Clemson University

Area Leaders - October 21, 2007

Clemson's offensive line takes its stance during the fourth quarter.
Clemson's offensive line takes its stance during the fourth quarter.

CLEMSON -- Wary of the public beating Clemson's offensive line continued taking, offensive coordinator Rob Spence briefly convened the unit last week to talk about ignoring the pressure.

Communication was a recurring theme in Saturday's 70-14 clubbing of Central Michigan.

While the line's lack of physicality throughout the season's first half has been documented time and again, the Tigers hoped strides in chemistry and defensive recognition would compensate for some of their shortcomings.

Clemson hardly blew the Chippewas off the ball in rushing for a season-high 341 yards, but by trimming their lack of missed assignments, the line opened a number of cutback lanes for tailbacks James Davis and C.J. Spiller to utilize their shiftiness.

"We've spent a lot of time working on what we've done wrong, and today definitely reflected that," senior right tackle Christian Capote said.

"As a whole, everybody was bothered by it, but we're some tough guys. We used it as motivation."

• KORN-TROVERSY: As expected, freshman quarterback Willy Korn remained on the bench come mop-up time, signaling Clemson's intent to seek a medical hardship waiver barring a change in circumstances.

Redshirt junior Tribble Reese replaced starter Cullen Harper with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter and the Tigers ahead 56-14.

Korn, who suffered what was termed a "sore" shoulder in the Sept. 15 game against Furman and has not played since, cannot play the second half of the season and qualify to have his year of eligibility restored.

Clemson considered Korn their second-stringer until last week, when coaches were convinced to withhold him unless it was in the team's best interest to use him. Reese then spent the week preparing as the second-teamer.

Asked how Korn could still throw effectively in warm-ups and still be justified in seeking the waiver, coach Tommy Bowden replied: "I guess I can go jog everyday but don't qualify for the Boston Marathon. It would be something similar to that."

• A FAILING GRADE: Senior linebackers Tramaine Billie and Nick Watkins sat out the first two series as a team-imposed penalty for failing to meet their academic responsibilities, Bowden said.

"They've got to straighten up," Bowden said.

In that respect, Bowden sounds like a broken record. Throughout the offseason, Bowden stayed on their cases publicly trying to coax more accountability in the classroom.

Freshman Scotty Cooper started in place of Billie at strong side linebacker, while sophomore Kavell Conner got the nod at Watkins' weak side spot.

• RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN -- With two 1-yard plunges, Davis moved into second on Clemson's career rushing touchdown list with 33, eight behind Travis Zachery (1998-2001).

The Tigers tied their top mark for first downs (35), also set during the 82-point outing against Wake Forest in 1981.

• EXTRA POINTS: Clemson's 70 points were the most Central Michigan has allowed since 1997, when Steve Spurrier's Florida squad poured on 82. ... Sophomore Barry Humphries, supplanted as the starting center, saw action as a reserve guard. Junior Bobby Hutchinson served as the second-team center. ... While Korn might be headed for a medical redshirt, four freshmen defensive linemen who have rarely played -- Kourtnei Brown, Jarvis Jenkins, Miguel Chavis and Rennie Moore -- all were used, with Brown garnering relevant time on the opening drive.