Tigers Break in New Artificial Practice Surface

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - The $300,000 Clemson University spent putting in the new artificial practice surface at the Jervey complex began to pay dividends Thursday.

After a rain which would have forced Clemson indoors for at least one day, perhaps more, Tommy Bowden's team was able to get a full workout in on the new surface. Bowden chose not to scrimmage as originally planned, but still got a full afternoon from his team in shoulder pads and shorts.

"It might have been a wasted day, had we not had that turf," Bowden said. "It might have been a wasted three days depending on how much it rains. We went inside...we had planned to try and get something done there.

"But when it started clearing off we went outside and that fake turf, whatever that stuff is...we got a lot more accomplished this year than we would have last year. It's going to be a really good addition, especially with all this rain we're supposed to get."

The inclement weather has caused a change in schedule. The team will have a normal two-a-day practice schedule on Friday, followed by a scrimmage on Saturday. All practices are closed to the public.

Thursday's scrimmage will be made up Saturday, weather permitting.

Bowden said doing so will come at the expense of time scheduled for individual/fundamental work. But at this stage of fall camp, getting the live scrimmage work accomplished is more important.

"We felt like we needed to make up the scrimmage because of some (position) battles and to see some young guys, to see if they can go out there and play," he said. "You've got about two more of these scrimmages and then it's the real thing. So we need to make it up and see if they can play in that type of environment."

Bowden said he's interested to see how his kickers perform under live conditions, as well his two true freshman offensive tackles - Barry Richardson and Akeem Robinson. Wide receivers will also be under the microscope, and he also hopes to see signs of his defense beginning to become more cohesive.

And finally, with Duane Coleman out 6-8 weeks with a broken foot, Bowden will be paying close attention to the play of running backs Yusef Kelly and Reggie Merriweather.

"You want to see if either one can start to separate from the other."

The Tigers will go through the scheduled two workouts today, then Saturday's scrimmage will be held in Death Valley, weather permitting. If not, Bowden said the team will scrimmage on the new turf.

The scrimmage is closed to the public.

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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