Aug. 18, 2001
Clemson, S.C. – Defense was again the topic of conversation after Clemson’s football scrimmage Saturday afternoon in Death Valley. Tommy Bowden’s Tigers worked for three hours in Clemson Memorial Stadium. The Tigers ran over 100 plays. They will be back in the stadium in two weeks to open the season against Central Florida.
“Once again the defense played well,” said Bowden. “I would rather have it that way. The number-one and number-two defense didn’t give up any big plays and didn’t give up any long drives. Giving up the big play was a problem for us last year.
“All the questions about our team coming into the preseason were about the defense, the fact that we only had four starters back. Hopefully we are answering some of those questions. We have some young players coming on who are stepping up.
“John Leake continues to play well. His motor is running all the time just like Rodney Thomas is playing well also. Both are showing some quickness when it comes to getting to the ball. Marcus Houskin has played well in the secondary. Those are three players who didn’t start last year who have stepped up their play.”
Bowden continues to look for a big play performer on offense. “We are still looking for a Rod Gardner type among the skill players. If we don’t the offensive line is going to have to come on. Keith Kelly ran well today on offense, as did Bernard Rambert. We didn’t play Travis Zachery as much today, we know what he can do. We are trying to get the backups as much action as possible.” Kelly was the top rusher in the scrimmage with 11-45 and a touchdown, while Rambert had 10-41 rushing and caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Woodrow Dantzler. Tony Elliott and Rambert each had three receptions. The longest play of the scrimmage was a 51-yard pass from freshman quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to freshman tight end Bobby Williamson.
Leake led the defense with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss. Rodney Thomas had six tackles and two tackles for loss. Charles Hafley and Toure Francis each had interceptions, while Charles Harper each had fumble recoveries.
Two players and one coach suffered injuries during the scrimmage. Altroy Bodrick and Morgan Woodward both suffered sprained knees during the scrimmage. Bodrick will have an MRI and his status will be evaluated after that exam.
Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring will also have an MRI to determine if he has a torn Achilles tendon. The Clemson linebacker coach suffered the injury while exhorting his defense at one point in the scrimmage.
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