Spring Game Note: The spring game is a ‘glorified practice’ that puts players in unscripted game situations. The Spring game is useful for determining individual player’s talents, but the play calling is vanilla and no secrets are given away. The offensive linemen will look weaker than normal due to that units reliance on cohesion, and mobile quarterbacks are hampered by the lack of live hitting. Major conclusions should not be drawn from the game, but it is an enjoyable event that can give fans a taste of football for the spring, and glimpses of future stars. As always, the hope is for no injuries.
The most heart warming scene of Clemson’s first half was not a star freshman, an underrated senior, or the thousands of fans. It was Greg Huegel kicking field goals on air to show that he still ‘has it’ after his gruesome ACL injury. He made most of his kicks and had enough power on all of them, removing fans fears about the special teams play for 2018.
If that didn’t show Clemson fans that the team will be ready come August, the talent on the field certainly did.
That was the message of the first half when the Orange team mounted a 14-10 lead over the White team.
At times it was the experience that showed: Trevion Thompson’s (White) impressive 27 yard catch down the sideline from Chase Brice, or Adam Choice’s (White) five rushes for 28 yards modeled both explosiveness and consistency expected from veterans.
The glitz of Clemson’s future stars was evident as rising sophomore Tee Higgins had the best performance of the first half, tallying up four catches for 118 yards and both of Orange’s touchdowns.
All three of the younger quarterbacks had their moment in the spotlight to show their talent, and their mistakes to show their humanity.
Hunter Johnson (Orange) tossed an 18-yard score to Tee Higgins to put Orange up 14-0, and then threw an interception after a turnover on his next pass to AJ Terrell.
Trevor Lawrence (Orange) threw his first two passes for a combined 73 yards – and his second was a fifty-yard bomb to post the first points of the game to Tee Higgins. He was consistent afterwards, but didn’t make another splash play in the first half.
Finally, Chase Brice (White) threw two passes of over 20 yards before throwing an interception to K’Von Wallace deep down the field in accordance with his “gunslinger” mentality. Showing why Clemson has raved about him after his redshirt year – he responded by throwing a 43-yard pass over the middle to Hunter Renfrow.
Neither team was able to run the ball with any effectiveness until Etienne took advantage of the momentum of Chase Brice’s throw by running for 23 yards to get inside the red zone and eight yards to cap off the drive with a touchdown to make the score 10-14 late in the second half. No major events occurred before halftime.
The second half is not as flashy as the first half – it often comes with a running clock and mostly backups playing near the end. That doesn’t mean its any less significant to the team, or any less enjoyable to watch. Clemson is as consistent as ever, and that’s what Clemson fans are looking for.