Defense Shines As Tigers Continue Workouts

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden expects his defense to be the best unit on the practice field day in and day out. Tuesday, the Clemson coach finally got a chance to see that wish come to fruition.

Battling through the usual assortment of injuries and inconsistencies - plus another day of 96-plus degree heat - that come in the first two weeks of camp, the defense dominated the Tiger offense during Tuesday's workout. It was the first of what the Clemson head coach hopes becomes a regular site around the Jervey practice facility.

"Today was the first day we looked like a defensive unit," said Bowden. "From the very first drill the defense just kind of took over the whole day. That's a good sign. I'm sure the offensive coaches are probably disappointed, but I'm sure they'll get it squared away. I'm sure the offense will bounce back tomorrow.

"But as the head coach you're sitting there. You can see it, you can feel it, you can sense it...(Ricky) Sapp got hurt, (Dorrell) Scott got hurt. But we didn't lose any of the intensity, and I thought that was a good sign."

Bowden's mantra over the past few seasons has been defense, defense and more defense.

While known primarily as an offensive coach upon his arrival at Clemson in 1999, more and more he reminds his team, the media and anyone else who will listen that defense wins championships. He points to Clemson's glory years of the 1980s as an example.

And if one looks at the players drafted and performing well in the NFL under his watch of late (Leroy Hill, Tye Hill, Gaines Adams) there is definitely a defensive tint.

"Offense captures the media's attention, but I've always been a coach who believed that you start with defense first, then offense and special teams," Bowden said. "I believe if you look back at my press conference when I was hired here I referenced the need for strong defense. That's always been my philosophy...But offense seems to be what catches everyone's attention."

Elsewhere Tuesday:

- The injuries to Sapp and Scott (ankle sprains) aren't thought to be serious. Offensive lineman Christian Capote also was hurt Tuesday (shoulder). The status of all three will be determined Wednesday.

Defensive tackle Antwon Murchison missed another day of practice recovering from a concussion suffered in Monday's morning practice, while linebacker Josh Miller missed the practice with a tooth problem that required oral surgery.

Freshman defensive tackle Miguel Chavis missed the practice with a hip flexor. Jamie Cumbie (shoulder), Landon Walker (knee), Drew Traylor (foot), and Brandon Moye (foot) were all at practice, but limited and in yellow jerseys.

- Defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson returned to practice Tuesday and worked out at full speed. He had been out since Saturday after suffering a sprained knee during the stadium scrimmage.

- Though the football team only practiced once Tuesday, kicker Mark Buccholz was much busier than that. Buccholz, also a starting midfielder for Trevor Adair's soccer team, worked out twice in that sport Tuesday. Wednesday he'll do four - count 'em - four practices, two for each sport.

- Clemson will practice twice on Wednesday.

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