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Football Opens 2000 Season Versus The Citadel

Football Opens 2000 Season Versus The Citadel

Aug. 27, 2000

Three Tigers on National Award Lists

Three Clemson players are on preseason lists for top awards at their respective positions. Keith Adams is on the Butkus Award Watch List, the top candidates for the award given to the nation’s top linebacker. He will also be a prime candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the nation.

Senior Robert Carswell is on the preseason list of candidates for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the top defensive back in the nation. He will also receive prime consideration for the Nagurski Award. Senior receiver Rod Gardner is one of the preseason candidates for the Biletnikoff Award, the honor given to the top receiver in the nation.

Clemson is one of just 12 schools nationally to have at least one candidate for all three awards. The other schools with this preseason award trifecta are Brigham Young, Florida State, Florida, Kansas State, Marshall, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Southern Cal, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.

It is easy to see why the aforementioned Clemson players are on these respective lists. Adams led the nation in tackles (186) and tackles for loss (35) and was second in sacks (16) for the 1999 season, quite an accomplishment for a sophomore.

Adams performance last year shows you that someone can be absent from the preseason lists, then make All-American at season’s end. Adams had played just 176 snaps in 1998 and was not close to being a preseason All-ACC candidate. By the end of the year he was a first-team All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Carswell is in his fourth year as a starter for the Tigers and is coming off a season in which he broke a school record for tackles by a defensive back. He was also 10th in the nation in interceptions. He is a first-team preseason All-American. Gardner set Clemson records for receptions and reception yards last year, becoming the first 1000-yard receiver in Clemson history.

No Clemson player has ever won a national position award. Terry Kinard was named National Defensive Player of the Year by CBS Sports in 1982. The Thorpe Award did not exist in those days. That is the highest single postseason national honor received by a Clemson football player.

It is interesting to note that Adams, Carswell and Gardner are roommates. They may need to clear out a storage area in that apartment to store all the trophies and certificates they will accumulate this year.

Clemson in the Preseason Polls

Clemson is ranked in the top 25 of just about every preseason Top 25 poll. The highest ranking Clemson has received gained the most publicity. The Tigers are ranked eighth by Sports Illustrated. Associated Press, the oldest and one of the two major weekly polls, has Clemson 17th. The USA Today Coaches poll has Clemson 19th in its preseason rankings.

Here is a list of Clemson’s preseason ranking by major ranking services: 8th–Sports Illustrated 12th–Fansonly Network, Football News 13th–Athlon, College Football News, Game Plan 14th–College Football Digest, Preview Sports 15th–Blue Ribbon 16th–Lindy’s 17th–Associated Press, ESPN The Magazine 18th–Street & Smith 19th–USA Today/ESPN Coach’s Poll 20th–CNN/SI 23rd–The Sporting News

Clemson’s Preseason AP Poll History

Clemson is ranked 17th in the preseason Associated Press poll. This is the 17th time since 1936 that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25 of that poll. Clemson’s number-17 ranking is its highest preseason ranking since the 1992 preseason. It is the first time Clemson has been ranked in any Associated Press poll since September 22, 1997 when Clemson was also 17th.

A victory or two would move Clemson into the top 15 in the rankings. Clemson has not been ranked in the top 15 in the nation since September 9, 1992 when the Tigers were 15th. Clemson has not been in the top 10 of the AP poll since October 6, 1991 when Clemson was sixth after a 3-0 start. That is the last time Clemson started the season 3-0.

Clemson’s highest preseason ranking in the history of the AP poll is a number-four ranking. Clemson had that lofty ranking in 1988 and 1984. The 1988 team finished 10-2 and ranked ninth in the final poll. The 1984 team finished 7-4 and was not ranked in the final AP poll. That team led by William Perry and Mike Eppley did finish 20th in the final New York Times computer ranking.

The preseason poll is not always an indication of future success or failure for the Tigers. Each of the last three times Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 25, Clemson has failed to finish the season in the the poll. Clemson has not finished in the final top 25 since 1993 when Ken Hatfield’s final team was 23rd in the final poll. That is also the last time Clemson was ranked in the top 25 of the preseason and postseason poll.

Ten times Clemson has been ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll and finished the season in the top 25. That includes a streak of five straight years between 1987-91. There have been nine seasons in which Clemson was unranked in the preseason poll, then finished the season ranked in the top 20. That includes the 1981 season when Clemson was unranked in August, then won the National Championship in January. The last time Clemson went from unranked in the preseason to a final top 25 ranking was 1986 when Clemson finished 17th after an 8-2-2 season.

