Rambert's Injury Has Bowden Worried

by - Correspondent -
Rambert won the 12th man award as the top player on offense off the bench for 2001.

CLEMSON - Suddenly it's not just wide receiver injuries that have Clemson
head coach Tommy Bowden worried.

Senior tailback Bernard Rambert was pulled from practice Wednesday after just
a few moments due to recurring problems with a sprained ankle. Rambert, who
had practiced so well Tuesday that "I hadn't even thought about him," Bowden
said, was limping badly before being sat down by trainer Danny Poole.

Though his status for Saturday's season opener at Georgia has yet to be
determined, Bowden said he's more concerned about Rambert now than he is
wideout Derrick Hamilton, who is listed somewhere between questionable and
doubtful for the game.

"I didn't know (anything was wrong) until he returned a kickoff early in
practice and started hobbling," Bowden said. "I'd say right now he's worse
off than Derrick, so I just told Danny to hold him out. There was no sense in
him going out there and messing around."

If Rambert is unable to play Saturday, the starting tailback spot would then
fall to redshirt sophomore Yusef Kelly. Behind Kelly would be redshirt
freshman Tye Hill and redshirt junior Chad Jasmin, who is listed as first
team fullback.

Whoever it is, Bowden seemingly has resigned himself to the fact that without
Rambert an increase in mistakes is a virtual guarantee.

"It won't change the game plan, but it will increase the opportunity for
missed assignments because Bernard is a senior," said Bowden. "That's one
thing we can't have."

Meanwhile, Hamilton was "maybe a tad" better at Wednesday's practice, but
still isn't guaranteed to start as he nurses a high ankle sprain.

But junior Kevin Youngblood had a good workout, and Bowden said if he makes
it through full speed drills today with no setback his chances of being a
heavy contributor Saturday would seem to be good.

Bowden also said true freshman wideout Kelvin Grant is being "practiced as if
he's going to play" against the Bulldogs.

"The only thing with him right now is assignments, but he's catching the ball
really well," Bowden said. "You'd love to be able to redshirt him, but right
now I don't know if that's going to happen."


- Bowden said he would look at senior punter Wynn Kopp "one more day" to see
if he can show any consistency with his kicks. If not, it appears freshmen
Cole Chason and sophomore Stephen Furr will go into Saturday's pregame
warmups battling for the position.

- Aaron Hunt will handle kickoffs Saturday, though Bowden had hoped either
Chason or Furr would nail down that spot.

"They've both been hurt," he said. "But they're healthy now."

- If Hamilton is unable to return kickoffs, the job will fall to Brian Mance
or true freshman Justin Miller. Mance also would handle punt returns in
Hamilton's absence.

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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