Aug. 4, 2003
Clemson, SC – Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden welcomed his fifth Clemson football team to campus on Monday. The Tigers begin practice on Tuesday at 2:30 PM at the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center. All Clemson preseason practices are closed to the public.
Tuesday’s practice will be the first of five days of single three-hour practices for the entire team. For the first time in many years, freshmen do not report early for practice. They will be practicing with the varsity from day one.
The team will practice once a day Tuesday through Saturday, with Saturday’s practice the first in full pads. The team will then hold the annual Fan Appreciation Day at Death Valley on Sunday from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
The NCAA has also changed its rules concerning two-a-day practices. Teams now must alternate days of two-a-day practices. Clemson will have just four double sessions in the preseason with the first on Monday, August 11th.
Bowden said all the veterans reported with the exception of third string tight end Rod Whipple, who indicated to Bowden that he is considering transferring to a Division I-AA school. Whipple lettered and played in 11 games last year on special teams. He had six tackles. He red-shirted the 2001 season.
Seventeen of Clemson’s 18 new players also reported on Monday. Robert Reese, a defensive back from Temple, GA still had not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Monday, but is expected to join the team this week. The list of newcomers includes East Tennessee State transfer Steven Jackson, a 6-2 and 242 pound fullback who will be eligible immediately.
Jackson played on the defensive line last year at ETSU and had 39 tackles, including a team best three caused fumbles. “Steven is an impressive looking player who has some maturity about him” said Bowden. “He is in good shape and will help our team. I was pleasantly surprised that the NCAA ruled he could play right away.” East Tennessee State is dropping football at the end of this season, allowing Jackson to transfer and play right away.
“We will be 18 for 18 when it comes to new signees joining our program and that is good to see,” said Bowden. “We have one left to get through the clearinghouse, but he should join us shortly. You read about a lot of schools who have four or five who don’t make it for the beginning of practice.”
Bowden looks forward to the start of his fifth season on Tuesday. “We will look at the freshmen early and see who can help us. All the freshmen will start at the position they were recruited to play. We will then evaluate their talent and see if they can fit a slot and help us in their first year.
“After that we will continue to work hard on the areas we stressed in the spring. We will work on the running game and look to improve our short yardage defense and offense.”
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