Position Moves Highlight Final Day Before Tigers Open Fall Practice


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CLEMSON - On the eve of Tommy Bowden's ninth fall practice, the Clemson head coach announced three position changes Friday afternoon.

Bowden, meeting with the media a final time before workouts begin Saturday, said that:

- Redshirt freshman Michael Wade would be moving from quarterback to safety;

- CAT (safety) Sadat Chambers will move to running back;

- Sophomore Kevin Alexander will move from linebacker to Bandit End.

Wade's move is simply an attempt to get a great athlete on the field in a spot where he has a better chance to contribute. Previously the No. 4 quarterback on the depth chart, Wade was last year's freshman winner of the strength and conditioning award - a sign even then that his future might lie somewhere other than under center.

"You've heard us praise Michael a whole bunch," Bowden said. "When (strength and conditioning coach) Joey (Batson) does that stuff he does it pretty legitimate. Winning one of his (awards) signifies something other than he's just a nice guy. There's a statistical analysis, black and white facts, to back it up."

The Chambers move is designed as insurance for the second string tailback position.

Currently James Davis and C.J. Spiller are co-leaders on the depth chart, with Ray Ray McElrathbey listed at No. 2. But Bowden and his staff worry that McElrathbey has too much on his plate - football, academics and his role as surrogate parent for younger brother Fahmar - to be totally focused on being the second string tailback.

So Chambers, who was a standout running back in high school, got the call.

"Ray Ray's carrying a pretty big load, and I'm not convinced he can juggle (all) loads adequately right now," said Bowden. "So with Sadat, this looks like his best chance to get on the field."

Alexander falls behind Ricky Sapp and Kwam Williams on the depth chart at Bandit.

Bowden also reaffirmed that his chief area of concern at the moment is special teams. He said the staff was "more organized" than in the past in that area, citing new running back coach Andre Powell's history with special teams as a primary reason.

The Tigers open practice at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It is closed to the public.

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