Tommy Bowden Audio (24:00)
Do you see a lot of parallels between the FSU game this year, and the one last year?
Bowden: There are some, because of both of our last performances. They beat Notre Dame last year and then beat UAB this year. We lost to Wake Forest last year and then lost to Texas A&M this year. They are coming off of a win, we are coming off of a loss.
Are you concerned about the confidence of this team right now?
Bowden: We talked about that as a team. We go into the season, or every game, with objectives of getting better every week and playing better as a team. I think as a team, there are disappointments yes, but we didn't lose confidence in our first two games. We didn't perform well (last) Saturday, but I'm anxious to see how they respond.
What was the biggest problem on the offensive line Saturday against Texas A&M?
Bowden: We didn't protect as good as we had in the previous two games. Maybe it's just a talent upgrade from Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, so I'd say that probably be the biggest reason. I think we gave up three sacks in the game.
Do you think you could be playing too many offensive linemen right now?
Bowden: I think it's a necessity right now because we are trying to find the right ones. It's a long season and we've got a lot of football yet.
Who are some of the leaders on this team right now?
Bowden: I think some of the guys, Tommy Sharpe, Charlie Whitehurst, Chansi Stuckey, Airese Currie, Mo Fountain, Leroy Hill, and Travis Pugh.
Is there concern that there the lessons learned from last year are not being carried over to this season?
Bowden: Last year's team lost early and bounced back and had some success later in the season. We'll have to come back from the Georgia Tech loss and then at A&M. We'll just have to bounce back. Did we learn from last year? Hopefully we learned lessons in that game (Wake Forest last year).
How confident with the group you have on the offensive line right now?
Bowden: I really like the future with Barry Richardson, Akeem Robinson, Cory Lambert, some of the guy we've got committed, Chris Capote, Tony Willis, Taylor Tremel, Bobby Hutchinson. We've finally got our numbers back to where we need to be.
You spent the first couple of weeks talking about the "fight" of your team. Were you disappointed in the "fight" in them on Saturday?
Bowden: I was disappointed. This team had never been in the situation in it was from an overtime win over Wake Forest to a tough loss to Georgia Tech. Last Tuesday, from a coaching perspective, we were on the field for a long time. Looking at the game, it didn't look like we had the quickness and the balance of the previous two games. We were out there a little too long, as far as some guys doing some drills and adding onto practice. I've got to look at myself initially because I'm the head coach.
Do you think that Charlie Whitehurst has become a little gun shy this year?
Bowden: Charlie, I think Charlie is his own worst critic. I think he's pressing too much. He needs to enjoy himself and play football. Play relaxed, play like he played near the end of the four games last year. I think Charlie, he's trying too hard and he's too hard on himself. His mechanics take place naturally. Now, he's missed a pass and it bothers him. And it bothers him too much. Not so much that he's forcing balls or stuff like that. When you start pressing mentally, you start adjusting your technique, and then it starts to effect him to some degree.
Are you concerned that you might have lost whatever you gained from last year?
Bowden: No. We've got a lot of football yet. Hopefully I'll be here for a couple more games. I think the program is headed in the right direction. We've lost two games; it's not the end. I don't think it's time to slash your wrist.
How much do you think the scrutiny that Chris Rix is under has effected his performance on the field?
Bowden: I think my father does a pretty good job of shielding a quarterback that's under pressure from the media. He's probably been more scrutinized that any other quarterback in the country because of the program (at FSU). I think father has done a good job of keeping him level headed?
Do you handle yourself any differently this week?
Bowden: I don't think so. Maybe ya'll notice a difference. But I like to think that I've been fairly consistent the six years that I've been here. We'll do some things today at practice that will address the problems we had on film. We missed some tackles (Saturday) so we'll go full speed today and try to address that. We look at the film as a staff, find the problems, and address the problems accordingly. The one thing you don't want to see out of your leader is "flip-flop" mentality.
What kind of confidence level do you have in this team becoming a bowl team?
Bowden: I know we can't get into a bowl being 1-2. We've got eight more games left. As I mentioned earlier, we can be better team this year and it not show on the record.
Will you attend Friday's statue cememony?
Bowden: No, I'll be taking a nap. I just got an invitation last night in the mail. Right now, we'll be getting into meetings and stuff Friday afternoon. I know it will mean a lot for him. As far as the family goes, it means alot. He'll appreciate it more the further he's removed from the game, but I don't think he's going to be removed anytime soon. I think the biggest thing about my father's accomplishment is that he didn't come from Michigan, or have a mentor like Bear Bryant. I wish they name the stadium after him instead of the field.
What does football mean to this family?
Bowden: Football has always meant a lot to the family, it always has. Being able to witness it personally, growing up. Christian faith comes first, and our priorities are really challenged with the first death in our family. Being a coach here at Clemson, you never like to even incinuate that football is not important. Thousands of people attend these games every week and it generates a lot of money for the university. But with what's happened with our family, it re-introduces to your priorities.
Your dad said yesterday that this game is shaping up a lot like the game last year? Would you agree with that?
Bowden: Yeah. When you already have a conference loss, then it's more significant than if you didn't. He's already got one and we've got one. It's more significant in that nature. Whoever loses this game is already out of the conference championship. It's more significant because of that. Last year, it was more significant because of job security.
Defensively, with the front seven, do you have to change schemes, personnel to improve? A little bit of both?
Bowden: Well we've only played three games, and there's still a lot of football yet. It's important that we improve. The defensive staff is studying ways to improve it. For us to be successful, the front four are going to have to be more productive than how they've been in first three games. I've got confidence in our defensive staff. I think we'll find a solution to the problem.
How is this Florida State defense compared to some of the defenses they've had down there in the past?
Bowden: They are like they were three years ago. If you look at Miami's performance against them- Miami scored one touchdown. They didn't score a touchdown for 59 minutes and Miami is a pretty talented team. It's amazing- you put their film, their guys are tall and mean and can run. We're catching up with them, but Miami and Florida State are still at the top (in terms of talent).