COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) ? No one knows better than Will Proctor how long he?s been at Clemson.
Recently, he saw videotape of a Clemson game from his freshman season in 2003 as he sat alongside then-quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
??I think that was when I was playing receiver, so it has been a while,?? Proctor said Thursday.
Now, the 22-year-old senior leads the Tigers into his first fall practice as Clemson?s starting quarterback.
??All I can tell you now is I?m real excited,?? he said.
Who wouldn?t be?
Proctor came to Clemson in 2002, the same year Whitehurst was eclipsing then starter Willie ??Shotgun?? Simmons for the quarterback job.
In Whitehurst?s sophomore season, Proctor switched to receiver to find some playing time. The next two years, Proctor dutifully backed up Whitehurst, who left the Tigers with 46 school records.
Proctor had his moments to shine last season. He came in for an injured Whitehurst in the Tigers opener against Texas A&M and directed their game-winning field-goal drive in the 25-24 victory.
Then with Whitehurst resting a sore shoulder, Proctor went the whole way in a 49-20 win over Duke. Proctor finished 13 of 21 with 201 yards passing and two touchdown throws. He also ran for 31 yards.
??It seems like Charlie was there 10 years,?? Proctor said. ??My brother always says, ?Do you know how long (Whitehurst) was here?? I tell him, ?Hey, how long do you think I?ve been here.???
Despite the time on the sidelines, Proctor never thought about leaving. ??I?ve gotten a lot out of being here and didn?t think about jumping ship,?? he said.
If Proctor had questions about his readiness, they were settled by the Duke game. Since then, Proctor has steadily improved his understanding of the offense and his leadership role.
Receiver Chansi Stuckey, who came in a quarterback the same year as Proctor, says his former position rival has worked hard at gaining the respect of his teammates in summer passing drills.
??Just judging, I think it?s the best session we had … everything was clicking,?? Stuckey said. ??If we can keep that rolling into camp so when we open the season, everyone?s playing a really high level.??
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has said the transition from Whitehurst to Proctor will be made easier by several things: the team?s increased emphasis on the run game, a solid group of veterans back on offense and the schemes of second-year offensive coordinator Rob Spence.
James Davis, a sophomore, heralded recruit C.J. Spiller and senior Reggie Merriweather are expected to give Clemson a new gear in the backfield. And Clemson?s offensive line features all five starters from a year ago.
As far as the Tigers attack, Stuckey says flat out that Proctor was better suited last year to Spence?s style.
When Proctor heard of Spence?s hiring, he searched out film from the coordinator?s previous team, Toledo, and studied as much as he could. Proctor quickly saw himself excelling in the picture.
??I thought I could have success at this,?? he said. ??I haven?t stopped trying to get better in it.??
The next step comes Friday at fall practice. Barring injury, Proctor will be at the controls Sept. 2 when the Tigers open at Death Valley against Florida Atlantic.
Should he need guidance, he says he?s got plenty of sources. Simmons is back as a Clemson graduate assistant while Whitehurst is ??only a phone call away.??
??I?m just ready to get started,?? he said.
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) ? In coach Tommy Bowden?s eyes, there?s not much left for new Clemson quarterback Will Proctor to prove at practice this fall.
If Proctor ??had shown some bad practice habits in the past, I?d say yes,?? Bowden said before stepping on the field Friday evening for the Tigers? abbreviated start to fall camp. The opening practice was cut short after only about 30 minutes because of bad weather.
One of the big questions this fall is how Proctor will do taking over for four-year starter and record-setter Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback. But while Proctor is new to the starting lineup, he?s as old school as it gets at Clemson.
Through the years, Bowden?s watched as Proctor worked consistently hard in the backup?s role to Charlie Whitehurst, taking what snaps he could to ensure he?d be ready should the starter go down.
??He?s done all that and he?s been really consistent,?? Bowden said. ??I think all his question marks are going to be on the field question marks. So yeah, there?s nothing really he can do in practice?? to cement himself as the team?s leader.
Proctor has prepped himself to be the starter since arriving at Clemson in 2002. And after three seasons of waiting (one as a receiver, two as Whitehurst?s backup), Proctor?s time is here.
At the shortened workout, the players did little more than some group conditioning and a few position exercises. Bowden said he?d make up the missed work later on in the camp
??It was a little disappointing,?? Bowden said. ??But not enough to lose sleep over.??
