Champs Sports Bowl Notebook

ORLANDO – With it having been over a month since the last time the Clemson football team has played in a game, players are starting to get a bit antsy. They're chomping at the bit to hit somebody, which is why a scuffle broke during practice Saturday afternoon.

Offensive lineman Nathan Bennett and linebacker Anthony Waters went toe-to-toe before finally being separated.

Some believe the skirmish is a good sign.

"We had a little scrap today, which is always nice to see," quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. "I think that hasn't happened all year."

Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden he can tell the team is ready for Tuesday's game against Colorado in the Champ Sports Bowl.

"I think Colorado is about ready to play like us," he said. "We're both ready to play."

KEY TO VICTORY: Bowden said if Clemson is to be successful against the Buffaloes, then his offensive line is going to have to play well against their big defensive line.

"I think no doubt that that might be the key of the game," he said. "I know they have some pretty good defensive players. I just happen to think that their front four is probably the strength of that team. We're going to need to be productive in pass protection and when we run the ball, getting productive yardage."

CAPOTE RELEASED: Reserve offensive lineman Christian Capote was released from an Orlando hospital after nearly dying when his Ford Explorer was hit on the driver's side by an 18-wheel truck early Friday morning.

He was at practice with almost his entire head bandaged up. It looked as though he was wearing a turban.

"Luckily God was with me and nothing happened to me," he said. "It makes you appreciate (life) a lot. … God blessed me with a second chance."

PLAYERS LOSE BOWL MONEY: With most players receiving several hundred dollars in bowl money, Bowden has a new way of punishing players that miss curfew or are late to team functions.

"We take a little bit of their bowl money," he said. "We fine them or run them, one of the two. I've got $125 today. It's $25 a guy for being late for a meeting at nine o'clock this morning."

The money will be spent on candy.

QUICK HITS: By being associated with the Clemson football team, each person receives a $400 gift bag from the Champs Sports Bowl, which includes a Sony camcorder, a quartz watch and a beach towel. The NCAA allows bowls to spend up to $500 per person. …

Colorado interim head coach and defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz said getting away from their hometown of Boulder has done wonders for the team and that state of mind for the players is the best it's been in a while.

"The biggest thing is just getting back practicing, focusing on the game and having a chance to show that we're a heck of a lot better team than we finished," Hankwitz said. "And I think that's the most important thing. We're all hurt and disappointed, but we've got one more opportunity so we're going to go out and show that we're the type of team that we really are."

Orlando police officers that are responsible for escorting the teams to and from practice are showing support for the teams they are with. Officers with Colorado are wearing stickers on their motorcycle helmets, while those with Clemson have flags attached to the back of their bikes.

One officer directing traffic outside the practice field was wearing a Clemson hat. When asked if he knew where Clemson is located, he said, "I have no idea." When informed it is in South Carolina, he said, "I knew it was in the South somewhere."

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Bowden was asked if he's had to take car keys from anyone and he said no. He was then asked if he took Capote's keys. "The Mack truck took his car. I didn't have to take it." Top Stories