1) The team's confidence is building, especially after a tough win over a tough opponent in front of a packed house. Also, it's a good thing that Clemson is turning around and playing so quickly. Bowden said earlier today that he was happy the game was on Thursday because it gives the team a chance to make people forget about what they did last year on those Thursday night games against FSU and N.C. State.
2) Bowden is going to put some heat on Aaron Hunt this week in practice, and that starts today when he opens up the kicking competition. Even though fans have been screaming for Jad Dean to take over for Aaron Hunt all season long, his consistency in practice just hasn't been there yet as he continues to learn how to effectively kick off the ground. Keep your eye on Stephen Furr for the time being.
3) N.C. State is very beatable. With Yusef Kelly and our defense, I really, really like our chances. On the flip side, this is another one of those games where we have to prove that we are capable of winning a big game on the road. Our track record in such circumstances has been downright forgettable, but you have to start somewhere. I have a sneaking suspicion that this could be the week this team gets it done.
4) I think there's a good chance that we'll see Airese Currie on Thursday.
5) The team is heading up to Raleigh on Wednesday by bus. They were originally scheduled to fly, but the athletic department did the math and figured out that with all of the security check points, they weren't really saving any time by flying to Raleigh.
6) Bowden echoed the sentiments of many of our CUTigers.com Insiders concerning the loss of J.J. Howard...."I feel sorry for him. He's had a good year. It will affect us other than just ability. He's a leadership guy and he brings a lot of different things to the table," said the Tigers' head coach earlier today.
7) The coaching staff is confident in Mo Fountain, Gaines Adams, and Vontrell Jamison at defensive end. There's a lot of speed and athleticism in all of those guys. Even though they only managed one sack yesterday, there was some good pressure coming from those guys at some critical junctures of the ballgame.
8) The team will practice today with their normal introduction to N.C. State and a kicking practice. Tomorrow, the team will practice like their normal Tuesday routine and Wednesday will be a Thursday practice. The coaching staff is focused on limiting the overall gameplan so that the players can concentrate solely on executing the package they plan on taking to Raleigh.
Tommy Bowden Comments on Sunday Afternoon:
Do you feel good about your back up defensive ends?
Bowden: They did a good job for us. They played really well. Gaines and Jamison were both in there, as was Mo Fountain. Charles Bennett played well for us too. Virginia had only 50 something yards rushing. We had only had one sack, but we had a lot of pressure that made him hurry his throws.
What does the loss of J.J. mean to this defense?
Bowden: Speed. Maturity. Experience. I feel sorry for him. He's had a good year. It will affect us other than just ability. He's a leadership guy and he brings a lot of different things to the table.
N.C. State played Connecticut yesterday, you guys played a top 25 team in Virginia. Is there any advantage for them having played a team like Connecticut, when you played a tough conference game?
Bowden: Well it depends on what he did. Did he prepare for us while they were playing Connecticut? I'd say that would be advantage if he did. You'd have to ask him whether or not he did because I don't know. I haven't seen any film on Connecticut. I think you'd have to Chuck Amato that.
This game was supposed to be a Saturday game, are you happy that it was moved to Thursday night?
Bowden: Well, I was glad (they moved it.) We didn't play well the last time we played well on national TV. Last year at this time we really had a poor performance and I did a really bad job of getting this team prepared. At least we've got another chance. We've had 365 days to do a better job, so we're happy that we get a chance to be on Thursday night.
Is it good that this team will play so quickly after an emotional high or is it a bad thing that they won't have enough time to re-energize?
Bowden: Well it could one or two ways. We could be drained and spent, or they could be on a roll. We have to motivate and get these guys to peak Thursday at 7:45. Practice this evening will be a little more spirited now that we won as opposed to if we lost. We'll try to spin it on the positive note. Again, you are dealing with 19-20-21 year olds, a lot of what they do is read what's written in the paper. "Oh we are are tired, we shouldn't be able to play this early," that sort of thing.
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