Practice Report: Changes at Tailback Possible


by - Correspondent -
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Travis Zachery has seen time at wide receiver this week in practice.

CLEMSON - Clemson heads into its first road game Saturday at Virginia with several question marks in the starting lineup, not all of which are injury related.

Starting tailback, for one, has yet to be determined, according to both head coach Tommy Bowden and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. Despite Travis Zachery's solid performance through three games, both sophomore Bernard Rambert and freshman Keith Kelly have been getting work with the first team this week.

Zachery also has seen time at wide receiver.

"I don't yet," Bowden said following Thursday's practice when asked if he knew who would start. "The formation might dictate it be somebody (other than Zachery)."

Zachery has been steady at the tailback slot all season, but the two backups - most noticeably Kelly - seem to be closing ground on a week-by-week basis. Kelly had the most productive day of his young career in last Saturday's 55-7 win over Wake Forest, rushing for 93 yards on 15 carries in just 1 1/2 quarters of action.

Meanwhile, defensive tackles Terry Jolly (calf) and Jason Holloman (ankle) continue rehabilitation work in efforts to get back in the lineup. Holloman has missed two weeks and Jolly one, and neither are guaranteed to return for Saturday's game.

"I would say right now that Holloman and Jolly are still questionable," defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said. "Right now we're going with (Gary) Childress and (Freddie) James. We're hoping (Thursday and today) gives them the opportunity to at least play some, but we won't know until pregame."

Notes:

- Bowden said forecasted rain Saturday in Charlottesville would be an advantage for his Tigers.
"If it rains, it'll be perfect," he said. "Being an ex-receiver, if it rains and a little bit of dampness gets on the ball, the leather raises up and it's an easy ball to catch. I know where I'm going (on pass routes). They don't. It really helps you offensively."
Clemson will never be accused of being unprepared. Bowden said if his offense runs 80 plays Saturday, he'll have 80 different balls - a new ball for every play.
"If it's just 60 plays, I'll bring home 20 dry balls," he said.

- Rodriguez, having fun at the media's expense, responded with this line when asked who would start at both tailback and receiver:
"It depends on what formation we're in, and I can't tell you the formation. Well, I could tell you, then I'd have to shoot you."
To which Bowden responded, "Go on, tell'em. Please!"

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