By Heath Bradley, Robert MacRae.
Tonight we introduce a new feature for TCI. Each week we will take questions on the message board The Rock. We will take questions up until midnight on Tuesday.
Each Friday we will run our Ask TCI feature with answers to some of the questions asked by the Clemson Insiders. Make sure to get your questions in next week.
How about the progress and development of DJ Howard? What has he done this year to prepare for the increased workload and does the GT fumble serve as motivation?
From what we have heard from Howard, his struggles at times last season have served as motivation for 2012. He has not had a problem with holding onto the ball this fall camp and he has worked hard to better understand the offense and be more consistent in his role in pass protection and blitz pickup.
Howard should be a major contributor to the explosive Clemson offense this fall.
What are you guys hearing about some of the guys left on our recruiting board? Crowder, North, Droogsma, Adams where do you guys project these guys?
Tyrone Crowder- Clemson made his final four he announced this past week. Right now Clemson is the team to beat, but there is a lot of time between now and signing day. Clemson will need to get him on campus for a game.
Marquez North- Clemson is still in the mix, however, no longer the leader. The key will be to get him on campus for a game this fall. Clemson’s depth chart is working against them a little bit here, but if the staff gets him on campus again they could make up ground. North cancelled a number of planned visits this summer.
Austin Droogsma- Clemson and FSU are still his Top-2; Clemson has a good shot here. Again, the key will be getting him on campus this fall.
Montravious Adams- This one will go until the end. Clemson no longer leads, but are still a major player. Getting Adams to take an official to Clemson will help. A victory over the SEC (ALL IN) Tigers could also go a long way in his decision.)
Which freshmen will definitely redshirt, and which will play?
According to what we have heard from the coaches and what we feel may be the case entering the season, we believe that the following players will avoid a redshirt:
Carlos Watkins-DT, DJ Reader-DT, Zac Brooks-RB, Bradley Pinion-P, Travis Blanks-NB/SAM
These Players Are Expected to Redshirt in 2012:
Jay Guillermo-OL, Patrick Destefano-OL, Oliver Jones-OL, Ronald Geohagan-DB, TJ-Burrell-LB, Martin Aiken-DE, Germone Hopper-WR, Isaiah Battle-OL, Kevin Dodd – DT
On the Bubble:
Jay Jay McCullough-TE, Chad Kelly-QB
How much of an impact do you see Chad Kelly and JJ McCullough having this year? McCullough seems to have ideal size for a TE?
As of today: Chad Kelly is definitely in the mix for the #2 QB spot. Coaches have been very impressed with him lately so he very well may play. Coach Swinney also said this week that you do not want to not redshirt a guy just for the chance at a few plays. So if he does not redshirt that means we believe he is the #2. If he is not the solid #2 he very well may redshirt. Jay Jay McCullough just arrived this week. This means that he is way behind in the playbook and conditioning, this may lead him to redshirting, too early to tell.
How are true freshmen offensive linemen looking?
At this point in fall camp, we feel that it is unlikely that any of the linemen will avoid a redshirt. Of course injuries and position changes could thrust one of these players into action. As of this moment, Isaiah Battle would be most likely to play due to the current situation at tackle. Jay Guillermo could also become the backup at center if Ryan Norton is moved to one of the guard positions permanently.
What defense does Venables run as his base formation?
Base defense is 4-3, however depending on offensive personnel; expect to see the Tigers in the Nickel as well as some Dime. Hybrid players such as Travis Blanks will allow Venables to play a variety of formations with one personnel grouping.
Does this coaching staff make it mandatory that certain position groups wear knee braces?
From what we understand; the offensive Line, defensive Line, linebackers and tight ends/fullbacks it seems to be mandatory. Otherwise it may be player preference or orders from the athletic training staff/coaches.
Do the Tigers still have a shot with Mackensie Alexander?
As you know Mackensie has told us in several interviews that he grew up liking the Tigers. Clemson remains one of his favorites but he has yet to visit. Until he visits we will continue to project him elsewhere. If the staff can get him on campus then he may fall in love with God’s Country like so many other recruits have in the past.