Tommy Bowden Press Conference

<img src=http://media.TheInsiders.com/Media/Other/31_ah-1.GIF> Clemson head Coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday morning to discuss the Tigers' upcoming game with Wake Forest. Aside from that, he addressed concerns about the Tigers' injuries, and several other important issues.

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On the changes of Wake Forest football:
"If you look at Wake Forest back when I was in the conference in the 80s (as assistant at Duke), or in Clemson's heyday, it's a different program today. I don't know their statistics, but when is the last time Wake Forest has been bowl eligible three out of four years? So it's definitely a different team. I know they've been a tough team for us. Ask N.C. State, they were down a large margin at the half. I've got tremendous respect for Coach (Jim) Grobe. After his first two years in the conference, I told him to hurry up and leave back toward the Big 10 or back where he came from. Then he signed that long-term contract, and I said 'that's not good for the rest of us.'"

On the close games the last two years:
"It's easy for us to focus on Wake Forest because of the game the last couple of years. Last year, we had a guy (Brian Mance) strip it going into the endzone to stop a possible overtime. The year before, Charles Hafley intercepted a pass in the endzone when they were going down for chance at overtime. My first year here, the score was 12-3. Look at what they did to Oregon in the bowl game last year. They won by 20 over a team that was second in the nation the previous year. You bring out statistics like I just did to your kids. They sure deserve a lot of credit for what they have accomplished."

Thoughts on the UNC game:
"Defensively, we obviously didn't play as well as we had in the previous six or seven games. But again, when you take a step backward in a certain area and still win the game, I think it says a little bit about your team. We didn't play well against the run or the pass, but we did create more turnovers than we have previously this year. We made some improvement on offense. From a team perspective, we won the game. So it's hard to call it a step back. We'll only take a step backward if we don't improve on those mistakes this week against Wake Forest."

On keys to stopping Wake:
"You have to play assignment football against them. They can attack weak and strong sides of the defense. They run a lot of routes where they'll send a back out on a wheel. Is there an area that has to play better? Their running statistics are better than their passing statistics, the only team in the ACC where that is the case. I'd say our front four and the two linebackers have to play well, simply because their rushing statistics our better. They lead the ACC in rushing. You also have to involve your rover or whip in stopping their running attack, because you've got to watch out for a possible reverse."

On the no-huddle offense:
"I came in one day after the Furman game and thought our comfort zone was better in the no-huddle offense than with a huddle. We'll still huddle some, but not nearly as much as we did those first two games."

On offensive line depth:
"I ask Ron West not to tell me when he puts in the freshmen. We had Brandon Pilgrim, Marion Dukes, Roman Fry, Dustin Fry, and Nathan Bennett in the game for an extended amount of time last week. That's two true freshmen and three red-shirt freshmen on the field at the same time. A lot of them got more work than they've ever gotten, so it'll pay dividends for us down the road as far as keeping our starters a little fresh for the fourth quarter."

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