Q&A with Tommy Bowden

<b>Greensboro, N.C.</b>- "Last year the questions were different, it was all about job security, that's all it means to me is that we've changed the conversation from hot seat to fourth," said Tommy Bowden Monday afternoon when asked about his team being picked 4th by the media.

You were picked fourth in the ACC this year. Your thoughts on that?
Bowden: Fourth is alright. I don't know what we were picked last year, maybe fifth? It's kind of a non-factor as you go through the season but it's good for the media to write about. I guess other than Maryland, to me, they ought to be bumped up higher, but to me those first two (FSU & Miami) are where they should be. Just based on what's happened the last 10 years, those two should be up there pretty high. After that you can pretty much throw a hat in a ring or draw a name out of a hat.

Does fourth place mean any more to you this year?
Bowden: Last year the questions were different, it was all about job security, that's all it means to me is that we've changed the conversation from hot seat to fourth.

Are the new recruiting proposals restricting specific kinds of air travel going to impact you this year?
Bowden: You know 24-48 hours isn't a lot of time to have a recruit and now having to commute back and forth between the airport is a disadvantage. It's such a fine line in college football with parity you have to have everything clicking on those visits. All of a sudden that guy is tired now spending an hour driving somewhere and back, or there are problems with the weather or with the plane itself. To have those guys now having to travel more, to me that's a disadvantage. The rule was created for parity, but for a school like ours it's a disadvantage.

Do you have thicker skin now after what you went through last season?
Bowden: Well I think I have pretty thick skin anyways. I'm also fortunate in that I've got a father and a brother who have pretty much gone through that same sort of scenario. And then, if you followed my career you know that I have a tremendous amount of faith and a strong Christian foundation. When you've got that, you've got something to hold onto.

Are you looking forward more to this season than some of the others since you've been at Clemson?
Bowden: No, you know I think as a head coach it's an exciting time of year. Now I've got a quarterback that's kind of a proven veteran, we've got some pretty exciting skill position players. In that regard it's a little bit different because of all the people we've got coming back. But they are all exciting. In my position, you have to be...your players and staff are going to get their enthusiasm and excitement off of you.

You said last week that you weren't going to try and force the running game this year. Can you expand on that any?
Bowden: Well a lot of that will be dictated by the defense and what kind of look they give us. Now, I plan on from a formation standpoint to be a little more one back than two back specifically. The two back set is so much easier to defend than a one back offense. We are going to try and run it, and run it from the one back but how often initially, whether Charlie does it or it's play action or whatever will be determined how we play against Wake Forest or Georgia Tech.

How do you think Charlie has adjusted without Derrick Hamilton and Kevin Youngblood?
Bowden: We've got some pretty good skill people coming back. Both of those guys were good, but we've done a pretty good job this year recruiting those types of players. Kelvin Grant will step into the role of Kevin Youngblood. Chansi Stuckey does a good job running with the football, so I think we can replace those guys. I also think Charlie feels pretty comfortable overall with the guys coming back.

How long does it take for "state of the art" facilities to become outdated in this day and age of recruiting?
Bowden: It's pretty quick. You know I don't know. I remember being at Auburn in 1990 and their building was 3 years finished. But they built an extensive shell on it too and I went there two weeks ago and they've built that up pretty good. So I think once the foundation is built, you can keep things fairly updated. We just jumped in from a football perspective full speed about 6 months ago. That West Endzone Project, I think we are going to be jump in up-to-speed with what we are building, but I think we'll also leave room for growth.

With all the fuss made about official visits these days, what's it going to take 10 years from now to impress recruits?
Bowden: Gosh I don't know. We've got them 7 flat screen TV's with GameBoys hooked up into them. I can't imagine in 5 years what's going to be expected. I don't know what's going to happen in five years. I don't know when it's going to stop. I think the presidents are doing some things from a recruiting perspective now in terms of the meals and jets, and that sort of thing.

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