First Day Of Full Pads Brings Mixed Reviews

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Clemson's first day of practice in full pads came and went without the usual buzz of such an occasion Wednesday. It also came and went without the usual number of players involved.

The first day of full pads happened to coincide with the last day of final exams for summer school. So, while one group of players missed the afternoon workout taking tests, practice had to be shorter than normal for upwards of 30 more who had evening exams.

"We were just a little discombobulated at practice today," said head coach Tommy Bowden. "Aside from being discombobulated, practice went well."

The players who were on hand went through their first full contact drills of the fall. Known as "inside drills," the collisions are done in close quarters rather than in open field - as with a full scrimmage - to keep injuries at a minimum.

Bowden said the team will do live, situational scrimmaging in the coming days.

"It's as full speed a look as you can get without scrimmaging 11-on-11," he said. "We kicked in full pads today for the first time...Just the comfort level of practicing in full pads, with the heat and fatigue, that's one thing that until you do it you can't get a feel of."

Days like Wednesday are usually when football teams find out which players are going to be leaders and which ones aren't.

With the temperature hovering around triple digits - one thermometer reading had it at 101 degrees at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday - Bowden said coaches look to their veterans for such leadership. But he actually used an example from Tuesday's practice to make his point.

Defensive end Jamie Cumbie hurt his shoulder early in Tuesday's workout. But he never came out of practice, and finished the final two hours before mentioning the problem to trainers.

The injury is serious enough that Cumbie is going to have his shoulder surgically scoped Thursday.

"He didn't take himself out. He didn't bitch, moan and complain or go look for a trainer," Bowden said. "Two more hours he practiced before finding out he going to have a little minor surgery on his shoulder. So you're looking for those kind of things - guys who don't run and hide, but guys who can fight through a little bit of pain."

In other news from Wednesday:

- Freshman fullback Chad Diehl currently isn't with the team. Bowden said he hoped to talk with Diehl and his family soon.

"He's got some family issues that need resolved," Bowden said. "Kind of like James (Davis) a couple of years ago, but different type of issues."

- Landon Walker will join Cumbie in the surgery department Thursday, getting his knee scoped. The only other player limited at practice was wide receiver Jeffrey Ogren (ankle).

- Mark Buccholz continues to have a slight edge on Richard Jackson in the place kicking department.

- Bowden had the media howling with laughter Wednesday by seemingly being unable to stop himself from dropping inspirational-type quotes where heat and leadership are concerned.

Among them:

* Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body;

* The True Test of a Man's Adversity Is What He Does When It's Tough;

* Storms Don't Determine Who You Are, Storms Reveal Who You Are.

- With the injury to Cumbie, Kwam Williams has moved from bandit end to the other defensive end for the time being.

Clemson has its first two-a-day workouts scheduled for Thursday.

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