New Role for the Tigers: Heavy Favorite

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - When Clemson lines up for kickoff Saturday afternoon at Death
Valley it will be in unfamiliar territory, at least as far as the current
season goes:

The Tigers are roughly a four touchdown favorite over visiting Ball State.

Under normal circumstances at Atlantic Coast Conference team might be excused
for feeling somewhat overconfident when facing an opponent from the
Mid-American Conference. But the MAC is 2-1 vs. ACC teams this season,
including Miami (Ohio) upsetting North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Aug. 31.

"That's enough to get your attention," Bowden said. "I don't think that's
going be a factor with this team. I'd be surprised if it is. What happened at
Chapel Hill really helps us. It brings everything into perspective. If you
mess up, you lose."

Not that the Tigers have any business being overconfident in the first place.

Though off to an impressive 2-1 start this season, Clemson is still trying to
shake memories of a 2001 campaign which saw the defense struggle mightily and
the offense become too predictable during what eventually became a
disappointing 6-5 regular season.

The Tigers are off to such a good start in 2002, Bowden said, because they
seem to have something to prove each week and that, among other things, has
led to a certain cohesiveness throughout the rank and file.

"I think it's more team chemistry and unity," he said. "If that thing meshes
just right, which it has, you'll peak. You're supposed to peak on game day,
and you never know. We've done it three times and everything in the past says
we'll do it again.

"But we haven't played a game where we've been favored by 28. How this team
responds you never know."


- Vontrell Jamison (6-foot-8, 260 pounds) began his move from defensive end
to right offensive tackle Tuesday by taking every snap with the second team

Bowden tried to emphasize that he's not moving Jamison in hopes he will beat
out current starter William Henry, rather it's an attempt to "get your best
guys out there. You've got a good athlete sitting you want to see.."

And if Jamison does beat out Henry?

"Then that's a plus for us," Bowden said. "We'd be up one."

- The injury news coming out of camp continues to be consistent. Once again
the Opening Day starting backfield is expected to watch Saturday's game in
street clothes.

Neither tailback Bernard Rambert (tendonitis) or fullback Chad Jasmin (groin)
practiced Tuesday.

"I seriously doubt Bernard or Chad will play," Bowden said. "The thing now
is to get them ready for practice next Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Khaleed Vaughn's workout was limited by the lingering effects of
his sprained ankle, as was defensive tackle Todd McClinton. Wide receiver
Kevin Youngblood (groin) went through the entire practice, though Bowden said
he wasn't quite 100 percent.

Fellow wide receiver Tony Elliott was in a yellow jersey (no contact) nursing
a bruised thigh, while defensive tackle Nick Eason practiced despite a sore
Achilles tendon. The soreness is not in the same tendon he tore prior to the
2001 season.

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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