CLEMSON - This was supposed to be a breakout season for Airese Currie.
The speedy sophomore wide receiver figured to be a focal point of the Clemson
passing game in 2002, especially with Roscoe Crosby on the shelf for the
entire year after major elbow surgery.
Currie's deep-threat speed was to be the perfect compliment to the inside
play-making ability of fellow receiver Derrick Hamilton. And before the year
is over, he may yet prove to be just that.
But through three games, the only thing Airese Currie has been is missing in
So far this year Currie has exactly one catch for a total of 12 yards. He has
one high-profile drop - a perfectly thrown deep ball by Willie Simmons in the
season-opening loss to Georgia - and another mishandle that head coach Tommy
Bowden blamed on the pass glancing off the umpire standing in the middle of
the field vs. Louisiana Tech.
What's more, Currie often times is finding himself replaced on the field when
the Tigers go to a three-receiver, tight end formation. And it seems that few
plays are being called with him in mind.
Yet despite all that, Bowden maintains that Currie is a big part of Clemson's
offense and that he could explode at any time, much like Hamilton did last
week against Georgia Tech.
"As I told Airese, in this offense all the sudden Derrick disappeared for two
games," Bowden said following Wednesday's practice. "Why did he disappear? In
this offense you never know when your time is going to time. All the sudden
you might take off like Derrick did.
"It might be Airese this week, it might be Airese next week. It might be
Kevin Youngblood next week."
Bowden said the lack of opportunities hasn't been by design, and noted that
on some of the formations which call for a tight end Currie was on the field
at a flanker spot instead of his usual position in the slot.
But don't look for anything specific to be done to intentionally get Currie
the ball. That, Bowden said, must come in the flow of the offense.
"It's not so much by design, it's just all the sudden something happens," he
said. "They're playing a certain way defensively and a couple of things click
and go to work...there's nothing really by design."
- Bowden said tight ends Ben Hall and Bobby Williamson were "50-50" in
practice snaps with the first team.
"Ben's the better receiver and Bobby's the better blocker," he said. "But
we're very pleased with both of them. That's been a really productive
position for us."
- After three full days of practice it appears the center-quarterback
exchange problem is back under control. There have been no mishaps under
center, and all of the shotgun snaps have been on target.
Bowden has had staff members filming every snap this week in hopes of
caused last Saturday's miscues. But those films, along with an ESPN zoom shot
of one of the fumbles, proved inconclusive.
"You really couldn't tell," Bowden said. "You have one guy saying he's
getting the ball up, and the other guy saying he never got the ball. So what
can you do other than punish them both?"
- Running backs Bernard Rambert (tendonitis) and Chad Jasmin (groin), along
with defensive tackle Todd McClinton (ankle) likely will be out again this
week, Bowden said.
Wide receiver Tony Elliott (thigh bruise) again was limited in practice and
will listed as questionable for Saturday, while defensive tackle Nick Eason
(Achilles) and defensive end Khaleed Vaughn (ankle) should start but won't be
Wide receiver Kevin Youngblood (groin) should be fully healthy, Bowden said.