Of the 16 times that Clemson has been ranked in the preseason poll prior to this year, Clemson has finished higher than the preseason ranking just four times (1958, 1978, 1982 and 1990). In one season, 1989, Clemson had the same preseason and final ranking.

Clemson in the Associated Press Preseason Poll

Year Pre Rank Final Rec Finak RK
1958 18 8-3 12
1959 8 9-2 11
1960 9 6-4 NR
1978 18 11-1 6
1982 11 9-1-1 8
1984 4 7-4 NR
1987 9 10-2 12
1988 4 10-2 9
1989 12 10-2 12
1990 10 10-2 9
1991 9 9-2-1 18
1992 13 5-6 NR
1993 22 9-3 23
1994 25 5-6 NR
1996 25 7-5 NR
1997 18 7-5 NR
2000 17 ? ?

Clemson in Openers

Clemson has won 13 of its last 16 season openers. The only opening losses since 1983 took place in 1986 at Clemson when Virginia Tech and Coach Bill Dooley upset the Tigers, 20-14, at North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1996 and last year at home against Marshall. That 1986 game with Virginia Tech was a battle of eventual bowl teams, as the Tigers ended the year 8-2-2 and ranked 17th in the nation, while Virginia Tech was 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final poll. Of course, last year’s 13-10 loss to Marshall was also a battle of bowl teams.

Even though this is the 105th season of Clemson football, Clemson has had just 99 home openers in its history because five seasons Clemson did not play a game at home. In the 99 home openers Clemson has a 75-16-8 record against 27 different opponents. Clemson has nearly an identical record in terms of the first game of the season. The Tigers are 77-19-8, regardless of site, in their first game of the season.

Opening Day Records

Clemson had three opening game records set last year against Marshall. That includes current senior Rod Gardner who had 11 catches against the Thundering Herd. That total also tied Clemson’s overall record for catches in a game.

Here is a list of top performances by Clemson players in theopening games of the season:

Total Offense: 297 by Billy Hair vs. Presbyterian, 1951Rushing Yards: 204 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952Passing Yards: 283 by Jimmy Addison vs. Virginia, 1966Pass Attempts: 34 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999Pass Completions: 23 by Brandon Streeter vs. Marshall, 1999Passing Efficiency: 235 by Patrick Sapp vs. UNLV, 1993Receptions: 11 by Rod Gardner vs. Marshall, 1999Rec Yards: 145 by Perry Tuttle vs. Furman, 1979All-Purpose Yards: 246 by Buck George vs. Presbyterian, 1952Tackles: 18 by Jeff Davis vs. Rice, 1980

Clemson vs. The Southern Conference

Clemson has won 34 straight games against Southern Conference teams dating to a 6-0 loss to South Carolina in 1952. Both Clemson and South Carolina were in the Southern Conference in those days. Both joined the ACC the following season.

Clemson has won 43 in a row over teams currently in the Southern Conference. Clemson has not lost to a team currently in the Southern Conference since October 9, 1943 when the Tigers lost to VMI in Roanoke, VA, 12-7. Clemson last lost at home to a team currently in the Southern Conference on November 26, 1936 when Clemson beat the Tigers 12-0, a game that was played in the snow. That is also the last time Clemson has played a game in the snow. Clemson has never lost at home to a team currently in the Southern Conference.

Eleven of the last 13 Southern Conference teams have failed to score a touchdown against Clemson. This will be Clemson’s first game against a Southern Conference team since 1998 when the Tigers opened the season with a win over Furman, 33-0.

The closest a Southern Conference team has come to beating the Tigers since Clemson moved to the ACC in 1953 is two points. In 1973 Clemson beat The Citadel, 14-12 at Death Valley. In 1976, Clemson gained a 10-7 victory over The Citadel. Those are the only two occasions since 1953 that a Southern Conference team has come within a touchdown of the Tigers.

Clemson has won 16 in a row over Southern Conference teams since 1982, the year the NCAA adopted a 1-AA division. Clemson has outscored the opposition 541-63 or an average of 34-4 in the 16 games against Southern Conference teams since 1982.

Records Held by Active Tigers

Six current Clemson players collectively hold a total of 23 school records. This list of record holders is led by Keith Adams with 11, all marks he set last year as a sophomore. Rod Gardner is second with six records. Woody Dantzler holds three, while Robert Carswell and Chad Speck, classmates who play the same position, hold one apiece. John McDermott said a record for plays in a season player year.

