There was a sense of relief in the air as Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden discussed Saturday's win over Wake Forest Sunday afternoon.
"That's the one team I dread every year and it's gone," said Bowden. "We had three turnovers and we won the game, and they had one. They won the game by 30 last year and had 16 starters come back, including nine on defense and we won the game.
"I was really pleased. I'm happy for the players, I thought we learned a lot about the team as far as not quitting and coming back and momentum changes."
The sixth year head coach also continued to express respect for Wake Forest and head coach Jim Grobe.
"I'm glad we are finished with them for the year. We've faced them, now everybody else has got to. We've put in our time and paid our dues."
Wake Forest will face East Carolina next weekend before returning home to face North Carolina A&T and Boston College.
Film Review Notes
Bowden said Sunday that the play of Chansi Stuckey was one of several things that stood out to him after reviewing the film of the win over Wake Forest.
"Chansi's performance was just really, really something, in all phases. That's part kicking game, part blocking, running with the ball, running after the catch. It was a tremendous performance," said Bowden.
Bowden also said he was pleased with the play of his offensive line when it came to blocking for Charlie Whitehurst. "They did good, they only gave up one sack with more or less two ex-walk ons. I thought they did a good job," said Bowden.
As of Sunday afternoon, Bowden had only reviewed the play of his offense and special teams.
Running Game Needs Work
The Tigers struggled to establish the ground game Saturday, rushing for just 83 yards on 35 carries.
"I think our longest run was 12 yards by a back, so we'll continue to work on that," said Bowden. "We've got to find somebody back there move the pile or make somebody miss."
Bowden added that he didn't feel like there was a sense of urgency and that Wake Forest returned nine starters on defense from last year's squad.
"We need to keep working on it," said Bowden. "It will improve this year. This was only the first game."
Yusef Kelly was the only running back to carry the ball Sunday (19-57), but Kyle Browning and Reggie Merriweather are expected to see significant time next week against Georgia Tech.
Anthony Waters suffered a broken hand in the first quarter on Saturday but returned to play. Leroy Hill also suffered a shoulder injury but played through it Saturday. Eric Coleman had a sprained knee but it is not believed to be serious.
The Georgia Tech game will be announced as a sell out later this afternoon by the Clemson athletic department...Bowden said the triple option play that was used Saturday was picked up when part of the coaching staff made the trip to Utah earlier this summer to learn some things from the Utes' staff...Bowden also said that he'd like his team to do better in defending the run and converting third downs (6-of-16)...Finally, Bowden said that his quarterback play on Sunday was "average."
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