Clemson, SC-Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden welcomed his fifth
Clemson football team to campus on Monday. The Tigers begin practice
on Tuesday at 2:30 PM at the practice fields behind the Jervey
Athletic Center. All Clemson preseason practices are closed to the
Tuesday's practice will be the first of five days of single
three-hour practices for the entire team. For the first time in many
years, freshmen do not report early for practice. They will be
practicing with the varsity from day one.
The team will practice once a day Tuesday through Saturday, with
Saturday's practice the first in full pads. The team will then hold
the annual Fan Appreciation Day at Death Valley on Sunday from 3:00
PM to 5:00 PM.
The NCAA has also changed its rules concerning two-a-day
practices. Teams now must alternate days of two-a-day practices.
Clemson will have just four double sessions in the preseason with the
first on Monday, August 11th.
Bowden said all the veterans reported with the exception of
third string tight end Rod Whipple, who indicated to Bowden that he
is considering transferring to a Division I-AA school. Whipple
lettered and played in 11 games last year on special teams. He had
six tackles. He red-shirted the 2001 season.
Seventeen of Clemson's 18 new players also reported on
Monday. Robert Reese, a defensive back from Temple, GA still had
not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Monday, but is expected
to join the team this week. The list of newcomers includes East
Tennessee State transfer Steven Jackson, a 6-2 and 242 pound fullback
who will be eligible immediately.
Jackson played on the defensive line last year at ETSU and
had 39 tackles, including a team best three caused fumbles. "Steven
is an impressive looking player who has some maturity about him" said
Bowden. "He is in good shape and will help our team. I was
pleasantly surprised that the NCAA ruled he could play right away."
East Tennessee State is dropping football at the end of this season,
allowing Jackson to transfer and play right away.
"We will be 18 for 18 when it comes to new signees joining
our program and that is good to see," said Bowden. "We have one left
to get through the clearinghouse, but he should join us shortly. You
read about a lot of schools who have four or five who don't make it
for the beginning of practice."
Bowden looks forward to the start of his fifth season on
Tuesday. "We will look at the freshmen early and see who can help
us. All the freshmen will start at the position they were recruited
to play. We will then evaluate their talent and see if they can fit
a slot and help us in their first year.
"After that we will continue to work hard on the areas we
stressed in the spring. We will work on the running game and look
to improve our short yardage defense and offense."