Wednesday Practice Notes

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media after Wednesday's practice session as the 15th-ranked Tigers get ready to face Wake Forest Saturday afternoon at Groves Stadium.

STUCKEY SURGERY SUCCESSFUL: Clemson All-ACC receiver Chansi Stuckey celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday at the office of Clemson team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Bowman. Stuckey had surgery on his broken foot, an injury he suffered during a non-contact drill in practice on Tuesday.

The surgery was termed, "successful," by Danny Poole, Clemson's Director of Sports medicine.

Bowden said again Wednesday that freshman wide receiver Jacoby Ford will be counted on to replace Stuckey in the line up. He also deemed Ford the team's best downfield threat due to his speed.

"I'm going to ask the whole team to elevate their level of play other than just the wide receivers," he said. "But Jacoby is the best deep threat we've got."

FOOT INJURIES NOT SIMILAR: Bowden dismissed the idea that the rash of foot injuries this year are due to the team wearing a specific kind of shoe or to the field turf.

First it was starting linebacker Tramaine Billie went down in the preseason with a broken foot. Then it was starting safety Michael Hamlin was lost for three weeks after the Boston College game when he broke his fifth metatarsal and now it is Chansi Stuckey who broke his foot in practice Tuesday while participating in a non-contact drill.

"Dabo Swinney was asking about the shoes but they are the shoes everybody else wears," he said. "Tramaine's was a contact injury and was a broken foot. Different injury totally. Michael came down on field turf. I think Chansi was on regular grass and both of those were on non-contact."

QUIRKY PLAYS: When asked about the strange plays that have taken place the last two times that Clemson has played in Groves Stadium (2003, 2005) most of the players can't understand why they've occurred.

"It's been strange," said Dustin Fry. "We've had guys kick the ball the straight into their hands for interceptions. We've had the ball taken out of Charlie's hands as he was trying to throw it. It's been a little of everything up there."

Bowden said those kinds of plays tend to go in cycles.

"It's like the interception that went against us at Boston College and then the fumble recovery Jacoby made against Florida State," he said. "Usually it all evens out in the end."

Last season Clemson had two interceptions, a failed fake field goal late in the fourth quarter and a punt blocked in a 31-27 loss to Wake Forest. In 2003, the Tigers lost two fumbles and had an interception returned for a touchdown in a 45-17 loss to the Deacons.

QUICK HITS: Reserve running back Reggie Merriweather still did not practice much Wednesday and is officially listed as doubtful for Saturday's game against Wake Forest. "He has not responded well," Bowden said. ... Bowden also said that kicker Jad Dean has done well this week during practice. "He's been kicking good. He's a veteran guy," he said. Top Stories