Next man up

CLEMSON — What does wide receivers coach Jeff Scott think about when he walks into a meeting room and there is no Mike Williams and no Artavis Scott waiting on him? Simply put, he thinks about one question: Who is going to step up this year?
“I have said it many times, I remember when Sammy (Watkins) and Nuk Hopkins and all of those guys were leaving, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. How are we going to replace all of these guys,” Scott said. “Then the next guys come in and then they leave and you don’t know how you are going to replace them — it’s part of the process.”
It is a process that, while Scott has become used to it, is never easy.
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Even after losing the likes of Watkins, Hopkins, Adam Humphries, Jaron Brown, Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake since he took over the wide receivers in 2008, Scott knows it will be difficult to replace two of the greatest wide receivers to ever play at Clemson in Williams and Scott.
But he can hang his hat on the receiving corps to date not missing a step.
“It’s always a difficult when you are losing top talented guys that have been around, but that is just part of the process,” Scott said. “One thing I’m most proud of with this program is six consecutive years with 10-plus wins.
“There has been a lot of transition at a lot of major positions throughout the last six years, and I think that is good for our players to know.”
Even though the Tigers will be without Williams and Scott, the team’s top two receivers — accounting for 16 touchdowns and 1,975 receiving yards — it is not as though the cupboard is devoid of talent.
The Tigers bring back junior Ray-Ray McCloud, the team’s third leading receiver from a year ago, and deep threat Deon Cain, who led the Tigers in yardage per reception (of receivers that had at least three receptions) last season at 19.1 yards.
“I think we are fortunate to have some guys, Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud, that really have played a lot of ball — Deon especially,” Scott said. “He is really kind of a starter in his own right. Once you look at the stats with him and Mike (Williams) last year, it was pretty even.”
But even with the Tigers returning two receivers who were each “kind of a starter,” there is still a major difference in coming off of the bench and being the guy who gets to see the field first.
However, from what Scott has seen, the wide receivers coach believes both Cain and McCloud are more than ready to take that next step.
“It is different to go out there and not be the backup guy and be the guy,” Scott said. “I think both of those guys are ready for the transition.”

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