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Defense Dominates Scrimmage

Aug. 14, 2004

Clemson, SC – Defense was the name of the game for Clemson’s first full scale scrimmage on Saturday morning at Death Valley. The Tigers scrimmaged in Memorial Stadium for a little over two hours. The Tigers are preparing for their season opener against Wake Forest at Clemson on September 4.

The scrimmage was held in perfect weather, sunny and just under 80 degrees. It allowed for a lively scrimmage in which Bowden got plenty of film to analyze over the next day and a half. Clemson will not practice on Sunday, then will hold two practices on Monday, the last day of two-a-days before the start of school on Wednesday.

“The defense dominated for most of the day,” said Bowden. “That was especially the case early, but the offense scored on a couple of big plays, a 50-yard run by Yusef Kelly and a 36-yard pass from Charlie Whitehurst to Kelvin Grant. The only thing that was disappointing about the defense was they had a chance to really put their foot down, then gave up those two big plays.

“The offense needs to show improvement and we will work on that. They need to establish a leadership base. There were too many mistakes on offense. The defense dominated even without Justin Miller and Leroy Hill seeing much action.” Miller missed the scrimmage with a sprained ankle, which he originally suffered at the end of Friday’s second practice, and Hill played just 18 snaps, as Bowden tried to get playing time for younger players Nick Watkins and Anthony Waters.

“Charles Bennett continues to stand out on defense. He really has improved and has a knack for pressuring the quarterback. Nick Watkins had a long run with an interception, he made a quick break on the ball. Jad Dean kicked well when we were in the scrimmage. He and Stephen Furr both made field goals fro 48 yards. In fact, Furr’s was into the wind and against a live rush. That was certainly a positive from today.”

The defense recorded 18 tackles for loss on the day. Bennett led the way with four tackles for loss, including two sacks and eight total tackles. Hill, a Butkus Award candidate, had two tackles for loss in his limited action and he also caused and recovered a fumble. David Dunham, Lionel Richardson and Gaines Adams all had two tackles for loss apiece. Adams and Anthony Waters also had five tackles to lead the balanced performance by the defense. Watkins, the red-shirt freshman from New Orleans, had the only interception.

Kelly led the ground gainers with 12 carries for 88 yards, including the 50-yard run late in the scrimmage when he broke three tackles and ran from one side of the field to the other. Kyle Browning had 15-68 rushing, but he lost a fumble. Reggie Merriweather added 15-38 on the ground, giving the three running backs 42 attempts for 194 yards.

Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 9-20 for 104 yards, including the 36-yard scoring strike to Kelvin Grant, who led all receivers with 4-69. In addition to the touchdowns recorded by Kelly and Grant, the only other touchdown was scored by walk-on receiver Duncan McLaurin, on a five-yard pass from freshman quarterback Cullen Harper.

In addition to Miller’s sprained ankle, freshman offensive lineman Christian Capote suffered a leg injury. His status will be updated on Monday. Starting offensive guard Chip Myrick continued to miss practice due to mononucleosis. Also out were Duane Coleman (broken foot), Vontrell Jamison (broken arm), Michael Collins (leg injury), Kevin Burnette (recovering from torn ACL), and Roy Walker (torn ACL, out for the year).