Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring football practice notes

If you've seen the vids on the TNet front page, you've noticed that despite some coaching, Korn's release is hardly any faster than it was during the season. Its like a windmill. I'm not encouraged by this, even if he is hitting his targets better than Parker. Defensive coaches across the league will be noticing this quite quickly too, so I have a feeling that INTs will become a problem with Korn in there at QB. He must speed up that delivery, if not now, soon.

In most practices, the comments from players have been about the increased tempo this spring. Swinney has cut the dead time in practice considerably, and they are working with a faster paced mindset, trying to get as many plays in as possible.

The offensive linemen like the coaching setup we have now, since they get more 1-on-1 time with Pearman and Fat Brad. Right now the rotation appears to be Hairston, Austin, Cloy, McClain, and Walker, but Barry Humphries (with a 500lb bench and 700lb squat now) will be right there with McClain come August. He's not cleared for contact yet.

Swinney also mentioned the play of the offensive line, and said that he fully intends to give Mason Cloy every opportunity to the starting center in September, but said knowing that he has Thomas Austin and Barry Humphries ready to step in is a bonus.

Another offensive lineman to earn his praise was freshman Antoine McClain.

“Antoine McClain is moving like a different guy,” Swinney said. “He walks like a different guy; he talks like a different guy. He is much more confident, and that is what going through the battles will do for you. How good we are going to be will depend on who emerges up front"

D. McDaniel is getting more and more praise from Steele. He will be put in man coverage a lot this season, so let's hope he excels there. I'm going to go into the blitz packages and "Robber" defense that you will see the most of this season soon.

Even though the QBs and the OL are getting some praise for their workouts, the WRs are not. Swinney has commented on dropped passes being a big problem so far, though the word is that he has a tougher definition of what a drop is.
"Every ball that comes your way, they don't care if you barely touch it – he's counting it," Dye said in an interview. "He wants us to make each play possible, because it might come down to it in a game. … In practice, they make it where it's hard enough that when you do it in a game, it makes it easy on us."

Following Monday's afternoon practice, here is what he said to the media, he basically covers everything with an optimistic tune.

D. Bowers should be ready to play all the time and fill the shoes that Gaines Adams left behind. I think he and Sapp could be an awesome tandem, but his technique will have to improve, his motor is just fine. Right now though, the coaches are lavishing praise on Kevin Alexander, and if Sapp isnt healed up then I don't believe we'll be losing anything with him in there.
“I hear that from all the coaches every day,” Bowers said. “They tell me I can be one of the best that has ever come through Clemson. I’ve just got to set my mind and do it.”

In getting to that level of greatness the Tigers’ coaching staff is looking for, Bowers will be looked upon to post bigger numbers during his sophomore season, as he registered a single sack last season, which came in the second week of the season.

Redshirt freshman Spencer Benton, the front-runner for place-kicker, broke his collarbone snowboarding during break. Benton is still able to kick during practice. “That’s not helping (his) cause, but it should heal up fairly quick,” Swinney said. It still looks like our kicking situation blows chunks.

Dan Brooks was at practice yesterday afternoon, and several outlets are now reporting that the deal is done, so I've looked through his bio and here are the highlights:

Native of Sparta NC, and his primary responsibility was recruiting the Western NC/SC areas, where he stole Shaun Ellis (Mauldin), Albert Haynesworth (Hartsville), four-star lineman Terrea Smalls (Timberland), and highly regarded linemen Anthony McDaniel of Columbia, William Brimsfield of Neeses, plus touted athletes Jeff Coleman, Ikie Curry, and Dominique Stevenson (Gaffney), just to name a few. I hated that those Gaffney players left the state, especially Coleman. Curry was too dumb to actually make it into UT, if you can believe that, but he was a 3/4-star TE.

His coaching career began at Western Carolina (graduate of there), then to Kings Mountain High. He joined the Florida Gator staff in 1983, helping Charley Pell to one of his best years at UF in 1984. He stuck around with Galen Hall after Pell was fired for NCAA violations the next season (Hall was eventually run off in 1989 to pave the way for Spurrier). In 1988 he joined Mack Brown at UNC, and we know how well Mack Brown can recruit (he's already got the top 10 players in Texas committed for next season). In Brooks' final season at NC, the Tar Holes led the ACC in sacks with 38. Clemson was at the bottom last year.

In 1994 he left to join The Great Pumpkin, was named recruiting coordinator and SEC assistant of the year in 1998, and recall Phil's best years were when McCorvey and Brooks were raking in all the talent within 200 miles of Knoxville. In 2000 UT recorded an SEC-leading 50 sacks, and the 2001 unit again led the league in sacks with 34. In 2005, Tennessee led the SEC in rushing defense and ranked second in Division I.

You can review his recruiting exploits on this link to Rivals. Just look at what he has brought in the last few years.

With Rumph fast becoming one of our best recruiters, along with McCorvey, Steele, Harbison, Napier and Fat Brad, all being acknowledged as the best recruiters-of-the-year guys, I think we're pretty much stacked from a recruiting standpoint now.


  1. Any idea about who has the lead in the QB battle? If Korn has issues, then Parker may have a real shot, even though I have a hard time believing Korn will not ultimately be the man.

    I am glad that they are hard on the players in practice. The WR's are out there to make plays and not excuses, so they need to be held to a high standard. I also like that the practices are fast paced. I would love to see us get back to what we ran when Rich Rod was the OC.

  2. For now its still Korn, but I'd wait til the spring game before I make any conclusions about who is really better. Theres just not as much news about Parker out there.

  3. If the two are truly even, then they will go with Korn, simply because he is the hometown superstar who everyone wants to see on the field. I would think that if Parker wants the job, then he is going to have to seperate himself more than what Korn will have to do in order to win the job. That is not entirely fair, but it is probably the case. However, if they are even, then I would think Dabo would play both of them to see who does better in game situations.

    Tajh is the wild-card, but I think he is fighting an uphill battle to win the job this year given that he is recovering from surgery, and has zero college experience.


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