Injuries Force Bowden, Tigers To Walk 'Fine Line'


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Most competent observers knew Boston College was a big, physical football team who would pound on Clemson from start to finish last week. But for those who may have missed all the pregame scuttlebutt, they need look no further than the Tigers' walking wounded this week.


Offensive lineman Chris McDuffie (calf) and wide receiver Rendrick Taylor (wrist) are likely out this Saturday. Four other Tigers began the week in yellow jerseys due to shoulder injuries.


The list of players submitted by trainer Danny Poole who needed more medical attention than normal was longer than any of the previous three games.


Tommy Bowden could cut back practice time this week, allowing the bumps and bruises more time to heal, but doing so would take away much-needed live work preparing for a Wake Forest team that has given the Tigers' nightmares for four straight seasons.


So what's a coach to do?


"(Wake Forest) is so multiple offensively that I couldn't cut it back too much," he said following Wednesday's workout. "But we're as beat up as we've been all season. We've played four 60-minute games, two overtime games, so we're a little beat up right now. And tired.


"I've had to be conscious of that. But again, you take time off the field and you're worried about assignments. So there's that fine line we've tried to walk...You can't reduce it too much."


Meanwhile, the subject of turnovers came up during the post-practice interview session, centering on the Wake Forest offense and Clemson's defense.


The Deacons have committed eight turnovers through their first four games, losing four fumbles (out of 10 total) and throwing four interceptions. The giveaways have contributed greatly to the team's 1-3 start, slowing a team Grobe thought might be one of his most talented yet at Wake Forest.


But the Tigers, while committing only one turnover themselves this season, have forced just four in as many games.


Wednesday, Bowden said he hopes the law of averages doesn't catch up to the Demon Deacons.


"It wouldn't surprise me if all the sudden they (hold on to the ball). I hope it doesn't happen, but he's coached too long for that to continue," said Bowden. "Right now we're not getting a lot of turnovers. So it would be in the norm if they didn't turn it over."


***


True to his word, Bowden has opened up the punting job to competition. Incumbent Cole Chason is now being openly challenged by both Stephen Furr and James Manners.


Who's leading? Bowden knows, but won't say.


"I don't want to share it at this point and time. I've got the information on my desk. We're going to have a little punt-off, and right now I just want to keep it private," he said.

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