Tuesday, September 02, 2003

(UPDATED at 7:25 p.m.)

Tigers try to get it together

Clemson's players and coaches are still trying to sort out the 30-0 loss to Georgia last Saturday.

Labor Day brought Clemson back together for the first time since the loss. A team leader apologized for a comment he may or may not have said; a handful of players suggested holding a players-only meeting to clear the air; and several veterans urged that Clemson must not dwell on one defeat in a 12-game season.

That apologetic player was linebacker John Leake, who told the Augusta Chronicle: "We're not going to recover from this. It's going to be in the back of our heads all year long." (There's more on Leake's apology here.)

I'm trying to find the positives here. Maybe this horrific setback will help develop some true team leaders. And it's got to be a wake-up call for the coaching staff. Perhaps the team will grow closer because of this.

I'm a fan; I've gotta have hope. Heck, it's all I've got anymore.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: Here are the highlights from Tommy Bowden's weekly press conference. I'll post the media reactions on Wednesday.

WE STINK ON ICE: Clemson is No. 5 in ESPN's Bottom 10. I know we looked bad Saturday, but that seems a tad harsh. I guess that's the point, though.

PREPPING FOR FURMAN: The Paladins from neighboring Greenville are excited about playing in Death Valley, and are hoping that Clemson will still be reeling from the Georgia loss.

SAMPSON TO START: Linebacker Eric Sampson, who was dismissed from the team last spring, is slated to start against Furman.

HIGH ON HILL: Linebacker Leroy Hill was one of the few bright spots for the Tigers last Saturday. He had 16 tackles, including three for loss.

MORE QUESTIONS: The State's Ken Tysiac keeps answering them.

ESSO CLUB MAKEOVER: The Esso Club in Clemson, a landmark drinking hangout for generations of Tiger fans, will be getting a face lift. I hope they don't mess with the low-rent ambiancece and turn the place into a fern bar, but those raunchy bathrooms could definitely use a renovation.

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