Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Training camp update: Crosby takes it slow

Clemson receiver Roscoe Crosby, who hasn't played a down with the team since the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl, practiced with the Tigers on Monday. (Here's The State's take, and the story from the Greenville News.) Crosby worked out in shorts and a helmet on Monday, which was the final day of two-a-days.

Wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney said Crosby reported in "decent shape" and will work at the player�s pace to make sure he is comfortable. Crosby has missed two weeks of installation in the offense � he said the terminology is not much different from 2001 � and believes the mental part of the game will be the toughest adjustment.

"He�s raw. He�s just kind of an athlete running around right now," Swinney said. "We�ve got to get him polished into a receiver again, and get him to know where he�s going, when he�s supposed to be there and what he�s supposed to do when he gets there so he can play fast."

Crosby will begin by playing at his old "X" position behind Kevin Youngblood, Curtis Baham and Kelvin Grant. First, Crosby must go through a five-day acclimation period required by the NCAA. By the time it is complete, Clemson will be into game-day preparation for the Aug. 30 opener against Georgia.

Crosby said he hopes to get in sync by the third game, Sept. 13 against Middle Tennessee.

Good to have you back, Roscoe.

NCAA LABYRINTH: The State's Ron Morris writes a column about the medical absence waiver granted to Crosby, and the fiasco involving the Willie Simmons transfer. Check it out.

YES, QUESTIONS: The Anderson Independent Mail has a Q&A with safety Travis Pugh. (It's the first in a series of profiles of lesser-known Tigers.) And, The State's Ken Tysiac keeps answering fans' questions.

BRINGING 'EM BACK: This notebook from The State highlights coach Tommy Bowden's success in bringing back three players who looked like they were gone for good in the spring: Crosby, tight end Ben Hall and linebacker Eric Sampson. All were part of Clemson's stellar 2001 recruiting class. Other notebook items include freshman Roy Walker voluntarily giving his No. 25 jersey to Crosby (a very minor story, but an indicator that the receiver's return may not upset the team's chemistry too much) and an announcement that the Tigers will officially begin game preparations for Georgia.

GEORGIA FANS WORRIED: Speaking of the Dawgs, as of about 10:30 a.m. on Monday, a majority of Georgia football fans were concerned about the upcoming game with Clemson, according to an online poll at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They should be. The Dogs will play their season opener without five of their top defensive backs. And Georgia may have to add to their numerous disciplinary suspensions after starting linebacker Odell Thurman was arrested on alcohol-related charges. That would be a blow. The Dogs lost their entire linebacking corps from last season.

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