Tommy Bowden Press Conference

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

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Can you talk about the return at Reggie Herring this week?
Bowden: He was here eight years and I know he really enjoyed the time he was here. He did a good job for me and he could have been here as long as I was. His team right now, they blitz a whole bunch, and that's kind of his personality. He was a really good football coach when he left, and now that he's been two years in the pros, he's doing really doing well.

Was he frustrated when he left?
Bowden: You'd probably have to ask him. I just assured him during the season that he was going to be here as long as I was here. Whether he was frustrated with the criticism, you'd have to ask him.

Can you explain at the time why you had to explain that to him?
Bowden: I think at that particular time, I might have been reading the newspaper. (laughing)

Is he running some the same things at N.C. State that he did at Clemson?
Bowden: A little bit yet. The 4-3, the base package here is the base package there. He's already been a heavy pressure guy. I think the biggest thing is coaching things as far as player reads, things that he picked up in the pros. It's not something you'll see a lot in his alignments.

Do you think he'll be a little more juiced for this game?
Bowden: To be honest with you, I think he's always pretty much juiced. He's pretty intense.

Did you try to convince him to stay?
Bowden: Yes, we did talk about that. I think he had his mind made up when he left.

What reason did he give for leaving?
Bowden: I really can't think of anything he said. He could probably answer that better than me, but he was pretty convinced that his mind was made up.

How much has your front four played in the defensive turnaround the last two weeks?
Bowden: A lot of difference. It seemed like we've picked up our pass rush, it seems like our coverage in the perimeter is much tighter and we are stopping the run. The last two games, Utah State, Maryland, we've stopped the run and made those teams one-dimensional.

Is the jury still out for you about the defense considering the competition the last two weeks?
Bowden: I think the defensive players want to see if they can take it as far as they did last year. I think the defense themselves would like to see if they can carry it on the rest of the season. The last two performances have been very impressive.

Are you frustrated that the offense has sputtered this season?
Bowden: We've had trouble. Texas A&M, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia are all pretty good teams, but as some point in time you have to mature and be productive. We were a lot more productive against Florida State than Miami, and they are third in the nation. It's going to be tough, but we do need to be more productive. We haven't executed and we need to play smart. There are things like that where we have to improve.

You have beaten every team you lost to last year in the ACC, and lost to every team you beat. Any idea why that is happening?
Bowden: Somebody asked me like that last know I don't know. I haven't brought it up with the players. But there was a pattern emerging with either us or the conference. There's really no kind of mental preparation with the team that alludes to that.

What do you remember about the N.C. State game from two years ago when they played in Death Valley?
Bowden: The next day I had to speak at the Anderson QB club.

What is it about Kelvin Grant that holds him back?
Bowden: Consistency. He's not consistent. That comes in practice; and he's not real consistent in practice. That's a sign of maturity and those things. He's very talented, and I think that consistency will come. He's got to become more efficient with his practice habits.

Have you found that the N.C. State offense has changed a whole lot
Bowden: To be honest with you, it's a similar attack. If you sit there and watch, I think he's a third year guy in Jay Davis. I'm sure he studied Philip Rivers really really hard, and you see a lot of Philip Rivers in him. Not really mechanics. You see a lot carry over.

Is Reggie Merriweather still the starter at running back this week?
Bowden: Yes. He's done well, it's not like there is a lot of separation between him and Duane Coleman, but he's done a good job.

Do you still talk to Charlie about relaxing and having more fun?
Bowden: Quarterbacks to some extent are like baseball pitchers. Charlie he's pitched no-hitters before, and two-hitters and one-hitters, and he'll do that again. Right now, the left handed hitters are hitting him.

Do you find that teams are bringing more pressure on Charlie this year?
Bowden: Not that much more. To be honest with you a little more. As long as he's struggling a little bit, they'll continue to bring the heat. We lost two 5-year starters at tackle, so I would too. So, that seems to be a common trait against what we are doing.

Are you kind of surprised that you haven't had a break out game offensively this year.
Bowden: Yes and no. I thought Georgia Tech we did. As we got into the games after that, the defenses we played. I don't know if anybody we've played defensively has allowed a lot of points against anybody. We've got be more productive. The complete package? Where you go out and throw for 250 run for 250 and score 40 points? That's going to be tough. I don't want my team or myself to use that as a crutch, or an excuse, but I need to be realistic also.

Can you explain why in recent years your teams seem to live on the edge?
Bowden: No. I'd like to figure it out though. I don't know, schedule. We've played pretty good teams in a pretty good conference.

Does your team enjoy being in the underdog role?
Bowden: No, I don't know if I could answer that. I'd eventually like to get to the stage where you have to defend the mountain instead of climbing up it.

Is the ESPN crew following you around for "The Season" this week a distraction?
Bowden: The ESPN crew is very professional. They have sent three of their most productive people, three of their top executives. We are honored to have them, and they are very professional in how they do their work. Top Stories