Clemson Offensive Preview
Clemson has eight starters and 21
lettermen returning on offense for 2006. The
list of starters on the August 27 depth chart has
seven seniors on the first team, one junior and
The offensive line returns all five
starters from last year, including seniors Roman Fry, Dustin Fry, Nathan Bennett and Marion Dukes, and junior Barry Richardson. Bennett is
in his fourth season as a starter, while Dukes
and Richardson are in their third seasons,
respectively. Overall, nine of Clemson's top 10
linemen from 2005 return this year.
Will Proctor is the starting
quarterback, his first year in that capacity. The
senior from Winter Park, FL has started just one
game and taken just 99 snaps from center in his
career as a reserve behind 2005 senior Charlie Whitehurst, who was a three-year starter for the
Tigers. Proctor was 13-21 for 201 yards in his
only start last year, a victory over Duke. He has
completed over 70 percent of his passes in the
Clemson has depth at running back
and in the secondary. Chansi Stuckey is the
only returning first-team All-ACC player on the
offense. He had 64 catches for 770 yards and
four scores last year and was also Clemson's
top punt returner. Aaron Kelly and Rendrick Taylor have been in a battle for a starting wide
receiver position all fall. Kelly had 47 catches
as a freshman, the second highest freshman
total in Clemson history. Taylor, who was
injured much of last year, had a strong spring,
including a record 174 receiving yards in the
The running back position is led by
James Davis, the ACC Rookie of the Year in
2005 when he gained 879 yards and scored
nine touchdowns. He ranked fourth in the ACC
in rushing yards per game, a figure that was
enhanced by his 150 yards rushing in the
Champs Sports Bowl against Colorado, the
second best bowl game rushing total in
Reggie Merriweather gained 715
yards rushing and scored seven touchdowns
last year. He had three straight 100-yard
rushing games at midseason. Freshman C.J. Spiller is also slated to see playing time at
running back, as is Demerick Chancellor, who
was Clemson's top ground gainer in
scrimmages in the spring and fall.
Clemson will play as many as six tight
ends this year. Players in that position caught
35 passes last year, most by Clemson tight
ends since 1975 when all-time great Bennie
Cunningham was a Tiger.Thomas Hunter is the
top player at that position after he had 13
receptions for 120 yards last season.
Clemson Defensive Preview
Clemson has seven starters and 22
lettermen returning in 2006. The defense is led
by seniors Gaines Adams and Anthony Waters,
two players who considered turning pro last
January. Adams is a first-team All-American by
many services and is on the preseason list for
five different college football awards in 2006.
He had 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks last
Waters was the team's top tackler last
year with 109, including 13.5 tackles for loss.
He is the top returning tackler in the ACC. He
had six different double figure tackle games last
year. Sophomore Phillip Merling is another lineman who figures to have a strong year,
while many sophomores lead the defensive
tackle position. Senior Donnell Clark is coming
off a torn ACL suffered in the middle of last
Nick Watkins and Antonio Clay figure to join
Waters on the second line of defense. Watkins
is a junior from New Orleans who had 99 stops
last year, second best on the team. Clay had
27 tackles last year as a reserve. He was in a
battle for a starting spot with senior Tramaine Billie in the fall, but Billie suffered a broken foot
and will be lost for at least the first four games.
He could decide to red-shirt the season.
The secondary must replace firstround
draft choice Tye Hill and reliable safety
Jamaal Fudge. Duane Coleman is one of the
leaders of the defense, remarkable considering
he did not enter the starting lineup until the 10th
game last year. But the former running back
finished strong with 21 tackles in the last three
games (all Clemson wins), including a team
best nine against Florida State. Michael Hamlin
made some freshman All-America teams in
2005, and at 6-3 has the ability to roam the
secondary. He had his first career interception
last year at Georgia Tech while covering All-
American Calvin Johnson.
