11 Freshmen?

CLEMSON — Each year Clemson coach Tommy Bowden enters a camp hoping he will get to redshirt a few more freshmen then he did the previous year, it's doubtful that's going to happen this year.

Bowden told the media after the second of Thursday's two practices that as many as 11 freshmen will more than likely play this season.

"It's good and bad," he said. "Number one, if you are recruiting better, then you are getting better players and you are always going to have that problem because they are going to be good enough to come in and play.

"I don't know these schools that have been in the top five or in the top 10 in the nation year after year after year, I don't know how they (do it). I have never been to this stage. Yeah, I would like to, but I have been really pleased with this class and how they work."

The Clemson head coach pointed out he has been really pleased with guys like offensive linemen Kenneth Page, Matt Sanders, Dalton Freeman and of course tackle Antoine McClain.

"Kenneth has been in a fight in the last two days and he says he has never been in a fight in his whole life," Bowden said.

Bowden also singled out freshman linebacker Jonathan Willard.

CAN SOMEONE BLOCK RICKY? This coming season is not doubt a big year for defensive end Ricky Sapp.

The Bamberg native, who led Clemson with 22 quarterback pressures last season, spent the off-season doing all he could to make himself better. After being called out by the coaching staff on numerous occasions about his work habits last year and in the spring, the 6-foot-4 defensive end, hit the weight room this off-season where he added 10 pounds of muscle to bring his weight up from 240 pounds to 250.

"I had a good summer workout, I had a good off-season and right now I'm working really hard to focus on Alabama," the junior said. "That's the biggest thing I'm focused on right now."

Bowden can tell.

"We couldn't block him today," Bowden said. "We came real close of taking him out of the drill. We tried to have a redzone passing attack, throw the ball from the 16, 14, 12, 10 and 9 five straight passes to work on the passing game in the redzone, and we just about had to take him out. We couldn't block him."

But pass rushing has never been Sapp's weakness.

In his 26 career games, he has 31 quarterback pressures and nine sacks, both of which are the most among active Tigers. The knock on Sapp has been his is inability to slow down ball carriers or fight through blocks to get to running backs.

But Sapp is pretty certain that will not be the case this year.

"I don't worry about that," he said. "I definitely think I'm a run stopper. I put on extra weight this summer again so I think I will be a force in stopping the run."

Sapp says he has also been working on improving his technique and is hoping to get that ironed all out before the season opening game against Alabama in three weeks. To Bowden, it looks like he is getting there.

"He has done good. He has had a good camp," the Clemson coach said."We need someone else to surface that can do the same thing. When we had Gaines (Adams) and him, that's two guys that could bring pretty good heat. We need someone else to surface."

INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Chris Hairston sat out Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury as did defensive lineman Rennie Moore with the same injury. Those were the only new injuries reported.

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