Tigers' rebound impresses Cavs' Groh

Virginia coach says bye helped Clemson; A.C. Flora's Page dismissed from team

pstrelow@thestate.comNovember 17, 2009 

CLEMSON - Virginia coach Al Groh spent Sunday night reading No. 18 Clemson's press clippings in order to get a feel for how its offense made such a drastic turnaround.

Groh gathered that the bye week afforded the Tigers the luxury of reorganizing their approach to squeeze more from players not named C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford, and the byproduct is a "rhythm" that has helped them score at least 38 points in the five games since.

Clemson (7-3, 5-2 ACC) plays host to the Cavaliers (3-7, 2-4) Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and Groh thinks the biggest difference has probably been the development of redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Parker.

"He's got the type of eye-to-hand coordination that would be associated with somebody who could hit a speeding fastball or moving curveball as well has he does," Groh said. "That's a critical factor I think you find in most quarterbacks who were really, really good and have a high accuracy number.

"Early in the season, the skills were apparent, but clearly he was a player who hadn't had to make those decisions under the speed of ACC competition, and now that he's 10 games into the season, so, really doing a terrific job with it. They have some remarkable playmakers, and he's very tuned into getting the ball to those playmakers."

Turning the page

Kenneth Page, a redshirt freshman lineman out of A.C. Flora High, has been dismissed from the squad for violating team rules, the school announced Monday.

Page had appeared in two games for a total of five snaps this season and was not on the dress roster for Clemson's last home game two weeks ago.

Page declined comment when reached by phone.

Austin injury limits

Senior left guard Thomas Austin, slated to sit out practice through Wednesday, is now trying to sleep at night while outfitted with a device that circulates ice on his sprained foot.

Austin said he expects to play Saturday despite the injury. It's his final home game in Death Valley, and his parents will be traveling in to see their second game of the year.

"I believe I'd have to fight Thomas, his wife, his mom and his dad if I didn't play him and he was ready to play," line coach Brad Scott said.

Austin suffered the sprain in the third quarter at N.C. State. He was lying on the ground when Spiller fell on his foot.

"It was funny, because (tight end) Michael Palmer actually blamed (Spiller) for it, then C.J. said, 'Well, Michael, if you wouldn't have missed your block, I wouldn't have gotten tackled,' " Austin said with a laugh.

Platoon pitch

With junior safety DeAndre McDaniel playing one snap of receiver three games ago and kicking the occasional field goal in practice, McDaniel shot down the notion Monday that coach Dabo Swinney might try selling the notion of playing both ways to McDaniel if he returns for his senior year.

"I'm pretty sure he knows where I'm leaning right now anyways," McDaniel said. "I'm pretty sure we'll have a talk after the season. But as of now, I'm focused mainly on the season."

McDaniel has dropped to second nationally in interceptions (eight), one behind UCLA corner Rahim Moore.

Extra points

Sophomore defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (sprained knee) participated in limited drills for the first time in three weeks. ... For the second straight week, Spiller was named the ACC's offensive back of the week.

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