Dec. 30, 2008
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Jacksonville, SC – It was a festive final practice of the 2008 season for Dabo Swinney’s Clemson football team. The Tigers worked for an hour and a half at the Jacksonville University football facility in their final workout before facing Nebraska in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.
The Tigers will hold a 45-minute walk-through at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Wednesday morning, before meeting the Cornhuskers at 1:00 PM on Thursday in a game that will be nationally televised by CBS. It will be Clemson’s first appearance on that network for a football game since 1989.
Clemson’s Tuesday practice began with the normal stretching exercises at 11:15 AM. At the conclusion of that session, senior snapper Charles Roediger, performed a series of back flips in the middle of the field, much to the cheers of his teammates. It is a practice Roediger has done off and on throughout his career. He first performed the flips the Thursday prior to the 2005 Duke game.
The Tigers then held a normal Thursday practice, even though this was Tuesday. The team worked on special teams, including practicing onside kicks and recovering onside kicks, for 25 minutes. The team then worked on various offensive plays and defensive alignments against scout teams.
After the team met with Swinney at the conclusion of practice, the senior players were carried off the field by underclassmen teammates at their position.
“That is a tradition we have had here for a while,” said Swinney, who will serve as a head coach in a bowl game for the first time when the Tigers meet Nebraska on Thursday afternoon. “It is a fitting way to honor these seniors, who have done so much for this program over the last four and five years.
“This class has left its mark, and they still have a chance to accomplish more with a win over Nebraska. It we can beat Nebraska, this class would be the first at Clemson to win at least eight games four years in a row since 1991 and the first to win 33 games since 1993.
“We have been able to carry on this year and reach a January 1 bowl game because of these seniors. They have held this team together because they are men of character. That is the biggest reason. I am proud of what they have accomplished. This is my first senior class, and it will always be my favorite senior class as long as I am in coaching.”
One of the seniors who will be playing in his last game for the Tigers is running back James Davis, who needs just 112 rushing yards to become Clemson’s career leader. “I would love to see James get that record, but we want to win the game first. If he reaches the record in the context of our gameplan that would be great. If you know James, he would love to get the record, but he wants to win the game first. If he only gets 20 yards, but we win, he will be happy.”
There were no injuries as the result of Thursday’s practice and the Tigers should be at full strength for Thursday’s game with the exception of previously injured players Barry Humphries, Jamie Cumbie and Ricky Sapp.
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