Its good to hear the staff go over their perspectives on the spring performance, but what they say this year seems hardly different from last season. It also doesnt make me feel any better about next fall if Parker does decide to leave Clemson. After the two times I saw Boyd in scrimmage this spring, I believe he's behind where KP was last year, and while Boyd got alot of experience in practice I'm far less confident than Napier is about the situation with TB:
"I think Tajh, it's typical of a redshirt freshman year, and a spring practice for a redshirt freshman..... He had a chance to go out and be the quarterback of the first group for more than half the time. I think he realized it's going to take truly great effort and attention to detail and preparation to be a successful Division I quarterback, and that ability alone is not going to be good enough.
"I think Tajh is excited about the summer and the chance to have more time to prepare. Now that he knows what is expected, just like most football players that are that age, they take their approach to the offseason and each day a little bit differently.
"I think it was difficult for him, like it has been for most redshirt freshmen and their spring practice. Very much like Kyle, I think this summer will be a great opportunity for him to take some steps forward."
What I saw of Boyd would be encouraging if he werent a definite possibility to be the starting QB next year for us. His accuracy needs work, which goes back into more fundamental things like footwork and how you hold the football, but Napier believes its his decision-making and his process. Things like recognizing blitzes and what the defense does based on the front they display. I think Parker has work to do on his fundamentals from last season and Napier says the same things. If Parker's accuracy is improved, assuming he stays at Clemson, then he could be one of the best we've ever had.
But to me the excerpt about Dwayne Allen and the rest of our WR corps was worrisome.
"Terrance Ashe to me is a guy, if I had to ask you who's the one guy you know you can count on today? Terrance Ashe would be that guy. He's not as talented as Jacoby. But in terms of accountability and dependability, knowing his role and knowing his job, understanding the big picture, I think he's capable."
WTF did we do all spring with developing talent that Ashe is still a go-to guy?
"I think Dwayne Allen is the most dynamic guy we've got. I've told you guys many times before, it's all about players and getting the best guy the ball and giving those guys the opportunity to go win the game for you. He'll be one of those guys we're planning around. We're not going to leave the stadium saying he didn't have his chance."
Meaning D. Allen should catch 50 balls minimum this year because we don't have shit else.
"In terms of the rest of the guys, I saw flashes from some guys that have a lot of ability. I think Bryce McNeal has got a lot of ability. I think Brandon Clear has a lot of ability. Now, are they consistent? Are they dependable? Are they accountable? Do they see the big picture? I think they took huge steps in that direction this spring.
"I wouldn't have given you a wooden nickel for Brandon Clear last year at this time. But right now today, I think that guy is going to impact our team. He's matured and has now been through a season. He's lived and learned, to some degree. He's a guy that didn't know a lot of football. Kind of like David Smith. Great athlete. Height. Weight. Strength. Flexibility. Agility. Quickness. But David Smith didn't know an even front from an odd front. He had a relatively young football background, and very little teaching had been done.
WHAT? I can tell you how to recognize an even and odd front real easy. Watch:
Is the Center covered? Yes = Odd.
Is the Center covered? No = Even.
ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. ALL YOU DO IS COUNT.
"Those are the guys you get excited about, because you see the potential to make plays for you. I think (Clear) is figuring out what this game is all about. Clear is a guy who didn't even play offense until his senior year at Hoover. He was a defensive player who they subbed on offense and told him what he had before he went in the game as a junior: 'Hey, post route. Go. Streak route. Go.' So he's learning. And he made some plays in scrimmage situations that said, hey, that guy is capable.
"We've got a good group. There's not a bad apple in the group. They're all team-oriented, blue-collar, looking-for-work approach guys. They're fun to be around, smiles on their face. Not a sour guy in the group. All they want to do is win."
"Bryce McNeal is very capable. I think the other guys are competing. Jaron Brown, he's a work in progress. We know that Xavier Dye and Marquan Jones have played some and have earned a role. And they're trying to earn the opportunity to continue to be in a big role.
That sounds like the exact same thing I heard last May. What role has Marquan earned besides benchwarmer? Why hasn't Brandon Clear learned this offensive system yet? WE SHOULD NOT BE HEARING THIS.
Jaron has a lot of raw ability. What does he have to do to elevate to the playmaker role?
NAPIER: "I think he's similar to Clear. He's similar to some of those guys you take in recruiting and evaluate as athletic, a bunch of tools, a gifted guy. But really in terms of the big picture, Jaron played some receiver at Cheraw. He told me he ran three routes in high school: a curl, an out route and a takeoff. And that's all. He played defense and ran kicks back. That's what he did. Those are guys that are in that developmental stage. They've got ability. You see flashes of it when they get the ball that they're very capable. But there are so many technical things you've got to do without the ball to get open, adjust to coverages - there's just so many things out there.
"I think he's where Clear was maybe a year ago, except he's got a little more value in terms of what he can do with it right now. I trust him a little bit more."
So Billy, you simplify what you give him and have him in on plays where he runs 3 routes. I dont see the difficulty in knowing all the routes. We just discussed them here on the blog, its NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
Danny Pearman let us know that we have Dwayne Allen and no one else. What I saw of the backups is that they have potential in blocking situations but they are nowhere near the ability of even a Palmer.
How do you feel about your tight ends coming out of the spring?
DP. "I think we're a work-in-progress. I think there's an awful lot of experience coming back in two kids, but also an awful lot of work to be done. We moved Darrell Smith over from defense mid-spring. He's got a lot to learn in order to help us. Drew Traylor and Kasey Nobles got a lot of work this spring. Hopefully they can help us. And then we've got two freshmen coming in, in Sam Cooper and Vic Beasley they'll be joining us hopefully the second session of summer school
Pearman believes Allen has a ways to go in blocking, but otherwise is taking football far more seriously than he once did.
How do you feel about your second-team tackles coming out of the spring
DP."I feel better this year than last year simply because last year as a collective group we were hunting one. We feel good as far as our first-group Chris Hairston and Landon Walker. Giving a lot of work to Phillip Price and Brandon Thomas they weren't perfect by any stretch this spring, but they don't have to be either. They need another good fall camp. Hopefully they can get in the rotation this fall for us. That would be a good thing for our football team if they could do that."
How big is Phillip now?
DP. "He looks real lean. That kid is almost 290. I said, 'You gotta be kidding.' I think he said 288. It won't look much different when he's 300. He's carrying the weight well. He doesn't have a lot of missed assignments, but technique stuff, explosive stuff, his punch out of his hips, he needs to work on that. His footwork is pretty good. I've been pleased with his progress. He came here as a tight end and sorta outgrew the position. He's really applied himself."
Miracle that Price isnt becoming fat like most linemen in Batson's program. Price should really be moved to blocking TE, so its a good thing Pearman coaches both I guess. I believe we're up the creek if Price plays alot at RT this year though.
Q. I know Brandon is the shortest tackle you have, but do you like the upside you see with him at this stage?
DP. "I think by the end of the spring, he ended up where he was functional out there, not only assignment-wise, but technique wise. He got quite a bit of work. And he went against good people. We're blessed in the fact that we've got some really good ends that he practices against everyday. He's going against good opponents. He's got a lot of work to do, but I thought he got better this spring. I'm pleased with where he's at. And we've got to get a (second-team) guy in that spot.
And for those wondering whether David Smith will stick at LG....
Q. You repped David Smith at both guard and tackle in the spring. For the sake of keeping him sharp at tackle, will you give him snaps at tackle in practice in the fall as well?
DP."Yes. We're going to do that. I'm not so sure David wouldn't end up being one of our most valuable linemen. he could do all of them if he applied himself."