Clemson has a young defense overall
with six sophomores slated to start for Vic
Koenning's unit. Clemson has not had six
players who were sophomores or freshmen in
the starting lineup for the course of the season
since 1994. There are just three seniors slated
to start on defense and two juniors.
Clemson has a preseason All-
America kicker in Jad Dean. The senior from
Greenwood, SC led the ACC in field goals and
scoring last year when he scored 106 points,
second most in Clemson history for a kicker.
Cole Chason has been challenged by walk-on
Jimmy Maners and it will be a game time
decision as to the punter position against
Florida Atlantic. Punting is an area Tommy
Bowden is looking for improvement. Clemson
averaged just 33.5 yards a punt last year when
it had five punts blocked.
The return game will apparently
feature a pair of first-year freshmen in Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller.
2006 Schedule Notes
•Clemson will play 11 consecutive weeks to
open the season, the first time Clemson has
played 11 consecutive weeks since 1986. "That
is a positive if you get on a roll, like we did in
2000 (when Clemson played the first 10 weeks
of the season), but it can be a negative if you
run into injury problems," said Clemson head
coach Tommy Bowden. Clemson actually
doesn't play 11 consecutive Saturdays, the
Tigers have a pair of Thursday night games
(October 12 vs. Temple in Charlotte and
October 26 at Virginia Tech).
•Clemson's 2006 football schedule includes six
bowl teams, including road games at Atlantic
Division rivals Boston College and Florida State
to open the ACC schedule in early September.
Clemson also travels to Virginia Tech for a
Thursday evening game in late October.
•Clemson will have a 12-game regular season
schedule in 2006, the third time Clemson has
played a 12-game regular season schedule.
The other seasons were 2002 and 2003.
•The Tigers will open and close the 2006
season against teams led by coaches who have won the national championship. Florida Atlantic
coach Howard Schnellenberger guided Miami
(FL) to the 1983 National Championship and he
will bring his team to Death Valley in the season
opener. Steve Spurrier will bring the South Carolina Gamecocks to Death Valley in the
season finale November 25. Spurrier coached
Florida to the 1996 National Championship.
Bowden has gained seven wins over coaches
who have won the national championship since
•Clemson's next two games are on the road
against ACC upper echelon teams Boston
College (September 9) and Florida State
(September 16). It will be Clemson's first trip to
Boston since 1983 when Doug Flutie handed
the Tigers their only loss in a 9-1-1 season.
This will be the earliest date on the calendar
that Clemson has played in Tallahassee since
1993. The Tigers have not won at Florida
State since 1989.
•Clemson will return home to face North Carolina on September 23. It will be North
Carolina's only game at Clemson between 2004
and 2011. The Tigers won a thrilling 36-28
game at Death Valley in 2003 the last time the
two teams met. Clemson will celebrate its 25-
years anniversary of the 1981 National
Championship on this weekend.
•Clemson will meet Louisiana Tech on
September 30. The Bulldogs are coached by
Jack Bicknell, whose father brought Boston
College to face the Tigers in Death Valley in
1982. it is the only father-son opposing
coaching combination in Clemson history.
Bicknell also brought Louisiana Tech to
Clemson in 2002 for the season opener.
•The Tigers will travel to Wake Forest for the
third time in the last four years on October 7,
when Clemson travels to Wake Forest.
Clemson has beaten Florida State two of the
last three years, but has lost at Wake Forest
two of the last three years.
•Clemson will have just five days to prepare for
Temple on October 12, a game that will be
played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
This will be Temple's home game.
•Four of the last five games will be at home.
Clemson will attempt to end its two-game losing
streak against Georgia Tech when the Yellow
Jackets come to Death Valley on October 21.
The two teams have played games decided by
five points or less nine of the last 10 years.
