CLEMSON -- Clemson players will have extra motivation to perform at 4 p.m. Saturday in the spring game at Memorial Stadium: It's on TV.
The Tigers' spring game will air on Comcast Channel 42. To make the teams balanced, head coach Dabo Swinney had his assistants divide their positional talent equally, without telling the assistants which team they will be coaching.
"We'll be pretty vanilla, but I just want to see them compete," Swinney said. "It is on TV all summer so you have to spend a little time getting ready for it, because, you don't want to look like a village idiot running around out there."
The offense might struggle. The second team offensive line has been outclassed by the second-team defensive line in scrimmages this spring, and on Saturday, the offensive line talent will be divided along with the other positions.
"We are pretty thin as it is right now and now we are going to be real thin," Swinney said.
Despite the game being televised, he urged Clemson Nation to attend the game Saturday. Said Swinney: "When they show this thing on TV this spring, let's show Clemson is serious about its football."
Parker just fine
A day after receiving a negative MRI reading, Kyle Parker returned to practice and did not appear to be a quarterback nursing a sore back. Parker threw a pair of touchdowns before joining the baseball team for a game. Parker still had his deep ball Wednesday, hitting Bryce McNeal on a 70-yard TD. McNeal had over 100 yards in the short scrimmage.
Swinney proclaimed David Smith as the player who made the most gains this spring. With Mason Cloy out with a leg injury, and Thomas Austin graduated, Smith took over at left guard this spring and impressed enough for Swinney to say that he had secured a starting job somewhere along the offensive line. Smith can play guard or tackle.
Harper continues to impress
Swinney and offensive coordinator Billy Napier both praised Jamie Harper on Wednesday. Swinney said Harper is no longer "freelancing," and has the best hands of any of the running backs. Napier said Harper has become a better downhill runner, bettering finishing runs with his 225-pound frame. However, Harper will not be a feature back, splitting time with Andre Ellington and Roderick McDowell this fall.
The Tigers' most significant spring injuries sustained were to Scotty Cooper, who remains out with a groin tear, and reserve guard Wilson Norris, who will miss most of the season with a torn ACL … Swinney said the Tigers are looking at DeAndre McDaniel as a punt returner "from time to time." Marcus Gilchrist has lined up as the main punt returner.