Saturday Scrimmage Insider

CLEMSON – Even though he sees them everyday in practice, Clemson head football coach Tommy Bowden is learning something new all the time about his players. In Saturday's second scrimmage of fall camp, he had an epiphany concerning his defense.

"I finding out our defense could be pretty good," he said. "And they run real good, so if you bounce anything out (you're going to get stopped). You're going to have to gut them north and south, I think, to have success."

Every time an offensive player is asked about the defense, the first thing he mentions usually is the extreme speed at every position. However, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning downplayed the speed factor.

"I hope (Bowden) doesn't start telling people how to beat us, that'd be kind of bad," he said with a sly grin. "I'm not going to say anything bad about our guys because I love them and they're ours and we trying to get better and better and better, but I know those cats (Florida State) that they're going to play against in that first game that there's a few positions that they might run just a touch better than us. But we're trying to catch them."

When asked to expound on what positions exactly, Koenning was quick to answer.

"I'd say at linebacker is one thing," he said. "Probably at safety might be the second spot, and then corner might be the third spot and maybe d-line might be the fourth spot. And they're kicker might be a little faster than ours, too."

His response brought out laughter, but Koenning is in a mode where he doesn't want to fully reveal his hand. He has more talent than at any previous time during his three years at Clemson, but it's also so exceedingly young, which means they can be prone to mistakes.

"I think we're a lot, lot, lot better than we were a couple of years ago overall," Koenning said. "We are so much better on defense than we were two years ago (when we beat Miami). Now we've just got to go out and do it."

WHO'S HOT: The top two quarterbacks. Starter Cullen Harper and backup Willy Korn each went 9-for-15 passing. Cullen finished with 105 and no touchdowns and one interception against the first-team defense, while Korn had 122 yards passing and two touchdowns against the second-team defense.

For Harper, it was just another ho-hum day of being consistent, which is a definite strength of his. Very rarely does he have a bad day.

"I think at the quarterback position, especially, you've got to be consistent and that's what I'm trying to do," he said. "I'm trying to protect the ball and give the receivers a chance to make a play and get us in the right run check."

Korn said he had a ‘B' performance but that he feels like he was much better this week than last. Also, Bowden said Korn has closed the gap some between Harper and himself.

WHO'S NOT: Center Barry Humphries, who had a tough time of it in Saturday's scrimmage. Bowden said that area is still a major concern to him.

"We've got to get a little bit better and more consistent in center play," he said. "It's kind of like Dustin (Fry) three years ago. You get used to a certain level of consistency and standard in there and all of a sudden you throw a new guy in there and that's where it all starts. We really need to get back to where we were and it's going to be hard for Barry to do that."

QUICK HITS: Placekicker Mark Buchholz was perfect on the day with his field goal kicking by going 4-for-4 in his attempts against a live rush. He made kicks from 34, 44, 45 and 54 yards, with the last one having at least five more yards to spare.

That's pretty darn good for someone who has been as busy as Buchholz has been the last week. On Wednesday, he had two soccer practices and two football practices. It's been a real grind and it's starting to wear on him just a bit.

"I'm still able to keep the accuracy, but I just can't go as deep," he said. "I might not be able to go much further than 55, but we really don't need to go much farther than 50. So as long as I keep my accuracy, it won't be a problem."

He also said that once school starts and he gets on a normal practice schedule that his legs won't be as tired. But that's in the future. He has a match Saturday night in soccer in which he to play a very large amount. …

Bowden said he was, "disappointed in how we ran today in some of our short yardage situations." … Wide receiver La'Donte Harris had the best day of all the skill players, Bowden said. He also added that nobody else jumped off the radar. Top Stories