CLEMSON - Usually the first day of full pads is a date to mark on the college football practice schedule.
It's the day live hitting begins in earnest. It's the day questions begin to be answered. It's the day contenders begin to be separated from pretenders.
But Tuesday's full-pad workout for Clemson was simply an extension of the first three days of practice. It was another day of installation, and the only hitting was done in close quarters.
But there is a method to head coach Tommy Bowden's madness.
Because Wednesday is another day of summer school finals, the original practice - scheduled to end at 10:30 p.m. - has been scrapped so the players can focus on academics. Instead, the Tigers will workout twice on Thursday - a good, old fashioned two-a-day practice schedule.
That's when the hitting will begin.
"Today was the fourth day of installation, and that's a shells day," Bowden said following Tuesday's practice. "So I stayed along with the installation plan. Traditionally we would have done a little bit more (hitting), but we'll do a little of situation scrimmaging...
"Today we didn't want anybody on the ground. We'll probably do that (Thursday) morning."
Tuesday's practice was highlighted by the return of sophomore wide receiver Rendrick Taylor, who made the play of the day with a diving, one-handed grab on a deep post pattern. Bowden pointed out Taylor's catch while reeling through a handful of other players who impressed during the workout.
Of course Bowden, as is his tendency, found a way to inject a bit of humor into the situation while, at the same time, making a subtle point.
"You can tell the guys who have been out of practice a day or two because everyone else is tired and they have a little more spring in their step," he said. "So Rendrick only gets half-credit for the catch."
Bowden also said another indication his players were getting tired after four days of practice - the first three in searing heat - were a few fights that broke out Tuesday.
"You can tell they're getting a little frustrated," he said. "The day off will be good, then we can get back at it on Thursday."
- Among the other players Bowden singled out for their performance Tuesday was redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dorrell Scott.
"He made about every play on the inside runs," Bowden said. "But the trick is to do it back-to-back. Can he come back the next time and do it again? You'd like a guy like him, or a couple of them, to step up and do it day after day."
Others who drew the coach's praise included punter Jimmy Maners, freshmen cornerbacks Crezdon Butler and Byron Maxwell, and sophomore linebacker Josh Miller.
- Punter Cole Chason had the stitches removed from his right foot Tuesday and did some kicking on the sidelines. Freshman punter Richard Jackson missed the second straight day with a sore back.
- On Tuesday, Clemson received its 13th commitment for the class of 2007 in defensive end Drew Traylor (6-5, 225) from Mountain Brook, AL. Traylor had 61 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and five sacks last season as a junior. He also had offers from South Carolina, Duke, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Northwestern, Army and Kentucky.