CLEMSON - As one wave of Clemson players returned to practice after missing time to minor injuries, another significant piece of the 2004 puzzle was carted off the field Monday afternoon.
Sophomore offensive tackle Marion Dukes (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) was taken off the Jervey practice facility via cart with about 45 minutes left in Monday's workout with what team officials termed a "chest injury." According to sources, all tests came back negative and looks to be a slight rib injury. Head coach Tommy Bowden was hopeful the injury was something temporary.
"Those guys are usually pretty well protected in that area," he said. "Most of the time those things are minor."
More on Dukes' condition will be made available after he is reevaluated today.
With Dukes out, redshirt sophomore Roman Fry (6-4, 295) finished practice at the No. 1 right tackle slot. Fry now has seen time at both tackle positions and at left guard, and has been effective in all three spots.
"He's our putty guy right now," Bowden said. "Something happens somewhere, you slap Roman in there and he plugs the leak."
Fry had a more comical view of his multi-position camp.
"They called me 'Slash' today," he told reporters as he walked off the field.
Meanwhile, Bowden said he wasn't concerned about the continued shuffling along the offensive line even though the season opener with Wake Forest is now less than two weeks away.
"If I can get five solid practices in a row with the whole group we'll be okay," he said.
Elsewhere Monday, cornerback Tye Hill (turf toe), wideout Ryan Charpia (sprained foot), offensive tackle Christian Capote (sprained ankle) and tight end Kevin Burnette (torn ACL in spring) all returned to full work from the injury list. Guard Chip Myrick, continuing his slow recovery from mononucleosis, was in a regular jersey but did not practice full speed.
If fact it was Hill who turned in the play of the day, outrunning fellow sprinter and wide receiver Airese Currie for a deep ball and diving to make the interception during full squad work.
Bowden also said he and the coaching staff began implementing Wake Forest game plan for the Sept. 4 opener.
"We'll do that every day from now on," he said.
Jad Dean and Stephen Furr still appear to be neck and neck for the starting kicker position.
However Bowden remains adamant about getting a good, long look at freshman soccer player and walk-on kicker Mark Buchholz (Atlanta). Sources say that despite missing practice all last week due to his soccer obligations, Buchholz got "a ton of work" during last Saturday's scrimmage.
And though Buchholz reportedly struggled Saturday, it is believed Bowden is so enamored with his potential that he intends to work a deal with soccer coach Trevor Adair to ensure Buchholz spends at least part of his time with the football team.