Bowden Surprised About Coleman

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON -- Former Clemson defensive tackle Eric Coleman is one of four athletes to have tested positive for marijuana abuse while participating in last month's NFL combines in Indianapolis.

According to a report on, Coleman, two University of Wisconsin players­ defensive tackle Anttai Hawthorne and Jonathon Clinkscale ­ and Bowie State free safety Atcheson Conway all tested positive for marijuana.

Players who test positive at the combine enter the NFL in the first phase of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Under the policy, the players will be subjected to random testing for cause and might undergo two screenings per month, with the possibility of counseling.

When asked if he knew of the story, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden looked somewhat shocked and surprised by the news.

"I haven't heard that," he said. "This is the first I have heard of it. I wasn't up there and I'm not privy to any kind of NFL report.

"I haven't heard it."

Because of the NFL confidentiality guidelines, league and team officials cannot discuss the results of the drug test.

Coleman, who has been projected from anywhere from a third to a late round draft selection in next week's NFL draft, started in 11 games for the Tigers last season on the defensive line. The defensive tackle ended the year with

46 tackles, including eight for a loss, and was second on the team with sacks. Most Clemson fans will probably remember his 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in last year's 26-20 victory over N.C. State.


As for the Tigers' final practice before Saturday's Orange and White game, Bowden said he and his staff spent a part of the practice educating the players on what they wanted them to do from a football standpoint in preparation for fall camp this summer.

"They have voluntary works out over the summer so what we tried to do was educate them today on what we want them to do this summer," said Bowden. "We can't be out there with them. We can't go out there this summer and say this what we want you to do because that is illegal." Bowden said the success of the summer workouts would depend on how well the senior leadership is some thing he believes isn't a problem with this football team. He said unlike last season, he is seeing a lot more seniors stepping up and making this football team theirs. Guys like Jamaal Fudge, Tye Hill, Charles Bennett and Charlie Whitehurst.

"Those guys, and there is probably more, but those guys I've been really pleased with," Bowden said. "Yeah, it probably did (take longer for last year's seniors to come around), but again, we might lose a couple of games early, but I don't think it will have anything to do with the (leadership).

"It might be the quality of the competition as opposed to the quality of leadership," he added. "I've been real pleased with it, I really have. I feel as good about that aspect of it earlier than maybe the last few years or for a while or maybe since I have been here."

A good spring for Charlie

Less than a week after his 14-of-19 performance in last Saturday's scrimmage, Bowden felt all in all, it was a good spring for Whitehurst.

"We threw a lot at them, but now we can kind of look and see how their skills are and where they can make the most strides over the summer," he said. "I'm sure he will continue to do better.

"Anytime you lead the nation or you're in the top five in the nation in passing efficiency, there is usually some shorter high percentages passes that you will need some touch on."

Still no decision

Clemson's staff met Thursday morning and laid out the format for Saturday's Orange and White game and will meet again today on how to handle personnel and decide who they want to see and who they don't need to see play on Saturday.

The ones who might not play or will see little playing time Saturday are Tramaine Billie, Gaines Adams, Charles Bennett, Tye Hill and Jamaal Fudge.

"Maybe more defense than offense (will sit out)," said Bowden. "Those are the names that have been mentioned on defense." Though they have had a good spring, Bowden will still like to see young players like Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons get some more work.


Nose tackle Dorrell Scott will miss the spring game with a sprained ankle. A decision on whether inside linebacker Nick Watkins will play will be made today.

Will Vandervort is the Sports Editor for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger.

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