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Tigers Football Gets Into Full Swing

Aug. 13, 1999

CLEMSON, S.C.–The talk of Clemson’s first football practice in full gear isn’t even listed in the Tigers 344-page media guide. Shawn Crawford, a track National Champion for the Tigers, impressed Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden on Friday.

After three days of two-a-day practices in shorts and shoulder pads, the Tigers put on the full gear for the first time Friday’s morning practice. During scrimmage situations, Crawford, who has run a 10.12 100-meters in competition and was the 1998 NCAA Champion in the 200 meters indoors, had a pair of long runs. When his practice performance was named as a standout at the conclusion of the morning practice by Bowden, his teammates gave him a round of applause.

“Shawn Crawford certainly impressed me today,” said Bowden, who will be looking for a starting tailback for the season opener against Marshall in light of the suspension of 1998 starter Travis Zachery. “Usually track guys aren’t very tough. When they get the ball they head for the sidelines. But, Shawn didn’t do that, he ran it up inside and broke two long runs. He has world class speed and is tough, that is a very rare combination.”

Crawford began the fall practice as a wide receiver, but was moved to running back on Thursday. He first caught Bowden’s attention as a scout team defensive back. This is the first time he has played football since high school, four years ago. Prior to Friday, he had not taken a hit on the gridiron since his senior year. He did play football every fall from the sixth grade through his senior year of high school.

While Crawford’s performance pleased Bowden, the day was not all smiles for the Tigers rookie head coach. “We lost six players off the offense due to injury in the morning practice, so the defense was ahead of the offense. I want the defense to be ahead at this stage and it seems our tougher players are on defense.”

Offensive players who missed practice on Friday were Kyle Young (flu), Pat Cyrgalis (calf), Justin Watts (hamstring), Javis Austin (shoulder), Jermyn Chester (knee), and Akil Smith (sprained ankle). Smith, a starting offensive guard, will be out at least until Monday.

Chester, who was first injured on Tuesday, the first day of practice for the full squad, has a torn ACL and probably will miss the season. The native of Titusville, FL, had risen to second on the depth chart at a guard position prior to the injury.

Brandon Rouse continued to miss practice due to a knee injury. Freshman running back Chad Jasmin, who missed both of Thursday’s workouts, was back in action on Friday. Javis Austin suffered a dislocated shoulder in the morning practice and was in a green jersey (limited practice) in the afternoon. Joe Don Reames, who has impressed Bowden at wide receiver so far this fall, missed the afternoon workout due to a concussion, the result of a strong hit by senior safety DoMarco Fox.