CLEMSON - Little by little, Kyle Browning's name kept working its way into
Tommy Bowden's post-practice comments.
Day after day, it was becoming obvious that the diminutive running back from
Union High School had a chance to avoid redshirting his freshman season and
contribute to the 2001 Tigers right away. His quickness and familiarity with
Clemson's offensive scheme consistently worked in his favor.
Finally, on Thursday, Bowden announced that Browning likely would find his
way onto the field in certain situations this season. While the third-year
coach stopped short of making it official, he didn't miss by much.
"He looked good again today," Bowden said. "I'm anxious to see what happens
in the next two weeks or so. He's kind of getting to that stage where maybe
there are some roles we can use him...(Union's) offense is so similar he's
really been able to take off pretty fast..."
It's unfair to say Browning toiled in anonymity in high school, but playing
on the same squad as Clemson teammate Roscoe Crosby left him somewhat
But the coaching staff felt they had a jewel from the beginning, and Browning
has yet to disappoint.
"You look at his senior year in high school and he probably rushed for almost
2,000 yards," Bowden said. "You put him on another team and he would have
gotten a lot more publicity and everything."
Other young players continue to impress, as well.
Freshman tight end Ben Hall (Byrnes High School) performed well again in
Thursday's hour-long live scrimmage, and Bowden said he, like Browning, will
likely be able to find quality playing time early in the season. Defensive
lineman Mark Jetton and strong safety David Dunham also had standout
But perhaps the biggest surprise came when Bowden announced that walk-on wide
receiver Tony Elliott is making a push for serious playing time.
"He's really been surprising," Bowden said. "He's probably going to work into
the rotation some."
- Bowden said that senior Will Merritt and sophomore Greg Walker continue to
battle each other for one starting guard position. Meanwhile, junior Akil
Smith has yet to gain ground on either Gary Byrd or Derrick Brantley at
- Chad Carson watched both workouts Thursday, nursing a thigh bruise. He is
expected back in action today.
- One day after saying Grant Oliver's status would be reevaluated in January,
Bowden made an about-face Thursday.
He said that Oliver, the 6-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from Lexington who
left the team Wednesday, will not be allowed to return next year. Bowden will
apply that scholarship to 2002's allotment.