Injuries Hitting Tigers at Alarming Rate

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden, option coach?

Well, not yet. But another injured receiver or two and Clemson's offense could change that drastically. As it is, the Tigers could be forced to use more three wide receiver, one tight end sets than usual, simply because of a lack of healthy bodies.

"If too many more go down, you'd have to look at changing in midstream," Bowden said following Monday's practice. "In five years as a head coach I've never had this many injuries, especially early in the season."

At the receiver position alone the list of walking - or hobbling - wounded is alarming.

Roscoe Crosby has been out since the first series of the Wofford game with a sprained knee and bone bruise, and is questionable for Saturday's game at Georgia Tech. Kevin Youngblood, of course, will miss most, if not all, of the year after breaking his leg.

Then in Saturday's 26-24 loss to Virginia, junior Jackie Robinson suffered a broken jaw, junior J.J. McKelvey sprained his knee and senior Matt Bailey pulled a hamstring. Robinson is out, while McKelvey and Bailey are listed as questionable.

The injuries mean Derrick Hamilton will move from the H slot receiver to the Y slot. Freshman Airese Currie will start at the H, and if McKelvey can't go, Tony Elliott - a walk - on last year who was placed on scholarship this fall - would start at the X (boundary) receiver.

Jeff Scott or Joe Don Reames would start at the Z (boundary) receiver in a four-receiver set.

If Bowden decides to go to a three-receiver set, senior Morgan Woodward could almost all of the playing time at tight end because freshman Ben Hall is questionable after spraining his ankle Saturday.

The injuries aren't limited to just the receiver position. Running backs Travis Zachery (bruised foot and knee) and Chad Jasmin (sprained ankle) also are listed as questionable.

And on the defensive line, tackles Nick Eason (sprained ankle) and Jovan Bush (bruised bone in foot) were in a walking boot and on crutches, respectively Monday. Those injuries prompted Bowden to move freshman offensive tackle Eric Coleman (who came to camp as a tight end) to defensive tackle for the remainder of the season.

Finally, offensive guard T.J. Watkins (sprained ankle and knee) and free safety Eric Meekins (pulled hamstring) also are listed as questionable for Saturday.

Add it all up, and 10 would-be starters for Georgia Tech could find themselves watching instead of playing Saturday.

"That's as many yellow jersey's as I've seen," Bowden said. "But we'll load up with somebody and go play hard."

*Kevin Youngblood (WR)-broken leg, out
*Jackie Robinson (WR)-broken jaw, out
*Marcus Houskin(FS)-broken neck, out
*Altroy Bodrick(LB)-torn ACL, out
*Roscoe Crosby (WR)-bruised knee, questionable
*Matt Bailey (WR)-pulled hamstring, questionable
*J.J. McKelvey (WR)-sprained knee, questionable
*Travis Zachery (RB)-bruised foot and knee, questionable
*Jovon Bush(DT) -bruised bone in foot, questionable
*Nick Eason, (DT), sprained ankle, questionable
*Eric Meekins (FS)-pulled hamstring, questionable
*Ben Hall (TE)-sprained ankle, questionable
*Keith Kelly(RB)-sprained knee, questionable
*T.J. Watkins(OT)-sprained ankle and knee, questionable
*Chad Jasmin (FB)-sprained ankle, questionable

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