Thursday Practice Report: Woody Likely to Start


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - The Keith Adams watch will come right down to the wire.

Adams, Clemson's All-American junior linebacker, returned to practice for Thursday's normal non-contact routine. Adams suffered a concussion in Tuesday's practice and sat out Wednesday as a precautionary measure.

Coach Tommy Bowden said Adams' status for Saturday's matchup with South Carolina will be a game-time decision.

"We'll hit pretty good out there in pregame Saturday," Bowden said. "If he's got vision problems or headache problems we'll probably go with the other guy (Rodney Feaster). But (Thursday) there was no full contact so we really couldn't evaluate him."

Meanwhile, Bowden said quarterback Woody Dantzler "probably" will start Saturday.

Dantzler has been hampered by a tendon injury in his left ankle, which will require surgery after the season. He was pulled from both the North Carolina and Georgia Tech games because of the injury, and Bowden said there's no guarantee he'll be healthy enough to finish Saturday's game.

This despite being allowed to miss all of practice during the open date last week.

"He'll probably start and we'll see how long he can go...if the open date will let him go longer than just giving him a day or two off," Bowden said. "If it's anything close to tradition he'll last a quarter, quarter-and-a-half and we'll go with Willie. If he goes that long."

Elsewhere on the injury front, running back Travis Zachery and defensive tackle Terry Jolly remain hobbled by ankle injuries, though both are expected to start Saturday.

Zachery needs just 72 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.

"We plan on playing (Bernard) Rambert more (because of the injury), so he'd better get them in a hurry," Bowden said. "South Carolina's defense will be hard to get that many yards against."

Notes:

- Bowden said he's had a difficult time getting a read on his players' emotions.

With an intense rival such as South Carolina, he said, he's worried about the Tigers peaking too soon.

"You want to play the game on Saturday, you don't want to play it on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday," he said. "You don't want to say Œboy, I had a great practice Tuesday' then watch it all go downhill from there. You want some emotion, you want some excitement, but again you don't want to play the game too early."

- Saturday's forecasted high temperature of 45 degrees - with a "real feel" of as low as 21 - shouldn't have much of a bearing on the game, Bowden said.

"It won't bother the guys playing, it'll be bad for the guys watching," he said. "I think it will be perfect for the guys playing."

And how will it affect the coaches?

"He (Lou Holtz) probably won't wear a toboggan. I will," Bowden joked.

- The annual blood drive that takes place every year as part of the Clemson-South Carolina festivities went without a donation from Bowden this week.

"I gave last year to try and show my support," he said. "I'm still weak from that, still recovering. I'm just a little guy."

- Bowden said he hasn't spoken with brother Terry, who reportedly is considering throwing his name into consideration for the soon-to-be-vacant job at West Virginia University.

Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez is widely considered the leading candidate to replace the retiring Don Nehlen, which is why Bowden thinks he hasn't heard from Terry.

"We really haven't talked about it at all. He hasn't even mentioned it," Bowden said. "With Rich being here it's probably easiest not to even bring it up."

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