Saturday Scrimmage Insider

CLEMSON – The one position that has the least amount of concerns entering the 2007 season is at running back. However, that doesn't mean that tailbacks coach Andre Powell is content with where his star pupils have their game.

In fact, he wasn't very thrilled with the overall performance of the backs in Clemson's first scrimmage of the season on Saturday.

In order to be a complete running back and to help ensure the offense runs as smoothly as possible, they have to be able to run, catch and block.

In the scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the foursome of James Davis, C.J. Spiller, Sadat Chambers and Ray Ray McElrathbey looked good at times and not so good at others.

"They looked all right, but I didn't think they looked great," Powell said of Davis and Spiller. "There were some plays I wish they would have made didn't and sometimes they did some things and made some plays that you couldn't possibly ever think about coaching. They need to be more consistent."

On the day in mostly situational plays, Chambers had 10 carries for 27 yards and two touchdowns, while Spiller rushed for 17 yards and two touchdowns on six attempts. Davis gained just 15 yards on six carries, while McElrathbey had six attempts for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Chambers got a lot of work because the coaching staff wanted to see how he would do in full pads in goal line and game situations. And as one might expect from someone who has only been at the position a week, there were ups and downs.

"I think I did good with the running plays, but with the blocking schemes, I've got to work on it a little bit," Chambers said. "I'm pretty comfortable. The blocking scheme is what I've got to work on a little bit."

His own assessment is pretty much what Powell had to say about him, too.

"I thought he looked pretty good," Powell said. "He ran hard, but he made some mistake in the passing game, which I expect. But I thought he ran hard."

As far as the two stars are concerned, Spiller lined up in different positions and made some receptions. However, he was more down on himself than Powell.

"I lined a little bit up in slot and caught the ball," he said. "The day was all right, but I've got to still work on pass blocking. We have to protect the quarterback a little more. If I was to grade my performance, I'd say it was a C-minus or a D."

His cohort said the blocking will come in time and that he thought the overall performance of the offense was just fine … with one exception.

"I thought the offense did really well today, except for goal line," Davis said. "We always have problems with the passing routes situations. There's so much stuff we have to remember. We have to know our running, our routes and our blocking and when to chip out. But it will all get better when we narrow everything down and focus in on it."

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