Snow Limits Tigers' Preparation for Hokies


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<font class=caption>Bowden will hold two practices outdoors Wednesday in an effort to make up for lost time.</font>
Bowden will hold two practices outdoors Wednesday in an effort to make up for lost time.

CLEMSON -- The myth of the sunny south betrayed the Clemson football team yet again Tuesday morning. Monday night's light snowfall forced practice indoors, much to the chagrin of both head coach Tommy Bowden and defensive tackle Terry Jolly, though for decidedly different reasons.

"I woke up this morning and wanted to go out and play in the snow," Jolly said following Tuesday's workout. "I wanted to throw a couple of snowballs. Coach Bowden kind of knew it because he told me, 'You'd be the main one outside playing in the snow instead of playing football.'"

Jolly's holiday spirit aside, Bowden's reasoning was much more sound. Stuck inside on a basketball floor, the team was severely limited as to what it could accomplish as it continues preparation for the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl showdown with No. 5 Virginia Tech.

The result: Two practices outdoors Wednesday in an effort to make up for lost time.

"What hurts you the most is throwing and catching," Bowden said of the indoor workouts. "You can't do that and you can only do a little of the kicking game. So we'll go two-a-days (Wednesday) to try and make up for (Tuesday).

"(Practicing indoors) is good for alignments and assignments and formation recognition. But inside you can't throw and catch, or punt. You can't do that type of stuff."

After losing three players to injury in its last two practices, the Tigers made it through Tuesday's workout unscathed.

Defensive end Terry Bryant, who was on crutches after spraining his ankle Monday, said he expects to return to practice later this week. Nick Eason, who suffered a torn achillies tendon Saturday, underwent surgery Monday and will miss the Gator Bowl and spring practice. The same day, reserve defensive end Marcus Lewis suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The injuries leave Clemson dangerously thin on the outside of the defensive line, and will lead to some shuffling over the next two weeks.

"We've got to raise the bar up another level," Jolly said. "We're going to have to put a lot of the inside guys on the outside to at least try to slow (Virginia Tech quarterback Michael) Vick down.

"He can't be stopped. We can only hope to contain him."

Notes:

- Bowden said work on the new indoor track facility, which will also double as an indoor football practice facility, is scheduled to begin this spring.

- Jolly has been invited to play in the Gridiron Classic in January, which pits the best players from Florida against players from all over the United States.

- Quote of the Day, courtesy of Jolly: "This isn't Clemson against Virginia Tech. This is Clemson against Michael Vick."

- Bowden said new offensive coordinator Brad Scott will vacate his customary spot on the sidelines and call plays from the press box in Jacksonville. New quarterback coach Mike O'Cain also will be in the press box.

Bowden said O'Cain is beginning to take a more active role in working with Clemson's quarterbacks.
"Footwork and reads...a lot of that stuff is universal," he said.

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