Etta-Tawo looks to future; Injury updates

CLEMSON – He's big, strong and smart, and up until three weeks ago, was the picture of perfect health. Today, his season is over and his career hangs in the balance.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Etta Etta-Tawo is the victim of a one-in-a-million circumstance that may ultimately doom his ever again playing football.

Etta-Tawo said Monday night that doctors have discovered that he has an enlarged heart and that his heart is having problems pumping blood correctly.

Even stranger, however, is that the doctors believe the enlarged heart is a recent occurrence and is a freakish result of the common cold.

Etta-Tawo had a cold two weeks ago, got rid of it and a few days later, he complained of chest pains.

"They think that there was a one-in-a-million chance the cold could affect my heart," he said. "And this time it did. … Nothing is wrong with the valves, it's just the heart is enlarged."

For the time being, Etta-Tawo is on medication and will continue to undergo weekly tests in Greenville. He also has to just sit and not do any exercise.

"Right now, it's still shocking to me," he said. "But I've got to worry about getting this heart better before doing anything else. …

"I'm not depressed. I've got millions of people praying for me at home."

Not so fast, my friend
It's been so long since the Tigers have been considered for hosting ESPN's GameDay that ESPN forgot to inform the folks at Clemson of the new way they reach thier decision.

Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret said no one has contacted him, but that apparently doesn't mean a thing like it used to. In the old days, he said ESPN would contact a school some three weeks in advance to let them know they are being considered.

Not anymore. Reports say Clemson, which hosts Georgia Tech at 7:45 p.m., on ESPN, is one of three places being considered for that weekend. The others are Nebraska, which hosts Texas, and Michigan, which hosts Iowa.

"Now, they could call on Sunday and say, ‘We're coming,' " Bourret said.

And the whiff
Wide receiver Aaron Kelly was the victim of a punch thrown by Wake Forest defensive back Alphonso Smith. Only problem is that Kelly didn't know he was the victim.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't even know he punched me until someone told me," Kelly said Monday morning. "It wasn't a very good punch. I think he missed. I don't think he's a bad player or anything like that, I just think that maybe he got caught up in the moment of the game."

Smith was ejected in the second quarter for the punch and will be forced to sit out the first half against North Carolina State this weekend.

Glad to be in Charlotte
Linebacker Nick Watkins couldn't be happier about Thursday night's game being moved from its original destination in Philadelphia to Charlotte.

"I'm looking forward to playing in a nice stadium and all of our fans are going to be there," he said. "It's going to be a pretty nice atmosphere. Obviously, if went to Temple, there'd be like 10 people there."

No. 1
After having some time to think about the significance of it all, cornerback Duane Coleman offered up his thoughts on what Gaines Adams' touchdown off the botched field goal attempt by Wake Forest meant to the team.

"From the momentum standpoint and how we couldn't get nothing going and how that happened, that's got to be the number one play since I've been here," Coleman said. "We couldn't get anything going and once he got that touchdown, it seemed like everything started clicking. The defense stepped up a little more and the offense got on track. Everything just started to jell after that play."

Perfect throw
No doubt the throw by Wake Forest receiver Nate Morton that went from one sideline all the way across the field and into the arms of quarterback Riley Skinner in the corner of the end zone was on of the best throws Clemson fans, or anybody else for that matter, have seen all year.

Coleman, who was one of two players covering Riley on the play, couldn't believe how good of a throw it was. He later found out why.

"They say (Morton) played a little quarterback in high school," he said. "I didn't see that in my scouting report."

Quick hits
Head coach Tommy Bowden said rumors surrounding the health of tailback James Davis are wrong and that he is 100 percent healthy. He said the health issue he was referring to while doing a radio interview earlier on Monday was about Etta-Tawo. …

Backup Bandit, Rickey Sapp, didn't practice Monday. He felt lightheadedness during class and as a result, all kinds of special tests were performed on him. Nothing out of the ordinary was found and he is expected to practice Tuesday. …

Bowden said tailback Reggie Merriweather looked good and is almost fully recovered. … Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said cornerback C.J. Gaddis reinjured his bad foot on the last series against Wake Forest and could possibly be held out Thursday. …

Bandit and Sam linebacker coach, Ron West, has been given more responsibility with the kickoff coverage team. Koenning is also helping some, but West was given a larger role.

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