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Tigers still have more questions than answers as spring comes to end

Don’t expect to see a starting quarterback, running back or center come out of the Clemson camp following Saturday’s Orange & White Game in Death Valley. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott says they still have a long way to go before they have a true pecking order at those positions.

“It is going to be hard,” Elliott said. “It is some of the best competitions that I have been around.”

When it comes to the quarterback race, it is obvious it is a three-man race between Kelly Bryant, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson. Each of the three had their moments this spring, but so far Bryant has been the most consistent of the three.

Johnson came back from spring break and had his stock rise, while Cooper ended the practice sessions of the spring with back-to-back good scrimmages, including 9-of-11 passing for 112 yards and two touchdowns in Wednesday’s mini-scrimmage. Cooper had two touchdowns in a mini-scrimmage on Monday as well.

“Quarterback has been week-to-week,” Elliott said. “In one scrimmage it is Zerrick. One scrimmage it is Kelly. Hunter had the best scrimmage so I think coming out of this and going into the fall camp we will get another opportunity, along with this summer, to see how these guys respond.”

As for Elliott’s running backs, it is anyone’s game as well. C.J. Fuller, Adam Choice and Tavien Feaster have all had their moments this spring. Feaster and Choice have led the team in rushing in the two major scrimmages, while Fuller has scored the most touchdowns.

“One of them will have to run on the field first,” Elliott said. “So we will have a pecking order, but they will be on a short leash. Last year, Wayne (Gallman) distanced himself from the other guys so it was noticeable. This year, they are all the same. They are comparable, but I think we will have a pecking order.”

When the spring started, Justin Falcinelli jumped out of the gate with a big lead and he has stayed consistent throughout the spring. However, former defensive tackle turned center Gage Cervenka has really come on in the second half of the spring, especially when he settled in and just tried to be himself.

“At center Falcinelli has had a very, very good spring,” Elliott said. “We are pleased with him, but quietly Gage has really come on. He is a guy that played defense and he made a smooth transition. He came in wanting to be Jay (Guillermo), but there is only one Jay so he figured out he just needs to be who he is and just go to work and put his head down. He has made a decent amount of improvement at the center position.”

 

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