From Roscoe To Waters To Merriweather

The days continue to tick, tick, tick away as we get closer and closer to the Georgia Bulldogs invading Death Valley on August 30. A "Sea of Orange" is ready to be unleashed, and most of us are chomping at the bit to get this season underway.

Roscoe's Back…Now What?
Personally, I was a bit surprised the Atlantic Coach Conference approved the reinstatement of Crosby. The ACC has never been known as a pro-Clemson conference, and it seemed really easy to not allow Roscoe to play in 2003. But alas, he is back. Where does he go from here?

Let's get this straight.

Crosby has been granted a HUGE favor by Clemson University, Tommy Bowden, and the ACC. Despite everything that went on with Roscoe since he signed with Clemson, Crosby should have been in class last year. It is unfair for me to try and understand the amount of pressure the Kansas City Royals and Crosby's agent put on him to stick to baseball and dump football.

The surgery and rehabilitation of Crosby's elbow was probably a tough experience for him and undoubtedly he was being pulled along by the Royals during the entire process. The deaths of Crosby's friends were like a blow to the stomach while you are sleeping and it had to be difficult for Roscoe to handle it as a 19 year old. All of those are legitimate reasons for Roscoe to be given a second chance at Clemson. But, other kids have overcome similar obstacles and still stayed in school.

At the end of the day, Tommy Bowden and Clemson are going out on a limb for Roscoe. Forget about all of the BS that South Carolina fans are going to throw into the situation because I don't really care what they think anyway. Clemson and Bowden are doing the right thing by offering Roscoe a chance to start fresh and get his future pointing back in the right direction.

If Roscoe does not fulfill his obligation to Clemson University now that the University has gone to bat for Roscoe, it will create an ugly mess all around. Surely Bowden knows this and believes in Roscoe enough to go out on that limb for him. Bowden must feel like Roscoe is going to take this opportunity and make the best of it. Let's hope Roscoe understands this and fulfils his obligation to Clemson University.

Injuries All Around
It seems like a day does not go by that a 2003 Clemson opponent reports a major injury on their team. Maryland has lost several, including Bruce Perry and Steve Suter for an extended amount of time. Virginia lost wide receiver Michael McGrew for the season, and Wally Lundy has been banged up with some nagging injuries. Georgia has lost a handful of players as well to add to the suspensions that will have some starters missing from the Clemson game.

This all seems like a carbon copy of what has happened at Clemson in the injury department the last few years. We have been dealt deadly blows to the overall quality of our team, especially in the trenches, over the past 2 years. Maybe this is one of those "what goes around comes around" things. Let us hope that all of our major injuries were used up the last 2 years and we can stay relatively injury free in 2003. If we can stay healthy this team can be very competitive in the ACC this year. However, we are not deep enough at most positions to be able to sustain ourselves if we suffer injuries similar to last year and similar to what is going on with other teams around us.

Anthony Waters Causing Relief
One of my major areas of concern in 2003 was the depth and experience at linebacker. Of course, I felt good about the fact that David Blackwell would be coaching the linebackers, but good coaching can only go so far. We all felt good about John Leake. Most of us felt good about Leroy Hill. Beyond that was a major mystery.

Anthony Waters has emerged in preseason drills as a legitimate linebacker that can be counted on starting Week 1 versus Georgia. This is a huge relief for me, especially considering Waters is pushing Leake for the starting job. I rest easier and easier each day about our linebackers and how much they can be counted on to be a solid part of the defense. Anthony Waters may end up being somewhat of a savior when it is all said and done.

Kelly's Loss Is Merriweather's Gain
I'm disappointed that Yusef Kelly reportedly came to fall practice overweight. To further that disappointment, Kelly has suffered a groin injury that may or may not have been because of his weight. For a guy that was basically handed the starting job after Rambert's graduation last year, coming to camp overweight in unacceptable. I sure hope Kelly works his butt off to get in shape to be Clemson's running back of 2003.

Kelly's problems have opened the door for Duane Coleman and Reggie Merriweather to step up and get some hard looks by the coaches.

Merriweather has been impressive, drawing raves from Bowden on 2 separate days. The North Augusta native got lost in the shuffle by Kelly's seniority and all of the press that Coleman got coming out of Florida. Despite this, Merriweather had the best spring of the three backs, and he has picked up right where he left off here in fall camp.

I still think a healthy Yusef Kelly is the best option at running back for Clemson. But Merriweather, along with Kelly's injury, are making things more and more interesting as time goes by. The running game will be critical in 2003, so somebody has got to step up and be a big time running back for us.

Tiger Pregame Show
Earlier this week, it was formally announced that Roy and I will host the Tiger Pregame Show brought to you by on game days. The show will air 5 hours prior to kickoff up until 3 hours until kickoff when the Tiger Tailgate Show will hit the air. For the Georgia game, that means our show will air from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

We will be broadcasting live from the Lawn at Littlejohn and you are encouraged to come by and visit the WCCP tent. We will be giving away CUTigers Magazines and allowing fans to register for a year's subscription to theInsiders Network. We'll give one away each week, so make stopping by the WCCP tent a part of your game day experience. There is going to be a ton of games for the kids in the area in which we will be broadcasting. In addition, the Tiger Apparel Store and bathrooms will be located within site of the broadcast stage and tent.

Although phone calls from fans will not be a major part of our show, will have a microphone set up for you to come by and give your thoughts and predictions for the games live! Come be a part of the show…and bring us a piece of chicken while you are at it! Top Stories