Bowden's Sunday Teleconference

<img src=http://media.TheInsiders.com/Media/Other/31_ah-1.GIF> Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Sunday afternoon for his weekly regular season press conference.

Was the second half the best half of football your team has played this year?
Bowden: Yeah, offensively and defensively. I'd say defensively we played pretty good. We missed three field goals offensively, like right before the half. We got one play to get 20 yards to get a field goal, then we missed it.

What does a win like this mean for your program?
Bowden: The biggest thing right now is momentum and confidence to go up and play Duke. We've never really played good up there. They've got a new head coach and playing with new enthusiasm. The environment is going to be different. I'm sure it will be in the paper coming up (that this is a "trap" game). It all depends on the maturity of the team and leadership. They are going to read it in the paper how this could be a letdown and better watch out. We are at the point now where the thing is sitting there on the opposite table, we just got to reach over the table and get it.

Do have any time at all to enjoy a big win like this?
Bowden: We are already on Duke. Other than just sitting on the plane last night, and then sleeping for a few hours and going to church this morning, that's about it. That's the one thing about night games, if it had been a one o'clock game, you'd have more time to enjoy it.

What was the plane ride back home like last night?
Bowden: Once we get on the plane and they get through eating and the lights go out, you are looking at 2:30-3:00 in the morning, it gets real quiet. They were kind of active on the buses going to the airport.

You were sitting at 1-4 just a few weeks ago, now you are on a four game winning streak. Pretty impressive.
Bowden: Well, I think the biggest story there is being 1-4 and then now have the opportunity now to go to a bowl game. That says a lot about this team. We haven't done it yet, we still have to win another game, but at least now we've got the opportunity. That's the most important thing.

Is next weekend's game against Duke a classic "trap" game because you've got South Carolina the next week?
Bowden: I think its just like it was last year right after we beat Florida State. We'll have some fans up there though. I think the last time we lost to them was the year before I was here. This is going to be a game for them where surely they will have an opportunity to spoil things for us.

Your defensive front seemed to really play well last night, can you comment on that?
Bowden: Well they got pressure, and they stopped the run a lot better. If you give him (Berlin) time, he's a very accurate passer. We were in his face and at his feet enough to prevent that.

Can you just talk about Reggie Merriweather and what he brings to the table for your team? Has he solidified himself as the starter now?
Bowden: Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt. He's kind of come to the forefront as the guy that needs to get the ball in critical situations. The other guys have done good. Duane was out a little bit and gained a little bit of weight and just isn't in the kind of shape he was in before he was hurt, and Reggie has capitalized on the opportunity. He runs really really hard at 5-7, 205. He runs over people and has a hard-nosed and aggressive running style. He moves the pile backwards.

Is your offense finally starting to get at the level that it was last year?
Bowden: We are getting closer. Like I said, Miami, the last few weeks had not been up to par defensively like they were earlier in the year or in the past, but you still have to go out there and produce. N.C. State's defense, Maryland's defense are statistically performing better than Miami's right now. This is probably our best offensive performance the last few weeks. And we missed a couple of field goals, missed a couple of deep passes.

You used more one back sets against Miami. Any particular reason?
Bowden: It's just more so the plan that we had been studying against them. That's what other teams had done against them and been successful.

Dean missed a couple of field goals. Is that a concern at this point?
Bowden: They were long but he's got a big leg. He's a real good kicker. None of those kicks were short. Jad isn't good, he's a real good kicker. He's got a real strong leg. He expects him to make them, and I expect him to make them.

When do you order another tombstone?
Bowden: That's Tim job and Andy Johntson. Ya'll go out there, there ain't a lot of them out there, and Miami was 174-2 when leading going into the fourth quarter. This is one of the most significant away wins that we've had at Clemson, based on those statistics.

Notes: Chansi Stuckey re-sprained his ankle against Miami but should play against Duke. Cliff Harrell didn't play in the second half and is officially listed as questionable for Duke.

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