If there is one positive from the Tigers' wasted trip down to Florida State over the weekend, it is that Clemson received another week of rest to get several key players back to full health ahead of Saturday's ACC tilt with Pittsburgh.
At least one key player in the trenches is back in the fold as Clemson's veteran offensive guard, Matt Bockhorst, confirmed on Monday he has returned to practice. Bockhorst was injured in the second half of the double-overtime loss to Notre Dame.
Bockhorst admitted that he was pleased with how his teammates responded to such a tough situation when the Tigers had players going down to injury left and right on the road with their true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei making his first career start away from Death Valley.
He credited Mason Trotter specifically for his role to step in at a moment's notice to try and hold off the Irish in the top five showdown. He candidly admitted he had a rough time having to watch helplessly from the sideline.
"I felt like I had let my team down to some degree even though it was out of my control," he said. " It's just the nature of the beast sometimes. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, we will get another shot at them. I've tried to flush it and just move on. But like I said, I think everyone in the back of their mind is hoping we'll get another shot at Notre Dame down the line in Charlotte."
Fortunately, he is expected to be available this Saturday for the home finale of the 2020 season in Death Valley. Bockhorst is eager to get back onto the field after an extended bye week following the debacle in Tallahassee.
The redshirt junior said the Tigers are just ready to bounce back after that 47-40 loss to Norte Dame on Nov. 7 and get back into a groove after what will be a three-week hiatus. Clemson is understandably frustrated but the Tigers are trying to move forward and focus on Pittsburgh.
"It's not what we could have chosen to happen but that's the circumstance that we were in and we have to roll with it," Bockhorst said. "Come Saturday, we'll all be excited to play and finally get that monkey off our backs.
Clemson kicks off senior day against Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. As of noon on Monday, no official announcement has been made if the game against the Seminoles will be played.