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Football Opens First Practice

August 12, 1998

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson Head Coach Tommy West welcomed 103 football players to the first practice of the year Tuesday morning on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. Clemson practiced twice on Tuesday for an hour and 50 minutes each, the first of eight scheduled two-a-day practices over the next nine days.

“Practice went well today, the team reported in very good condition,” said West, who is in his fifth season as Clemson Head Coach. “We had 100 percent attendance in our offseason conditioning program and it shows.

“We looked to be ahead of schedule offensively and defensively because we know the system.” This is the first year since West has been head coach that both coordinators are in place for the second consecutive year.

Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter went through both practices at full speed and without injury. “I talked with him a couple of times during practice and he said he felt really good,” said West. “We aren’t going to push it with him in the preseason. If he gets tired or sore, he can sit down.

West said there is stiff competition for many positions. With the loss of 11 starters from last year, including players who had started for three or four years, there is stiff competition. “Youth creates excitement because there are a lot of positions up for grabs. For the first time in four years Raymond Priester and Nealon Greene won’t be in our lineup.

“Players have picked it up a notch. The offensive players know Tony Horne won’t be here to be the big play guy on offense and Anthony Simmons won’t be the big play guy on defense. There are new opportunities.”

Two players were restricted in their activity on Tuesday, Mark Stiewing, who has a back injury and Joedy Mitchell, who is recovering from a broken leg suffered last Spring. Justin Watts, who missed all but three games last year with a torn ACL, was at full strength with the wide receivers.

West said that linebacker Raj Mitchell had left the team Monday evening. The native of Ridgeland, SC and Jasper County High School was to be a red-shirt freshman on this year’s team.

One addition to the Clemson roster on Tuesday was Jeremichael Williams, a two-year All-American on the Clemson track team. A sprinter on four ACC championship teams at Clemson, Williams worked with the wide receivers on Tuesday. He has one year of football eligibility and has exhausted his eligibility in track.