Wed Practice Report: Woody Watch Continues


by - Correspondent -
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Dantzler was injured at North Carolina, suffering a deep bruise above his left ankle as he was tackled at the end of the above run.

CLEMSON - Call it the Woody Watch, Week 2.

For the second consecutive week, the main question hanging over Clemson's afternoon practice sessions is whether or not quarterback Woody Dantzler will be able to start Saturday. A week ago the answer was yes in a gametime decision.

Wednesday, coach Tommy Bowden said the same pattern is holding true for this week's trip to Florida State.

"He looked a lot better (Wednesday)," Bowden said. "Of course he didn't do anything (Tuesday). But he probably looked better this Wednesday than he did last Wednesday. Holding him out Tuesday might have helped.

"If he continues to make progress (today), there's probably a good chance he'll start."

Dantzler took his normal number of snaps in practice Wednesday, and came through with just a touch of a hobble, Bowden said.

The junior quarterback originally suffered a deep bruise above the ankle on his left leg in the first half of the North Carolina game and was forced to leave with Clemson trailing 17-0. Redshirt freshman Willie Simmons replaced Dantzler in that game and led the Tigers to a 38-24 come-from-behind victory.

The scenario was eerily similar last Saturday against Georgia Tech, when Dantzler reinjured the leg in the first half and was unable to start the third quarter. Simmons played the entire second half and had Clemson in position to win again, until the Yellow Jackets drove 80 yards inside the final two minutes for the winning touchdown.

Meanwhile, defensive linemen Terry Jolly, Jason Holloman and Terry Bryant all were back at practice full speed after being restricted Tuesday due to a variety of leg injuries. Their status for Saturday won't be official until pregame hitting drills.

"We didn't go full pads (Wednesday), so we won't know until we get out there (Saturday) and hit full speed like we do before every game," Bowden said. "Then we can see if their legs, ankles, knees...whatever can take the hits. But if they're going to get hurt, it's going to be at the last minute (pregame) and not in practice."

Notes:

- Wednesday's news that Alabama head coach Mike DuBose will be stepping down following the end of this season brought the media's attention back to Bowden.
Reports earlier this season had Alabama targeting Bowden as a possible replacement for DuBose, who is in the fourth year of his tenure with the Crimson Tide. Bowden was born in Birmingham, Ala., and has coached in the state as an assistant for both Alabama and Auburn.
Bowden was asked Wednesday if Alabama had contacted him about the position.
"No, no. I've got a contract here," he said. "I'm not going to make any comment on that. Let's talk about Florida State this Saturday...I think I said once before I've got four years left on my contract here, so there's no need to comment on any of that."

- Sophomore punt returner/wide receiver Joe Don Reames likely won't make the trip to Tallahassee, Bowden said. Reames didn't practice Tuesday or Wednesday while recovering from a sprained neck suffered in the first half of last Saturday's Georgia Tech game.
"If he can't play, he won't go," Bowden said. "We'll take somebody else that might be able to help us out a little."
If Reames is out, Brian Mance and/or Travis Zachery will handle punt return duties.

- Asked how Dantzler's injury affected his side-to-side mobility, Bowden grinned.
"I'm not biting on that," he laughed. "I can't be that specific. My father gets hold of that through the papers and the next thing you know he's targeting that in practice."

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