Tigers Hold First Day of Practice in Pads


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Clemson, SC-Clemson held its first day of practice in full gear on
Tuesday. Tommy Bowden's Tigers worked for nearly three hours in the
morning and for two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon on the practice
fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center.


"It was an important day for us," said Bowden, who is in his
fourth year as Clemson head Coach. "The game is played in pads, so
the first day of practice in pads is important. For the first day,
it looked like the defense had the upper hand and it was good to see
that. I thought the quarterbacks threw the ball well, but overall,
the defense was ahead of the offense. They did force some turnovers."


One player who stood out on defense was cornerback Toure
Francis, who has been in a battle with returning starter Kevin
Johnson this fall. "A lot of players stood out, but the player who
comes to mind first is Toure Francis. Toure has pulled ahead of Kevin
Johnson at a cornerback position. It is a battle at that position,
but for right now he has pulled ahead. He has played well overall
and has adapted to Coach (John) Lovett's system. He has been steady.


"Being an ex-walk-on myself, you like to see a walk-on get in
a position to have a starting role. He has been on scholarship the
last two years. He is not on (scholarship) right now, but he is the
number-one priority (to get one). We have a lot of walk-ons who work
hard on this team.


Bowden also discussed his team's depth. "This is the first
year we have had good numbers on defense. We didn't inherit a
situation where he had a lot of depth on defense. It looks like we
are getting there now. This will allow us to hit more in preseason
practice. We don't have as much separation between the ones and twos
on defense and this encourages us to hit more in practice.Last year
we had to play a lot of true freshmen on defense. We were
inexperience."


Bowden discussed the running back situation, where he plans
to use many players this fall. "Offensively, Bernard (Rambert) is
number-one at running back, but Yusef Kelly, Chad Jasmin and Tye Hill
are going to see action. We have some depth there and we will play
many running backs. They all want to carry the ball."


Bowden said there were a couple of players injured, but the
team overall is in good physical shape. Nathan Gillespie missed the
morning practice with a knee injury. Kevin Youngblood is still not
involved in the scrimmaging because of a sprained foot. Dustin Fry
is still out with a dislocated kneecap. Todd McClinton (hamstring),
DeJuan Polk (ankle) and Altroy Bodrick (dislocated nose) missed the
afternoon practice.


The Tigers will continue two-a-day practices on Wednesday.
The practices are closed to the public and the media.

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