Tommy Bowden Press Conference

<img src=> Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media this morning for his weekly regular season press conference. The main topic of discussion today: the Virginia Cavaliers.

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What has been the mood, the atmosphere around practice the last few days?
Bowden: I think it's a situation where a win would really boost confidence and raise their spirits. It's like that where you have to appeal to the character of your team.

Is the team down after starting 1-3?
Bowden: The practices aren't as upbeat as if you were on a three game winning streak. These guys are 20-21 years old. They get down in the dumps some, but they get pretty resilient as far as bouncing back. Their spirits are down some but remember this game is on national television on Thursday night.

Do you use the fact that you are 17 or 18 point underdogs as motivation?
Bowden: I think based on the last three games that's probably accurate. Those guys are pretty good. We've been in that role before and won. Its not a point that I'll particularly bring up. I'll focus more on how we need to improve as a team. The games against Virginia the last few years have come down to the wire and I expect that's what will happen again on Thursday night.

Will we see Justin Miller on offense Thursday?
Bowden: Could.

On offense are they less predictable with Hagans at quarterback?
Bowden: When protection breaks down he's got the ability to do something. He's got the ability to do some damage with some downfield running. That to me, is the unpredictability. If the protection breaks down, he'll take off.

Did the off week really come at a perfect time for this team?
Bowden: We'll find out Thursday. The things we tried to talk about and improve on which would be turnovers on offense, drops on offense. They've been addressed; they've been talked about. Now it's time to see if they took it to heart.

What do you know about Wali Lundy's status?
Bowden: Lundy has been really really productive. He's a real powerful runner. But I haven't heard, or been given anything that he won't be playing at 100%. Our understanding is that he's going to be 100%. We will not adjust the game plan if he's not in there.

Do you draw any parallels to last season?
Bowden: There are some parallels. Last year our backs were against the wall. Last year we were 5-4, this year we are 1-3. Again, a wall is a wall. That's similar.

Have you tried to prepare for teams trying to kick away from Justin Miller on kickoffs?
Bowden: We've tried to practice this week to anticipate that coming. They can squib it and do some different things. They'll probably just try to kick it out of the end zone to start with. There are some things that they can do, but we've tried to prepare for different things that they can do.

Some players are talking about the starting the season over?
Bowden: Yeah, we've kind of talked about that some. This is a seven game season. You don't want the team to get real discouraged. We've had 14 giveaways. It's not like we need to revamp the offense, revamp the defense. Lets see if we can create some turnovers defensively and protect the ball offensively.

Is there anything you can do in practice to help limit your turnovers in a game.
Bowden: You know I've talked to a lot of coaches about that. It will eventually turn. They won't continue. They'll eventually stop. You just have to keep playing hard, and practicing hard. We've talked about it, and it's something that we've addressed, but it will eventually turn.

Talk about the challenge of playing at FSU and at Virginia in consecutive weeks.
Bowden: We knew going in that our schedule was very difficult. The schedule is unforgiving, but the schedule is what it is. Had it been a little different, we could have turned the ball over and been 3-1. But it's not. We are going to Virginia to play against a team that is highly ranked. We've played some pretty good teams so far this year. Texas A&M looks like they might be a pretty good team. Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest are pretty good teams. We just can't turn the ball over. We stacked up pretty good against the first four teams without the turnovers. I'm anxious to see how we play without the turnovers.

What do you make of the whole Thursday night record at Clemson? Is there anything special you try to do to change things up?
Bowden: No. There was a while where we didn't win a bowl game, then we didn't beat a top 10 team. We never really deviated from what we did. We beat two teams ranked in the top 10. We won the bowl game. The worm will eventually turn with Thursday night games.

A lot has been said this week about this being a physical game. Can you describe what you mean by "physical?"
Bowden: I think the style of play and formations. You can take a tight end out of the game and put a wide out in. There style, where they run, run, run, run action pass. Or where they have a tight end a fullback and two wide outs. That's what it means. Last year's game was a physical game and I thought we stood up pretty good. Our style is not like that but we can play like that if we have to. It's just that those types of formations are not our preferred course of action.

Have you noticed anything different about the UVA defense?
Bowden: I think the biggest thing is that they are all back and they are a lot more confident. They've all been another year in the program and had another year to work on their strength and conditioning. It's not that they are doing anything different. They are doing the same thing better.

How confident are you in your guys up front to be as physical as they were last year against Virginia?
Bowden: Based on last year's game, that's all I have to go on. I think the first half they have negative yards rushing then they came out and threw the ball 13 times. I'm confident that we have the ability to slow them down, but I don't know if we can stop them like we did last year. Offensively, when push comes to shove, Yusef Kelly ran the football. I'm hoping it will be that type of game.

What does a healthy Duane Coleman bring to the offense?
Bowden: He's very similar. The race had tightened up in spring and preseason until he got hurt. He brings a little bit more to the table. He's not as heavy as Yusef, he's a little stronger than Kyle, and he's got a little bit of what Reggie's got. He has separated himself a little bit. That's pretty much what he brings. It's not significant, but it's enough to name him the starter. He's a very emotional player. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to the table. He just happens to be that way. It's not manufactured hype. That's his personality.

Go out and having fun: you've talked about that with Charlie Whitehurst, but can you carry that across the board to the rest of your team?
Bowden: We need to create some turnovers and limit our turnvoers. To me that's across the board. Effort, scheme, and things like that I really can't fault. If you could just go from 14 turnvoers to seven, we probably go from 1-3 to 3-1 or 4-0 against a pretty tough schedule. Across the board, I'm looking at the turnover issue as the major issue. Top Stories