Jam Packed Tuesday Notebook

CLEMSON – Ever since about 7:15 p.m., Saturday, Clemson fans everywhere have been questioning the decision to have freshman C.J. Spiller on the field in overtime against Boston College on a first-and-goal situation instead of James Davis. Turns out, fans aren't the only ones.

Both, Davis and Spiller, were surprised by the turn of events.

"I was very surprised that I was in the game," Spiller told CUTigers.com. "I was just happened to be right there when they called out the personnel grouping, so I just ran on the field."

Davis was anxious to get on the field and win it for the Tigers, but he was left standing on the sideline.

"We got down to the 3-yard-line and I was hoping that we were just going to pound it right in behind our offensive line and we go outside with it and I kind of questioned that call," he said. "Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and come back this week."

The main reason both backs were shocked at play, which was a speed run to the right in a straight ‘T' formation, is because Davis had scored on the same play earlier in the game.

Spiller had never been in that formation with lead blocker Reggie Merriweather before.

"It was me and Reggie in there, but it's usually James and Reggie," Spiller said. "That was my first time being in there with Reggie during the game on that play. It was very surprising to all the running backs that I was in there."

When Spiller took the handoff and followed Merriweather to the right, the Boston College defense had gained massive penetration, which forced Spiller further back behind the line of scrimmage and resulted in four-yard loss.

"They just had a great defensive call to the side we were running to," Spiller said. "You've got to give them credit, they made the stop that they needed to make. They really did have a lot of penetration. I really don't know where I could have ran to."

However, apparently those type of situations won't happen again as they've been changed.

"(Monday) in practice, they had me in there on all of the goal-line situations," Davis said. "I can see where they'll probably have me or Reggie in there, experienced guys who can pound the ball."

Do or Die
Senior center Dustin Fry is fully aware of the importance of this week's game at Florida State. A loss to the Seminoles would essentially eliminate any chance Clemson has of winning the Atlantic Division and playing for the ACC title.

"This is about as important as it gets," he said. "If we lose this one, the season's not dead, but it's going to hurt us. But you can't hang up the season. I think the winner of our division will have at least one loss.

"This one's real important. It will kind of shape our season to which way we're headed."

Kinder, Gentler Coach Vic
With all the injuries to the defense, Tigers defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has had to change the way he coaches and his demeanor with the players.

Younger players require being coddled slightly because coaches can't afford to have their confidence shattered.

"I was less animated and more positive on the sideline Saturday since I've been here, because I think that's what we need," Koenning said. "You've got to adapt and adjust. I need to be the leader. I need to be the guy that says, ‘Jeremy (Campbell), it's ok. You're going to get another chance. It's ok.' Whereas before, it was more of keeping their heads out of the clouds and keeping them grounded. Now I've got to get them believing that they can. …

"You can whip a dog and he can take it. But when it's a puppy, you can't whip a puppy because for the rest of their lives, they're going to be running under the bed."

Ray Ray the Celebrity
Before the NCAA granted redshirt freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey a waiver on receiving help raising his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and ESPN.com were just a few of the national media outlets blistering the NCAA and ACC for their failure to help the two boys out.

Today, after the waiver was granted, a big-time writer from the New York Times was on hand to solely talk to and hang out with Ray Ray. National Public Radio called today to set up an interview with him, too. Also at Clemson today was a crew from ESPN, who will have a feature on him during this Saturday's GameDay.

Someone from the Montell Williams Show inquired about having Ray Ray on the show, but McElrathbey said he didn't want to miss practice. However, he said he would miss practice for Oprah. And seeing how Jeff Davis has already been on her show, don't be surprised if it happens.

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