Wed Practice Report: Tigers Ready for UVA Crowd Noise

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON, SC - University of Virginia coach George Welsh wants Scott Stadium to be louder than ever. Clemson coach Tommy Bowden doesn't really care.

The Tigers visit Virginia Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC), the first road game of the year for Bowden's team. And in true Atlantic Coast Conference-style hospitality, Welsh is hoping for plenty of Cavalier fans on hand to welcome their visitors from the South.

The hope is Virginia fans make enough noise to confuse Clemson's no-huddle offense. Theory says if you can't hear calls at the line of scrimmage - where Tigers' quarterback Woody Dantzler calls the plays - you get taken out of the quick-paced offense which has been so successful in Bowden's short tenure.

Bowden disagrees.

"We have noise out here (practice) everyday (preparing) for our crowd," he said. "But everything we do is by hand signals, so noise is not a factor. If 60,000 can get louder than (Death Valley's) 85,000...But again, you do everything by hand signals, without a snap count, so it's not a factor.

"It shouldn't bother us at all."

Very little has bothered Clemson through three games. The Tigers have outscored their opponents 155-16 thus far, and have barely broken a sweat doing it.

But Bowden continues to tweak his offense - namely the running back position. The play of freshman Keith Kelly and sophomore Bernard Rambert has both getting work at the No. 1 tailback slot this week, with incumbent Travis Zachery seeing some time at wide receiver.

Kelly made his mark last Saturday, carrying 15 times for 93 yards in the 55-7 win over Wake Forest. Rambert had 46 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, while Zachery was his usual solid self, rushing 16 times for 73 yards.

"We've used all three of them at first team, just kind of rotating them in," Bowden said.


- Internet and radio talk show rumors were flying Wednesday, most of them centering on the possibility of Bowden taking over the Alabama program. The Crimson Tide has struggled to a 1-2 start this season, refueling speculation that head coach Mike Dubose's job is in jeopardy.
Bowden dismissed the rumors.
"I've got four more years on my contract, and I think he's got four more years on his," he said.
Bowden was born in Birmingham and has lived in the state five times, including twice to coach at Auburn and once at Alabama.

- Wide receiver Matt Bailey was back at practice Wednesday after missing the first three weeks with a pulled groin muscle. Bowden said he is listed as day-to-day.

- Clemson was allotted 4,000 tickets for Saturday's game and sold them all early in the week. Approximately 2,000 other tickets remained to be sold at Scott Stadium.

Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at

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