CLEMSON - After suffering a frightening break to his left leg during camp in August, wide receiver Kevin Youngblood appears to be on track for a Nov. 10 return at Maryland.
It was originally hoped Youngblood could return for the Florida State game, but even a return against Maryland would give Clemson his services for three regular season games and any bowl it for which it might qualify.
"That would be good," head coach Tommy Bowden said after Thursday's practice. "The sooner the better."
Youngblood suffered the break on a screen pass in practice Aug. 21. He was diagnosed with a comminuted fracture of the tibia and fibula, and had a metal rod inserted in the leg during surgery the following week.
Youngblood had 13 catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2000, and his 17.3 yards per catch was second on the team to Rod Gardner's 18.1. Youngblood was Clemson's Rookie of the Year on offense last season, and was considered the heir-apparent to Gardner as Clemson's offensive playmaker this season.
Meanwhile, despite being held to just three points a week ago, Bowden said he feels no overwhelming sense of urgency for a quick start Saturday at Wake Forest.
"Nothing going to happen in the first five minutes that will determine the outcome of the game," he said. "We were behind at N.C. State, Georgia Tech we were behind...If you feed that (quick start) into your players, and then you get behind, what do they do? They panic.
"There might be some head coaches who disagree with me, but I know (Joe) Paterno and Bobby (Bowden) don't."
- Redshirt freshman Ryan Hemby won the open competition at cornerback this week and will start at Wake Forest.
Hemby won the spot from the incumbent starter, redshirt sophomore Kevin Johnson. Brian Mance will start at the other corner, one week after missing the UNC game due to the death of his brother.
J.J. McKelvey will start at the X receiver, but Roscoe Crosby will get at least 50 percent of the snaps at that position.
- No need to worry about Woody Dantzler's mindset heading into Saturday. The loss to North Carolina hasn't had any lingering effect on him.
"He looked good, but he always looks good," Bowden said. "He doesn't change at all, as far as enthusiasm and things like that. There's a bunch of guys watching him out there (because he's the team leader), and he's done a good job."
- After further review, Bowden said the only thing he would have done differently so far this season is perhaps not run the ball three straight plays at the end of the Virginia game, a sequence which ended with Clemson punting and the Cavs driving for a game-winning touchdown with :01 left.
The subject came up when he was asked if the current defensive struggles have any effect on offensive play-calling or gameplan.
"We try to score every time we get the ball," he said. "But maybe I'd have thrown (against Virginia). That's one, maybe two plays. Other than that we try to score every play."