Print and Go Back ESPN.com: ACC [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Clemson ready to hit today

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It doesn't matter that Clemson is playing an FCS opponent this week in South Carolina State.

Tommy Bowden is sending a message to his team at practice today there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The Tigers will go out in full pads and hit each other, and if somebody else gets hurt, so be it.

"We've got to get better," Bowden said. "Especially when you've got young linemen. We've got young linemen on defense, too, with [defensive tackles] Rashaad [Jackson] and [Jamie] Cumbie out. The only way to get better is to have collisions and to have contact at full speed. Good on good.

"You've got to see live bullets. I think they'll get the idea today. If I said we were going out in shorts or shells or something like that, cut the practice down ... this is not going to be that type of week, regardless of the competition, whether we play Maryland or Wake Forest or South Carolina State. This is where the program is. This is what we need to work on because of injury, because of whatever."

Bowden said fundamental tackling needs to improve, as does the offensive line's footwork and ability to make quick decisions.

"There's just a whole bunch of work to do," Bowden said. "... If we want to remain in the hunt, there's just a whole bunch of work we've got to do. We'll make them feel that sense of urgency. I don't want to sound doom and gloom, but this is kind of the state of the union as it is."

Here's Clemson's injury report:

Rashaad Jackson (DT) -- out until at least midseason due to a knee injury that required surgery in August.
Barry Humphries (OG) -- suffered knee injury vs. Alabama and will miss at least through September.
Terrance Ashe (WR) -- Sustained sprained ankle against Alabama. Missed The Citadel and NC State games. Questionable for SC State.
Jamie Cumbie (DT) -- Broken wrist, out for year
Chris Hairston (OT) -- Sustained bruised knee in motor scooter accident. Missed NC State game and is doubtful for SC State.
Brandon Maye (LB) -- Missed the NC State game due to the flu. Probable for SC State.
Dawson Zimmerman (P) -- Suffered pulled hamstring in pregame for NC State. Questionable for SC State.