Notebook: Spring Practice Brings Usual Questions


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A few thoughts and some housekeeping while passing time before today's Clemson doubleheader at Wake Forest...

- With spring football practice opening today, you've no doubt seen the usual articles touting which storylines to follow. All are accurate, and make for good reading for the gridiron-starved Tiger fan.

But let me add one more item that warrants your attention:

The returning starters and backups - 40 of the top 44 on the two-deep by last count - must embrace the fact that they are the favorites to win the Atlantic Division in 2008 and work harder than ever to improve.

Let's face it. With the talent and numbers returning for Tommy Bowden's team this season, the Tigers are more primed than ever to finally make that ACC Championship Game appearance and, perhaps, get to the school's first-ever BCS bowl.

Expectations are high, and they should be. With the weapons - and veterans - returning on both sides of the ball, Bowden's team should operate under a new slogan this season.

Last year it was "Finish The Job."

In 2008, quite simply it should be "No Excuses."

Are there question marks? Sure. Offensive line. Linebacker. Those are a couple of spots to worry about. But there's talent waiting in the wings to shore up those positions. That is, if recruiting over the past two or three seasons has been as good as everyone says.

There's no reason to believe otherwise. But there's also the matter of proving it on the field.

And that starts today.

***

- Tommy Bowden's media session to preview the opening of spring practice Friday was canceled due to an "unexpected funeral," according to a note put out by SID Tim Bourret.

It turns out the father of one of Clemson's signees passed away after a bout with cancer. Bowden canceled the media session to attend the funeral and show his support for the player.

***

- Reports yesterday that linebacker Courtney Vincent has been suspended for the spring are accurate, according to Bourret.

The school is expected to put out a formal release later today.

***

- Finally, one basketball note.

While there are no special plans for anything other than Senior Day at Littlejohn Coliseum Sunday afternoon, don't be surprised a few years down the road if Cliff Hammonds joins the Ring of Honor.

The Tiger captain meets all the necessary requirements (or will when he graduates), and is a perfect candidate for induction.

First he'll have to be voted into the school's Hall of Fame, at which time his jersey can be retired.

The Ring of Honor would be next. And deserved.

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