Bowden, Tigers Begin Work On 2004

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Charlie Whitehurst watched as his teammates left the Jervey practice facility Friday, surveyed the media swarming around him, then finally issued his critique of Clemson's first workout of 2004.

"It could have been more intense," Whitehurst said. "There was a lot of enthusiasm, I'm just saying it wasn't perfect. It was close, but it wasn't perfect for the first day."

Things rarely are. But just the fact that his starting quarterback - who some national media are mentioning on their early Heisman Trophy candidate lists - not only noticed, but spoke out, was pleasing to head coach Tommy Bowden.

"It's good to hear he'd say something like that," Bowden said. "I hope he's never satisfied."

Thus began fall camp No. 6 of the Bowden era, a year "I began to think I wouldn't see at one point last year," he said.

But here to see it he is, and the squad which reported to practice Friday gave Bowden the usual first-day performance.

"I thought they were real attentive. There was a lot of carry-over," he said. "With 56 letterman coming back you've got a lot of second team guys who have been through the motions...The disappointing thing was our skill guys didn't really get after it. If you're going to break long runs in games, you've got to practice long runs.

"We didn't create anything big, backs or wideouts, and we'll try to address that problem in meetings and see if we can correct it by (today)."

The day's biggest news came on the injury front, where redshirt freshman free safety Roy Walker re-aggravated a previous knee injury and could be lost for the season. His status will be determined in the next few days.

There also was one major position change. Redshirt freshman Brandon Nolen was moved from tailback to rover, where he immediately distinguished himself with an interception during skeleton drills.

True freshman Akeem Robinson worked at offensive tackle, which appears to be a permanent move. He was being considered for time at tight end, as well.

Finally, Tavaghn Monts was moved to be Travis Pugh's backup at free safety. Tramaine Billie moved from whip linebacker to rover, where he will back up Jamaal Fudge. Robert Reese moved from corner to whip, behind Eric Sampson.


- Wide receiver Curtis Baham suffered a slightly separated shoulder Friday. Bowden said he should be back by Monday;

- Punter Cole Chason, recovering from a left groin injury, did limited work Friday. He kicked about "about 75-80 percent. I'm just trying to ease back into it and do a little more each day," Chason said. Chason said he originally hurt the groin doing a resistance running exercise with his trainer back in early June;

- Bowden spent a portion of his summer helping his son, Ryan, get into law school. Ryan ended up at Regents University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. But only after a series of denials which caused father Tommy to think perhaps there was a conspiracy brewing.

"We beat South Carolina. Applied (to law school) there. Got denied. Beat Florida State. Applied there. Denied," he joked.

"Maybe we should have applied at Wake Forest, too."

- Freshman offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson and defensive lineman Rashaad Jackson did not practice due to paperwork issues. Both players could be cleared to practice tomorrow or Monday.

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