Carswell’s total will soon increase by one as he is on the precipice of breaking all-time great Terry Kinard’s record for tackles by a defensive back. He needs just 13 more tackles to do that. He averaged over 10 a game last year, so that could go by the boards next week against Missouri. Speck is in range of breaking the Clemson record for career special teams tackles. He has 29 and the record is 45 by Ashley Sheppard (1989-92).

Here is a list of records held by current Clemson players:

Keith Adams (11) *Tackles in a game: 27 vs. South Carolina, 1999 *First hits in a game: 18 vs. South Carolina, 1999 *Sacks in a game: 4 vs. Duke, 1999 *Tackles for loss in a game: 6 vs. Duke, 1999 *First hits in a season: @119 in 1999 *Tackles in a season: 186 in 1999 *Sacks in a season: 16 in 1999 *Tackles for loss in a season: 35 in 1999 *Consecutive games with a sack: @5 in 1999 *Consecutive games with a tackle for loss in season: @12 in 1999 *ACC Player of the Week selections: 5 in 1999Rod Gardner (6) *Pass Receptions in a game: 11 vs. Marshall, 1999 *Pass Receptions in Death Valley: 11 vs. Marshall, 1999 *Receptions in season: 80 in 1999 *Reception yards in season: 1084 in 1999 *Receptions/game in season: 6.67 in 1999 *Reception Yards/Game in season: 90.3 in 1999Woodrow Dantzler (3) *Yards rushing by a quarterback in a game: 183 vs. Maryland, 1999 *Total offense yards in a game: 435 vs. Maryland, 1999 *Consecutive 200-yard total offense games: @3 in 1999Robert Carswell (1) *Tackles in a season by a defensive back: 129 in 1999John McDermott (1) *Snaps from scrimmage in a season: 923 in 1999Chad Speck (1) *Special teams tackles in a game: 7 vs. Georgia Tech, 1999 @ Denotes tied record

Carswell Chasing Kinard’s Record

Senior safety Robert Carswell will soon eclipse a record held by one of Clemson’s all-time greats. Carswell has 282 career tackles entering The Citadel contest, just 12 behind the career total recorded by former All-American Terry Kinard. Kinard was a two-time consensus All-American at Clemson, including a unanimous selection in 1982 when he was National Defensive Player of the Year. Kinard was named Clemson’s greatest player of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated earlier this summer.

That said, Carswell certainly should take pride in this record. He had 129 tackles last year to set the Clemson record for stops by a Tiger defensive back. But, Carswell can do more than just tackle, he had six interceptions last year to tie for the ACC statistical championship in that category. He was named a preseason first-team All-American by Playboy, Clemson’s first Playboy All-American since Anthony Simmons.

Top Career Tackle Totals by Clemson Defensive Backs

Rk Player Years Tot
1. Terry Kinard 1978-82 294
2. Robert Carswell 1997-00 282
3. Robert O’Neal 1989-92 252
4. Brian Dawkins 1992-95 251
5. Gene Beasley 1985-88 241

Gardner Countdown to Clemson Records

While Robert Carswell is on the verge of breaking a Clemson record, classmate Rod Gardner will be chasing a couple of Clemson records this season. With his record 80 catches for a record 1084 yards last year, Gardner has vaulted from virtual obscurity to a record challenger.

Gardner enters his senior season with 108 receptions for 1448 yards. He ranks sixth in career receptions and 10th in reception yardage. If Gardner has 55 catches for 1233 yards this season, he will break both records, marks held by former All-ACC receiver Terry Smith. Smith had 162 catches for 2681 yards in his career.

Coming into last year Gardner had just 28 catches for 364 yards. An 80-catch season will obviously put him over the top, but the yardage record will be a challenge. Entering this season, the native of Jacksonville, FL trails only Smith, Perry Tuttle, Jerry Butler, Brian Wofford and Tony Horne in receptions.

Horne reached the final 10 of the Biletnikoff Award in his senior year (1997) when he had 70 catches. Gardner broke his record for a season last year. Horne, now the top kickoff return player in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, is the only Clemson receiver in school history to reach the final 10 of the Biletnikoff Award voting. (The award did not exist when Butler and Tuttle played).

