Spence Discusses Offense

CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Rob Spence met with the media following practice Tuesday night instead of head coach Tommy Bowden to answer questions about the offensive line, the receivers and his newfound start quarterback.

One of the first questions he fielded was about the play of the receiving corps. With all the press surrounding the outstanding play of quarterback Cullen Haprer, those catching the ball sometimes get left unnoticed.

After all, they are the ones that are hauling in the passes for touchdowns and not dropping the well-thrown balls.

"I'm really pleased with Aaron (Kelly)", Spence said. "I believe that Aaron is playing every single day. Tyler Grisham has had a really great preseason and beginning to his year.

"Jacoby (Ford) has really improved himself as a receiver, too. His hands have gotten so much better and he's playing full speed. He's playing at the speed that is freakish."

One area of focus the last two weeks has been the play of tailback C.J. Spiller, which has been spotty at best. He has struggled to find any sort of consistency running the ball and is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.

Spence, like everyone else at Clemson, is saying not to worry.

"I think running the ball is based on momentum," he said. "It's based on getting into a groove and getting into a feel. Getting into a rhythm is really important for a running back. I think that takes some time to develop."

The play of the offensive line has taken a lot of heat over the first three games, too. But Spence said that unit isn't alone in needing to get better.

"The entire offense has to improve a lot over the next couple of weeks," he said. "I think that's the name of the game. To be the team that you want to be at the end of the year, you've got to improve every week."

AUTOGRAPH HOUNDS: About once a week, two men in their mid 30s to early 40s show up at practice to ask the players to sign a handful of footballs with the Clemson logo emblazoned on them. The footballs have that one piece of white leather, which is where the balls are always signed.

The men have been coming out there for a couple of years and have said in the past that the footballs are Christmas presents for their children. They must have about 368 kids running around.

The players sometimes feel obligated in signing the footballs when they are ambushed by these grown men, one of which is short, stubby and bald.

On Tuesday, they got to the players coming off of the practice field and then again as they walked out of the locker room. They even went up to players who were already in their cars or were talking on cell phones and shamelessly asked them to sign at least three of these footballs.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that these footballs are being sold for money.

"It does kind of bother you that they just get it and then sell it," Harper said. "The best way to deal with it is to just sign a couple of things."

Making money of the signature of a 19-year-old is about as low as it gets. It even troubles Spiller, who always gives people the benefit of the doubt.

"Oh yeah, it bothers me," he said. "But you don't want to be rude to them. I don't sign more than a couple of items. Like today, when I was out there signing things, I knew the guy was probably going to make money off of it. Sometimes you want to say something to them, but I don't."

A member of the athletic department said he is going to speak to some university individuals tomorrow about getting someone or something to keep these men from harassing the players.

QUICK HITS: Both middle linebackers, Cortney Vincent and Antonio Clay, practiced without the yellow jerseys on and are getting closer to full strength. Everyone practice at full speed Tuesday and there were no injuries.

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