The Clemson Tigers practiced in rainy conditions for the second consecutive day Monday evening. Monday’s three-hour practice was the final practice for Tommy Bowden’s team before the squad can wear full pads. Counting the first day of two-a-day practices on Friday, the team now has five practices remaining until the first full-contact scrimmage of the season on Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
The freshman class of 2005 continues to impress Bowden as the rookies continue to adapt to big-time college football. Some of the freshmen class commented on their first few days as a Tiger, as they are all trying to get acclimated to the speed of the college game.
“Right now, the biggest adjustment that I have had to make is to the speed of the game,” said freshman running back James Davis. “Every part of the game moves faster in college than in high school. I am just enjoying getting a chance to compete and learn this offense. We have some really talented running backs on this team with Reggie (Merriweather), Duane (Coleman), and Kyle (Browning).”
Another high-profile recruit, linebacker Antonio Clay, shared his thoughts on the first four practices. “Everything moves fast, but I am learning a lot form Coach Blackwell and Coach Koenning. I am getting some reps with the defense, and trying to learn everything I can from the veterans at my position.”
Former Greenville High Star Cory Lambert is happy to be in a Tiger uniform after a year away from the game. “I worked out as much as I could over at Fike with some of my friends that go to Clemson this past off-season,” said Lambert. “I also worked a lot at a golf course, so I did all that I could to try and stay in shape.” His work has not gone unnoticed by Bowden.
"Cory reported in good shape. He did not play football last year, but was able to control his diet and worked hard in terms of conditioning,” said Bowden. “He isn't in football shape yet because he hasn't played in practice or a game since 2003, but he is making progress."
Just like Sunday, the Tigers did not let the rain hamper their enthusiasm. "We have had a lot of rain so far and we had a deluge for about a half hour in the middle of practice," said Bowden. "When you have rain like that and it is the fourth day of practice the enthusiasm can die down a bit. But, Rendrick Taylor made a big play on a reception and C.J. Gaddis had a hit in the secondary that rejuvenated the enthusiasm."
Tuesday is the first day of full pads for Clemson, as a lot will be learned about the offensive and defensive lines over the next few days. Bowden closed, "I am looking forward to seeing the running backs and the defensive line. We will be able to take the practice to another level from a fundamentals standpoint. There are a lot of drills that you can do in full pads. We will have a good chance to see how they respond tomorrow."