Clemson career Reception Leaders

Rk Player Years Rec
1. Terry Smith 1990-93 162
2. Perry Tuttle 1978-81 150
3. Jerry Butler 1975-78 139
4. Brian Wofford 1996-99 138
5. Tony Horne 1994-97 120
6. Rod Gardner 1997-00 108
7. Phil Rogers 1965-67 106
8. Mal Lawyer 1996-99 99
9. John McMakin 1969-71 93
10. Terrance Roulhac 1983-86 92

Watts Seeks Fifth Letter

An accomplishment should be realized this year by a Tiger gridder that has not been achieved since 1919. Clemson wide receiver Justin Watts should obtain his fifth varsity letter in football this year, something no Tiger gridder has done since 1915-19. Stumpy Banks is the only other Clemson football player in history with five varsity letters.

Watts played in 10 games as a reserve in 1996, then played 101 over the first three games of 1997. He suffered a knee injury in the third game against Florida State and was lost for the year. He was granted another year of eligibility because of the injury, but he had played enough snaps to warrent a letter. He then played 218 plays in 1998 and 634 snaps last year as a starting wide receiver. He is slated to be a starter again this year.

We aren’t sure how “old Stumpy” got to play five years. In those days there weren’t as many rules. Banks was one of six brothers to graduate from Clemson and he is in the Clemson Hall of Fame. He once scored five touchdows in a game, still tied for the school record. A longtime Clemson fan, he saw all but three Clemson vs. South Carolina games between 1909 and 1961. He was a member of the sideline chain crew for Clemson home games for 35 years.

Hunt Could Start Opener

Clemson freshman Aaron Hunt is slated to be Clemson’s starting placekicker heading into this week’s game with The Citadel. If he does start, he would be the first Clemson first-year freshman to start the opening game of the season since 1995 when Anthony Simmons started the season opener against Western Carolina.

In the last 10 years, only Simmons and Anthony Downs (TB, 1994) have been first-team freshmen who have started the first game of the season. Robert Carswell started six games at safety in 1997 as a first-year freshman and was considered the starter over the course of that season, but he did not start the opener. Tony Lazzara, who is competing for the placekicking chores with Hunt, was the starting kicker last year, but he was a red-shirt freshman.

Clemson started 19 first-year or red-shirt freshmen over the course of the season in the decade ofthe 1990s. Ten were first-year freshmen and nine were red-shirt freshmen. The last first-year freshman to be the starting kicker was Chris Gardocki, in 1988. Gardocki handled both the punting and placekicking and is now the highest paid kicker in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.

Smith to Red-Shirt 2000 Season

Clemson starting offensive tackle Akil Smith, an honorable mention All-ACC tackle in 1999, will red-shirt the 2000 season. Smith, Clemson’s starting left tackle in 1999, who was slated to be the starter again this year, was treated this summer with blood thinners for a pulmonary embolism in his lungs. He will continue to use the blood thinners this fall, and that will force him to the sidelines.

“We certainly follow the wishes of Akil’s family and physicians,” said Tommy Bowden. “He will still come to our practices and work in full pads, but will not be involved in any contact drills. We want this to be as productive a red-shirt year as possible and we look forward to getting him back on the field in the Spring and in our 2001 lineup.

“He is one of our top offensive linemen, a starter on the third best offense in Clemson history last season. So, it is a big loss. But, obviously Akil’s health comes first and I will follow the family’s recommendation.”

Smith started 11 of Clemson’s 12 games last year, playing every snap in seven games. Perhaps Clemson’s most versatile offensive lineman, he started nine games at left tackle and two at left guard. He was second on the Clemson team in knockdown blocks last year with 62 and was a big reason Clemson averaged over 400 yards a game in total offense for just the third time in school history.

As a result of this injury, T.J. Watkins, a starting guard, was moved to Smith’s starting left tackle position. Will Merritt was moved into Watkins starting guard position.

Zachery Paces the Running Game

Running back Travis Zachery will be a key to Clemson’s rate of success on offense this year. The junior running back is Clemson’s top returning rusher with 1455 career yards, including a team best 820 last year. He actually had 827 in 10 regular season games last year, then had -7 in the Peach Bowl when he suffered a dislocated elbow, allowing him to play just five snaps.

Zachery scored 16 touchdowns a year ago, second highest figure in Clemson history and he ranked ninth in the nation in scoring. Only the 17 touchdowns scored by Lester Brown in 1978 is more. Zachery has shown an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (check action picture in player’s section of this program) and has 31 catches for his career, just 14 away from the Clemson career record for a running back.

