CLEMSON - The way Clemson's injury list keeps growing you almost expect to
see a MASH tent erected at the Jervey Practice Complex.
Defensive end Khaleed Vaughn became the latest patient to check into post op,
suffering both a sprained ankle and knee during Tuesday's practice.
He is scheduled to be examined again early this morning, but head coach Tommy
Bowden wasn't confident Vaughn would be able to return in time for Saturday's
noon kickoff with Georgia Tech at Death Valley.
"It depends on how much it swells overnight," Bowden said. "But he couldn't
even come close (Tuesday). Once he was out, he was out. It's not like he
hobbled through practice."
If indeed Vaughn is out Saturday, he joins an impressive list of Tigers on
the bench who normally would be major contributors, including:
Running back Bernard Rambert (foot), fullback Chad Jasmin (groin), backup
defensive tackle Todd McClinton (ankle) and, of course, two players already
lost for the year - cornerback Toure Francis (torn ACL) and offensive tackle
Derrick Brantley (torn ACL and MCL).
This comes on the heels of a 2001 season which saw numerous injuries cripple
Clemson, especially on defense. One could almost excuse Bowden for feeling
"Sometimes you just run through rashes," he said. "We had, I thought, our
share of season and career-ending injuries (the past two years). That's six
starters who started against Georgia, which is unusually high. But what can
"We're going to load up on that bus at 11:55 (a.m.) and go play with
somebody. It's just that our numbers are way down."
Vaughn's injury means sophomore Mo Fountain is in line for his first career
start Saturday, with J.J. Howard backing up one end and either Charles
Bennett or Vontrell Jamison backing up Bryant McNeal at the other. Trey Tate
now moves into the backup role behind Nick Eason at defensive tackle,
Yusef Kelly will start in Rambert's spot for the second consecutive game. He
will be backed up by Tye Hill and possibly Kyle Browning, Bowden said.
"Both of those guys are freshmen, so now I'm worried about assignments," he
said. "That's the concern now."
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.