High Expectations

The spring wasn't exactly what Clemson football assistant coach Ron West had hoped it would be for his guys at the Bandit position. However, he couldn't have been much more pleased with the way things turned out with his young players at SAM linebacker.

By the time the spring game was over, there were co-leaders at the Bandit position after what had been solely Ricky Sapp's in the beginning.

Redshirt senior Kwam Williams did a lot of the little things right and gained substantial ground on the depth chart during the spring. So much so, that he is listed along with the sophomore Sapp as the co-starter heading into fall camp.

"That's the way things finished up," West said. "That's life. Kwam had a much improved spring. He was doing things the right way."

One of the problems West had with Sapp's performance, as well as Williams' for that matter was that neither showed the consistent aggressiveness that is required out of that position.

"I think we've got to do more," West said. "We've got to be dominant at that position. We weren't dominant in the spring. And that's what's going to prove in August who is best player."

Sapp and Williams have a workout program this summer and whichever player has the best summer will ultimately enter August with the advantage.

"We've got to get stronger and a little more flexible," West said. "They have hand drills and other things to work on. They know what they have to improve."

As far as Sam linebacker is concerned, West never had the services of projected starter Tremaine Billie during the spring. Nick Watkins was also out the majority as both concentrated on academics.

And that turned out to be a blessing as it allowed several of the young players to get nearly all of the snaps in practice.

Sophomore Jeremy Campbell was one of the beneficiaries.

"I thought Campbell did real well," West said. "He really came on in the spring."

Assuming all is good with Billie and Watkins this summer with grades, coupled with the return of starting linebacker Antonio Clay, the Tigers may have the best linebacking corps in the ACC.

"We've got a chance to have a really good crew," West said. "And with the young guys getting all the reps this spring, they're better, which makes us a lot deeper."

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