Clemson Thursday Practice Notebook
CLEMSON - Cole Chason will be Clemson's starting punter Saturday at Wake Forest, but he'll on a short leash.
Head coach Tommy Bowden said after practice Thursday that Chason would remain the starter despite ranking last in overall punting average (34.3 yards per kick) and next-to-last in net average (31.3). Should Chason falter early, walk-on James Maners would be next in line for the position.
"It's really, really close, but we'll start the game with Cole and (Maners) will be ready to go," Bowden said.
Maners has kicked well in practice since preseason, but has had trouble with his get-off time - the amount of time it takes for the kick to get away, beginning with the center snap. Maner's distance in practice has been better than Chason's, but his get-off time had been lagging.
"He's worked on that...The biggest thing (in practice) is to get a good snap and a live rush," Bowden said. "If you just take a good snap but don't go against a live rush, it really doesn't count."
Manners and fellow walk-on Stephen Furr battled Chason in practice this week for the punter's spot.
Bowden said redshirt junior Roman Fry's good week of practice earned him the starting spot at left guard Saturday. Nathan Bennett will start on the right side.
Offensive lineman Chris McDuffie (calf) and wide receiver Rendrick Taylor (wrist) will not make the trip to Winston-Salem.
Tight end Cole Downer, out of the hospital after emergency spleen removal surgery following the Miami game, will accompany the team on the trip.