Proctor spent his brief time on the field with offensive coordinator Rob Spence early on, practicing signal calls and set ups.
Proctor lined up in front of starting center Dustin Fry with No. 1 tailback James Davis in the backfield. ??Will Proctor call it,?? Spence shouted.
??Dorothy, Dorothy, go,?? Proctor called out before handing off to Davis.
After a quick reset, Proctor went with the next sequence in Clemson?s apparent ??Wizard of Oz?? series with ??Tin Man, Tin Man, go?? before another hand off.
Then Proctor and the quarterbacks ran through some agility work, stepping around long barriers while keeping the ball in prime throwing position.
Proctor said Thursday he made his biggest strides in the leadership department, making sure the players ran their passing drills and were accountable for working out during the offseason. ??I feel like the only thing I need to do now is grow within the offense,?? Proctor said.
Bowden agrees. He says Proctor can get better situationally by doing something in practice that he might need to use in a game. ??I think the bigger issues, we pretty much have a good feel for them,?? he said.
Bowden and the Tigers are handling some bigger expectations than they?ve faced in some time. After starting 2-3 a year ago, the team rallied to win six of its final seven games. Their four losses were by a total of 14 points. The late-season hot streak, plus the return of big-time runner James Davis and the recruitment of tailback C.J. Spiller have pushed the hopes of Clemson fans through the roof ? even without the presence of four-year starter and major record holder Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback.
Bowden?s tried to keep his team levelheaded through it all, yet not dampen the drive he seen through spring practice and the offseason.
??It?s always the excitement because it?s always something new,?? Bowden said. ??It?s a team I haven?t seen before. It?s a team different than the spring. … Now, this is the first time we?re going to deal with this team, this chemistry, this talent pool and there?s still some unanswered questions.??
Clemson, SC - Clemson held its first full football practice of the preseason on Saturday afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. Tommy Bowden had to halt Friday night's first practice after 27 minutes due to lightning strikes in the area.
Bowden moved up his Saturday practice 45 minutes from the original 2:45 PM start and he was able to get the full session in. The Tigers worked in shorts and helmets for three hours and 15 minutes.
"We were glad to finally get on the field for a full practice," said Bowden, who is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Tigers. "It was not as hot as yesterday and there was actually a little breeze at times on the practice fields. It was a good full practice."
Bowden singled out some senior leaders after the first day. "Anthony Waters, Duane Coleman, Chansi Stuckey and Reggie Merriweather were some of the seniors who stood out from a leadership standpoint to me. The defense did up-downs for about 10 minutes prior to doing the conditioning runs at the end of practice. That is something you must do if are going to be a championship football team."
Bowden said the freshmen also looked good. "Richard Jackson punted the ball well during our punting drills at the beginning of practice. He is getting all the reps as the number-one punter with Cole Chason's injury. C.J. Spiller looked quick, but they all look quick in shorts on the first day. All the freshmen looked good. It is there job to absorb as much as they can in these early practices."
Three players were in yellow jerseys and did not practice on Saturday. Sergio Gilliam is recovering from a knee injury, while Jamarcus Grant is out with a broken foot. Cole Chason is out with a foot injury.
The Tigers will continue practice Sunday afternoon at 3:45 PM. The practice is closed to the public.
Sophomore wide receiver Rendrick Taylor turned in one of the highlights from Tuesday's practice on the fields behind Jervey Athletic Center.
Clemson Practice Brief - Tuesday
Clemson Practice Brief - Monday
Clemson Practice Brief
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Clemson Practice Brief - Tuesday
Tigers practice in full pads for the first time.
Aug. 8, 2006
Clemson, SC - Clemson had its first day of practice in full pads, but it wasn't quite as physical as the normal first day in full gear. Tommy Bowden worked his team hard for over three hours in the late afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center.
"From a calendar standpoint it was the fifth day of practice, but from an installation standpoint it was the fourth day," said Bowden, whose Tigers are preparing for the season opener on September 2 against Florida Atlanta. "Last Friday's short practice due to the weather counted as a practice, but we didn't get a lot done. So, today we dressed in full pads, but it was a shells practice in terms of what we did. There wasn't much hard hitting and we didn't take players to the ground."