Head coach Tommy Bowden said he was pleased with his team's efforts.
"The enthusiasm was really good," he said. "They bounced around and hopped around and the weather helped a little bit. … I thought for having a couple of weeks off they practice real, real well."
The three weeks allowed the players to rest and to rejuvenate themselves.
"That's probably why they practiced so well," Bowden said. "You get time off and have a little more spring in your step."
Bowden said that he really didn't have thoughts one way or the other about the ouster of Colorado coach Gary Barnett because he's "not privy to the whole situation."
However, he thinks the firing of Barnett now as opposed to after the bowl game could work against the Tigers.
"It didn't help us at all," Bowden said. "I'd say it gives us a little disadvantage because Clemson's history is when that's happened here, they've come out and won the game. So, I would think they'd be a little more focused and have the mentality of it's us against the world."
The two times the Tigers played in a bowl game with a newly named coach was when Danny Ford replaced Charlie Pell in 1978 and when Tommy West replaced Ken Hatfield in 1993.
Offensive guard Nathan Bennett, who was suspended for academic reasons in the season finale against South Carolina, still hasn't worked his way out of Bowden's doghouse.
"We've got about 20 days for him to keep his head above water," Bowden said.
Also, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who underwent minor surgery on Dec. 1, to repair his sore right shoulder, threw some during practice. Bowden didn't say how much, only that Whitehurst threw.
Bowden also said that he hopes junior defensive end Gaines Adams will take into account the difference between entering the NFL Draft early and being selected later than what he would be by staying another year.
Bowden said Gaines needs to look no further than what senior cornerback Tye Hill gained by staying that extra year.
"Tye did it and I think Tye is a good example," Bowden said. "I'm hoping that millions may look better than $200,000 or $300,000 chunk of change."
Tigers Return to Practice
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