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Tigers getting closer to finding starters

As spring practice comes to a close this week, Clemson hopes to wrap it up in strong fashion going into Saturday’s Spring Game.

With so many questions on offense, especially at the quarterback position, the Orange & White Game will provide at least a little bit of insight into who will be under center in the season opener against Kent State.

Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott says a big key to success, which could determine how many W’s Clemson gets in the win column, is finishing strong.

“It was one of our better days. I really challenged the guys coming back from Spring Break,” said Scott following Monday’s practice. “How are we gonna finish … that’s the biggest thing. A lot of our successful teams have been known as finishers.”

So far this years Tigers have done a good job at practice and look to end on a high note during these last three practices.

“Today was probably the best day we’ve had all spring,” Scott said. “Our throwing and catching was by far the best today. The promising thing is that it wasn’t just one quarterback or one or two wide receivers, there was a number of guys making some key plays today in some critical situations.”

Several young wideouts have taken big steps this spring and are becoming more and more reliable as second options.

“T.J. Chase had several nice plays today. Cornell Powell continues to make plays,” said Scott. “Those are guys that are earning trust just like Deon (Cain) and Ray-Ray (McCloud) have to make the next step.”

The big question that will roll into the fall is at QB. Kelly Bryant, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson are all trying to stake their claim as the starter. Scott said they are slowly, but surely coming into form.

“I felt like the quarterbacks, who were live again today, did a great job of moving, being able to throw the ball outside of the pocket, extending plays,” said Scott. “Kelly Bryant had a nice long touchdown I believe today … he found Ray-Ray McCloud down the sideline. Hunter Johnson continues to do well … the arrow is definitely up on him now.”

Scott says the toughest part of spring ball is being consistent during every practice.

“The consistency … so the first part of spring ball you’ll have a good day, a bad day, a good day and a bad day,” he said. “Now we kinda get back, the installation’s done, we have more scrimmage opportunities. Today was a half scrimmage, Wednesday is a half scrimmage … I don’t have the exact stats but there were very few three-and-outs today by the offense.”

The Spring Game provides a unique experience in that it takes the place of a preseason game. Scott said the game day atmosphere will help a lot of young position players learn how to deal with a crowd and play in the spotlight.

“The biggest thing is I think there will be a great crowd,” he said. “It’s one thing to do it on the practice field in front of a few hundred people but it’s another thing to do it in front of tens of thousands of people, especially for some of those young guys.”

Scott believes the key to spring ball is finishing strong and confident with a list of starters.

“We just wanna finish confident,” he said. “We wanna leave spring ball with our top 22 guys and we’re getting closer to that right now.”

 

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