CLEMSON - When No. 13 Clemson takes the field Saturday at Death Valley for the Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with North Carolina, Tommy Bowden's team will be as healthy as it has been since the second week of the season.
Wide receivers Roscoe Crosby and Jackie Robinson each return after extended absences. Crosby left the Sept. 8 Wofford game after spraining his knee on the afternoon's first series and has played just 13 snaps since. Robinson was forced out of the Sept. 22 game against Virginia with a broken jaw.
Bowden said Robinson is expected to reclaim his starting spot at the Y, or slot, receiver. Crosby won't start, but should see significant playing time.
Rounding out the other starting receiver slots are J.J. McKelvey (X), Airese Currie (Z) and Derrick Hamilton (H).
Defensive tackle Nick Eason, who played just five snaps against N.C. State last week, is expected back in the starting lineup Saturday. His running mate on the interior, Jovon Bush, also is expected to start despite pulling a groin in practice earlier this week.
Freshmen Eric Coleman and Donnell Washington, along with sophomore DeJuan Polk, also will see quality playing time at defensive tackle.
Cornerback Kevin Johnson, who missed last week with a broken rib, is probable to start Saturday.
- Bowden said it's unlikely cornerback Brian Mance will play Saturday.
Mance has been away from the team since his older brother, Kenny, was killed in an automobile accident late last Saturday evening.
"He might be at the game, but we're not planning on it," Bowden said. "We're preparing as if he won't play."
Toure Francis and Ryan Hemby will split playing time in Mance's absence.
- The base for the new tombstone has been added to the entrance of the Jervey practice facility. All that's missing now is the stone itself.
"We've got it here. It's in storage," Bowden said. "We've just been really busy. But we'll get it up."
Clemson is awarded a tombstone when it defeats a Top 25 team on the road. The new stone is for the Tigers' 47-44 overtime win Sept. 29 over then-No. 9 Georgia Tech.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger and the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9.