Joy Turns to Sorrow

CLEMSON - A few weeks back Clemson offensive guard Barry Humphries elected not to have surgery on his partially torn ACL and instead decided to return to the practice fields and try to get back in the mix on an offensive line that could desperately use his help.

Humphries, who injured his knee in the second quarter against Alabama in the season opener, made his return in the second half of last week's loss to Georgia Tech. On his very first play from scrimmage, he put a Tech defender to the turf. He followed that up with eight more pancake blocks in the 23 snaps he played.

Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney said the redshirt junior was so fired up when he came off the field he proclaimed "I'm back" to offensive line coach Brad Scott.

But all that joy turned to sorrow Thursday as Humphries blew out the rest of his injured knee during a pass blocking drill. Scott and Swinney confirmed after practice the 6-foot-2, 300-pound guard did tear the rest of his ACL.

Humphries will have surgery in the coming weeks to repair the tear and is expected to be out for the next eight to nine months.

"He played well in the second half. I didn't play him any in that ballgame until the second half and I told him "you need to go in there and let's go wide open and full speed and see if your knee can hold up," Scott said. "He played well. He was pretty confident that he was going to be able to finish out the year."

With Humphries now done, Scott will move Bobby Hutchinson back over to guard and could move Cory Lambert back inside next week. That's a move Scott doesn't really want to make if he doesn't have to because of the depth issues he has at tackle right now.

Guard David Smith, who said earlier this week he expects to be back for the Boston College game, only worked out with trainers Thursday and did not participate in any drills. Scott isn't sure when he can count on Smith to be back in the lineup.

So far this season, Clemson has had seven of its top 10 offensive line go down with some kind of injury. Scott says never before in his coaching career has he remembered it being this bad.

"And it has been at that one position," he said. "It has been mainly the guards. Those things happen sometimes. It's not only a position, but it could be the same injury where it is all knees or all shoulders or all ankles. When you have been in it long enough, you see it.

"But I haven't been beat up this much with my top players in probably a long time. I really can't think of a time when that has happened. That's part of the game, though. You never have enough depth for that, not with the scholarship numbers.."


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