CLEMSON - A part of the game critical to any football team's success, but
often overlooked by statistic-hungry fans, received special mention by
Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden following Saturday's morning workout.
Punters Wynn Kopp and Tiff Miller continued to impress in the early stages of
camp. Kopp, especially, seems to have grabbed Bowden's attention. The former
University of Georgia punter's experience and technique seem to have him
slightly ahead of Miller in the battle to replace the graduated Jamie Somaini.
"He's punting it fairly consistently around 40 (yards per kick)," Bowden
said. "He kicked around 36 as a true freshman and 38 as a true sophomore, so
I would imagine he's around 40-42 now.
"Plus he gets good hang time, he's very consistent and he's left-footed,
which puts a different spiral on the ball. Miller's doing good, he's just not
as consistent as Kopp."
The only other significant news Saturday came off the field, where the
Associated Press ranked the Tigers No. 19 in its preseason poll. It marks the
18th season Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 20.
Florida and Miami were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, just as they were in
the coaches poll last week.
"I don't pay that much attention to the preseason polls," said Bowden. "It's
good to be mentioned and receive the national attention. It's an
accomplishment to be in the preseason poll for the second straight year. It
does show some consistency."
"But the object is to be in the poll at the end of the year. We did that last
year, the first time for this program since 1993. That was one of our goals
in the preseason last year, to finish in the final poll. It's obviously a
goal to be in the poll at the end of this season as well."
Clemson will not practice today because of Fan Appreciation Day at Littlejohn
Coliseum. Fans will be able to take pictures and get autographs of Clemson
players and coaches from 3-5 p.m.
- Bowden singled out a pair of freshmen defensive backs for their performance
during Saturday's early practice.
Defensive back Jamaal Fudge and linebacker Eric Sampson each had an
interception during the three-hour workout. Both players attended White High
School in Jacksonville, Fla.
- Sophomore place kicker Aaron Hunt finally missed a kick Saturday, his first
in the two full days veterans have been in camp.
- Freshman wide receiver Airese Currie is nursing a slight hamstring problem,
but should be back to practice Monday, as should offensive lineman Nick Black.
Sophomore running back Keith Kelly practiced Saturday despite a sore back,
and isn't expected to miss any time.
- Quarterback Woody Dantzler, defensive tackle Nick Eason and cornerback
Charles Hafley missed the morning workout in order to participate in
graduation ceremonies at Littlejohn Coliseum.
All three were back on the field for the evening session.
Clemson, SC-Tommy Bowden held his second day of practice on Saturday.
The Tigers worked twice for nearly six total hours over the two
workouts on the Jervey Meadows.
The Tigers are working in the Jervey Meadows through Monday, then
will move to the regular practice fields on Tuesday when the Tigers
don the full pads. Clemson's practice fields were reseeded this
"It was a good workout today," said Bowden. "It was not
quite as hot as the first day, but it was still hot. I want it to
be hot. We have only two 300-pounders on the entire team, probably
the fewest in Division I. The players are in good shape. We
haven't had many need an IV after practice so far."
The Tigers worked for nearly three hours in the morning
without its top quarterback, Woodrow Dantzler, top defensive lineman,
Nick Eason, and top defensive back, Charles Hafley. All were absent
as they went through graduation exercises in nearby Littlejohn
Coliseum. They were back for practice in the afternoon.
Clemson now has seven players listed as starters who will
play as graduate students this year.
Dantzler's absence allowed backup Willie Simmons to work the
entire practice with the first team, something he did all spring as
Dantzler recovered from a lower leg injury.
Bowden singled out a couple of freshmen on Saturday. "Jamaal
Fudge and Eric Sampson both had interceptions during the practice and
played well in the morning." Both players are first-year freshmen
defenders from White High School in Jacksonville, FL. Fudge is a
defensive back, while Sampson has been working with the linebackers.
"It was a good workout for some of the young players,
especially on the defensive side."
Bowden also discussed the progress of his special teams on Saturday.
"Aaron Hunt hit every kick down the middle on Friday and missed just
one on Saturday. Wynn Kopp has punted the ball well. He is a
player who has been a starter for two years at an SEC school
(Georgia). He punts the ball high and few of his balls will be
returnable. Tif Miller has also done well in the preseason.
"I have also been pleased with the performance of the holder
and snappers. We have the starters back in both slots, so we should
be strong in the special teams this year." Jeff Scott, son of
Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott, is the holder, while Henry
Owen, is in his fourth year as the starting snapper. Bowden also
noted that second year players Tommy Sharpe and Geoff Rigsby have
done well as snappers and look to replace Owen next year.
The Tigers will break for Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday.
The Tigers will be available in Littlejohn Coliseum Sunday afternoon
from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.