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Clemson Defense Dominates Scrimmage

April 3, 1999

CLEMSON, S.C. – Damonte McKenzie, Altroy Bodrick and Braxton K. Williams led a dominant Clemson defense in the second scrimmage of the Tigers spring practice. It was the last major scrimmage for Tommy Bowden’s Tigers prior to the Clemson Spring Festival next Saturday at 1:00 PM in Death Valley.

The Tigers scrimmaged for just over two hours for 133 plays. The offense scored three touchdowns and had three field goals, but the Clemson defense held the offense to just 384 yards total offense for the 133 plays, including just 109 yards rushing in 75 rushes. That total includes yards lost on six sacks and 14 other minus running plays. Overall, the defense forced four interceptions and a fumble, but only one of the turnovers was by the first-team offense.

McKenzie, a senior defensive lineman, had eight tackles, including four tackles for loss and a sack. He also gave the defense two points when he tackled running back Gary Johnson in the endzone for a safety.

Bodrick, a sophomore, had a team best 12 tackles, including two tackles for loss and a pass deflection. Braxton K. Williams, another sophomore, had eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass deflection and a 35-yard interception return. Chad Speck added nine tackles and a fumble recovery, while Alex Ardley had five tackles, two passes broken up and a 23-yard interception return.

Other defensive leaders included Robert Carswell with seven tackles and a tackle for loss, Terry Bryant with five tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack, and Detra Polite, who had three tackles, a pass broken up, a blocked field goal and an interception.

The offense threw 58 passes and completed just 20, but did have 275 yards on those 20 completions. Brandon Streeter was 11-26 for 120 yards and a touchdown, while second-team QB Woodrow Dantzler hit 7-21 for 117 yards and a touchdown. One of the offensive highlights of the scrimmage was a 56-yard pass from Dantzler to running back Vince Ciurciu. Both quarterbacks had touchdown passes. Streeter connected with fullback Terry Witherspoon for a 24-yard scoring strike, while Dantzler hooked up with Wofford for a seven-yard score.

The receivers were led by Brian Wofford. The senior from Spartanburg, who enters this season in the top 15 in Clemson history in receptions and reception yards, had five catches for 38 yards and a score. Mike Seth had three catches for 57 yards, while Rod Gardner caught three for 47 yards.

Dantzler was the top rusher with 15-50, but Streeter had the only rushing touchdown, a 10-yard scamper. Gary Johnson led the running backs with 20 carries for 42 yards, while Ciurciu had 17-34. Tony Lazarra led the kickers with a pair of field goals, boots of 42 and 45 yards. Chris Campbell ended the scrimmage with a 39-yard field goal.

“I was happy with the scrimmage in that the defense was dominant,” said Bowden, who will practice his team just three more times this spring. “With the number of players the defense has returning and the youth we have in the offensive line and the amount of learning that is being done with a new offensive approach, the defense should dominate. I have been looking for more consistent play by the defense. There were a bunch of tackles for loss and sacks by the defense today.

“Robert Carswell has been one of the bright spots of the spring. He has been one of the consistent players on defense. He is one of the smarter players and best athletes we have on our team. He is certainly making the transition from strong safety to free safety.

“Brandon (Streeter) has had a good spring, he has made some good decision this spring. He did miss some open receivers today, but he is the number-one quarterback. There is separation between Brandon and Woody, but it is a separation that Woody can overcome. There is good competition at that position.

“Brandon has been more consistent and Woody has made some big plays. The separation is a result of the extra experience that Brandon has. Woodrow’s decision making has improved every week, but Brandon has had about 24,000 more reps with his extra two years of practice and game experience.”

Second-team center Will Merrit suffered a hip injury near the end of the practice and had to be helped from the field. His status will be updated on Monday, but it is not believed to be a serious injury. That was the only new injury on Saturday. Slade Nagle (separated shoulder), Javis Austin (tests for dizziness problems), Pat Cyrgalis (broken ankle) and David Evans (knee injury) all missed the scrimmage due to existing physical ailments.

StatisticsPassing: Streeter 11-26-120-1-1; Dantzler 7-21-117-0-1; Schell 2-11-38-3-0 Rushing: Dantzler 15-50; Johnson 20-42; Ciurciu 17-34; Streeter 6- (-1)-1; Witherspoon 3-3; Lawyer 2-10 Receiving: Wofford 5-38-1; Seth 3-57; Gardner 3-47; Lawyer 2-3; Ciurciu 1-54; Watts 1-15; Robinson 1-16; Witherspoon 1-24-1;

Scoring Lazarra, 42-yard field goal Safety–Johnson tackled in endzone by McKenzie Streeter, 10 yard run (Lazzara kick) Witherspoon, 24 pass from Streeter (Campbell Kick) Lazarra, 45-yard field goal Wofford, 7 pass from Dantzler (Lazarra Kick) Campbell, 39-yard field goal

DefenseTackle leaders: Bodrick 12, Speck 9, Williams 8, McKenzie 8, Carswell 7, James 6, Meekins 6, James 6 Interceptions: Williams 1-35, Ardley 1-23, Hafley 1-16, Polite 1-17 Fumble Recoveries: Speck 1 Tackles for Loss: McKenzie 4-14, Bryant 2-10, James 2-6, Eason 2-12, Holloman 2-9, Bodrick 2-7 Sacks: Eason 2-12, McNeal 1-7, Bryant 1-6, McKenzie 1-7, Adams 1-8