•Clemson will then play at Virginia Tech in a
Thursday night match up on ESPN on October
26. The contest will be just five days after the
Georgia Tech game and will be just the fifth
time (twice in October 2006) since 1933 that
Clemson has had just four days in between
• It will be the first meeting between Clemson
and Virginia Tech since the Gator Bowl at the
conclusion of the 2000 season. They also met
in the regular season in 1998 at Clemson and at
Virginia Tech in 1999 in Tommy Bowden's first
season as Tiger head coach. Clemson has not
won at Virginia Tech since 1989.
•Clemson concludes the season with three
consecutive home games for the first time since
1998. Maryland travels to Death Valley on
November 4. The Tigers have won
consecutive games by four points or less on
touchdowns inside the last three minutes by
Reggie Merriweather against the Terps.
•NC State will close Clemson's ACC schedule
on Saturday November 11. It will be just the
second time in the last five years that the two
teams have played on a Saturday. Clemson and Florida State are the only two ACC teams
who will conclude their ACC schedule on
•The Tigers will have two weeks to prepare for
South Carolina, as the annual state rivalry
game will be played the Saturday after
Thanksgiving for the first time since 1984. The
November 25 date is the latest for the South
Carolina game since the two teams played on
the same date in 1978.
•Clemson will not play ACC teams Miami (FL),
Duke or Virginia during the regular season. It
will be the first time Clemson has not played
Duke since 1964.
Clemson Corners Have Experience on
Clemson starting cornerbacks C.J. Gaddis and Duane Coleman both have
experience on offense in their Clemson careers.
Gaddis is a red-shirt junior from Raeford, NC,
while Coleman is a red-shirt senior from
Coleman was Clemson's leading
rusher in 2003 as a freshman when he gained
615 yards on 133 carries. He also had 34
receptions for 309 yards, becoming the second
player in Clemson history to gain at least 600
yards rushing and 300 yards receiving in the
A year ago at this time, Coleman was
a running back and he had 10 carries in the
opening game victory against Texas A&M.
Coleman moved over to the defensive side last
season after the Maryland game in week II, and
became a starter for the last three games of the
year. Clemson won all three games, as he had
21 tackles in the three games. He had nine
stops in the win over Florida State, his first
career start at cornerback to lead the team.
Coleman has 50 career pass
receptions and 35 career tackles. With 15 more
tackles he will become the first Clemson player
on record to have 50 tackles and 50 receptions
in a career. (Tackle stats only go back to
Gaddis came to Clemson as a
quarterback and spent his freshman year
playing that position as a red-shirt behind
Charlie Whitehurst and Chansi Stuckey. He
moved to the secondary for spring practice prior
to the 2004 season. Last year, as a
sophomore, he had 59 tackles, fifth on the
Clemson team in that category. He made five
starts last season.
Three Tigers Have Degrees
Three current Clemson players have
already earned their undergraduate degrees.
Punter Cole Chason earned his degree last
May in marketing, wide receiver Chansi
Stuckey earned his degree in August in sports
management and defensive end Brandon Cannon earn his degree in May in
A total of 36 student-athletes have
played for Clemson under Tommy Bowden
(eight seasons) with their undergraduate degree
already in hand. There are nine seniors on this
year's team scheduled to graduate in
December, including defensive leaders Gaines
Adams and Anthony Waters.
In the seven years Tommy Bowden
has completed at Clemson he has had 121
senior lettermen. Ninety-four of those 121 have
earned their degrees, 78 percent. Some of
those former players are still in school pursuing
their degree so that number should increase.
Clemson Has 14 Fifth-Year Seniors
Clemson has a veteran team in many ways in 2006. The
active roster has 22 seniors, 18 of whom are on scholarship and 14 of
those are in their fifth seasons with the program. The leadership is
widely distributed as each position coach has at least one fifth-year
senior. The area of the team with the most seniors is the offensive line
where four are starting and another is a primary backup.
