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Tigers Begin Spring Football Practice

March 13, 1999

CLEMSON, S.C. – Brandon Streeter completed 12 of 22 passes for 222 yards to lead the quarterbacks, while Nick Eason had three sacks to pace the defense during a 121-play Clemson football scrimmage in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first scrimmage of the spring practice season for first-year coach Tommy Bowden’s Tigers. The Tigers will not practice again until March 24, as the University is on spring break next week. Clemson will hold its Spring Game on Saturday April 10 in Death Valley at 1:00 PM.

Streeter, Clemson’s returning starter from last year when he threw for 1948 yards, second highest total in school history, completed a 45-yard pass to Brian Wofford on the first play of the scrimmage. Streeter later had a 56-yard completion to Rod Gardner to set up a score. Overall, the senior from Pennsylvania had five completions of 20 yards or more.

Tiger quarterbacks completed 28 of 54 passes for 427 yards and all four led at least one touchdown drive. The offense had five touchdowns, four field goals and gained 608 yards of total offense. In addition to Streeter’s numbers, Woodrow Dantzler connected on 9-21 for 126 yards and was the leading rusher in the scrimmage with 13 carries for 54 yards. His rushing total included a 30-yard touchdown run.Bowden used four quarterbacks on the day. Red-shirt freshman Matt Schell connected on 5-8 for 49 yards, while Slade Nagle was 2-3 for 32. Schell ran for 11 yards, including a 1-yard TD run.

Wofford led the receivers in receptions with a 6-87 day, but Gardner was the top player in terms of reception yardage with 5-129. Matt Bailey, who had two touchdown receptions in last year’s Spring Game, had four catches for 82 yards on Saturday. Red-shirt freshman Jackie Robinson, a high school teammate of Dantzler, had four catches for 58 and three of the passes came from Dantzler.

The top all-around running back was Javis Austin, who had 12-50 and two touchdowns. He also had a pair of catches for 14 yards before he left the scrimmage with a concussion after he was tackled by Charles Hafley on a goal-line situation. He should be back when practice resumes on the 24th of March.

Gary Johnson, who red-shirted last season, had 11-52 rushing, including an eight-yard touchdown run. Pat Cyrgalis had 3-22 rushing out of the fullback position. Overall, the offense had 67 rushes for 181 yards. That total was reduced due to nine sacks for -52 yards by the Clemson defense.

Speaking of the defense, Nick Eason, a red-shirt freshman defensive end, had six tackles, including three quarterback sacks and a pass breakup. Brandon Rouse, also a red-shirt freshman defensive lineman, had a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. First-year freshman J.J. McKelvey, a linebacker who enrolled in January, had six tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Braxton K. Williams had a pair of sacks and a caused fumble to go with six tackles, while freshman Bryant McNeal had a pair of tackles for loss and six tackles. Sophomore Keith Adams was the top tackler in the scrimmage with eight. Dextra Polite and Charles Hafley had interceptions.

No punting was done in the scrimmage, but the Tigers did attempt placekicks in appropriate situations. Jamie Somaini and Tony Lazzara each had two field goals and two extra points.

In addition to Austin’s concussion, the only new injury was a knee injury suffered by red-shirt freshman offensive lineman David Haselden. Freddie James (Defensive line) and Jeremy Carroll (offensive line) both missed the scrimmage with existing knee injuries.

“I thought we made some good decisions and good throws at quarterback,” said Bowden. “Brandon made some good reads and the receivers did a good job catching the ball. Overall there is still much improvement to be made, but we have seen improvement since we began practice a week ago.

“On defense I thought there were some big plays in the secondary. J.J. McKelvey, Dextra Polite and Charles Hafley had interceptions and we got some good pressure on the quarterback early in the scrimmage. I thought the defensive front got a little tired late in the practice, but conditioning is not as big a factor in the spring as it will be in the fall.”

Statistics from Clemson Scrimmage

Passing: Streeter 12-22-222-1-0; Dantzler 9-21-126-2-0; Schell5-8-49-0-0; Nagle 2-3-32-0-0. Receiving: Wofford 6-87; Gardner5-129; Bailey 4-82; Robinson 4-58; Seth 3-35; White 2-15; Austin2-14; Ciurciu 2-9; Rushing: Dantzler 13-54-1; Austin 12-50-2;Johnson 11-52; Schell 5-11; Cyrgalis 3-22; Ciurciu 13-15 TackleLeaders: Adams 8, Crutchfield 8, Bodrick 7, Holloman 7, Jolly 7,Easton 6, Bush 6, McNeal 6, Williams 6, McKelvey 6, Carswell 6,Meekins 6 Interceptions: McKelvey 1-0, Polite 1-0, Hafley 1-0Sacks: Eason 3-26, Rouse 2-13, Williams 2-10, Carson 1-2, Holloman1-1