5 questions for spring practice

An early look at five questions for Clemson football at the start of spring practice.

#5. WHO WILL BE BACK THE BACKUP QB?
With Deshaun Watson out of the mix during spring practice, the natural question is who will get the majority of the first-team reps under center? Two freshmen, Tucker Israel and Kelly Bryant, will both get their shot, as will veteran Nick Schuessler. Schuessler will start with the first team, but will obviously be challenged. With 15 practice sessions, this will be an important time for all of three of these players to prove their worth. Bryant is the most athletic but Israel is the more polished passer and Schuessler has the most experience. What happens here is anybody's guess, but it goes without saying it's worth watching.

#4. HOW WILL THE OFFENSE CHANGE WITHOUT CHAD MORRIS?
The answer here isn't clear because Jeff Scott, Tony Elliott and Dabo Swinney have indicated any changes will be minimal in nature now that Morris is at SMU. The Russell Athletic Bowl was proof there shouldn't be much of a drop off, but it will be interesting to see how play calling changes once adversity strikes for the first time. There's no question the Morris era at Clemson was sensational - can Eliott and Scott keep it up? Will they stay with the running game longer than Morris did? Will there be an emphasis on the screen game or will the new offense focus more on the downfield passing attack with new play callers?

#3. CAN CLEMSON BE MORE EXPLOSIVE IN THE RETURN GAME?
Given the caliber of athlete the staff has recruited to the program in recent years, there's no reason the return game can't be more explosive next season. While the true freshmen playmakers won't be here until the summer (Ray Ray McCloud and Deon Cain), there's still plenty of speed on campus to amp up Clemson's return teams this spring. Whether it's Artavis Scott or Germone Hopper or some other up-and-comer, the Tigers' return game needs a hefty dose of explosiveness this spring.

#2. WHICH STARTERS CAN EMERGE ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE?
Clemson loses all four starters on its defensive line from its No. 1 ranked defense from a year ago so it naturally begs the question - who will emerge in 2015? DE Shaq Lawson, DT D.J. Reader and DT Carlos Watkins all have significant experience, but now must be depended on for more snaps than any point in their Clemson careers. And can this committee of new players somehow replace Vic Beasley's ability to rush the passer? Also - there's the concern of losing Grady Jarrett. He constantly commanded double teams and was a magnificent run stopper. Reader and Watkins are talented, but there will be a drop off.

#1. IS TYSHON DYE READY FOR PRIME TIME?
With last year's leading rusher, Wayne Gallman, a.k.a. the Wayne Train, back for his redshirt sophomore season, Dye's return to the field isn't a pressing issue, but if he's healthy, he gives Clemson even more of a threat in the backfield this fall. A one-cut runner with plenty of power, Dye could give the Tigers a much-needed one-two punch this spring. Dye starts spring practice healthy, but will need to prove he can handle the load and remain that way over 15 practices.


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