DAY FOUR: Clemson Football Insider

CLEMSON - Don't be like the rest of the nation and sleep on Kevin Alexander, plus news and notes on both of Jacoby Ford's ankles and a closer look at the changes on special teams are contained inside!

NOT SO FAST DA'QUAN: The large contingent of Clemson fans assuming freshman Da'Quan Bowers is going to overtake Kevin Alexander at strong side defensive end should probably listen to what the elder statesman in the battle has to say first.

Alexander, who's been in the program for two years and saw action on 237 snaps a year ago playing behind second round draft pick Phillip Merling, says all the reports out there surrounding Bowers have done nothing but motivate him to keep his starting spot.

"I go out and work hard every day," he said. "It doesn't bother me at all to read that stuff. It hypes me up and motivates me. I read what's going on a little bit but I'm going to be holding on to my spot. That's the goal. I want to start all 12 games."

Despite the fact the two are battling for playing time, Alexander says he still tries to help Bowers out whenever he has a question.

"I do [help him]," he said. "There's no hard feelings at all between us. If has a question about something I'll help him out."

Alexander is also aware of what awaits him and Bowers in the season opener against Alabama.

He currently weighs 260 pounds but is hoping to be at 265 by the end of the month, and he'll need every bit of it considering who he'll be facing - All-American tackle Andre Smith.

"They have been moving guys around on the little bit but he's their best tackle," he said. "I know that. He's got good feet and is just a great player all-around."

Incidentally, Alexander also broke the squat record in his skill group this offseason by squatting 650 pounds. The old record was 630.

LONG ROAD BACK: Jacoby Ford injured his left ankle Monday, however the good news is it wasn't the same ankle he broke last year at Maryland.

After practice, he told he could go full speed as soon as tomorrow if he needed to. He also said his other ankle is close about 100 percent as well.

"I could practice tomorrow if came down to it," he said. "And most likely I'll be practicing. I'm pretty much a 100 percent. I'm just really glad to be back to the team. I did a really long rehab and it was a long process so I'm just happy to be back right now."

Ford also said he expects to be a major factor on end-arounds and reverses again, but he hopes to get his receiving numbers up as well.

"I need to get those receiving yards up more but I'm not stingy or anything like that," he said. "We've got a lot of playmakers and me and C.J. will be the main two guys back there on special teams and if we get a few blocks here and there, you know what that means- we'll be off to the races."

IMPROVING SPECIAL TEAMS: With the naming of running backs coach Andre Powell as special teams coordinator this offseason, it leads to the natural question, what exactly does that mean?

For starters, Powell, as the coordinator, is in charge of special teams overall, and can dictate which other assistants handle specific areas of special teams. Also, according to several players, Powell brings an extreme attention to detail as well.

"He brought a lot with him from North Carolina," said Jacoby Ford. "He knows his stuff. He was in charge of their special teams up there and he always knows everything about what another team is going to try and do. He knows every scheme there is and he can pick up every little detail that a lot of people may miss."

Senior kicker Mark Buchholz echoed those sentiments as well.

"It can be as something as basic as kickoffs," he said. "Guys aren't just running down there only in specific lanes or running around crazy. Everybody has a responsibility and he's very focused on details.

"He knows what he's doing."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The young offensive linemen are pushing some of our guys up front. Because of their athleticism, tenacity and work ethic and because of their sheer size, they are going to push people." -- Offensive coordinator Rob Spence on the development of the offensive line.

QUICK HITS: The Tigers have one more practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts before moving to full pads for the first time Wednesday. ... The first two-a-day sessions are schedule for the following day on Thursday, Aug. 7. Top Stories