This year's senior class already has 23 wins in the bank and
has a 23-13 record, a .640 winning percentage. That includes a 7-5
record against top 25 teams. The last Clemson senior class to defeat
eight top 25 teams was the senior class of 1993. The record is 10 wins
by a senior class, held by many. This group of seniors is 15-4 at home
and has a 2-0 record in bowl games, wins over 6th ranked Tennessee
The seven wins over top 25 ranked teams ranks tied for 10th in
the nation among 2006 senior classes. Ohio State has the most with 13,
followed by Texas with 12. Clemson's 2006 senior class is also tied for
10th in wins over top 20 teams with six. LSU has the most in that
category with 11.
Two New Coaches on Staff
Clemson has two new coaches on its staff and both played
college football in the state of South Carolina, but not for Clemson. Billy
Napier, a former Furman quarterback is Clemson's tight ends coach,
while Chris Rumph, former South Carolina defensive lineman, is the
Tigers defensive line coach.
Napier is a 2003 Furman graduate, who at 27, is one of the
youngest full time Division I coaches in the nation. He played at Furman
from 1999-2002 and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award in 2002
when he completed 68.5 percent of his passes and was named the
Furman team captain. Napier had been at South Carolina State in 2005.
Rumph played at South Carolina from 1991-94. He played the
1994 season under Brad Scott, Clemson's current offensive line coach
and assistant head coach. Rumph had a strong senior year when he had
a career high 52 tackles and helped the Gamecocks win their first ever
bowl game. Rumph coaches the Clemson defensive line and among his
protege's is Phillip Merling, a sophomore who is Rumph's nephew.
Rumph had coached under former Clemson Head Coach Tommy West at
Memphis the last three seasons before coming to Clemson.
Simmons Named Video Graduate Assistant
Former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons has joined
Tommy Bowden's staff as a video graduate assistant for the offense. He
replaces Richie Wessman, who resigned in July to take a position with
the Tennessee Titans of the NFL.
Simmons came to Clemson as a freshman in August of 1999.
After red-shirting that season, he played for the Tigers from 2000 through
2002. He earned his marketing degree in May of 2002. He played the
2003 season for The Citadel.
Simmons played in 24 games, eight as a starter for the Tigers.
He completed 204 of 391 yards for 2530 yards and 16 touchdowns in his
career. He is 12 th in Clemson history in passing yardage and 11th in
As a freshman in 2000 Simmons threw eight touchdown
passes in just 92 attempts as a backup to Woodrow Dantzler on
Clemson's 9-3 team that finished 14th in the final AP poll. That year he
threw four touchdowns passes in the victory at North Carolina, tying the
Clemson single game record. Simmons was named ACC Rookie of the
Week for that performance.
He played in just five games as a backup to Dantzler in 2001,
then played in 10 games in 2002, eight as a starter. He completed 142 of
244 passes for 1559 yards in 2002. He was named the Chevrolet ABC
Player of the Game in Clemson's victory over Wake Forest in 2002.
In 2003 at The Citadel, Simmons completed 153 of 300 passes
for 1864 yards. The 1864 yards rank fifth in The Citadel history in
passing yards for one season. His season included a college career high
32 yards against Western Carolina. At the conclusion of the 2003
season, Simmons was named first-team All-Southern Conference
Simmons was the offensive coordinator at Lincoln High School
in Tallahassee in 2005.
Bowden Seeks Seventh Straight Winning Season
Based on the preseason rankings, the Clemson players and
coaches have goals higher than achieving just a winning season in
2006. However, a winning season would give the program seven in a
row, the second longest streak in Clemson history and the longest for the
program since a record eight years in a row from 1977-84.
Charlie Pell (two years) and Danny Ford (last six) combined for
that eight-year streak of winning seasons. Bowden can break the
Clemson individual coaching record for consecutive winning seasons if
he can record a winning year in 2006. Ford had the six-year streak
mentioned above and Frank Howard had six consecutive winning
seasons from 1955-60.
