You've spent some time this summer with your father, how difficult do you think these last 8 months have been on him?
Bowden: I think the biggest thing is that he's been successful for 14 years, and then two years he's won 8 or 9 games and now people are turning pretty quick. That's probably the biggest thing, is how quickly people are turning on him.
Do you think that he should even be answering critics? After all, he's second all-time in terms of wins as a Division I-A head coach.
Bowden: Well, he hasn't been. (laughing) No, I don't think it's fair, but this is a business. Business is business. Things have gotten more investigative with reporting the last 10-12 years, and he hasn't had deal with that in such a long time because he won 10 games or more over a span of 14 years.
Does that bother you?
Bowden: No, not really, not if you know his background. Not if you know his religious background and he handles things. You know, he was playing 45 holes of golf a day during our vacation this summer. No it doesn't bother me, this is a business, and we know that.
When did the light go for Charlie Whitehurst last year?
Bowden: Charlie had shown enough early on that if we felt like we had to use him last year, we thought he had the potential to be something special. His demeanor on the team, his work ethic, his pocket presence, his ability to take a shot in the mouth and get up, those are things you notice as a coach. He had an injury in high school, so we didn't see as much on film from high school, but we saw it on the scout team once he got on campus.
Have you had a guy like Charlie Whitehurst before? You've had guys like Woody Dantzler, Shaun King, and Willie Simmons. Have you had a drop back passer like Whitehurst?
Bowden: Well, he's kind of similar to Shaun King. Woody had the running the aspect so people always remember him for that. Shaun was a pocket guy with pretty good running skills. Charlie has the ability to be a pretty good pocket passer if he continues to work hard and stay humble. You know, he's almost 6-5 so he can see so much more over the line of scrimmage with his height.
How much do you think his father has played a role in his development as a quarterback?
Bowden: I think we signed Charlie when he was 18 years old, so he had probably 9 or 10 years of tutelage from his dad. His demeanor, composure, leadership skills, and throwing motion- he's gotten a lot of that from his dad. Mike O'Cain has done a good job with him since he's been here, but I'm sure his dad has played a major role in his development.
How important is it for Charlie Whitehurst to stay healthy this year now that Willie Simmons is gone?
Bowden: Sure, I would have felt more comfortable with Willie as a backup, but I feel good about Chansi Stuckey and Will Proctor. They've been able to do some productive things for us this spring. Right now, Chansi has a little bit of an edge as the backup.
Do you think the Clemson fan base sees the Texas Tech loss as more of an abhorration, or a symptom?
Bowden: I'd say it would be a mixture of both. I don't know how much would be one or the other. There are some things there...obviously I did a poor job. Somehow you have to find positives out that game. It made me more analytical of the program and where we are and some things we need to get better at. Again, you don't want to take credit away from Texas Tech. I'm sure of the exact numbers, but I think they put up 48 versus against N.C. State, 48 versus Texas, and 45 or so versus Texas A&M. It's not like that was your run of the mill team that can't put up 40+ points on somebody. Again, they ain't supposed to get it against us.
You've made some significant changes to your staff this offseason, can you comment on what coach Swinney and coach Blackwell bring to the table for your team?
Bowden: Most of my coaches were my age, late 40's early 50's. There were a lot of qualified coaches out there that wanted to come here, but I just felt like from a recruiting standpoint, I wanted to go younger with guys that had Division I-A experience- and both of those guys have that. They have fit in well, and they've been good additions to the staff. They are both good guys with good families. They bring a lot of good things to the table outside of coaching in terms of family and things like that.
More with Coach Bowden (Part II)
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