NOTEBOOK: Vincent Will Play

ATLANTA – The ongoing saga of Clemson linebacker Cortney Vincent and whether or not he will play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been determined, several people with the team have told CUTigers.com.

Vincent, the starting middle linebacker, was charged a few weeks ago with DUI and head coach Tommy Bowden hasn't said whether or not he would be suspended for the upcoming game.

Multiple people associated with the team told CUTigers.com that Vincent will indeed play against Auburn. The only thing that remains unclear if is he will start.

However, Bowden said he will announce his decision Monday before kickoff.

"The only guys with all the facts would be the officer, the lawyer and myself," Bowden said. "I'm going to treat it a private way until it has to become public. I've talked to the administration, I've talked to the lawyer and I've talked to the people that have seen the video."

Letting Vincent play is likely the best thing for Bowden to do. It's awfully difficult to punish a player before a case is heard before a judge. It wouldn't be in Bowden's or Clemson's best interest to suspend Vincent and then have him later be found not guilty.

At that point, civil liberties become an issue. Look no further than the Duke Lacross team. Those players accused of rape were kicked out of school and later had all charges dropped. They are in the process of suing the school as a result.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville was asked about his policies concerning DUI and he said handing out punishment in those cases are the hardest of all.

"What we do is we try to do as much investigating as we possibly can," he said. "We're not going to make a quick decision. Obviously sometimes it takes longer in some situations than it does others. Sometimes there's a matter of fact situation and sometimes there's a situation that might drag out.

"Basically with all the head coaches that I've dealt with over the years, and I take my stance from Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson and R.C. Slocum, is you treat each situation different in terms of making sure you come up with the right answer. You're dealing with lives and you're dealing with young people that need to understand the difference between right and wrong.

"But you also want to make sure that you get it right because the worst thing you can do as a coach is punish somebody for something that maybe had not been true for factual. But if you come to that answer that they broke a rule – DUI is a major rule for us. It's a rule where you will miss games, but again, you have to make sure that it's correct. It takes a while to get that done. That's a tough one to call there."

Tuberville then said he doesn't have a set policy on the number of games a player will be suspended if found guilty of DUI. In the past he has suspended players five games and two games for the same offense.

"We really don't," he said. "We got back to that we have a drug policy on campus and we basically go by that. We consider alcohol as a drug offense, not just an offense in breaking the law."

SPREAD OFFENSE: Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox is very familiar with the new spread offense installed at Auburn. And the fifth-year senior likes it.

"It's been different, that's for sure," he said. "It's a complete 180 from the offense that we've been running. We're trying to do a little bit of both. Practice has been a little longer and we're working on a lot of things. But it's definitely a different offense.

"We spread it out and throw the ball around. It's the type of offense we ran in high school. You're in the shotgun and throwing it every down, but it does a lot for the running game, too. You throw the ball around and spread them out and then you run it up the middle. So it's definitely a dynamic offense and we have a lot of playmakers that are going to fit in this offense well."

Clemson junior safety Michael Hamlin said the new offense doesn't bother him or the defense one bit.

"I don't think it makes much of a difference," he said. "I think (defensive coordinator) Coach Vic (Koenning) is working hard on the game plan. Lately we've been watching a lot of Troy game film and I think he's going to have everything ready for us."

CUTigers.com Top Stories