Clemson Enters 2006 on Four-Game Winning Streak
Clemson won its last four games of the 2005 season to finish
with an 8-4 record. Finishing strong has been the norm for Clemson the
last three years. The Tigers won five of their last six in each of the last
four in 2003, then won five of the last six in 2004 before winning six of
the last seven of 2005. The 2005 season marked the first time since the
1991 season that Clemson won six of its last seven games.
Clemson has a 6-9 record in the first five games of the year
over the last three years, but is 17-4 in the remaining games of the year
over the last three years.
A win over Florida Atlantic would give Clemson five straight
wins. Clemson has not won five in a row since winning the last four
games of 2003 and the first game of 2004. The longest winning streak
under Tommy Bowden took place in 2000 when Clemson won its first
eight games of the season and reached a #5 Associated Press ranking,
and a #3 ranking in USA Today.
Clemson is one of just nine teams nationally entering the 2006
season with a winning streak of at least four games. Texas has the
longest winning streak entering this year at 20 in a row. TCU is the only
other school with a double digit win streak, as the Horned Frogs have
won 10 in a row dating to a loss to SMU early last year.
Ohio State and West Virginia have both won seven in a row,
while Louisiana-Lafayette, Penn State and Nevada have a five-game
winning streak entering this year. Clemson and Tulsa have won four in a
All Five Offensive Line Starters are Back
Clemson returns all five starters in the offensive line for 2006.
That has been a good indication of a successful season, as the Tigers
are a combined 39-9 the last four seasons Clemson has returned all five
starters in the offensive line.
The stat dates to the 1981 season when Clemson had all five
starters back on the way to a 12-0 record and the school's only National
Championship. The other seasons in the last 25 years that Clemson has
had all five starters back are 1987 (10-2), 1995 (8-4) and 2000 (9-3).
Clemson ranked in the final top 16 of each poll in each year but 1995.
Clemson was a combined 39-9 overall, including 24-5 in ACC games
This year's five returning starters on the offensive line include
center Dustin Fry, a preseason selection for the Dave Rimington Award,
offensive guard Roman Fry (no relation), a preseason list selection for
the Outland Trophy, offensive tackle Barry Richardson, the only junior of
the group who has been a preseason All-American by at least one
service, offensive guard Nathan Bennett and offensive tackle Marion
Dukes. Roman Fry was a second team All-ACC selection last year.
Florida Atlantic Overview
Florida Atlantic comes to Clemson led by a legendary head
coach. Howard Schnellenberger won a national championship as an
assistant under Bear Bryant at Alabama in the 1960s and won a title as a
head coach at the University of Miami (FL) in 1983. When you look at
the history of the University of Miami (FL) it is Schnellenberger who got
the program going in the early 1980s. The program was near extinction
before he got there in 1979. He has also been the head coach at
Louisville and Oklahoma and was the head coach of the Baltimore Colts
in 1973 and 1974. He has won 128 games as a college head coach.
Schnellenberger took on a great challenge when he became
the head coach at Florida Atlantic in 2000. The Owls didn't even have a
program. It can't be easy to start from scratch, but that is what
Schnellenberger did and he has had some fine teams. The best Owl
squad was the 2003 team that finished 11-3. He followed that with a 9-3
Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden said Schnellenberger
will bring a sound team to Clemson from a fundamental standpoint.
"They like to use a lot of two-back on offense and they will be multiple on
defense. When I was a graduate assistant at Florida State and he was
the head coach at Miami (FL) he was certainly a coach that you watched
with interest. He always had fundamental teams that out executed
This year's team has 42 returning lettermen and 17 starters
back. They lost just nine lettermen off last year's team. Jervonte
Jackson is a defensive lineman the Tigers will have to account for today.
He is a preseason first-team All-Sun Belt selection according to many
preseason publications after he had 38 tackles as a freshman in 2005.
Troy Pindell is a big play guy on defense after he led the team in
interceptions with four and blocked kicks with three in 2005.
Charles Pierre led Florida Atlantic in rushing last year as a
freshman with 517 yards and three touchdowns. Casey McGahee is the
top returning receiver with 23 catches last year. He has played on both
sides of the ball over his career.
