Tiger Notes: Terry Bryant Questionable Saturday


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - About the only thing Tommy Bowden has done wrong in just under two years as Clemson's head coach happened Wednesday afternoon.

Bowden, a notorious jogging aficionado, took off for his daily afternoon run around noon Wednesday, a routine he has maintained since his arrival on campus in late 1998.

There was only one problem with his timing:

Bowden was scheduled for the for his 10-minute slot at the weekly Atlantic Coast Conference teleconference at 12:20 p.m.

Oops.

"Dadgummit, she (Bowden's secretary) is supposed to grab me," he said with a sheepish grin following practice Wednesday evening. "She knows I go jogging. I just forgot."

Such is the life of the coach leading the No. 5 (Associated Press poll) team in the country these days. Even when you make a rare mistake - this is the first of the scheduled teleconferences Bowden has missed - you can still laugh about it.

But as Saturday's ACC game with visiting Maryland (6 p.m., ESPN2) draws nearer, Bowden and the Tigers turn their collective focus away from press conferences and toward a Terrapins' squad which embarrassed Clemson with its running game a year ago. Though the Tigers won 42-30, Lamont Jordan ran wild on the Clemson defense in 1999, amassing 177 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort.

Jordan's performance was so dominating that it prompted this response from Bowden at his Tuesday press conference:

"Last year a lot of our guys had the opportunity to hit (Jordan), but turned it down."

Clemson's defense may be without the services of senior defensive end Terry Bryant, who is nursing a pulled calf muscle suffered in last Saturday's 34-27 win over N.C. State. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring termed Bryant "very questionable," and said if he can't play sophomore Bryant McNeal will start in his place.

Notes:

- Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden mentioned the "Clemson rule" in his portion of Wednesday's ACC teleconference, referring to the substitution rules installed prior to the beginning of this season which, in some instances, can slow down a fast-paced offense such as Bowden's.
"We're the only one in our conference that does it," Bowden said Wednesday. "It was initiated out of the Big 10, but we're the only one in our conference it really affects."

- Redshirt freshman guard Jermyn Chester is back and ready to play, three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee.
In fact, Chester could have played against N.C. State last Saturday, but didn't make an appearance.
"He's healthy," Bowden said. "He just has to beat the other guy (starter Will Merritt) out."
Chester twice previously had suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee, once after his junior year in high school and the second time in his first day of full-squad practice on the college level in 1999.

- Herring, joking with the media on the possible absence of Bryant:
"I'm starting in his place," he said. "But I'm only good for three plays at a time."

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