In addition to his rushing and pass catching talents, Zachery figures to add to his all-purpose yardage by his involvement in punt and kickoff returns. He has 246 punt return yards for his career, but has not had any kickoff return yards entering the Citadel game. Zachery was a preseason first-team All-ACC selection by Athlon, Preview Sports and ATS Consultants this summer. He was also ranked as one of the top 30 candidates for the Heisman Trophy by ATS Consultants.

Clemson vs. The Citadel Series

This is the 35th meeting between Clemson and The Citadel dating to a 17-0 Clemson victory at Charleston in 1909. Clemson won the first five games of the series, including the first three by shutout. The Citadel’s first victory came in 1916 by a 3-0 score. The only tie in the series was a 7-7 score in 1921 in a game played in Orangeburg.

Clemson has won the last 13 meeting between the two teams. The Citadel’s last victory took place in 1931, a 6-0 win in Florence, SC. After that game, Head Coach Jess Neely, who was in his first year, met with Clemson administrators to see what could be done to improve the Clemson program. IPTAY, Clemson’s athletic scholarship fund-raising organization, was the product of taht meeting.

The two teams have met just once the last 22 years, a 24-0 Clemson win at Clemson in 1986. In that game, The Citadel’s Kip Allen attempted 57 passes, the most ever attempted by a player against Clemson and the most pass attempts by any individual in a game in Death Valley. The Tigers had 18 passes broken up that day, an all-time Clemson record for that category.

Clemson had its greatest team passing game in history against The Citadel in 1978. Steve Fuller and Billy Lott were a combined 15-17 on the day for 245 yards an a touchdown. That .882 completion percentage is best in school history. Fuller was 9-9 on the day, the highest single game perfect passing game by a Tiger in history.

Another Clemson highlight in the series took place in 1954. Clemson defender Walt Laraway returned an interception 30 yards for a score and returned a blocked punt 39 yards for a touchdown. It is the only time in history that a Clemson player has had two returns for touchdown in the same game.

While The Citadel has not beaten Clemson since 1931, they have come very close on two occasions. In 1973 and 1976, Clemson won consecutive games by 14-12 and 10-7 scores, respectively. The Citadel was coached in those games by current Detroit Lions mentor Bobby Ross. Clemson had to use a Ciro Piccirilli 23-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to beat the Bulldogs in 1976.

Clemson and The Citadel Common Coaches

A check to the coaching history at The Citadel and Clemson reveals many common denominators. In fact, no less than nine former Citadel Coaches were also either former Clemson players or former Clemson coaches.

That list includes four Clemson graduates who were coaches at The Citadel. The list is led by Mike O’Cain, current offensive coordinator at North Carolina, who was an assistant at The Citadel from 1978-80. He was Clemson’s team MVP in 1976. The other Clemson grads who were The Citadel assistants are Rick Gilstrap, Bob Patton and Billy Wingo. Wingo was a baseball and football standout at Clemson in the mid-seventies.

Current Clemson assistant head coach Brad Scott was an assistant coach at The Citadel in 1981. Other assistant coaches who are common denominators in each school’s coaching history are Dwight Adams, Ellis Johnson, Jimmy Laycock and Danny Smith.

The Citadel Scouting Report

Don Powers Citadel Bulldogs return 18 starters from last year’s team, including nine starters on defense. The point prevention unit is led by defensive tackle Mario Richardson and linebacker Denny Haywood. Richardson earned second-team all-conference honors in 1999 after registering 63 tackles, while Haywood enters the season with 247 career tackles, more than any other player in the Southern Conference.

Tight end Jason Barley is atop the list of returning veterans for The Citadel’s offense, which uses the flexbone offense, an attack that has not been seen in Death Valley since Ken Hatfield used it to defeat Virginia near the end of the 1993 season. Barley was an all-conference pick in 1998 and caught 17 passes for 194 yards in 1999.

Sophomore Joe Call figures to get the call at quarterback. He played in just five games in 1999, but was an efficient 28-48 for 257 yards and a score. The leading rusher is Maurice Murphy, who gained 547 yards from the fullback position last year. Kenyon Doyle is a player to watch at tailback, as he won the 100 and 200-meter track championships in 1998. Two-year starter Omar Nesbit leads the offensive line.

