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Spring Game Notebook

Spring Game Notebook

April 15, 2000

Postgame audio clips:

  • Coach Bowden
  • Matt Schell

CLEMSON, S.C. — Woodrow Dantzler gained 262 yards in total offense and accounted for two touchdowns, and defensive players J.J. Howard and Alex Ardley both scored touchdowns to highlight action at Clemson’s Spring Game on Saturday. The Orange (offensive team) defeated the White team (defense) 37-12 in the four quarter game that featured 149 plays, 91 passes and 58 rushes.

The game concluded spring practice for Tommy Bowden’s team. The Tigers open the season September 2 against The Citadel at Clemson Memorial Stadium. An estimated crowd of 18,000 attended the game, second highest ever for a Clemson spring game. Last year 16,500 Clemson fans attended the contest.

Dantzler completed 22-34 passes for 237 yards and a score. The rising junior, who will enter August as Clemson’s number-one quarterback, also rushed 10 times for 25 yards. He scored on a four-yard rush and also completed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Joe Don Reames.

Dantzler was not the only offensive star of the game. Matt Schell completed 10-18 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. The rising sophomore completed a nine-yard scoring pass to Marvis Jenkins and a 42-yarder to J.J. McKelvey in the second quarter. Schell also gained 12 yards in two rushes in his finest performance in Death Valley.

Red-shirt freshman Willie Simmons, troubled by a sprained ankle most of the spring, hit on 13-34 passes for 82 yards and was intercepted twice. Dantzler led the offense on four scoring drives, two touchdowns and two field goals. Schell led the offense on three scoring drives, two touchdowns and one field goal.

The receivers were led by freshman Kevin Youngblood. The native of Jacksonville, FL caught six passes for 83 yards. Rod Gardner, who like Youngblood attended Raines High School in Jacksonville, had 4-57 receiving. Mike Seth, a rising senior from Sumter, had a good day with five catches for 46 yards.

J.J. McKelvey, who was a linebacker last year, had a productive day with four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Walk-on Marvis Jenkins had 4-43 receiving and a touchdown. Sixteen different receivers caught 46 passes for 541 yards in the action.

Clemson did rush the ball 58 times in the scrimmage. Bernard Rambert was the top ground gainer with 10-67. Travis Zachery, Clemson’s top rusher last year with 820 yards, had 7-28 and also caught three passes for 21 yards. Zachery has missed most of the spring with a shoulder injury. Dantzler had the only rushing touchdown on a four-yard run, the first score of the day.

The defense was not devoid of stars who made big plays. Nick Eason was among the top players with five first hits and three passes broken up. The rising sophomore also had a sack. J.J. Howard played sparingly, but had two quarterback sacks and also returned a fumble 30 yards for a score.

Clemson defenders had four interceptions and 11 tackles for loss. Marcus Houskin and Chad Carson were the top tacklers in the game with eight apiece, while Charles Hafley had seven. Terry Jolly, second-team All-ACC player a year ago, had six tackles to lead the defensive linemen.

Interceptions were turned in by Tore Francis, who also had five tackles and a pass broken up, Alex Ardley and Willie Simmons pass 43 yards for a touchdown, the last score of the day.

Clemson also had a good day in terms of field goals. Tony Lazzara made his only attempt, an 18-yarder, and also was 2-2 on extra points. Bo Charpia had a pair of field goals, 29 and 23 yards, and also made both of his extra points.

“Offensively, Matt Schell played very well today,” said Bowden. “Schell doesn’t want to be number-three, Willie Simmons doesn’t want to be number-two and Woodrow Dantzler doesn’t want to give up that starting job, so we have a healthy situation at quarterback coming out of spring practice. Woodrow has gotten much more comfortable in this offense this spring. He has made a lot of progress since the Peach Bowl.

“The offensive line did not play well today, they were charged with seven penalties. But, over the spring, I think the offensive line has made progress, they are a lot tougher and stronger since the Mississippi State game. They weren’t sharp today, but they have made improvement. We had the opportunity to evaluate a lot offensive lineman this spring and that was good.

“Defensively, we were pretty bland, we didn’t do a lot of blitzing or use any nickel packages, so that is one of the reasons the offense moved the ball today so well. ” The Clemson defense played without injured All-America candidates Robert Carswell.