Herring Plays Captain Hook with Linebackers

by - Correspondent -
Williams dropped a sure TD against UCF.

CLEMSON - Unhappy with the performance of Braxton K. Williams in Saturday's
21-13 win over Central Florida, Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring
wasted little time in giving his senior linebacker the hook.

Williams has been demoted to second team strongside, or "sam," linebacker in
favor of junior Rodney Thomas for reasons Herring made perfectly clear
following Wednesday's practice.

"He's a better tackler and more physical football player than Braxton is,"
Herring said. "We're playing a running team...a smash-mouth running option
team, and Braxton Williams is a finesse player, nickel kind of guy.

"If you haven't noticed Braxton tackle lately, it's not very attractive."

  Rodney Thomas makes the stop.

In 61 plays against UCF, Williams finished with seven tackles, while Thomas
totaled seven in just 14 plays.

Herring refused to say if the move was permanent.

"I don't know," he said. "If I could tell that I'd be the head of

The move of Thomas means freshman Leroy Hill will be upgraded to second team
behind Chad Carson at middle linebacker, and should see action Saturday
against Wofford.

Herring also said cornerback Kevin Johnson is questionable for Saturday as he
recovers from a bruised shoulder. If Johnson can't go, redshirt freshman Ryan
Hemby will get the start.


- Head coach Tommy Bowden said freshman Roscoe Crosby has "looked good" in
three days of practice at the X, or outside, receiver spot.

Bowden moved Crosby to the spot Monday and sent junior Jackie Robinson back
to the Y, or slot, receiver. The X receiver was Rod Gardner's spot in each of
the past two seasons and, looking for more Gardner-type production, Bowden is
gambling on Crosby's raw ability to outshine his inexperience.

"After that first game I'm sure he's feeling more comfortable, so that makes
the position switch a little easier," he said.

- Clemson's other freshman phenom wide receiver, Airese Currie, was limited
in Wednesday workouts due to continued minor problems with his hamstring.

"Those daggone cadillac guys, they ding up a little bit. You've got to watch
out with those sprinters," Bowden said. "Those fast twitch muscles, whatever
that is. I never had any."

- Bowden said he and his staff determined the cause of the unusual delay of
game penalties his offense suffered vs. UCF. Revealing what they were is
another story.

"Don't want to give the enemy any idea of how they might can slow us down,"
he said. "Besides, we've got plays we're going to run now no matter what
alignment the other team might show us, so we've eliminated that problem."

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger and the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9.

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