Something I thought was very interesting this week was Oliver Purnell's twitter message about adding a new practice facility for the basketball team. Apparently we're going to move forward with this and the intention is to build onto Littlejohn (again) and enlarge the practice areas for the whole program. The Annex was completed back when I was a student and we were told it was nice, but this isn't the case and Purnell wants to build onto Littlejohn again. I have no idea on the cost, but it would be in the same ballpark pricewise as an Indoor Football Practice facility ($3-8 million). Considering that we do need the facilities improvements across the board, and that our basketball program is quite profitable, I don't have a quibble with it. Would I rather spend the money on football? Sure. But does it improve the basketball facilities for Clemson so we can compete in recruiting better? Yep, and if we're going to stick with Purnell he needs something to sell them. Even if you want Oliver gone, you know the next coach will need it too.
If you've not seen this Ron Morris article on Purnell, you should.
Football Practice Notes after the jump
Corico Hawkins bulked up this offseason to 235, and has taken advantage of the time with Maye out (foot) to get much needed experience at Mike. So far he's taken all of his snaps there, but I wouldn't say his move to starting Mike is in any way cemented at this point. Coaches use spring ball to try a few things out and experiment, so I wouldn't put Hawk as the opening day starter until after installation in August, but it certainly looks to me like he'll be #1 at Mike on the depth chart after spring ball.
"I do still make mistakes, as far as playing my gap and my work in pass coverage. As far as everything else, I'm pretty good on making calls and checks. I think it comes down to being dependable, I'm in the classroom focusing. I'm not late for things. I'm not out there causing chaos in the community. I'm trying to do everything right on the field."
"This job isn't mine or anybody's right now. It's still up for grabs. You have to show them that you're going to be consistent. You have to come out everyday and make plays on a regular basis. That's what I'm working on."
"I'm a small linebacker, so I have to be physical, technically sound and smart, I have leverage over everyone and I am faster than almost everyone. So I have to use that to my advantage."
"He just understands calls and can make them, He's gotten everyone lined up and he's communicating. He's getting the calls. He just gets it. That's what you need at that position."
"(Hawkins) is a lot like Buster Davis was at Florida State, He's instinctively a smart guy. He plays with good leverage, good hip explosion."
Maye just returned and has been working at 2-WILL, behind Tig Willard. That will change when Maye is full-go again, as he knows those assignments and will get the job, but I do hope WIllard puts it together. Scotty Cooper was held out of practice and I have not heard whether they think it was a sports hernia or not.
Some people think Maye should take SAM, but he needs height to play there and run with those TEs. He's got the weight and muscle to do it, but he's just not quite tall enough. Christian would be the one that I hope takes it, but his issue is the weight. Justin Parker has everything, but SLB is not a position you can just come in August 1 and take, unless youre very gifted with football smarts.
Tajh Boyd had a subpar day in his first DV scrimmage but remains upbeat about it all, and thinks he's coming along and is ahead of the pace in terms of retention.
"Every time we install something, that's coming along. We installed more this week and it went pretty good. We've got another one of these and then the spring game. There are a lot of small things, but those are the things that really count. As long as I get those down, it should be cool."
On where he's improved.
"Just knowledge of the offense, knowing where the defense is going to be, knowing what type of defense they're running and putting the ball in certain places in certain situations. It's just football. It's something you've been doing your whole life. You have to focus more," he said. "Everything is going to come into place. You try to do so well, try to execute."
Jarvis Jenkins revealed that he put on the extra 20lbs last season by just eating poorly. If this is not a case for a Training Table with a nutritionist on staff, I don't know what is.
"It kept going up two or three pounds each week. They feed us popcorn at the movies, stuff like that. I was drinking a lot of Gatorade before games to stay hydrated, and the sugar put some pounds on.
"I just have to watch what I eat. Stay away from fried foods. Drink straight water. I was eating two meals a day back then, but it wasn't what I was supposed to eat."
Darrell Smith, originally recruited last year as a DE, has been moved to TE. He redshirted last season and believes this is his best shot to actually make the field. I agree with him, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up at #2 on the depth chart this fall (assuming Diehl is used as FB). The move would allow us to RS either Cooper or Beasley this fall if he picks up the offense.
"I just feel natural at tight end. I really do. I never played defensive end until I got here. This was my first crack at it, I played tight end in high school and I worked out at tight end when I came to camp here.
"The meetings have gone well with coach Pearman. He's gone over some things with me that I've got to learn. That's the hardest part - learning the offense. It's tough."
On the OL, Landon Walker offered up an excuse for his lazyness last spring: adjusting to Danny Pearman. Scott said in an interview today that Walker has missed some assignments so far, and my own eyes confirm that, so it appears he's not any better a practice player than he was last year.
"Last spring, we had a new coaching staff with Danny Pearman, He was trying to get a feel for me, and I was trying to get a feel for him. It was one of those things where we kind of changed what we were doing, with the tempo being changed a lot. So I was getting used to that."
"It's kind of a mindset of being a starting right tackle. You've just got to work on yourself to get better. It's more on yourself than the competition."
The rest of Scott's interview was basically slim praise of the starters and hedging against the 2nd team sucking ass this year, which we already knew they would. Napier also says that there is a wide gulf between the 1s and 2s up there.
The one player the Clemson staff is comfortable with on the second unit is junior guard Wilson Norris, though he still needs to improve as a pass blocker.
"We have a lot of freshmen, a lot of young guys," said Norris of the second group. "They are young, they are raw. It takes a long time."(source)
Aaron Douglas,a freshman AA at Tennessee is going to transfer. He's looking at Clemson potentially, but I hear that we are NOT going to pursue. Why is totally beyond me...you would think they would since we do have scholarships to give and we suck up front depthwise.
The genius that is David Hood tells us that the DBs will be a salty group this year, but beyond the first two corners i'm not sure what we've got. Spencer Adams certainly has speed to play NFL, but who knows what he has between his ears. Coty Sensabaugh should be a contributor, but its hard to say with him, he didn't exactly get lit up every time he went in a game however.
I managed to find this film on Clemson recruit OT Shaq Anthony, check it out.
Finally we have a request for our readers, what would you like to see us write about? What do you like about the blog that we do here? What kinds of articles would make you comment more often? We are always trying to expand our readership, so we would like you to do us a favor and tell one person about the site this week. Link the articles to message boards anytime you wish, as all we want to do is generate discussion here and make the site better. We'll be talking football all offseason and will keep going with the X's and O's posts, but they take considerable time to write in a language people can understand without being football experts.