Tommy Bowden Press Conference

<img src=> Clemson head Coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday morning to discuss the Tigers' upcoming game with the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tigers' possibilities during the postseason.

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Can you talk about the atmosphere around the program the last two weeks?
Bowden: There's no doubt that winning creates an environment that's a lot more conducive to practice, coming in early, staying late. There's no doubt that it adds a spring to your step.

Have you learned anymore about what might happen to you after the season yet?
Bowden: No.

What's the difference this week with playing a rival as opposed to a normal week?
Bowden: Usually, the attention span is pretty good (of the players). You usually have their attention. One of the most difficult things for college coaches is motivation week in and week out. So you could say that one of the most difficult parts of my job is lessened because of who we are playing this week.

How ready is Charlie to play in this game with the hostile environment and everything else that comes into play?
Bowden: I think last year helped him a lot. It's a nationally televised game, a lot of electricity, the media attention is a lot more, but again he's had a tremendous background with Mike O'Cain and his father.

Do you enjoy this game?
Bowden: Yeah you do. You enjoy it because it's part of college football. That's the enjoyment. I haven't found to many coaches that like game day. You get knots in your stomach, that part isn't that fun.

You said after your loss to South Carolina that it really stuck with you last time. Talk more about that.
Bowden: The loss sticks out with me a lot more. There's no doubt. That makes you appreciate this game more than ever. The loss, no doubt stands out more than the wins. It just stays with you.

Is there a way to quantify which team has more on this?
Bowden: No, I would say that's for ya'll (the media) to determine. A bowl game is awfully significant to them and their program. My mortgage is awfully significant to me and my wife. (laughing)

Is the fact that South Carolina is a favorite extra motivation for your team this week?
Bowden: I don't think our players play much attention to that. That's pretty much a non-factor.

Can you talk about Eric Sampson and his development this year?
Bowden: Yeah, his name isn't on the study hall lists like it has been in the past. One of our biggest objectives as a coach is to make sure these young men get a degree and learn something socially. He's done some things that reflect that kind of improvement over the course of the year. I think we've tried to do what's best for him, and we have this case, and so far he's responded pretty well.

You've said the key to your team is defense. Is that the key for this game?
Bowden: You look at the games we played well, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke, Florida State- we played well defensively and set the tone. The games where we didn't- Maryland, N.C. State we gave up points early. There's no doubt, defenses are key, and it will be in this game in stopping the run.

Has it been tough battling Lou Holtz now for four years?
Bowden: I kind of feel like Skip. "My father beat your father." (laughing) When I call a prospect, I don't tell them whether it's Tommy or Bobby. (laughing)

How much do you watch South Carolina through the course of a season?
Bowden: Zero. I caught one possession against Arkansas, and one maybe against Kentucky.

What would be your favorite memory of this series?
Bowden: Probably Rod Gardner's catch and Aaron Hunt's field goal. Those two plays together.

Can you talk about Duane Coleman. Are you pleased with his development this year?
Bowden: He's made progress every week. There's a lot more in him, but he's done really well. To me, he was just rusty (at the beginning of the season). He hadn't played in about two years. Top Stories