CLEMSON - If Clemson hosted Georgia Tech today, Woody Dantzler would be unable to play quarterback for the Tigers. Fortunately, the game isn’t until Saturday.
Dantzler hobbled his way through another practice Wednesday afternoon, somewhat better than he was Tuesday but still not well enough to start had today been game day. However, head coach Tommy Bowden is hopeful his star quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate will continue to improve over the next two days.
“(Tuesday) was a bad hobble, (Wednesday) was a medium hobble,” Bowden said. “I just hope he doesn’t hobble as much (today). That’s what you hope happens.”
Dantzler suffered a deep bruise above his left ankle during the first half of last Saturday’s 38-24 win at North Carolina. At the time of his injury, Clemson trailed the Tar Heels 17-0. Redshirt freshman Willie Simmons replaced Dantzler and threw for 228 yards and four touchdowns to spark the Tigers’ comeback victory.
Now the concern isn’t so much when Dantzler passes. But the style of running offense Clemson employs, which centers on Dantzler, could prohibit the junior from playing Saturday if he’s not near 100 percent.
“His running skills...there are some tight holes,” Bowden said. “Those are running back holes. So unless he’s 100 percent, or 90 or whatever...(he won’t be able to play).”
The ankle didn’t keep Dantzler from taking his usual amount of practice snaps Wednesday, keeping Simmons relegated to his backup role.
- Saturday’s game features two of college football’s most creative, and most publicized, offensive coordinators - Clemson’s Rich Rodriguez and Tech’s Ralph Friedgen. Both are frequently mentioned as candidates to become head coaches at major Division I schools in the near future.
“Those two guys are probably among the best out there,” Bowden said.
- Tailback Travis Zachery currently sits third in the ACC in rushing yardage per game (93.9), behind only teammate Dantzler (105.1) and North Carolina running back Antoine Womack (101.3).
Still, Bowden hesitates to say whether or not the junior’s performance warrants a spot on the postseason All-ACC team.
“I think we’ll see with these next three opponents (Ga. Tech, Florida State and South Carolina),” he said. “I think it’s going to tell a lot about us. That’ll tell the story about all our people as far as All-Conference.”
- Saturday’s game will be televised locally by WLOS-13, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. Some tickets are still available.
Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.