CLEMSON - Speed. Quickness. Acceleration. Effort.
That was Tommy Bowden's list of things to watch on the first day of freshman
practice at Clemson University, which took place Monday at Jervey Meadows. A
total of 23 scholarship players and four walk-ons received their
indoctrination into college football during Monday's two workouts, with
Bowden and his staff carefully watching for the aforementioned skills.
"That's about all you can look for (on the first day)," Bowden said following
the evening session. "That, and coachability. How many times you have to tell
them something before in sinks in. You look for how well they retain
The first two workouts came off without a hitch, which thankfully meant no
adverse reactions to the heat which have become deadly commonplace in both
college and professional football over the last two weeks. Learning the
practice routine occupied a good deal of the morning session, but by the
evening all 27 players seemed to have the system down which, in turn, allowed
for more work at individual positions.
Much of the early media attention focused on Roscoe Crosby, the only
millionaire among the players in camp courtesy of his recent baseball
contract with the Kansas City Royals. But aside from a press conference
following the early workout, Crosby did his best to remain low-key and mix in
well with his fellow freshmen.
"I didn't even think about it," Bowden said when asked about coaching a
millionaire. "He looked impressive, but again there's a lot of them out there
who look impressive.
(But) he looks very confident. Mature and confident for an 18 year-old. He
has a lot of poise in his body mannerisms and things like that. He runs with
The freshmen will practice twice today, then take off Wednesday for academic
advisement. Veterans are due to report Thursday, and full-scale workouts
begin Friday morning.
- Former Clemson head coach Danny Ford attended the evening practice session
at the request of Bowden.
The two spent time together during the session, talking and observing while
walking from station to station.
"I've talked to him a couple of times and said 'If you ever want to drop by,
drop by,'" Bowden said. "I made the invitation last year and I think he came
to one practice over here. I just explained to him what we were doing on
offense and defense, who the guys were and who recruited them. It was very
generic...a casual conversation."
- Bowden said Clemson's signing philosophy in the future is likely to change.
The big defensive end will likely be replaced by a fast defensive tackle. An
outside linebacker recruit likely becomes a defensive end, and a big safety
switches to outside linebacker.
The reason? Speed.
"I think Jimmy Johnson was the first to do that back in the 80's," Bowden
said. "He was the first guy looking for that speed on defense. But we're
probably two years away from that kind of thing.
- Bowden turned to war terminology to describe his two prize rookie
receivers, Crosby and Airese Currie.
"You'd describe Roscoe as a B-52. He's all-purpose," said Bowden. "He carries
the heavy artillery, carries tanks and drops the bombs and all that stuff.
(Currie's) the F-16 fighter...he's a jet who maneuvers quick, fast and speedy.
"They're both very efficient weapons in a state of war."
Clemson, SC-Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden welcomed his first-year
players to their first day of practice on Monday. He worked his
rookies for an hour and a half in the morning and for nearly two
hours in the afternoon. Twenty-three players took part in the
morning practice, while 27 were involved in the afternoon session.
Four players, Charlie Whitehurst, Mark Jetton, Chip Myrick
and Bobby Williamson, missed the morning practice as they were in
class. All four have gotten a head start academically, taking
courses in the second session of summer school. But, all four were
in attendance for the afternoon session.
An unusually large number of media covered the practice, the
first for the large and highly regarded recruiting class. Much of
the attention centered around wide receivers Roscoe Crosby and Airese
Currie and tight end Ben Hall. All three were ranked among the top
10 players in the country at their position by various services..
Defensive linemen Trey Tate and Maurice Fountain also received much
of the media's attention.
"We have a lot of athletes in this class," said Bowden. "I
saw some big and fast defensive tackles and some talented skill
position players. It is good to see such a large class. We need a
lot of these young players to help us this year.
"Roscoe Crosby is an impressive and confident young man. He
seems to be mature for 18. He has blended in well with his
classmates. Ben Hall will give us another position we can use in our
offensive attack. He will team well with Todd McClinton as far as
having a big tight end who can make a play.
"There is a lot of work to be done. I don't look out there
and pick players who will contribute or start right away. We do have
some areas on our football team where we need help. I really want to
have two productive guys at wide receiver. We saw Rod Gardner double
teamed all the time the last two years. We need balance from the
wide receiver position."
One of the visitors to the afternoon practice was former
Clemson Head Coach Danny Ford. Bowden invited Ford to attend a
practice during the preseason drills, so the coach of the Tigers 1981
National Championship team dropped by to view Clemson's new class.
The freshmen continue workouts on Tuesday. They will have
academic meetings all day on Wednesday.
Freshman Practice Practice Gallery #3
August 6, 2001
Click a thumbnail to enlarge the photo.