Head Coach Don Powers is a veteran of 30 years as a coach and student-athlete in college football. He has been the head coach of the Bulldogs since 1996 and has been on the school’s staff since 1989. He was the defensive coordinator at The Citadel in 1992, the year the Bulldogs posted an 11-2 record and led Division I-AA in scoring defense.

He was the defensive coordinator at Western Carolina in 1983 when the Catamounts posted an 11-3-1 record and advanced to the Division I-AA National Championship game. One of their three losses was at Clemson that year, 21-10. Obviously his Catamount defense had a pretty good day against a Clemson team that finished the season with a 9-1-1 record, ranked 11th in the nation.

Clemson Returns Staff in Tact

Clemson’s coaching staff returns in tact from last year, a rarity in this day of coaching. This is the first time since 1991-92 that Clemson has had the exact same nine full-time assistant coaches and head coach in consecutive years. Clemson is one of three ACC teams that did not make an assistant coaching change in the off-season. Duke and Virginia also return their staffs in tact from last year.

Clemson has one of its most experience staffs in history. In addition to the experience of Head Coach Tommy Bowden, his assistant coaching staff includes two coaches who have been head coaches. Rich Rodriguez was a head coach at Glenville State from 1990-96 and Brad Scott served as head coach at South Carolina from 1994-98.

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring actually has coached and played in the most bowl games out of all of Clemson’s coaches. He has been to 11 as a coach, including five with Clemson, and also participated in three others when he was a player at Florida State. Brad Scott has been to 13 bowls, 12 as an assistant coach and one as the head coach at South Carolina. He is the only Gamecock head coach in history to win a bowl game.

Overall, Clemson’s 10 coaches have been involved in 67 bowl games, 22 during their playing days and 45 as coaches.

High School Teammates Reunite at Clemson

One of the secrets to recruiting success at Clemson the last couple of years has been to go back to fertile areas. There are nine different high schools represented on the Clemson 2000 roster with at least two players listed. There are 115 players, including walk-ons on Clemson’s roster and 24 of those come from those nine schools.

Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School in Orangeburg, SC has supplied Clemson with four players to lead the way. The former Orangeburg-Wilkinson players on the Clemson team include starting junior quarterback Woodrow Dantzler, sophomore wide receiver Jackie Robinson, freshman defensive back Kevin Johnson and freshman defensive back Ryan Hemby.

Four high schools, Stone Mountain (Georgia), Raines (Jacksonville, FL), Shanks (Quincy, FL) and Summerville (SC) all have three former players on the current Clemson team. The three players from Raines High School in Jacksonville, FL include top receiver Rod Gardner and starting cornerback Darrel Crutchfield. They compete against each other in practice eveyday and that competition has made Crutchfield a much improved player for 2000. Raines High also supplied Clemson with current NFL players Patrick Sapp (Indianpolis Colts) and Brian Dawkins (Philadelphia Eagles).

Active Clemson Players who were High School Teammates

School, (State) Players
Orangeburg-Wilkinson (SC) Woodrow Dantzler, Jackie Robinson
Stone Mountain (GA) Robert Carswell, Gary Byrd, Matt Bailey
Raines (Jacksonville, FL) Rod Gardner, Darrel Crutchfield, Kevin Youngblood
Shanks (Quincy, FL) Willie Simmons, Ronnie Thomas, Charles Harper
Summerville (SC) Bernard Rambert, Bo Charpia, Marcez Mitchell
Marietta (GA) Travis Zachery
Peach County (Fort Valley, GA) Kenzi Ross, Terry Jolly
Dorman (Spartanburg, SC) Jamie Somaini, Russel Stuermann
S. Florence (Florence, SC) Justin Watts, Morgan Woodward

Defensive Highlights Scrimmage August 18, 2000 CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden gave the edge to the defense after Saturday’s controlled scrimmage at Death Valley. The Tigers worked in Clemson Memorial Stadium for three hours for over 125 snaps on Saturday. Clemson will have Sunday off, then will have two-a-day workouts on Monday and Tuesday prior to the start of school on Wednesday.

“The defense continued to dominate, but I am happy with that at this point,” said Bowden, whose team opens the season September 2 against The Citadel. “The defense has shown more quickness and enthusiasm so far. We have two weeks to get the offense’s timing down. But, that is usually the case this time of the year.

“Overall it is good that the defense is ahead. It makes me feel more confident about our team at this point. Our defense might be pretty good this year.

“We didn’t have many big plays today on offense, that is something we need to improve on. We will pair things down by Wednesday and get into our gameplan for the opening of the season.”

