- Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2015

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - No. 12 Clemson gets to see how effective its offense will be without 1,000-yard receiver Mike Williams.

The Tigers (1-0) lost Williams to a scary-looking neck fracture last week when he hit the padded goalpost support after grabbing a 4-yard touchdown in their 49-10 rout of Wofford to start the season.

Clemson faces Appalachian State (1-0) on Saturday.

Williams spent several uncomfortable moments on the ground in a most silent stadium. He left on a cart, but was back walking around with teammates after the game.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Williams, a junior who caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns last year, will be re-evaluated in about six weeks. The prognosis is for Williams to make a full recovery and play football again, just possibly not for the Tigers. So it’s up to the Tigers deep, albeit young, group of receivers to step up against the Mountaineers.

“Bad things happen in football and in life,” Swinney said. “Ultimately, it’s how you respond to those things.”

Williams, wearing a neck brace, was on hand at practices to help his teammates. Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, also receivers coach, said Williams was the first to a position meeting at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

“That meant a lot that he was there,” Scott said.

Charone Peake will move into Williams’ slot as the deep threat receiver while Germone Hopper moves into the starting lineup where Peake was. Count on a heavy rotation of receivers, including freshmen Ray-Ray McCloud, Deon Cain and Trevion Thompson.

“I think we’re prepared for adversity, which it is,” McCloud said of Williams’ absence. “We have no worries.”


Things to watch when No. 12 Clemson plays Appalachian State:

CLEMSON DEFENSE: The Tigers held Wofford to 213 yards overall and its normally effective option attack to 123 yards on the ground. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Appalachian State will challenge his team downfield much more this week and Clemson will need to step up its pass rush and coverage. Mountaineers QB Taylor Lamb threw for 304 yards in a 49-0 victory over Howard last week.

EXPERIENCED MOUNTAINEERS: Appalachian State may be one of Clemson’s most experienced opponents. The Mountaineers have 18 starters who are upperclassmen, eight each on offense and defense plus their kicker and punter. That group has helped Appalachian State win seven straight games, a streak it hopes to continue in Death Valley.

LOOKING AHEAD: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney vows his team is not looking ahead to its opening Atlantic Coast Conference game at Louisville next Thursday night. Still, it will be difficult for the Tigers not to consider what’s ahead after the Mountaineers. Following a trip to Louisville, Clemson faces No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 15 Georgia Tech in consecutive weeks.

APPALACHIAN STATE FAN?: Clemson center Jay Guillermo recalls where he was in 2007 for Appalachian State’s monumental upset of Michigan. That’s because many in Guillermo’s family were Mountaineer supporters. Guillermo said his step-father, Brooks Clary, is Appalachian State graduate and longtime fan. The then teenage Guillermo recalls watching App State’s famous takedown of Michigan and celebrating for a while. Not the case this time around. Guillermo said his family will be supporting him and the Tigers.

SAD REUNION: Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson grew up with Appalachian State linebacker Devan Stringer, the two graduating together at Gainesville High in Georgia. Yet, it’s uncertain if Stringer will make the trip following the sudden death of his 11-day-old daughter in Boone, North Carolina on Monday. Watson expressed condolences and Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield was everyone in the program would give their prayers and full support to Stringer and his family.

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