Thursday, August 21, 2003

Sloppy scrimmage marks start of Georgia preparations

Mistakes and penalties abounded in Wednesday's scrimmage in Death Valley.

"It was real ragged," coach Tommy Bowden said. "It wasn�t real sharp. I would have liked it be more sharp. We would have lost the game today."

The offense took the opening drive 80 yards over 15 plays but was aided twice when the defense jumped offsides after third-down sacks. According to Bowden, the defense was offsides five times in the first 25 plays.

"We�re going to be fine, but that effort was bad," defensive coordinator John Lovett said. "They kids just didn�t feel like playing today. I know when they play Georgia they�re going to be excited. But when you�re playing another team, you might not be as excited and that�s when you have to have the concentration to play."

It's a little discouraging to read something like this, but I guess it happens. Perhaps the players are getting tired after a couple of weeks of hard work.

PLAYER PROFILED: The Anderson Independent Mail has another player Q&A. Today's subject is kicker Jad Dean.

MORE ON KICKING: There also are a couple of stories on punter Cole Chason, who is feeling the pressure to improve on Clemson's abysmal punting record over the past couple of seasons:

The Tigers� 29.7-yard net punting average last season was 113th out of 117 Division I-A teams. (Wynn) Kopp averaged 37.1 yards per punt, which was Clemson�s worst individual mark since 1991 and the second lowest over the past 27 years.

Opponents had better average starting field position than Clemson in seven of 12 games last season. In N.C. State�s 38-6 rout of the Tigers ... the Wolfpack�s starting average field position was its own 42-yard line.

With statistics like that, there's nowhere to go but up.

WHITEHURST PROFILED: Tony Barnhart of Atlanta Journal Constitution and ESPN fame writes about the cool leadership displayed by Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Check it out.

SLOW TICKET SALES: Clemson is projected to sell 55,300 season tickets this season. That's down from the 56,808 sold last season. (My dad is among those who chose not to re-up.) But then again, the athletic department raised prices, so revenues are up.

REFRESHING NEW RULES: Apparently, Clemson's players like the NCAA's new rules regarding preseaon practice.

HE'S GOT THE ANSWERS: The State's Ken Tysiac is still answering questions from Clemson fans. New ones are posted here.

WE'RE PICKED SIXTH: Fanblogs picks Clemson to go 6-6 and finish sixth in the ACC. Personally, I think we'll win at least seven games, and we could win nine with a little luck.

HURTIN' DAWGS: The injuries keep piling up for Georgia. Starting defensive end Will Thompson is gone for the year.

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