Thursday Camp Notes

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 22: DeAndre Hopkin #6 of the Clemson Tigers fights off the tackle of Tre Boston #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Clemson completed a 2nd scrimmage of Camp on Wednesday, and though there is less information coming out about this one, there are some things that appear interesting.

- Ryan Norton is getting more snaps at LG. This was not unexpected because he’s probably one of the best 5, and we heard as much last season from our connections around the team. The problem was then and is now that if we lose Freeman, who will have to give the snaps? You always want a dependable guy at Center to give the snaps. Its also an indicator of Morris’ unhappiness with Kalon Davis, and shows that David Beasley still isn’t putting it together. Part of Davis’ problem is his weight and how it hinders him (surprise!), and that Norton is actually a bit too light for every down duty at LG (280, but it does not matter if he can move well and has good strength). This situation can change daily.

-Coaches stated that Shaq Anthony or Joe Gore will probably start for Auburn. Right now it’s Anthony. Freeman is not going to RT. It is likely we have 3 guys starting for Auburn who haven’t taken a game snap, against 4 Auburn Juniors. Think about that for a minute.

- Dustin Fry is a new GA for the offensive line.

-Dabs called Zac Brooks a depth guy and it looks like he may not RS. He struggles in pass protection but has the speed and vision. I thought they told us that Hot Rod and DJ were getting it done? How many carries does the 4th RB ever get? Lets say the offense runs 80 plays per game, and if balanced, we run the ball 40 times. Ellington will get his 20 in that case, maybe 25. Say the #2 gets about 10, and we run 3 or 4 jet sweeps, which leaves what for Brooks and Hot Rod? Do we really want to play a guy who we know needs about 10-15 pounds and needs to really work on pass pro? I’m not so sure. If he beat Hot Rod for the 3rd spot, I’d play him though.

-Even more quotes are coming out about Tony Steward’s possibility of redshirt. Dabo says its dumb and that he will play, while Venables says something that makes much more sense.

Dabo: "That's just people creating their own stories. I don't know where that's coming from. Maybe it's because somewhere along the line I made a comment that if he wasn't 100-percent healthy we'd always have the right to redshirt him. But he's great."

BV: "I don’t know yet. I don’t know, I think I’ve been real pleased with the guys in front of him up to this point and pleased with where he is considering he didn’t go through any spring ball. So we will see, but there are still a couple of weeks to figure things out. "

"It is there. We want him to have an opportunity to win a job and we know that he has a lot up against him, but he has really exceeded the expectations with where is at right now, being less than a year out of that injury. And not just one, but two. He has done well. "

"I think you would be naïve to think he is right back to where he was. He is not gimping around and he isn’t having any issues with regards to swelling. But he hasn’t done any deep, heavy squats or power cleans in well over a year, either. And probably longer than that, since he was in high school. I think that his best football is ahead of him, and I think he has a chance to be a tremendous player. The further removed from the injury that he gets, the stronger, more explosive and faster he is going to get."

He has two seniors in front of him, and those two will end up with probably a 60/40 snap split for the season. Willard is a solid player, and Rico can be a good backup, so Tony is not going to beat them for the starting job when he’s not been able to even do an offseason of full squats and power cleans since HS. If Steward gets 10-15 snaps a game, I’d say you can avoid the RS. If he doesn’t get this then you’re wasting another year for him.

Some people want to say "well we’re probably only going to get one/two years before he goes to the NFL". This is just damned nonsense. The only way a LB comes out early like that is if he basically has the best linebacking year ever, so you think he’s going to win the Butkus, ACC Defensive POY, and All-American in his first or second year as a starter? Um, no. Unrealistic expectation. LBs almost always go their full term of eligibility. The NFL will have their doubts on him because of the injuries folks, so one and done is definitely not happening. He’s good but you cannot put that kind of expectation on a guy with two surgically repaired knees.

If Dabo is smart, he’ll start him on RS and then decide to burn it midseason if the top two guys aren’t getting it done. We don’t need to see another LB’s eligibility wasted for 50 snaps, 36 in Tony's case.

-Really hearing good things about Martin Aiken’s mean streak. I think he’s a depth guy and that they may not be able to RS him because of numbers at DE. Shaq Lawson was the one I leaned towards not RS’ing, but he’s still hasn’t been cleared by the NCAA. They only care about the athletes right?

-Everyone says Xavier Brewer is running more 1st team FS, but if Rashard Hall is truly healthy I think this is going to flip. Meeks is SS with Robert Smith as backup there. Unfortunately Martin Jenkins role will initially decrease at NB, and he’s short for the outside CB spot occupied by Robinson. But just wait til Blanks screws up one or two times and everyone on the boards will say he sucks and scream for Martin to play.

Of all the areas on defense, DB worries me the most, other than Breeland.

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