Injuries Force Defensive Shuffle Again

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Braxton K. Williams is on the move again.

After opening the season as the No. 2 star safety, then being moved to strong side linebacker - where he subsequently fell to second on the depth chart as well - Williams was moved to free safety Thursday by defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.

The move was deemed necessary to provide veteran depth in the secondary, and also to provide immediate support to starting free safety Eric Meekins, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his right pinky finger. Meekins is expected to play Sept. 22 against Virginia and split time with Williams.

Meekins was left as the starter at free safety after sophomore Marcus Houskins suffered a broken neck last Saturday against Wofford.

"(Williams) really looked good moving around there," Herring said after Thursday's workout. "He's an older kid, experienced kid and did an excellent job tackling today. That gives us a little bit more of a relieved feeling when we look back there and see how thin it (was) with just freshman.

"We're excited. We were searching for answers when Marcus got hurt, and this may be the answer we're looking for."

Rodney Feaster will replace Williams as the backup to Rodney Thomas at strong side linebacker.


- Considering the events of the week, Bowden was upbeat about the effort his team put out on the practice field.

"We've had a good week of practice, we really have," he said. "There have been a bunch of distractions, but I thought the staff did a good job and the players did a good job."

- Houskins underwent surgery Thursday to fuse together the fractured sixth cervical vertebrae in his neck.

He is expected to be out of the hospital by Monday and should return to class. His football future will be re-evaluated in January.

Elsewhere on the injury front, senior guard Will Merritt missed practice Thursday with a strained muscle in his back. He is expected to be back in action by early next week.

The layoff also will allow freshman wide receiver Roscoe Crosby more time to heal, giving him a better chance to play Sept. 22 against Virginia.

- The Tommy Bowden television show, which airs Sunday's across the state, will not be produced this week because of the game's cancellation. It will return next weekend.

- A Tribute To America will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Death Valley, the same time the Clemson-Duke game would have kicked off.

The ceremony is intended to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

Anyone wishing to participate in the event is asked to park in the lot between the stadium and Jervey Center, and enter Death Valley through the West Stand gates at 12:45 p.m.

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