Q&A with Tommy Bowden

<img src=http://media.TheInsiders.com/Media/Other/31_ah-1.GIF> Listen to and read what Tommy Bowden talked with the media about in these two question and answer sessions from Tuesday afternoon. "I know how last year's team handled adversity, but I don't know how this year's team will handle success," said Bowden.

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Has the running game and the questions surrounding that been on your mind a lot this offseason?
Bowden: Well I'm anxious to see it. You can force feed the issue too much and sometimes you can get into a particular formation and you can get a little too predictable. I think I made the mistake and did that a little too much last year as opposed to going into a one-back offense and let the running game mature out of that. We stayed predominantly in the one back during the spring but we were looking to improve more out of that. I'm going to try and make it more productive this year and let it come more naturally.

Are the fans' expectations too high coming into this season?
Bowden: I think they are high every year which is good. Since I've been here it's more of an education process as far as what's realistic with expectations. With Terry Don Phillips coming in and addressing some the things that need to be addressed and President Barker, as those things are accomplished, then those expectations will be more realistic. They'll always be high, but whether they are realistic or not is what you try to get a handle on.

Are you particularly excited by the thoughts of the upcoming season and what you might accomplish?
Bowden: I don't want to obviously minimize the importance of defense but you get excited about that tall drink of water like Charlie in the pocket and he's got some experience and we've got some pretty good skill people involved with him and our line will continue to improve. That's really exciting and we've got some defensive possibilities. There's no doubt that our success at the end of last year was due to our defensive strength. We got more at bats and our defense played lights out. We need that to happen in order to have success.

How has the momentum from last year affected your program and how do you think your team will respond this year?
Bowden: I'm anxious to see how it effects our two-a-days and the early part of our schedule and the toughness of our schedule. The way we finished last year we did some things that's never been done at Clemson. With the Georgia Tech margin of victory being the most in a 100 years, the Florida State victory was the highest ranked opponent ever, the Tennessee was the second highest ever, the South Carolina victory the most points ever scored. Those have never been accomplished by me or by this school so I don't know. I don't know how the team will respond. I think that's one of the challenges as to how they respond to a bigger bulls eye on their chest. And that's where you want to get to, and we aren't there just yet, but I'm anxious to see how much closer we are to getting there.

Are you comfortable with the veteran players you have coming back this year? Do you have enough experience coming back to handle this kind of schedule?
Bowden: I think that's one of the exciting things because I don't know how they'll handle it. I know how last year's team handled adversity, but I don't know how this year's team will handle success. That's kind of an exciting thing because we'll go through two a days and you'll see some guys that will be thrown into leadership roles that have never been there and how they respond to media attention. Do they go out and work harder? Do they rest on their laurels? Those are the things that are exciting from a coaching perspective. I don't know yet, but that's what we'll find out.

How did your win over your father last year change how things went on your family vacation this year?
Bowden: Well I could wear my hat and my shirt and my 'Who's your daddy t-shirt?' and all that stuff. (laughing) In the state of Florida, my father is a well-known person. You go on vacation and go on the beach and playing golf he's got a crowd either following him or knowing where he is. The game we've been playing- initially the Bowden Bowl was a big production because it was father versus son, lost some of it's luster but with the win we had it's going to gain some of it's national prominence. Being able to hang around with him (this summer) and following in his footsteps is very rewarding.


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