Offense Shows Improvement

CLEMSON – Where the defense totally dominated last week's scrimmage, both sides of the ball had their moments of looking good and bad in Clemson's second football scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. <BR>

Through the first 11 series where the ball was placed at its own 30, the offense, which flashed some nice plays, still managed just one field goal and had two turnovers, which immediately brought flashbacks of last week.

However, when the ball was placed on defense's 25 for six series, the offense scored four touchdowns, two of which came on big passing plays, and two missed field goals. The outcome was far and away better than last week's performance from the same spot.

In the final two series of the scrimmage, the ball was placed back on the 30, where upon Clemson coach Tommy Bowden called a huddle and personally challenged each side of the ball. The offense responded.

Starting quarterback Charlie Whitehurst guided the first string offense on a 12-play, 70-yard drive for the touchdown. Backup quarterback Will Proctor followed suit by putting together a 14-play, 59-yard drive for a field goal.

"The thing that I mentioned out there to the team before the offense went down there and scored, it look's like when their 70 yards away, they're taking the field with a defeatist attitude because of the amount of yards," Bowden said. "Then all of a sudden I go out there and talk to them and they go right down the field and score.

"Then we come out there and give the ball at the 25 and the defense gives up. You can't have that. You've got to have your game-face on every snap, every play, regardless of where the field position is."

However, it must be stated that in the final two series of the scrimmage, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning ran a base defense and didn't blitz one time.

"Actually, early in the scrimmage we were pretty good," Koenning said. "We've all seen those games were you win the first three and a half quarters, and then something happens and you lose the game because you couldn't finish it. So we've got to learn how to finish.

"We didn't give up a touchdown until we got to the 25 and got in the red zone."

Regardless, while it started out very shaky, all in all the passing game was far superior of where it was last week.

Whitehurst 15-of-19 passing for 186 yards and a touchdown, while Proctor was 15-of-24 for 173 yards and a touchdown.

La'Donte Harris led the way with six catches for 67 yards, while Chansi Stuckey had five for 79. Kelvin Grant and Aaron Kelly each had five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.

"Not to make any excuses, but it was cold as hell and the wind was blowing like a mug (last week), so it was pretty tough," Grant said. "But we've got to be mentally tough and just go out there and do it regardless."

As stated earlier, the defense played well for the first three quarters of the scrimmage, during which time it registered 10 sacks, three of which came from Cortney Vincent. Gaines Adams chipped in with two of his own.

Nonetheless, Adams was still disgruntled with the defense's performance.

"We sucked," he said. "No emotion; everybody has their heads down; they make one play and they think it's the end of the world. I was apart of it too. We just weren't into it today. … Basically we sucked."

One area where the offense continued to struggle mightily was in the running game. Kyle Browning had nine carries for one yard, while Reggie Merriweather and 16 rushes for 53 yards, but he fumbled near the goal line.

Even so, offensive coordinator Rob Spence likes what he's seen since last week's scrimmage.

"We're far from where we want to be, but we're taking positive steps," he said. "We have practiced very, very well the last three or four practices. We are starting to practice at the right tempo, at the right speed. I think we're starting to approach the concept of paying attention to detail. Our effort level is getting better."

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