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Bright side today? Catman! He only missed one (field goal).
MORE ON THE BATTLE AT KICKER: We've got three guys competing for the job and catman right now is way out in front. All you can do is go on performance. Spencer (Benton) is super talented and so is Richard (Jackson). Spencer has been the better of the two and he's second right now and Richard is third based on what they've done in practice. I told Richard I'm not giving up on him and he can't give up on himself. It's a long season and you competing every day. Every day is a new beginning. Catman has to continue to perform. I'm really pleased with Chandler - he's been outstanding. I'm very pleased that he's kicking the ball with the kind of consistency.
ON THE RETURN OF DA'QUAN BOWERS: I visited with him a good bit before practice and we had a team meeting and welcomed him back. Hey- we are moving on and getting back into the routine. I know he was excited to get back out here today and get back to work and get some normalcy. It's been a difficult week for him. You know, Brandon Clear's grand dad died this weekend. So he's got to fly out tomorrow night and he'll be out Monday night. It's his dad's dad and his dad just flew back to Afghanistan. Justin Parker's mom is going to have to have surgery as well but he is back today. But I thought Da'Quan did a good job. Da'Quan has to get his wind back because he hasn't been exercising for a week so he's got to get his legs back under him.
ON WHICH FRESHMEN WILL PLAY: We've had a lot of discussions and no decisions have been made. We've got two and a half weeks. We've got several guys on the bubble. You don't want to waste guys. If you are going to play them then they need to play. I'm pretty confident Justin Parker is in a position to help us. Probably Nuke Hopkins - that's the only two right now for sure. We've got three or four other guys that are on the bubble. But if somebody gets hurt - that plays into it. There are probably two or three guys we want to hold but we'll get them ready just in case. We'll continue to evaluate where they are.
ON KYLE PARKER'S RETURN: I was relieved July 20. The rest of that stuff was their issue to deal with. When he told me he was coming back, I was relieved. Kind of like Brett Favre and all the drama with him. When he shows up for camp he's Brett Favre. You can talk or say whatever you want to - that sucker knows how to play the game. None of the rest really matters. Same way with Kyle. He's been awesome. A little sloppy today, probably wasn't his best practice. But again, he's had a whirlwind too since Sunday night. Went all night Monday night and Tuesday he's trying to find a place to live. Then the Rockies fly in to get the contract stuff done. Really happy for him that he's got all that stuff situated. I don't think July 20 is the biggest decision coming his way. I think the bigger decision is in front of him.
That's a really good thing for Clemson because I would say he's probably really motivated to have a great season this year to continue to improve his stock, his leverage and his options. It's all about options. And I think he's highly motivated to have a really good season and I think he will.
WHO IS NO. 1 PUNT RETURNER? Gilly (Marcus Gilchrist). By far. Gilly is going to be our punt return and kick return guy going into it. Bryce McNeal and Jaron Brown- they've all done a nice job in camp. Ellington and Jamie Harper will be the off guys on kick return. Most likely we'll have Gilly deep. Hot Rod will be in the mix. We've got several guys that will be factors.
UPDATING ROD MCDOWELL: He was coo-coo. He's alright. He'll probably be back Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Who knows? But he'll be fine. His neck has some stiffness in it. He's not happy he's in a yellow jersey and that's a good thing to see. You can't mess around with those concussions. That's a serious thing. We try to err on the real conservative side. Especially with practice and rushing back into that. He's proven he can help us. Nothing wrong with him making sure he's 100 percent.