Aug. 9, 2004
Clemson, SC – The Clemson Tigers practiced for three hours in helmets and shoulder pads on Monday afternoon. It was the third practice of the preseason for Tommy Bowden’s Tigers. The team had Sunday off for Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, but now will take another step forward on Tuesday as they will be in full gear for the first time.
“We were able to see some collisions today, practicing in shells, but Tuesday we will go full speed in full gear,” said Bowden, who is in his sixth season at Clemson. “In a shells practice you collide then hang on, you don’t bring the player to the ground. I am excited about Tuesday’s practice because you can see so much more when you are in full pads. Everything has been very controlled to this point.”
Overall, Bowden was impressed with the play of the defense and with his young offensive tackles. “The defense looked good, but it is tough to declare a winner when you are in shells. You can tell about assignments and it appears we are doing a good job in that area.”
The defense continues to force turnovers, as linebacker Anthony Waters and safety Brandon Nolen had interceptions during the skeleton drill. It was the second time Nolen, a backup roverback and converted running back, had an interception.
Bowden continued to praise the running backs and pointed out the play of Reggie Merriweather on Tuesday. “Merriweather has run very hard and is much improved. But, Yusef Kelly and Duane Coleman have also played well. We have some very good competition at that position.
“The two freshman tackles have also played well on offense. Barry Richardson and Akeem Robinson both have gotten some work with the second team and bring a strong level of skill to the position for young players. We haven’t had guys who are 6-7 and 356 pounds (Richardson) or can run like Robinson. Both could play as true freshmen this season. We will play the best five tackles we have. ” The starting offensive tackles remain Roman Fry and Marion Dukes.
Wide receiver Curtis Baham was at practice in a limited role, but he was more involved than last Saturday. He is recovering from a slightly separated shoulder, an injury he sustained in the first practice of the year. Roy Walker, reserve safety, was at practice, but in shorts. He is expected to have surgery to repair a torn ACL on Friday. There were no new injuries reported on Monday.
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