Bowden vs. National Championship Coaches
Tommy Bowden has had a habit of defeating veteran coaches
who have won the National Championship since he has been the head
coach at Clemson. He has a chance to enhance that number on
Saturday when Clemson takes on Florida Atlantic and Head Coach
Schnellenberger led the University of Miami (FL) to the national
championship in 1983 with an Orange Bowl win over Nebraska, just two
years after Clemson had captured the title with an Orange Bowl win over
the Cornhuskers. Bowden already has 10 wins over coaches who have
won the national championship since 1999, his first year at Clemson.
Entering Saturdays game he has actually done it in two of the
last three games. He defeated his father, Bobby Bowden of Florida
State, last November 12 by a 35-14 score, then ended the regular
season with a win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. Spurrier won
the national championship at Florida in 1996 and his father won the
national title at Florida State in 1993 and 1999.
Only two other coaches have defeated both Bobby Bowden
and Steve Spurrier in the same year. Phillip Fulmer did it for Tennessee
in 1998, the year his Volunteers won the National Championship, and
Butch Davis did it in 2000, his last year at Miami (FL).
Tommy Bowden already has 10 wins over five different
coaches who have won the National Championship in their careers. He
had three of the 10 wins in a four-game span to end the 2003 season.
Bowden had five wins over Lou Holtz, who led Notre Dame to
the title in 1988, between 1999-2004. Tommy Bowden defeated Phillip
Fulmer of Tennessee in the 2003 Peach Bowl, 27-14. Fulmer led the
Volunteers to the title in 1998. He has twice beaten his father, Bobby
Bowden, who won the title in 1993 and 1999 with Florida State, and
defeated Larry Coker of Miami, last year at the Orange Bowl, 24-17.
Coker led the Hurricanes to the National Championship in 2001.
Bowden already has the Clemson record for coaching wins
over coaches who had won a national championship. Danny Ford had
seven such victories in his Clemson career between 1978-87. The
national championship coaches Ford defeated were Woody Hayes of
Ohio State, Barry Switzer of Oklahoma, Dan Devine of Notre Dame, Joe
Paterno of Penn State and Vince Dooley of Georgia (three times). He
also defeated Tom Osborne of Nebraska, but Osborne had not yet won a
national championship when Ford beat him in the 1982 Orange Bowl.
First time Winners at Death Valley
Florida Atlantic will attempt to become just the third first-time
visitor in the last 29 years to win at Death Valley. The only opponents
since 1978 to win in their first visit to Clemson have been Marshall, a 13-
10 winner in the season opener of the 1999 season, and Miami (FL),
last year in a 36-30 triple overtime game. Prior to that, the last firstappearance
winner at Clemson was Notre Dame in 1977.
Florida Atlantic is the 47th different team to come to Clemson
Memorial Stadium and the previous 46 have a record of 12-33-1 in their
first game at Clemson. Three of the 12 first-time winners (Alabama,
Kentucky, Marshall) have beaten the Tigers by the exact same score,
A look to Clemson's home record over the years shows why
the Tigers enjoy playing in Death Valley. Clemson has a record of 304-
116-15 at home over the years, a .716 winning percentage. Clemson is
248-257-25 away from home, a .492 winning percentage for those 530
games on an opponent's home field. Clemson is 56-44-5 in neutral site
games. You might notice that Clemson now has 608 all-time
victories, 304 at home and 304 away from home.
Clemson has a 231-90-7 record in Death Valley (since 1942), a
.716 winning percentage for 328 games. Tommy Bowden has followed
the lead of his predecessors when it comes to playing at home. He is 33-
12 so far in his 45 home games, a .733 winning percentage. Clemson
has won 16 of the last 19 at home with the only three losses in overtime
or within the last 10 seconds of the game, all by six points or less.
Clemson - Florida Atlantic Game Notes
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