- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Injuries are starting to pile up in the Clemson secondary, becoming a major cause for concern.
Coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday on the ACC coaches call that starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland is out for Thursday night's game against Wake Forest with an abdominal strain. The news follows the loss of two defensive backs for the season: starter Darius Robinson (broken ankle) and reserve Jerrodd Williams (broken leg). Robinson was hurt against Virginia Tech; Williams was hurt in practice Tuesday.
With Breeland out, Clemson will have three scholarship cornerbacks to play against the Deacs: Xavier Brewer, Garry Peters and freshman Cortez Davis. Swinney said Brewer and Peters will start, and he expects Davis to play extensively.
"We’re very thin, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s an opportunity for a couple of those young guys to get their first significant chance,” Swinney said. “A guy like Cortez Davis, whose been getting better but hasn’t gotten a lot of reps. But now that we’re very thin, he’s getting a lot of practice time, and that’s what he needs to improve. You could see a guy like him get an opportunity pretty soon."
Swinney said the Tigers have been working wide receiver Adam Humphries at defensive back as "an emergency situation."
"We have to keep it simple in what we ask him to do," Swinney said. "There’s no doubt athletically he can get the job done. Hopefully, we’ll get Breeland back pretty soon."
Breeland is one of seven defensive players with over 300 snaps, so losing him in this game will no doubt hurt. But the good news is that he is not out for the season, and the Tigers will count on having him back.
But if anybody else gets hurt ...
"We’re in dire straits right now as far as if we were to get somebody else injured," Swinney said. "If everybody stays healthy, the guys we’ve got are OK.”
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2dJared Shanker and Andrea Adelson