The weather siren sounded across the Clemson practice fields again on Thursday, so coach Tommy Bowden moved the workout into the unfinished indoor track facility. Bowden says he'll start holding practice in the mornings to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.
Apparently, Clemson's low preseason rankings are motivating the Tigers (most pundits have picked the team to finish fifth in the ACC):
"I don't think they've picked us in any position we don't deserve right now, because the people they've picked ahead of us have beaten us," said offensive coordinator Brad Scott. "But I don't think there is a player on our team that thinks we're not capable of winning every time we dress out on Saturdays."
Well, that's good to know.
TOUGH ENOUGH: Clemson coaches and players say they're not concerned about the "toughness question." They also say that the switch to a more run-oriented offense could have something to do with the perception that Clemson was "soft" last season. Buried in the story is a bit of interesting news: Apparently, the offensive line has bulked up during the off-season. Four starters now weigh 300 pounds or thereabouts.
SERGIO SURGES: Freshman cornerback Sergio Gilliam has been turning heads in practice this week, and could work himself into a starting job. If he can hang with people like preseason All-American Justin Miller, Tye Hill and Toure Francis, then by all means get him on the field.
CU AT THE MOVIES: Here's a fun story. Filmmakers Jeff Sumerel and Chris White have completed a documentary on the Clemson-South Carolina football series. Bragging Rights: The Carolina-Clemson Rivalry will feature game footage and interviews with players, coaches and fans who have taken part in a century's worth of memorable football. Starting Aug. 14, you can purchase the 75-minute film at the official Web site (www.braggingrightsthemovie.com), in Bi-Lo stores in South Carolina or by calling 1-877-4-RIVALS.
SPEED DEMONS: Here's an item I missed the other day. Two Clemson players, receiver Airese Curry and defensive back Tye Hill, are among the 10 fastest men in college football, based on a ranking of players who also are on their school's track team. Curry was ranked third with a time of 10.29 seconds in the 100-meter dash, and Hill was tied for ninth with a time of 10.48 seconds. The only other ACC player in the top 10 was Florida State receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who was tied for eighth with a time of 10.43. That's impressive.
IS AUBURN SKEERED? Radio reports indicate that Auburn may want to back out of its upcoming games with Clemson in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Stay tuned.
CLEANING OUT THE NOTEBOOKS: The Anderson Independent Mail reports on an increase in season ticket revenue despite selling fewer tickets for 2003. (Huh. I wonder how they did that?) There's also a quick plug for kicker Aaron Hunt, who is on the Lou Groza Award preseason watch list.
According to The Greenville News, Clemson hasn't heard from the NCAA yet on the status of freshman Robert Reese and senior Brandon Jamison. In another kicking-related note, Bowden says freshman Jad Dean will handle kickoffs this season unless sophomore Stephen Furr can do better.
FLASHBACK: I'm watching the 1988 "puntrooskie" game between Florida State and Clemson on ESPN Classic. (Sigh.) I was there that day. Great game, but it's still painful to watch. (This is the first time I've ever seen a televised replay.)