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Tommy Bowden Audio (31:50)
What's the biggest difference between this week and last week now that you are coming off a win?
Bowden: It's just that you can tell the spirits are a little brighter. At any level, it does a lot for you mentally. It instills more confidence when you win after a couple of losses in a row.
What is the biggest difference between Utah State and Maryland?
Bowden: Defensively it will be a huge difference. Maryland, when you watch them defensively, they've never really had an off game. They've been fairly consistently. The biggest difference will be talent level.
Have you ever faced a team that is struggling this much offensively? (Maryland has averaged less than 100 yards of total offense the last two weeks.)
Bowden: I've had my own share of struggles offensively as most coaches have at some point in their careers. He hasn't had that yet. It's more of a media focus right now because he's so well known offensively.
What has been the biggest difference with Maryland this year compared to last year?
Bowden: Looks like the execution of the quarterback. I really haven't seen much of their offense, just bits and pieces that I hear. They've had some quarterback execution problems. I'm not sure about the line or injuries, or things of that nature.
What's the main differences between their two quarterbacks?
Bowden: The freshman (Jordan Steffy) was a little more mobile. You know he was here taking official visits around this time last year. He probably moves a little better and is a little more athletic.
Is beating Ralph Friedgen a bit of a hurdle for you considering how you have yet to beat him at Clemson?
Bowden: It will eventually be overcome. He hasn't beaten my father yet and I have. I don't put much stock in that.
How do you think you can build off last week's defensive performance?
Bowden: I'm hoping it will. Our success last year was initiated by the defense. The tempo was set by the defense. If we can capitalize on our defensive play the rest of the season, that will be key. Hopefully, we can carry over momentum from this game. I don't think there's any doubt that if we can have similar performance to what we just had (against Utah State), we can be successful.
Can you comment on the trend that you have won ACC games against teams that you lost to last year?
Bowden: That's the first time I've heard that. That's the way it's happened. Maybe it's just a mental edge or the other team is a little hungry.
Can evaluate Charlie's performance so far this year, particularly with the interceptions?
Bowden: Some of those you have to, when it gets to the actual number, it's eight or nine, and that's still too many. Saturday- there was the overthrow. I think he played against Virginia and Utah State- those have been pretty good performances. You'd like to see him four or five games without interceptions, and we haven't done that. I've got to do a better job of putting him position to do that, and to be successful.
Do you expect Chansi Stuckey and Kelvin Grant back this week?
Bowden: Yes. Chansi is still not 100%. Kelvin would be.
How does that effect Michael Collins?
Bowden: If we were to start a four-receiver set, Michael would start. He's kind of proven now that he's a steady performance. In a three-receiver set it would be Airese, Chansi, and Curtis Baham. He's not as fast Kevin Youngblood, but a little bit bigger. Not as fast, but very similar as far as height. It's important when you aren't as fast, that you catch everything around you. He's doing the things right now that he needs to do.
Have your special teams been the best part of your team so far this year?
Bowden: Yes. Until Cole's punt on Saturday, he had been pretty good. Other than that, special teams have been the best. Jack Hines, he's always been consistent with punt blocking. I think its also been the return game- Derrick Hamilton last year, Justin Miller this year. David Blackwell now has three punt blocks. I think some of it is coaching and some of it is personnel. Jad Dean, who's been kicking off, is getting those touchbacks.
Offensively, how do you attack Maryland after they've had so much success against you the last three years?
Bowden: Defensively, they have always been fairly successful against us. I would think the plan of attack (for them) is going to be very similar. He'll have some wrinkles based on their evaluation of us offensively. But if you watch the film, that will be our initial plan of attack. They'll pressure. They're defensive lineman- are they over the tackle? We'll go not so much with our gut, but on statistics and computer printouts of what they are doing this year, and what they did last year.
From a mental standpoint, is this the biggest challenge that your offensive line will face this year considering all the slides they like to do up front?
Bowden: I think that scheme wise, they do as a good a job as anybody. This is going to be more of assignment challenge than a team like Florida State who is more athletic or Virginia (who has similar type of bodies). Their front guys do a really good job.
After just one win, did this team get the kind of momentum it needs to be successful for the rest of the season?
Bowden: I think it will come some more this week because I'd like to see, for example, how the defense responded at the end of the game Saturday. Offensively, the running game, we rushed for close to 200 yards. Now, again, it's going to be the quality of opponent and consistency. Nobody has really run against Maryland. Nobody up to this date has run the ball consistently against them.
When you were talking about going to plan B a couple of weeks ago?
Bowden: You want to turn it up another notch, and defensively we did, and offensively we did it in the second half. Plan B- we didn't have to go it. We haven't had to go to it. Had we not won the game, or played really poor...we did some things defensively that had never been done. Minus 20 yards rushing against a I-A opponent that were the first ever done here. We did some things that make you think we are more solid than the first four games. I'm anxious to see if that can carry over this week against Maryland.
What was the rationale in using the huddle a little more the last two weeks?
Bowden: We had some plays that we thought were good regardless of the front so we could huddle and go up there and run it. It's just a different change of pace.
It seems like the statistics point to this being a low scoring, defensive game. Does that make turnovers more important?
Bowden: There's no doubt. We need to go through a game with no turnovers. Not two or one. We need to go through a game with none.