And the 2004 football season will be no exception.">
And the 2004 football season will be no exception.">

The "Ifs and Buts" of Clemson Football

How does the old saying go? "If ifs and buts were candy nuts, every day would be Christmas." You can never win a football game on an "if." You can never finish in the Top 25 with an "if." <BR><BR> And the 2004 football season will be no exception.

However, it is April, and we can put out all the "ifs" and buts we want into our crystal ball to try and look through to the future.

IF Chansi Stuckey does not pace himself, the secret will be out on him long before the 2004 season kicks off. My hope was that Chansi would have a decent spring and simply get lost in all the preseason talk to keep him off the radar. That is not happening. Stuckey is quickly proving to the coaches that the blow of losing Derrick Hamilton is quickly losing some of its punch. The secret may be out on Chansi, unfortunately.

IF Justin Miller does not start playing up to his potential, he may find a challenge waiting for him and his starting job in August. Robert Reese has been singled out on several occasions by Tommy Bowden. C.J. Gaddis was yanked from his backup role as quarterback to cornerback last week to increase competition at the defensive backfield. Granted, all of this might be nothing more than Bowden trying to light a fire under Justin. But, the fact that Bowden feels compelled to challenge Miller is disheartening in itself. It's time for Miller to stop jabbing so much and start playing like a team leader.

IF you think Airese Currie is poised for a huge year, that makes two of us.

IF Charlie Whitehurst gets hurt, it is becoming more and more apparent that his replacement will be Will Proctor. Proctor, moved to receiver just last season, has all but eliminated any hope that C.J. Gaddis will ever play a down at quarterback for Clemson. I have not decided yet if that speaks well of Proctor as a QB or poorly of Gaddis. As an aside, Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese better show up in August with a rested arm. One will have to emerge as a 3rd string quarterback when the season starts.

Reggie Merriweather has enjoyed another solid spring, but will it lead to more playing time this fall?
IF spring drills were August drills, Reggie Merriweather would be the starting running back at Clemson. Merriweather, looking more and more like a fullback with his bulky size, has garnered the praise of Bowden on more than one occasion. If this sounds familiar, it is. Merriweather was the unofficial winner of the spring sweepstakes for the running back job last year before disappearing in August. While Reggie probably deserves more carries once the season starts, its hard for me to imagine a scenario where Duane Coleman is not the man at running back in 2004. Coleman's ability to run outside the tackles along with his great hands in the passing game make him the perfect fit for Bowden's offense at running back.

IF you ever wonder what in the world happened to Yusef Kelly…that makes two of us.

IF you wake up every morning wondering what else will go wrong in Columbia with the Gamecocks, that makes two of us.

IF Jad Dean does not find his accuracy, the talented sophomore kicker may be beat out by Stephen Furr. Dean, who proved his leg strength last year on kickoffs, has yet to move into the leading role to replace Aaron Hunt. And that continues to baffle me to some degree.

And finally, if the season were to start tomorrow I would have the Tigers at 8-3 with losses at Florida State, at Miami, and in Death Valley vs. Maryland.

Then again, IF I could predict with 100% accuracy I'd be a rich man and not writing this article to begin with!

Note: Roy and I will broadcast the Orange & White game next Saturday on WCCP 104.9 FM starting at 12:00 noon. Be sure to tune in for player interviews, play by play call of the scrimmage, analysis by Roy, and coach's interviews. You can also listen via the Internet at Top Stories