.

Brown and Garry Peters also spent last season on the scout team defense. They've had very quiet springs, especially compared to the noise Breeland's made.

Craig's name became a hot one, too, but that's begun to cool off.

Kalon Davis was a hot name last summer after a solid 2010 spring, but was shut down with a back injury before the season started.

Sam Cooper will have a tough time taking snaps away from Dwayne Allen, but he did catch a touchdown pass in the Tigers' last scrimmage.

Early enrolled freshmen defensive ends Corey Crawford and Joe Gore will step on the field, too.

10. Let's kick it
Chandler Catanzaro has a firm grasp on the place kicking job, and it doesn't sound like Spencer Benton has made much of a push. So it's Catman's job to lose heading into the summer.

Momentum before the arrival of Ammon Lakip would be welcomed in Catanzaro's corner.

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