Fall Practice News & Notes

The return of Kevin Youngblood is important entering the early part of the upcoming season. Youngblood is an experienced reciever that can provide some much needed stability to a young and talented unit with enormous expecations placed upon them. More news on Youngblood and the upcoming game against Georgia contained in this report.

* Kevin Youngblood knew that it was very important for him to return to the practice fields as soon as possible after suffering a minor ankle injury last week. After all, freshmen wide receiver Kelvin Grant, looking silky smooth through the first two weeks of practice, has already been annointed one the new playmakers to lookout for on offense.

"I know what I'm able to do in terms of going out there and working hard and competing for my job," Youngblood said in an interview Monday afternoon. "Completing for his job" is right. Grant continues to push for playing time in Athens as the true freshman brought in another touchdown pass during Tuesday's two-hour scrimmage.

After missing last season with a broken leg, it will be imperative for Youngblood to step it up early in the season. Suprisingly, he has looked crisp on the practice fields, consistently showing the ability to cut on a dime and accelerate off the line. He also took a big step in the right direction when he scored a touchdown in yesterday's scrimmage.

* Finally, the offense appears to be catching up with the defense. Four touchdown passes were thrown Tuesday afternoon in the Tigers' second scrimmage in as many days. Kelvin Grant led the way with a 50-yard scoring strike brought in from Charlie Whitehurst.

"We made some big plays on offense that kind of sucked the emotion out of the defense," said Tommy Bowden. "I don't know if it was an alignment problem or good plays by the offense. The defense had been ahead of the offense, but the offense caught up some today."

Both quarterbacks continue to look strong on the practice fields for the Tigers. Simmons has assumed the natural leadership role at quarterback, and Whitehurst has provided ample support for the second team as the Tigers' signal caller. Don't be suprised if Tommy Bowden allows Charlie Whitehurst to play one series in Athens next Saturday night.

* No official word yet on the status of Tymere Zimmerman, even though all interested parties remain extremely hopeful. Zimmerman was expected to find out new information on Tuesday, but it appears the annoucement will have to wait another 24 hours.

* On the practice fields in Athens, the Georgia Bulldogs have been moving things around a bit on the offensive line. Center Ian Knight was held out of practice Tuesday with a strained neck, and Kevin Breedlove has temporarily moved to center from guard. Starting tackle Kareem Marshall continues to be held out of practice with a sprained neck, and he may not return until next Monday.

* For those interested in understanding what the oddsmakers think about the Clemson-Georgia matchup next Saturday night on ESPN, the early spread has Georgia listed as a 6.5 point favorite. Can somebody tell me if that is a slap in the face to Georgia, or a pat on the back to Clemson? Seems like a top 10 playing an unranked opponent at home would be favored by at least 10 or 11 points.

* As many as three true freshmen on the defensive line could play for the Bulldogs against Clemson. Kedric Golston (6-4, 285) could be the starting nose guard, and Ray Gant (6-2, 276) and Darrius Swain (6-4, 295) could be two other freshmen that see significant playing time.

* Look for 5 Tiger newcomers to play against the Dawgs next Saturday. Justin Miller, Kelvin Grant, Kelvin Morris, Brandon Jamison, and Vontrell Jamison all figure to see action in Athens. Cole Chason's lower back injury has kept him out competing with starting punter Wynn Kopp, but if he's able to get back onto the practice fields by the end of this week, he will likely see action as well.

Kelvin Morris has turned on the heat as of late, producing several big plays in yesterday's scrimmage. Justin Miller will see action at cornerback and also on special teams. Both Vontrell and Brandon Jamison could also see significant time as reserves, and Kelvin Grant will get a long look at wide receiver. At this point, it appears unlikely that any Clemson newcomer will start the season opener.

* Finally on the injury front, Derrick Hamilton and Bobby Williamson left Tuesday's scrimmage with minor injuries. Both players are expected back later this week. Dustin Fry continues to miss time with an injury to his right knee, and David Dunham and Tye Hill returned Tuesday from their injuries (concussion and hamstring).

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