Massive Monday Notebook

CLEMSON — For the first two weeks of fall camp, freshman running back Jamie Harper was all the rave at Clemson.'s fifth best running back prospect coming out of high school was living up to expectations, at least in practice, with his power running and instinctive blocking skills, especially in pass protection.

But all that promise could be sidelined now that an ankle sprain to his left foot has Harper sitting and watching practice. The Jacksonville, Fla., native was held out of practice Monday and was in a yellow jersey, while riding a conditioning bike. It a small setback for a player the coaching staff is hoping to use in the Aug. 30 season-opener against No. 24 Alabama.

"It's too early to tell, but I'm going to try and do everything in my power to get back," Harper said.

Harper sprained the ankle on the fourth play of last Saturday's scrimmage. After breaking a tackle, he went up the sideline where a defender grabbed him by the collar from behind and pulled him down. His left foot rolled up underneath his body.

X-rays later confirmed the injury was just a sprain, and Harper said it will be Thursday before he really has any idea how long the injury will keep him out of practice.

"They haven't even given me the chance to try and run on it," he said. "I probably could tell when they allow me to run on it, but right now it is too early."

This is the third time in his football career the 6-foot, 230-pound back has injured his left ankle. He has broken the foot twice, once as a seventh grader and then as a sophomore in high school. The later he broke in two places.

"Being through rehab before and knowing mentally in my head what I have to get done, it will probably be a little easier," Harper said.

Harper said he is being mentally strong because he knows what to expect the next couple of days. He says he refuses to let the injury set him back despite the fact the ankle is still significantly swollen and painful. He plans to be ready when the ninth-ranked Tigers kick off the season against Alabama in 12 days.

"It gets kind of worse if you baby it," he said. "I just stay on it as much as I can and ice it down and do everything that I'm supposed to do… It will probably push me a little bit harder to get myself ready to get into the game.

DT UPDATE: Defensive line coach Chris Rumph likes what he is seeing thus far from defensive tackles Jarvis Jenkins and Jamie Cumbie as they try to replace senior defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson, who will be out at least until the mid-point of the season after having surgery last week to repair a torn quad tendon. Right now, Jenkins a sophomore and Cumbie a junior, are sharing the same about of snaps with the first- and second-team defenses.

"I'm still mixing and matching Jamie and Jarvis and just seeing what's happening," Rumph said. "I feel good about either one of them starting, but we will see what happens the rest of this week."

Jenkins, who thinks he has a good chance of starting the Alabama game, says he has been impressed with Cumbie even after the 6-foot-7, 270-pound tackle broke his hand in a practice last week.

"Actually, his pad level has got a little bit better," Jenkins said. "He is really using that hand a little bit better then he did when he first got hurt.

"He is not focusing on his hand, not too much, though I know it is still hurting him a little bit, but he has been playing better."

Jenkins will not be surprised if he and Cumbie are used according to certain situations against the Crimson Tide.

"Jamie has more of an edge as a pass rusher and I'm more like a run stopper, just kind of the scheme that we run will depend on who is or who isn't in the ballgame." One thing is for sure, Miguel Chavis will stay at nose guard and will work as Dorell Scott's backup.

NO SOUR GRAPES: Rendrick Taylor, the former wide receiver turned tailback, says he isn't disappointed by the news of being redshirted this season, and in fact looks at this as a positive move in helping his football career, while finishing up his education.

"It gives me a great opportunity to get my body back in shape," he said. "I got a little heavy during the camp. It also gives a chance to focus on my school work, graduate and possibly comeback and work on my masters."

Taylor currently weighs 258 pounds, which is well ahead of his 240-pound playing weight of the past three seasons. He said he has weighed as much as 260 pounds this summer. His goal is to use this redshirt season to get his weight down to 235.

"I feel a little heavy right now. At 235 I will be able to be faster and be more elusive and can get out of my cuts better," he said. "I feel like it is just a blessing." Top Stories