I always like to caution everyone who reads the multitude of articles coming out of spring practices to never take them too seriously, especially the praise heaped on several players by the coaches. Every year, we hear of someone's "light coming on" who will turn around his previous bad year and become a superstar, only to have them be nonexistent in the following season. None of this matters until they put the pads on, and the only things I'd take any kind of evaluation from are the scrimmages and the Spring game itself, and I don't even put much stock in that one. This is a time of year when they can focus on football fundamentals and be coached on technique in game situations, whereas mat drills are more core skills like strength, agility, and conditioning. But, we can summarize the words coming out so far about spring practice.
- Shatley's transition to RG seems to be going very well so far, and he was listed in some groups later this week as the starter. That makes me think the group of Webster/Beasley/Davis needs to get their shit together. They should not be passed so quickly by a guy playing DL for 3 years. Either way, the RG position should be improved from the last 3 years with guys that want to hit people.
- Though Isaiah Battle and Joe Gore were slated as 1's at both Tackle spots this week when things started, they have been pushed back down the depth chart a little. Both seem to be confused with everything thrown at them, which is no surprise since they're both freshmen. Of late, Thomas has pushed back over to LT and Davis in at LG, and Shaq Anthony has also gotten good reps at LT. Timothy went up to RT and struggled. I still believe we see one of Battle/Gore starting in the spring game, and definitely one will start against Auburn. Gore is up to 280 now, Battle 285, Thomas 290.
- The Chad has been raving about Dalton Freeman's leadership up front so far. He appears to have taken charge of the line, now that he has a year of experience telling both Guards beside him what to do.
- Mike Bellamy is slowly working his way out of the doghouse, and has started to put on some weight. Ideally you'd want him at 190 or so, but it'll take a good summer to get his weight to that level without losing anything. The training table is supposed to come online this month.
CM on Bellamy:
"It’s the retention level that’s been impressive, not just with Mike but all of them. With Mike, you’re not having to teach terminology. You’re able to work on his footwork and his steps and his ball security. He’s another one that’s gotten stronger, and that’s what he’s needed as well. That’s what impresses me is watching these young guys take their offseason and the strength they’ve gained and bring it out here to spring ball and play with a lot more confidence. That’s what excites me."
- On defense, the week began with Barnes and D. Williams as starters inside. In most of the Oklahoma drills I've thought Jarrett looked quite good. Stephone Anthony has gotten more and more reps as things progressed this week, and it appears he will be entrenched as the MIKE. His weight is up to 230.
- So far, the defense has been mostly 4-2-5 based, with Travis Blanks as the Nickelback and Meeks/Brewer as safeties (Hall is out til Aug). This does not mean that Clemson is going exclusively to a 4-2-5 base, but given the amount of snaps we have had to put in Nickel, and the amount that Venables did have to at OU, one should expect a lot of practice time in this grouping.
- Malliciah Goodman realizes he needs to get below 270, and is working to cut weight below that. He has a goal of 10 sacks in 2012, and I think if he focuses on his hand technique and gets his weight way down, he can get that. Kevin Dodd has been initially working at SDE behind him.
- Multiple players have remarked on Venables' defensive scheme and attention to the fundamentals this week:
- New number assignments: Brewer - 9; Peters - 26; Shatley - 62; Blanks - 11; Brooks - 24; Guillermo - 57; O.Jones - 65; DeStefano - 71; Battle - 79; Pinion - 92; Dodd - 98.
It’s kind of an easy transition from last year’s defense. It’s more simplistic and you get into it a lot more," he said. "It’s not as complex as Coach Steele’s defense. It’s just different schemes and different words. It’s real simple, but not too simple. It is what it is. He wants us to do less thinking and play faster and more downhill." -S. Anthony
"Very different personalities. They are both great coaches," he said. "Coach Venables is a great guy. It’s been good to be out here with him for the last two days and to learn from him and learn how things are going to be. He is a great teacher. He is very strict and very, very tight on the little things- fundamentals is what he is going to teach every day- staying square, getting downhill, eyes and vision. He is real strict on the fundamentals. He wants you to be out there and actually see the play and what you did wrong so we’ll be out there and go through it and make sure you know what you did and correct the mistakes"