Clemson Football Practice Brief

Clemson finally escaped poor weather on Friday and had a complete, uninterrupted three-hour football practice. Head Coach Tommy Bowden had originally scheduled a 3:15 PM to 6:15 PM window for practice on Friday, but after three consecutive days of rain and lightning he moved the practice to 9:00 AM.

The result was a solid practice in hot, but tolerable weather conditions. It was a long, hard workout in shoulder pads and helmets for Bowden's fifth Clemson team. "We had a good hard practice, there was some spirit out there. They may have been a little tired at the end, but overall it was a good day."

"The defense is ahead of the offense, at least that was the case today. I hope the defense can play like that every day. That is what we want, consistency in that area. J.J. Howard and Khaleed Vaughn could not be blocked in terms of their pass rush. The defense forced four turnovers, which is good for the defense and bad for the offense."

Bowden singled out a couple of freshmen for their play so far. Tremaine Billie, a running back from Dreher High School in Columbia, made a big play on defense when he was on the scout team defense. He is still playing running back, but was on defense during one of the drills.

"Billie has played well, he is an outstanding athlete. I was so impressed with his play today he didn't have to do conditioning sprints at the end of practice."

Saturday will be the first day in full pads for the Tigers, who will practice twice in Monday. "I think the team is anxious to put go full pads. We will work on a lot of one-on-one drills on Saturday. We will also work a lot on throwing and catching."

Yusef Kelly has been limited by a pulled groin muscle, but continues to practice. The only other injury concerned defensive tackle Todd McClinton. The senior had a feinting episode prior to practice on Thursday. He missed practice the last two days while he has undergoes tests. He has had this problem before and had tests this past summer. He had practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

"Todd had been doing well and was running second team. We certainly hope to get him back, but his health comes first." Bowden said defensive linemen Eric Coleman, Trey Tate and Donnell Clark have taken up the slack on the defensive line as a result of McClinton's absence.

Clemson will continue its morning practice schedule on Saturday, then break for Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday. Fans will meet with players and coaches on the concourse under the South stands at Memorial Stadium from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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