March 29, 2003
Red-shirt freshman Reggie Merriweather rushed for 75 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the offense and Gaines Adams recorded a pair of safeties on defense to highlight play in a Clemson football scrimmage on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center on Saturday morning.
The Tigers worked for two and a half hours on Saturday, their final major scrimmage prior to the Spring Game on April 5. That game will be held at 1:30 PM at Riggs Field. Admission is free. The Tigers worked extensively on the running game, an area Head Coach Tommy Bowden hopes to improve on both sides of the ball this coming season. The last part of the practice was spent working on short-yardage situations at midfield. The offense appeared to win that battle.
Merriweather’s play has been a highlight of the spring practice. A red-shirt last year, Merriweather is yet to appear in a game for the Tigers. “He is getting consistent at breaking long runs,” said Bowden. “We certainly are looking for a player who can break a long run. We didn’t have a running back have a run over 32 yards last year. It seems every practice he breaks one. It won’t be difficult for Reggie to get in the lineup if he continues to break these long runs.”
Merriweather had eight rushes for 75 yards in Saturday’s scrimmage. He had a 35-yard run for a touchdown and a five-yard run for a score. He had another run of 20 yards brought back by a penalty. He had a 75-yard run in a scrimmage last Wednesday.
Merriweather was not the only running back to stand out on Saturday. Rising sophomore Kyle Browning had a 38-yard run and had a strong performance. Yusef Kelly, Clemson’s top rusher last year with 520 yards a year ago, gained 37 yards on 12 carries. The offensive scored four touchdowns, all on touchdown runs. Merriweather had two, while Duane Coleman and David Dunham had one apiece.
Clemson ran 97 plays in the scrimmage, 74 runs and 23 passes. Charlie Whitehurst completed 3-6 passes for 61 yards, while Willie Simmons hit on 5-10 for 81. Will Proctor was 3-3 for 27 and Chansi Stuckey was 1-4 for five yards. Stuckey provided one of the highlight plays of the day when he escaped on-rushing linemen and gained 21 yards.
The top receiver was senior Kevin Youngblood with four catches for 78 yards. Kelvin Grant and Derrick Hamilton had two receptions apiece. Airese Currie did not catch a pass, but had a 34-yard run.
The defense was led by Gaines Adams, another red-shirt freshman, who had four tackles, including three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Twice he tackled the opposing quarterback in the endzone for a safety, once on a sack. Vontrel Jamison had three tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Tye Hill had the only interception of the scrimmage, while Anthony Waters had a fumble recovery. The top tacklers of the day were Gerald McCloud, Leroy Hill and Lionel Richardson had five tackles apiece.
Bowden was pleased with the performance of the offense, but wants the defense to step up. “The offensive line played well today, we want improvement on short yardage and we saw that today. At the same time, I would rather see the defense dominate the line of scrimmage. “
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