March 8, 2003
The offense scored on all six of its red zone possessions, including five touchdowns, to highlight Clemson’s first intrasquad scrimmage of spring practice. Each of the top four quarterbacks threw a touchdown pass in the red zone situation, in which the offense began each drive at the 18-yard line. The offense also got solid production from its running backs, with three Tigers gaining at least 35 yards in the 86-play scrimmage.
“I thought the backs ran hard today,” said head coach Tommy Bowden. “We had no center-quarterback exchange problems, no fumbles by our running backs and several big catches by our wideouts.”
Offensively, Charlie Whitehurst and Willie Simmons each had four completions and a touchdown to lead the quarterbacks. Kelvin Grant had three catches, including a 45-yard bomb from Chansi Stuckey to the 1-yard line, to lead the receivers. Reggie Merriweather had nine carries for 45 yards and two touchdowns to lead the running backs.
The defense played well early in the session, limiting the offense to just one touchdown in 13 non-red zone possessions. The defense forced one turnover when a Stuckey pass was tipped and intercepted by Travis Pugh. The unit had a hard time stopping the offense when playing on a short field, though.
“We were better in short yardage today,” said Bowden. “I think fatigue got to the defense today. We didn’t do a good job of stopping the run.”
The defense totaled 10 tackles for loss, including three sacks. Linebacker John Leake led the way with eight tackles, including one for loss. Clemson kickers posted a strong effort. Aaron Hunt was 2-3 on field goals, missing only a 53-yard attempt. Stephen Furr made his only field goal attempt and combined with Hunt to convert every extra point attempt.
Bowden said Todd McClinton and Charles Bennett each suffered minor injuries and are not expected to miss any practice time. The Tigers will continue spring practice on Monday.
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