Spring Practice Insider

Who's hot, who's not? We've got the answers in this in-depth look at spring practice. <BR>

Who's Hot?
LB Tramaine Billie - Billie has been mentioned numerous times by Tommy Bowden this spring as one of the up-and-coming players on defense. Taking over at the SAM linebacker spot, Billie has proven he can make plays behind the line of scrimmage, yet also move well in coverage. "Tramaine Billie has been making plays all spring and continued to do that today," said Bowden after last Saturday's scrimmage. Billie recorded 5 tackles, including 3.5 for loss that day.

FS Jamaal Fudge - Fudge recorded nine tackles during last Saturday's scrimmage and continues to be one of the unquestioned leaders on defense. While he may stay under the radar in the ACC, even during his senior year, he's been one of the most consistent players for this football team since he's emerged as a starter. "He's been real consistent so this spring," said Bowden. "He just seems to do everything we ask of him."

WR La'Donte Harris - In a unit that deseperately needs to find some more playmakers, Harris is trying his best to do his part, and the Clemson coaching staff is taking notice. "He's been the best guy this spring as far as being absolutely the most improved; has made plays every day; has shown up with the ones and twos," said wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney. "He's done a nice job."

DE Gaines Adams - All Adams did last weekend was record three sacks as he set up shop in the offensive backfield of the first team offense seemingly all day long. "Gaines Adams has always had a lot of potential," Bowden said after Saturday's scrimmage. "I've talked a lot about him, but today he played at a level where he was really disruptive."

QB Will Proctor - Some may have doubted Proctor's ability to hold onto the back up quarterback position before the start of spring, but there's little doubt he's the player the Tigers would turn to if Charlie Whitehurst went down. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 121 yards and also had the longest play of the day for the Clemson offense with a 36-yard scamper down the side lines Saturday.

CB Brandon Croley - Croley has been impressive enough as a redshirt freshman to start taking snaps with the first team at cornerback. "I feel good about what I'm doing," said Croley in a recent interview with CUTigers.com. "I just need to keep being positive and not make mistakes."

Who's Warming Up?: LB Lionel Richardson: suprisingly challenging Anthony Waters. LB Nick Watkins: strong stats in first scrimmage. PK Stephen Furr: good leg, accuracy improving.

Who's Not?
LT Barry Richardson - The talent is there but the effort is lacking. As evident during last Saturday's scrimmage, big Barry was doing more up/downs than any other player on the team. While it's not really something to get concerned about, the staff would like to see a little more effort out of their former freshman All-American.

RB Duane Coleman - Obviously, with Coleman no longer participating in spring practice, he finds himself in a position where he'll have to do everything in his power just to get back on the team. That means keeping his grades in order, and it also means no off the field incidents. If he does all of that, and somehow gets back into the good graces of the coaching staff, he'll likely be rewarded with a third or fourth string spot at running back this fall. Where he goes from there is up to him.

DE/TE Olu Babalola - After suffering a sprained ankle in his first week of practice, Babalola's introduction to college football has yet to produce any significant results. He started out as a defensive end, but he will eventually get a look at tight end once he's healthy enough to face contact. The athleticism is there, but can he become a productive player on either side of the ball? The jury is still out.

What's Next?
The Tigers will practice one more time on Friday afternoon before the team convenes Saturday morning for its second formal scrimmage of spring practice.

The coaching staff has hinted this week that Saturday will be used as a time to evaluate some of the younger players who are pushing for more playing time. Experienced veterans like Jamaal Fudge and Tye Hill, will likely give way early on to guys like Brandon Croley, Chris Clemons, and Mike Hamlin.

Naturally, the staff will also be looking for improvement on offense. At the bare minimum, a reduction in penalties, better production in the running game, and a couple of big plays from the wide receivers would be a great start.

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