CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden couldn't ever remember another of his football practices ending at nearly 10:50 p.m. What he'll remember from Wednesday's workout that did just that is one of his team's better overall efforts so far.
Bowden put Clemson's players through a three-hour, 10-minute workout that began shortly after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening. The late start was necessitated by final exams earlier in the day for the second session of summer school.
In fact, four Tigers - Donnell Clark, Jad Dean, Tye Hill, Kyle Browning - missed the workout due to a late exam.
But for the rest of the squad it was their first rain and/or lightning-free workout in three days, and Bowden said the team responded as he had hoped.
"Finals are over, it's a night practice...(Tuesday) wasn't bad, except for that 40-minute halftime we took due to lightning," he said. "If that's a game the fans get them back into it. But when you're out there three hours and 10 minutes, that's a pretty good chunk of change."
Bowden said the team will be "challenged" more today, especially where conditioning is concerned, with another three-hour workout in 90-plus degree temperatures. That's followed up by Friday's first two-a-day sessions, then a three-hour scrimmage on Saturday.
By the time the scrimmage is completed the Tigers will have finished the final, brutal stretch of nine straight days of practice.
At that time, Bowden said, he expects to know much more about the makeup of his team.
"I told the team we're not going nine straight days anymore after this," he said. "After Saturday the basic foundation, chemistry and leadership of the team is going to be formulated.
"Nine straight days and these next three will be challenging."
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Aaron Kelly continues to stake his claim for a starting wide receiver slot.
Bowden said that despite a stiff challenge from Kelvin Grant, Kelly "just won't give it up. I don't think he's dropped a ball. I wish I had that at more positions. That's a good battle going on."
Offensive lineman Bobby Hutchinson sprained an ankle during the workout. Tight end Bobby Williamson dropped out of conditioning drills with cramps.
Dustin Fry continues to be hampered by a pulled hamstring.