CLEMSON - Apparently the first day the weather allowed a full practice suited Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden just fine.
Bowden put his team through its most difficult workout yet on Friday morning, one which left most players dragging themselves wearily to the showers. Two players - offensive tackle William Henry and defensive back Travis Pugh - didn't make it that far.
They had to be helped from the field via motorized cart because of cramps.
It was a stark contrast from the first three days of workouts, each of which was interrupted by rain and lightning.
"This is the first really we could get the whole practice in without a break, which was good," Bowden said. "A little bit of humidity, a little bit of heat - it was a good day in that regard."
Not so for the offense, which Bowden described as "sloppy" in the final practice before the team dons full pads today.
The flip side, he said, was a defense that was ahead of the curve a bit Friday, led by a couple of veteran defensive linemen.
"Khaleed Vaughn and J.J. Howard (looked good) rushing the passer," he said. "When we went against each other we couldn't block them."
While he has yet to hear back from the NCAA on whether time lost due to the bad weather can be made up, Bowden isn't wavering on getting his team into full pads.
Today is the first day they are allowed. Today is the day his Tigers will be hitting live for the first time.
"We're going to do some live short yardage, try to find out if we have a short-yardage runner who can make a 1 1/2 yard run instead of trying for a 50-yard run on third and one," Bowden said. "That, and some linemen who can control the line of scrimmage. That's what we'll be looking for (today)."
- Defensive tackle Todd McClinton suffered another fainting spell Thursday night. He is undergoing more testing in an attempt to diagnose what has become a regular problem.
McClinton won't return to practice until the tests are complete. Donnell Clark and Eric Coleman have been filling the void left by McClinton, who has only participated in two of the first four workouts this fall.
- Still no word on when freshman cornerback Robert Reese will be cleared to play by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Both Bowden and Sports Information Director Tim Bourret continue to say they believe it's just a matter of days before he is in camp.
- Tremaine Billie, a freshman running back from Dreher High School in Columbia, delivered the hit of the day while playing defensive back on the scout team.
"He came through and just blasted somebody," Bowden said.
So impressed was Bowden that he allowed Billie to sit out the conditioning runs held after practice.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.