Tommy Bowden Press Conference

<img src=http://media.TheInsiders.com/Media/Other/31_ah-1.GIF> 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 Utah State Aggies.<BR>

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Is homecoming a good time to re-focus and get this team headed in the right direction again?
We have had five games and taken them all in the fourth quarter with close scores. The problem of the preceding five games is still the same. Whether it's a conference game or not, I think we'd still be addressing the same issues. That's what I have to do as a head coach, either veto or promote the plans.

Are there parts of your game plan that you can live with at this point?
I'll be more confident when we're productive on offense and getting off the field on defense.

Are you worried that Charlie Whitehurst hasn't found a rhythm?
It's tough to find a rhythm in 48 plays. It's tough to find a rhythm in 54 plays. That's been the case the last two games, before that it was tunrovers. I don't think that's as much a problem as getting big plays and stopping them on third down.

Have you thought about going to the hurry up offense again?
There are some restrictions on that that we didn't have to face three or four years ago. When you snap it real quick, there is less that you can do than more you can do. But the rules have limited how much speed up you can do.

Is it good to be home again?
It will be good to get back. We'll need support from our fans. It will be good to go out and feel the environment that we haven't felt in a while. The atmosphere Clemson creates is something that is known throughout college football.

Do you get the sense that there is frustration setting in with the program?
Nobody is more frustrated more than the players and coaching staff is. I'm sure they'd be more enthusiastic if we were 4-1 rather than 1-4. We are close and I want the player to know that we're close.

Would you change the type of schedule that you have if you could?
We've played good competition. We could probably schedule two more wins and could have been here at 4-1 instead of 1-4 and getting ready to go into the meat of the schedule. … We're probably the only team in the country that's probably started out with two straight conference games. It'd be preferred that I'd like to have those (non-conference) games at the beginning as opposed to the end and the middle. An early season non-conference loss is not as demoralizing as an early season conference loss.

What are some of the positives and the negatives of your team up to this point in the season?
The thing that I've always stressed is that to compete for a championship is in points allowed. Not getting any turnovers, I would say those are the negatives. On the positive, we have gone into the fourth quarter with the chance to win a game.

Some of the players are talking about the fact that they need to finish 5-1 to get a bowl game. Is that a good thing that they are thinking that far ahead, instead of maybe just focusing on Utah State this week?
If they're thinking about that, then obviously their thinking about winning. To me, that would be more positive.

What kind of run-pass ratio would you like to have with your team?
I'd like to run it 65 percent of the time and pass it 35 percent of the time. That would be idewal. If I could do that, then we could be winning and I could run the ball late and control the game and not run the score up.

Halfway through the season are you surprised by what you are seeing around the league with some teams?
Well I think if you look at what happened this weekend. North Carolina opens up and gets killed by Virginia, Louisville beat them 34-0 at home, and look what the did this weekend. Same thing with Georgia Tech. I think right now, if you look at Florida State and Miami they are about what they thought. Virginia might be separating themselves. If you throw the rest of us in there right now. It looks like the two have separated and Virginia, then the rest of the conference.

Can this conference make a legitimate claim as one of the best in the country?
I think you have to look more towards to the end of the year before you make that assessment. You can make a better evaluation after the bowl games.

In light of what happened this weekend with N.C. State and Maryland, do you think it gives your team hope that they can turn things around with those two teams coming up on the schedule?
I hope so. To me that's logical. I think the scores indicate that. We've been close in every game in the 4th quarter. I don't want them to lose sight that we aren't doing everything wrong. We're not happy where we are, but we're not far off.

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