Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON – No one doubts for a single second that by the time Michael Palmer graduates from Clemson that he will be one of the better tight ends in the ACC. But depending on what happens the rest of the season, the tight end could be remembered for one simple and honest mistake as a freshman.

The Tigers were called for an illegal formation in the closing minutes of Saturday's game against Maryland that negated a James Davis rushing touchdown that might have been the game winner.

The illegal formation occurred because Clemson only had six players on the line-of-scrimmage, which was a direct result of having only 10 players on the field. The missing player was Palmer.

Oddly enough, Palmer had already been on the field the previous play.

"I thought I saw a different sign and that's why I came off the field," Palmer said Monday night. "I was out on the field the play before, so my coach expected me to still be out there, but I thought I saw a different signal. I don't think anybody realized that I came off. I think they all expected me to stay on."

The play called for four tight ends to be on the field, but instead, there were only three.

"He was and Thomas (Hunter) were on the field and we had a personnel group where we just added two to that and we didn't realize that he had come off. He kind of came off on the side and back behind (the bench). It was just a miscommunication. It was a critical mistake."

What makes this pill so bitter to swallow is the fact that it is the exact same penalty that negated a possible game-winning touchdown last year at Georgia Tech, although there are some differences.

Last year's penalty was called because senior Cole Downer wasn't on the field. He had asked former tight ends coach Jack Hines more than once if he was supposed to be on the field and Hines said he didn't know.

Nonetheless, Napier is taking it equally as hard.

"To be honest with you, it's a little bit different in how it happened," he said. "It was the same penalty, but this was as instance where it was a player mistake more than a (coach mistake).

"But it's a weird deal because it was a play where that guy wasn't involved at the point of attack and I was watching my other two guys. I just wish that somehow I could have seen he wasn't out there."

Had the penalty happened to a freshman other than Palmer, Napier isn't so sure the situation would have been handled as well. Palmer is very down on himself, but he knows there's nothing he can do about it now.

"It was a simple miscommunication with personnel. It was something that just happened," he said. "It comes with being a freshman, I guess. It's something I'll learn from. Mistakes happen. I just have to build from it."

Quick hits
Head coach Tommy Bowden said the team looked lively and showed signs of having good spirits. … He said there are no personnel changes on offense. … Bowden said if he had two equal quarterbacks that he would play both. … He also said that after reviewing the film he doesn't think the playing calling was too conservative against the Terrapins.

Bowden said despite the fact that Wake Forest beat Boston College Saturday night that it doesn't make the loss to Maryland even harder to swallow.

"Nah, it really doesn't," he said. "Really, I don't think it hurts any more than it did. They hurt the same to me." …

Hunter still has a lingering hurt left shoulder, but is expected to play against N.C. State. … Senior offensive guard Nathan Bennett has a sprained left ankle, but is expected to play Saturday. Top Stories