What to watch in Sat. Scrimmage

CLEMSON - Though Saturday's 10 a.m. scrimmage is closed to the public, CUTigers will be on hand to provide extensive coverage following its conclusion. Here are five things we'll be watching out for Saturday morning.

Where else would we start?

Starting quarterback Kyle Parker is in Charlottesville with the baseball team playing No. 1 Virginia, leaving behind the keys to the football team to Boyd.

Boyd spent end of Wednesday's scrimmage on the practice fields running the first team offense after Parker left for that night's baseball game against Elon. Boyd was also under center with the first team throughout Friday's practice.

He's shown off the strong arm since day one, but now we'll get to see what he can do as ‘the guy', even if it only may be temporary. We'll be keeping an eye on several areas of Boyd's game Saturday.

First is consistency in his decision making, then accuracy, timing with receivers and his overall grasp of the offense.

Still just a freshman, Boyd could make a few steps towards cutting down the gap between he and Parker with a solid performance Saturday.

Marcus Gilchrist and Byron Maxwell take over the starting two spots and both have plenty of experience, especially after last season. Gilchrist is described by defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as a do-it-all kind of player and Maxwell is a big, imposing presence at 6-1, 200 pounds.

Head coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers will scrimmage inside of Death Valley for the first time in 2010 Saturday morning in a closed scrimmage. (Roy Philpott)
Throw in Coty Sensabaugh and Xavier Brewer--both of whom played several meaningful snaps in 2009 and Clemson's secondary presents a stiff test for the wide receivers.

We'll also be watching Spencer Adams, who's recently been moved to corner from safety and appears to be fully recovered from blowing out his knee 18 months ago.

Xavier Dye and Jaron Brown appear to be the current front runners at wide receiver. We'll be tracking how consistent they are catching the ball and running crisp routes. Outside of those two, who else is going to step forward?

Of course, everyone's curious if Bryce McNeal's redshirt freshman season will be dividends in the near future.

How about Marquan Jones? He's going through his third spring practice since he's been at Clemson.

And, can Brandon Ford show that he's more than just a jump ball threat down field?

In this wide-open race, you can't forget about Brandon Clear.

When fully healthy, Clemson's first six offensive linemen come together to form a pretty respectable front. The problem is what's behind them. The Tigers' second offensive line is very inexperienced.

Second-team left tackle Brandon Thomas is considered the left tackle of the future, but has plenty of work before he's ready to step into that role.

On Saturday, we'll be watching to see how he handles Clemson's stout group of defensive ends. Though Da'Quan Bowers will not be participating in the scrimmage, there are still plenty of bodies that Thomas will be counted on to keep out of the offense's backfield.

Head coach Dabo Swinney mentioned that he'll be keeping a close eye on the kickers, and for good reason.

Richard Jackson spent most of the season ranking as one of the nation's top place kickers. He hit a rough spot on and off the field the back end of the schedule, giving Spencer Benton a few opportunities to step forward. But Benton struggled some too. Meanwhile, Chandler Catanzaro waited patiently on the sideline with a redshirt.

Though Swinney said it appears that Jackson has the edge, things could change. For now, the job remains Jackson's to lose.

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