CLEMSON - To hit, or not to hit. That was the question facing Tommy Bowden during this off week for his Clemson Tigers.
The fine line between staying sharp and avoiding injuries is walked daily, and Thursday Bowden decided to put his team through live contact drills at the beginning of practice.
The drills lasted until senior guard T.J. Watkins was injured when a teammate rolled up on his knee during goal line drills. The injury didn't appear to be serious, but Watkins was taken off the field on a cart as a precaution and will be re-evaluated today.
"I felt like we had to go live on the goal line," Bowden said. "I felt like it was something we needed to do offensively and defensively. But I cut it off after he got hurt."
Bowden said live hitting will continue into next week, but in close-quarter, one-on-one situations to limit the possibility of further injuries. With the number of players already out or banged up, another serious injury during an off week is the last thing the Tigers need.
"As long as you get one-on-one, you can still work on the fundamentals of tackling at full speed," he said. "You just have to get everybody out of the way."
Meanwhile, the continued onslaught of injuries at wide receiver have given a member of the scout team the rare opportunity to impress.
With Jackie Robinson still out with a broken jaw and Tony Elliott gone for at least four weeks after suffering the broken wrist last Saturday at Georgia Tech, Marvis Jenkins (5-foot-9, 180 pounds) could find himself in the wide receiver rotation based on Thursday's practice performance.
Jenkins is a redshirt junior who has earned one varsity letter.
Bowden is giving his team Friday and Saturday off. They will return in time for team meetings at 4 p.m. Sunday.