Sophomore linebacker Rodney Thomas led the way for the defense with seven tackles (including one tackle for loss), one sack and one caused fumble. Freshman John Leake and sophomore Brian Mance each had five tackles. Leake had one tackle for loss. Junior Altroy Bodrick had two pass breakups, one interception and one tackle, which was for a loss. Junior Braxton Williams also had a pass break up and two tackles.

Clemson hit five of six field goal tries Saturday in the scrimmage. Freshman kicker Aaron Hunt nailed all three of his field goal attempts, hitting from 40, 21 and 19 yards. Tony Lazzara made a 25-yard field goal and missed from 44 yards. Both performed well in the kicking situations prior to the scrimmage. Bo Charpia also split the uprights from 32 yards. “Tony Lazzara has had a good fall and Aaron Hunt showed a live leg today. He didn’t miss a kick in the work we did prior to the scrimmage.

Red-shirt freshman Willie Simmons completed 11 of 22 passes for 121 yards and had five carries for 11 yards, while Junior Woodrow Dantzler was 13 of 33 for 95 yards. Dantzler had to face the number-one defense much of the afternoon. Simmons completed a 30-yard pass to Kevin Youngblood and a 24-yarder to Rod Gardner. That was Gardner’s only catch of the scrimmage. He played sparingly while recovering from a turf toe. Sophomore Matt Schell passed for 42 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was eight of 15 for the day. Sophomore Joe Bever was three for four for 13 yards.

Youngblood led all receivers with five catches for 56 yards, while senior Travis Zachery caught four for 32 yards and Joe Don Reames grabbed 4-28. Freshman Terrance Huey was the top rusher with 3-43. Chad Jasmin added 7-29.

Kyle Young continued to miss time at center due to a foot injury. Bowden hopes the first-team academic All-American will return next week. In an effort to find depth at that position, Bowden moved Theo Mougros to center much of the day. “We don’t want to go into the first game not knowing what we will do for a backup center. We must decide if center is the right position for Jermyn Chester. We will make that decision next week.”

Clemson Offense Dominates Scrimmage August 22, 2000 Clemson, SC — Clemson’s offense was back on track during a 101-play scrimmage in Death Valley on Tuesday night. The defense had dominated most of the two-a-day sessions, which came to a close on Tuesday.

The offense gained 698 yards on those 101 plays and many big plays were turned in. On the third possession, Willie Simmons hit Joe Don Reames on a 60-yard touchdown strike. Later, there were back to back possessions when quarterback Rod Gardner for a 90-yard touchdown pass, followed by a 73-yard run by Bernard Rambert. Simmons also turned in a 51-yard run.

Both quarterbacks were productive. Dantzler connected on 11-17 passes for 159 yards and a score. The junior from Orangeburg, SC also ran 10 times for 35 yards, giving him 194 yards of total offense. Simmons hit on 11 of 25 passes for 134 yards and a score. The red-shirt freshman also had five rushes for 94 yards, giving him 228 yards of total offense.

Rambert had 5 rushes for 91 yards, while Chad Jasmin had 6-23 and scored three touchdowns during the goal line portion of the scrimmage. Reames finished with 3 catches for 58 yards, while Kevin Youngblood had 4-51. Gardner had the most yardage among the receivers with two catches for 102 yards.

In defense of the defense, starters Robert Carswell, Terry Jolly, Terry Bryant and Jason Holloman played sparingly.

“The offense showed improvement,” said Bowden. ” It is certainly apparent that our defense is not as effective with Keith, Robert and some others out of the lineup. We must develop depth on defense. Based on what we saw tonight there is too much separation between the first team and the second team.”

Another bright spot of the scrimmage was the kicking game. Freshman Aaron Hunt converted field goals from 47 and 46 yards in his two field goal attempts and he made all his extra points. Tony Lazzara was 2-2 on field goals, both from 27 yards. “I am staying with what I said at the beginning of practice, that Aaron is number-one, but Tony has really done well. It is a very close battle.”

The leading tacklers in the scrimmage were Rodney Feaster with six, Robert Carswell with five, Rodney Thomas with four and Keith Adams with four. Jason Holloman also had four stops, including two tackles for loss and a sack. Eric Meekins caught Bowden’s eye with a 54-yard interception return and some good coverage. Chad Speck also had four tackles and a touchdown saving interception. Marcus Lewis had a fumble recovery.