Massive Wednesday Notebook

CLEMSON – It was about this same time last year when all the injuries started ravishing the Clemson football team. On Wednesday, it was revealed that the Tigers had their first true injury one day before to a key player that will require surgery.

Sophomore and second-team defensive end Jamie Cumbie sustained what is believed to be a torn labrum near the beginning stages of Tuesday's practice. Following the three-hour session, he said that his shoulder was hurting and an MRI revealed there is some structural damage.

The team doctors will go into his shoulder Thursday to repair any damage. Early estimations are Cumbie will be out a minimum of two weeks. It could be longer if there is significantly more damage.

As of now, he is listed as questionable for the season opener against Florida State on Memorial Day night.

The way Cumbie handled the situation in Tuesday's practice was inspiring to all of the Clemson coaches.

"He didn't take himself out," head coach Tommy Bowden said. "He didn't go bitch, moan and complain. He didn't go look for the trainer. He practiced for the rest of the 30 periods for another two more hours and all of a sudden you find out he's going to have to have some minor surgery on his shoulder.

"So, you're looking for those type of things (in leaders) with the guys that don't run and hide and fights through a little bit of pain. Pain is weakness leaving the body."

As a result of the injury, Kwam Williams, who ended spring practice as the co-first teamer with Ricky Sapp at Bandit, has been moved to defensive end. However, the redshirt senior wasn't exactly thrilled with his new position.

"I know Kwam probably would have liked to stay over there and competed for that, but we thought it was best for the team," Bowden said. "It's good to see some unselfish guys."

Defensive line coach Chris Rumph said Williams and the team will be just fine with the new moves.

"I think we'll be alright," he said. "I'd be concerned if we didn't have a guy and we'd have to rely on those freshmen right now to come in and play. I think Kwam will come in and do a good job.

"Today, he got confused a little bit by thinking about Bandit. But once he gets adjust to it, I think he'll be fine."

With Williams moving, sophomore Kevin Alexander becomes the second team Bandit, with freshman Kourtnei Brown as the third team player. Alexander is brand new to the position after having just moved there from linebacker just before the start of fall camp.

And whoever the backup is, that person will get plenty of playing time. Sapp has had a disappointing spring and summer and as of now is expected to only be in about 40 plays a game, which means the rest of the snaps will go to someone else.

"That speaks volumes about Kevin Alexander," Rumph said. "We feel like by moving Kwam over there that the talent level won't drop over there, so (Alexander) is going to have to step up, also."

When Cumbie returns, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said the position status of all those involved will be reevaluated and based on how everyone has performed to that point.

WHO'S HOT: The trio of centers on the offensive line. Redshirt sophomore Barry Humphries has easily solidified himself as the starting center and to date, Bowden has no complaints. Bowden also said he likes the way Backups Ben Ramsey and Bobby Hutchinson have performed.

But Bowden admitted he still has some concerns with how that position will play on opening night.

WHO'S NOT: Freshman fullback Chad Diehl, who left campus to return home for "family issues." Bowden said they were the similar to the same sort of "family issues" that tailback James Davis went through when he left campus as a freshman. Davis later said he was just homesick, was unsure of his role in the offense and had thought about transferring.

There are thoughts that Diehl could actually see playing time this year at fullback.

QUICK HITS: Practice was held to only two hours due to exams. ... Bowden and running backs coach Andre Powell said they were pleased with the way Sadat Chambers performed at running back during the first day with full pads and how he did running between the tackles. But he still has a ways to go.

"He's like a computer, he's got a lot of programs open right now and he needs to close a few of them so when he's on he can run fast," Powell said. "I'm pleased with where he is right now, but he's got a long way to go. But he's got time to get there."

Powell also added that he wants to see Ray Ray McElrathbey "get hungrier" and get upset because Chambers is taking away some of his carries. Thus far, Ray Ray has been passive about it.

The team may do some situational scrimmaging Thursday, but will do it for sure on Saturday, which Bowden said is when he will be able to truly evaluate the quarterbacks. … Mark Buchholz still has a hold on the placekicking job, while Jimmy Maners has the punting job. …

Bowden said he wants to redshirt freshman offensive lineman Mason Cloy. … Right guard with Brandon Pilgrim and Thomas Austin is the tightest battle on the offensive line, according to Bowden. … Bowden said the lines on offense and defense have been inconsistent thus far. …

Offensive coordinator Rob Spence looked a little haggard walking off the practice field Wednesday, which prompted Bowden to joke about it.

"We've yet to find any clothes that look good on his body," he said of the ultra thin Spence. "We've been trying hard. We've ordered everything that Nike has to offer in every size and nothing he puts on looks good. And he doesn't shave, which it adds to the problem." Top Stories