The Defense Dominates Again (8/18)

John Leake continues to impress at the star safety position and the defense has held the high-powered Clemson offense relatively in check for the 3rd consecutive scrimmage. After a full week of practice, only two remain until the Tigers take on Central Florida.

What is this that we are hearing out of Death Valley?

The defense is actually refusing to give up the big play?

That's just fine with Tommy Bowden, "I would rather have it that way. The number-one and number-two defense didn't give up any big plays and didn't give up any long drives. Giving up the big play was a problem for us last year."

The defense continued to dominate the scrimmage today as there were no big plays and the high-flying passing attack was non-existent.

Keith Kelly was the leading rusher with 45 yards on 11 carries and one score. Bernard Rambert had 10 carries for 41 yards and a five-yard TD reception from Woody Dantzler.

The "star" for the defense was John Leake, who had two sacks and nine tackles from the star safety position. Leake is unquestionably making a strong statement to be a starter against Central Florida.

Charles Hafley and Toure Francis each had interceptions, while Brian Mance and Charles Harper each had fumble recoveries.

Another encouraging player in the secondary is DB Marcus Houskin. Houskin was the cornerback that shattered Matt Bailey's helmet, and knocked him unconscious on a crossing pattern last week. That play is still be talked about as one of the most vicious hits on the practice fields in recent memory.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Houskin get serious playing time this season, despite the fact that Eric Meekins may be considered to be the better cover corner. Houskin brings sort of a nastiness that this secondary has been lacking for a long time.

Other notes from today's scrimmage, there were three minor injuries to report, but the most surprising one came from the coaching staff. Reggie Herring suffered what could be a torn Achilles tendon when he was jumping up and down, encouraging the defense.

Reggie, being the tough man he is, finished the scrimmage before finally being carried off to the training room.

Overall, things have gone as expected through the first week of practice. The offensive and defensive lines have exchanged blows with each one coming out on top on several different occasions. One thought for possible concern would be the lack of production on offense. Tommy Bowden has made numerous references to the fact that he is still looking for that "go-to guy."

There were really no big plays in today's scrimage, nor in the first scrimage held earlier this week. The offense also suffered through 4 turnovers, and the first team failed to produce first downs consistently. The longest yardage play was a 51 yard pass completion between the third string quarterback and tight end. (There were over 100 plays were ran today.)

However, Bowden did emphasize that several new formations were used in situations where they normally wouldn't be, "just so we could get them on film." (Maybe some new plays out of the Pod formation?)

The Tigers will have Sunday off and will resume practice Monday with 2 practices.

With only two weeks remaining until the Tigers take on Central Florida, its good to hear that the defense appears to have made some strides since last season. The 4-2-5 formation seems to be paying dividends against the first team offense, and that is going to be critical to their success against a scrappy, pass-happy, Central Florida team.

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