Tigers' tempo at an all-time high

CLEMSON - Tajh Boyd knows just as well as anybody that it takes a lot for Chad Morris to be impressed with the pace of play.

During Monday's intra-squad stadium scrimmage, the first of the spring, the Clemson offense churned along at a speed that's rarely been seen since Morris started the installation of his hurry-up, no-huddle system.

"The tempo is at an all-time high right now," said Boyd, who completed 8 of 15 passes for 89 yards during the scrimmage. "Coach Morris and I were just talking. That was the biggest thing. He said, ‘That was fast.' If he says that's fast, we're moving."

At the center of it all with Boyd, Dalton Freeman noted tempo as one of the biggest positives from Monday.

"We're really going as fast as we were at the best point last year. We're really pleased with our tempo," Freeman said.

But, in football, there's usually a flip side, especially when it's April. The performance during goal line and short-yardage situations was nowhere near up to par.

"The biggest disappointment of the day," Freeman said. "We moved the ball pretty well. We were doing pretty well with ball-security and did short-yardage and goal line at the end. Our [second-team] did very well. Our [first-team] struggled.

Mike Bellamy continues to progress this spring under the watchful eye of the staff. (Roy Philpott)
"We just have to get a different mentality and get a little bit more movement up front."

That will drive any offensive coordinator, center or quarterback crazy.

"Goal line situations, red zones, fourth-and-1, third-and-1, we've got to be able to punch it in," Boyd said. "That's the biggest thing coach said he was disappointed in. I was disappointed as well. We've got to get tougher. It starts with a mentality."

Head coaches also tend to get a little frustrated with breakdowns inside the red zone.

"Critical mistakes in critical situations, that's where the discipline has got to kick in," said Dabo Swinney. "We'll continue to work and do the things we do."

BIG DAY FOR BELLAMY: Bellamy, who continues to work his way out of Swinney's doghouse, shined during the goal line period. Credited with six carries for 15 yards, Bellamy's work inside the 20 turned heads.

"He really ran hard, ran with some toughness," Swinney said.

Bellamy, who's listed at 175 pounds on the school's website, played a big role in the second group's perfect 4-for-4 performance in the red zone period.

"Bellamy came to play. He had a chip on his shoulder, was out there talking, very vocal, loud. He's throwing his 185 pounds in there, whatever he weighs, throwing it all in there," Boyd said. "I was very pleased with him as well. Things are coming together. He's going to be able to help this team out a lot this year."

Aside from Boyd, Cole Stoudt is the only scholarship quarterback with game experience. Though he spent last season as the backup, the spot is not guaranteed to him this fall.

Cole Stoudt has been pushed this spring by Morgan Roberts for the backup quarterback position, according to Dabo Swinney. (Roy Philpott)
Chad Kelly, one several 2012 signees not yet with the team, will compete for the backup quarterback job when he arrives later this summer. But the race for second is already underway.

"We've got a really competitive situation behind Tajh. Morgan Roberts has really come along. He's made a move, probably has improved as much as anybody on this team," Swinney said.

Roberts completed 1 of 3 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on Monday while Stoudt hit 8 of 17 for 85 yards and rushed five times for 32 yards.

"Cole has been pretty average. I'm a little disappointed in him, to this point," Swinney said. "Today, he comes out and it was his best day of the spring. He looked like the Cole Stoudt that I expected to see today. He really competed. Tony McNeal did some good things. That was good to see.

"We made those guys live just to continue to put them in that competition, to see who could separate. From that standpoint, it was good to see Cole get back on track."

SPECIAL TEAMS UPDATE: Swinney wouldn't release the stat line Chandler Catanzaro had during the scrimmage. In fact, Swinney is keeping Catanzaro's spring numbers in house.

"I don't want to jinx him, so I'm not going to tell you what his percentage on field goals is right now this spring. Obviously, it's really, really good. He was excellent today," Swinney said. "Spencer Benton and [Bradley] Pinion both punted the ball well."

Monday was Pinion's on-field debut in Death Valley.

"The first-time you go in the stadium, you're always anxious to see how certain guys respond. I thought he stepped up well," Swinney said.

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