Tigers Still Fighting for Starting Positions

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Even at this late hour, it appears there are positions up for grabs
at Clemson.

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said after Tuesday's practice that
junior Eric Meekins would start over sophomore Marcus Houskins at free safety
"if we played today."

"That could change tomorrow, and again as the week goes on, but that's where
it is today," Herring said.

Houskins had moved ahead of Meekins on the depth chart two weeks ago, a move
made in large part because of his vicious hitting. Houskins made a name for
himself at that time by knocking out Matt Bailey with a hit that shattered
the receiver's helmet.

But Bowden said last week that Meekins had responded to the challenge, and
now - at least for a day - has won back the starting job.

There also appears to be a fight developing at offensive tackle. After
disappointing coaches with his effort for most of preseason camp, junior Akil
Smith has reasserted himself in recent days and is pushing both Derrick
Brantley and Gary Byrd for a starting spot.

"That battle's still going on because (Smith's) been a starter," Bowden said.
"His effort has picked in the last week."

Earlier Tuesday in the first of his weekly press conferences, Bowden gave an
indication of what he expects to see from UCF in Saturday's season-opener.

"I think traditionally they throw it more than they run it," he said. "Like
everybody they try for balance, but I don't know if they've ever been 10th in
the nation in rushing. Of course that's not a goal of ours either...I know
they've been nationally ranked in passing."


- Lance Cpl. Dan Marceau of the State Highway Patrol was on hand Tuesday to
talk about the expected traffic problems Saturday.

Notoriously slow anyway, the snarl will be even worse because the exit to
Route 93 (which leads to campus) remains closed from Highway 123 because of
construction. To compound matters, a stretch of Route 93 has been cut from
four lanes to two, which will create a bottleneck effect for traffic trying
to get in and out of the stadium.

Marceau said fans coming from the Greenville area south on 123 should exit at
Issaqueena Trail and access Rt. 93 from there. He also advised getting to the
stadium as much as 4-5 hours before the game to help ease traffic flow.

A crowd of better than 75,000 is expected for Saturday's game.

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