Monday Clemson Football Practice Notebook


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Losses of any kind can take an emotional toll on a football team. But back-to-back overtime defeats? One might expect to see a psychologist roaming the practice fields this week.


But not so at Clemson.


The Tigers went back to work Monday, two days after the 16-13 overtime loss to Boston College at Death Valley. Asked if his team might be emotionally fragile, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden shook his head.


"You never really know, but what I've seen from this team tells me they'll respond and be ready to play," he said. "We go three overtimes with Miami and they come back and play Boston College to overtime. The number of close games we've been involved in the last couple of years...leads me to believe they'll be ready to play 60 minutes on Saturday."


Bowden better be right, because Saturday's opponent - Wake Forest - has given Clemson fits in each of the last four seasons.


And no one, least of all Bowden, needs to be reminded of the Tigers' last trip to Groves Stadium - the 2003 debacle which saw the Demon Deacons leading 35-0 by halftime. That's why he cut short any talk about Wake Forest (1-3) being down from previous years.



"We'd better be ready to play 60 minutes," he said. "With the exception of (2000), none of our games with them have been easy."


***


Bowden said competition for Cole Chason's punting position could intensify Tuesday, though he doesn't know if a change would be made this week or during the time off between the Wake Forest and N.C. State games.


"We'll put those guys out there under some pressure and see if we can make any kind of determination this week," he said. "If not, then the open date."


***


Bowden, on the two close losses:


"I told the team that the problem in those games were not in Miami or in Boston, it was right here on the field...If you get blown out 50-0, all the sudden you say 'It might be those other jokers.' But that's not the case here. Those are two games that could be won. So let's focus our attention on correcting our mistakes and missed assignments and keep getting better."


***


On the injury front, linebacker Anthony Waters, defensive lineman Rashaad Jackson, wideout Curtis Baham and offensive lineman Brandon Pilgrim were all in yellow jerseys (no contact) with shoulder ailments. All are probable for Saturday.


Defensive lineman Chris McDuffie injured a calf and was in a boot cast Monday. He is listed as doubtful.


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