Notebook: Another key injury

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – When will it end? Another game, another player lost for the season.

With 11:52 remaining in the third quarter, a pass from quarterback Will Proctor went off the finger tips of receiver Rendrick Taylor, who lost his balance and fell innocently enough out of bounds.

The problem was, Taylor, a sophomore, stayed on the ground for a couple of minutes, obviously in pain.

After trainers escorted Taylor to the locker room, it was revealed he had broken his left arm in the elbow area. Taylor is set to undergo surgery sometime this week and is lost for the season.

"It's ‘Mande time!" wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney said of redshirt sophomore Andrew Diomande. "He's been waiting for his chance and here it is."

Aaron Kelly, who had been splitting time with Taylor at the X receiver, will be the full-time starter, with Diomande as his backup.

This is the second serious injury for Taylor, who sustained a broken wrist in the fourth game of the season last year against Boston College.

"He's kind of hurting," Kelly said of Taylor. "But he'll be alright."

This makes the second key receiver in less than a week to go down. On Tuesday, Chansi Stuckey was lost for a minimum of three games after sustaining a broken foot.

"I've still got a curl route or two left in me," Swinney said. "Do you think they could tell the difference between me and (Tyler) Grisham?"

Prior to the start of the season, Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence asked Proctor to go home and come back the following day with a piece of paper defining the word resolve.

Proctor looked it up in the dictionary and copied it verbatim on that sheet of paper and promptly gave it to Spence as instructed.

But after Proctor's performance Saturday, just replace the definition with his picture.

Proctor suffered through the worst day of his quarterbacking life, but when it mattered most, he delivered in the clutch.

Prior to his performance in the fourth quarter, Proctor had three interceptions and a lost fumble.

"I had seven interceptions in two years in high school and I had three today," he said. "You feel like you're letting the team down."

But by Proctor's own admittance, Proctor has a short memory.

He went up to head coach Tommy Bowden when all seemed lost and told him, "I'm your guy. Let's go to it."

That little remark was all Bowden needed to hear.

"I just wanted to let him know that we were going to win," Proctor said.

He was right.

Not-so-special teams
In every game but one, the special teams for Clemson have been anything but.

Placekicker Jad Dean's kicks were so bad, that once again Bowden thought about not kicking it in the final minute when the Tigers had a chance to secure the win with a field goal.

"Dabo Swinney probably talked me into (kicking)," Bowden said. "I said, that's it, let's run it. They've got no timeouts left. Let's run it and run 40 seconds off and make them go 90 yards with no timeouts."

But after Swinney's advice, Bowden went to Dean and asked him several times if he can get the ball through the uprights.

It was so bad, that Bowden went to sophomore walk-on, John Early, a native of Darlington, to get ready to play.

"I've got huge concerns," Bowden said. "I came close to kicking the other guy. I told him to go get warmed up. I've got a problem there. … I'm going to have to get another kicker. I've got to find a guy that can make an extra point."

If that weren't bad enough, the kickoff coverage team once again resembled that of a high school team.

If not for the speed of Jacoby Ford, Wake Forest would have scored a touchdown on the game's opening kickoff.

From that point forward, Bowden opted to squib kick it and just give the Demon Deacons the ball from the 35 or 40.

"I've got two major problems," Bowden said. "Giving them the ball on the 35 and 40 is ridiculous. We're terrible."

When jokingly asked by a reporter if he had ever kicked, offensive guard Roman Fry said no. Then he paused for a second and said, "But I wish I could."

Quick hits
Wake Forest's 36-yard pass completion in the first quarter is the longest play against the Clemson defense this season. … Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith was ejected in the second quarter after throwing a punch to the back of the head of a defenseless Kelly. Good thing the Demon Deacons don't have a reputation for being dirty. …

Despite widespread rumors, it appears ESPN's GameDay will not be coming to Clemson for the Georgia Tech game, regardless if both teams have just one loss entering the contest in two weeks. Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret said ESPN has not had any contact with the school. "Usually they call three weeks in advance to say it's a possibility. They have to scout the place and build a set and I haven't heard anything." …

When Wake Forest wide receiver Nate Morton completed that spectacular touchdown pass to quarterback Riley Skinner in the second quarter, it gave him what could be the greatest passing stats ever. For his career, Morton is 5-for-6 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns. That gives him a passing efficiency ration of 559.13. Top Stories