CLEMSON - Call Monday's Clemson football practice the calm before the storm.
Working out in helmets and shoulder pads, head coach Tommy Bowden was able to put his squad through limited contact work at the Jervey practice facility. But when the team takes the field today for the first workout in full pads, "limited" won't be in anybody's vocabulary.
"We'll probably start out in goal line (situations)," Bowden said. "Yeah, it's high risk, but you have to do it."
"We've got some young tackles who need the work (both in goal line and controlled drills), and the only way you can do it is to go against the other team. We'll have to close our eyes and hold our breath. You have to do some, but you have to be smart about it."
Bowden continued to single out true freshmen offensive tackles Barry Richardson and Akeem Robinson for their early performance.
Robinson (left tackle) and Richardson (right tackle) both have seen considerable work with the second team thus far, and Bowden - though he prefers to redshirt as many freshmen as possible - told reporters Monday that one or both could end up seeing significant playing time this season.
"We've got to have five offensive tackles in our rotation," he said. "If they're two of the best five, then they'll play."
Of course, all of the accolades so far have come with the players working out in shorts. Beginning today, the assessment of both could change dramatically.
"I'm kind of anxious to see how they do," Bowden said.
Bowden said the two players at the starting tackle spots - Marion Dukes and Roman Fry - have played well to this point.
He also singled out running back Reggie Merriweather for his play, and said that all three players fighting for the tailback spot - Merriweather, Yusef Kelly and incumbent Duane Coleman - will get ample carries in today's goal line work.
- Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Brad Lee was noticeable by his absence Monday, leading to the obvious question for Bowden:
"Brad right now has got some personal things he's looking at and could possibly transfer," Bowden said.
When asked if he wanted Lee to return, Bowden responded, "I want to do what's best for Brad. I'll leave it at that."
- Wide receiver Curtis Baham (slight shoulder separation) practiced in green Monday, meaning he was off limits to any kind of contact.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman safety Roy Walker watched practice in shorts Monday. He is expected to have knee surgery on Friday to repair a torn ACL.
- Running back turned safety Brandon Nolen had an interception in skeleton drills for the second time in three practices. Linebacker Anthony Waters also picked off a pass.