CLEMSON - Returning to work Monday after a near three-day respite, Clemson's football team began looking ahead to Saturday's game with Virginia, while at the same time keeping in mind the somber events of last week.
Having the weekend off apparently was a healthy mental and emotional break for the Tigers. The team's return to the practice field was notable to those watching from a distance for the constant chatter and other noises - uncommonly loud for a Monday workout - coming from the Jervey complex.
Head coach Tommy Bowden noticed the difference.
"I'm glad we could get them the time off," he said. "They've got a little more spring in their legs, a little more bounce. Plus the weather's cooled down a little bit."
The unexpected week off may have helped Clemson physically, as well.
Defensive tackle Nick Eason (sore Achilles) and guard Will Merritt (strained back) were back at practice full strength Monday. Had they been required to play Saturday, Bowden said their availability would have been questionable.
The other news coming out of Tiger Camp Monday was the Atlantic Coast Conference's decision to reschedule the Duke game on Dec. 1. It will be just the sixth December regular season game in school history, and will mark a unique Clemson-Duke doubleheader.
The following day, the Tigers' basketball team opens ACC play against the Blue Devils in Durham.
- Roscoe Crosby's status is still listed as questionable for Saturday. The strained knee he suffered in the opening series against Wofford also came with a bone bruise which has hampered his recovery efforts.
"If he's not ready for this week, it'll be next week. He should be ready for Georgia Tech," Bowden said. "The bone bruise makes it slower. If it was just a little ligament thing, Morgan Woodward had one of those and he was out just five days."
- Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said extra security measures would be provided for Saturday's 5:45 p.m. kickoff, but referred all questions on the matter to university police chief Lonnie Saxon.
Bourret also said there will be new additions to the pregame and halftime shows designed to honor America. Details of those additions could be released today.
- Running back Bernard Rambert, tight end Ben Hall and wide receiver J.J. McKelvey all returned to school Monday with a virus.
"There were about four or five of them in all," Bowden said. "Hopefully it's just the 24-hour kind. I think that's what it is."
- From the "Honeymoon Is Over Department:"
Bowden attended the Southside at Daniel prep football game Saturday night and escorted his daughter in the homecoming activities. Upon being announced to the crowd, he was promptly booed.
"They were either booing me or her," he said with a laugh.