Tommy Bowden's Tuesday Press Conference

CLEMSON - Listen to Clemson's head coach talk about Saturday's game against Maryland.


Tommy Bowden Tuesday Press Conference (39:26)

Can you take anything away from Maryland's first game against Navy last weekend?
Bowden: Very little. That's a good question. It's not real helpful to us other than personnel. It's not real helpful. It's more or less last year's cut-ups (film). Three out of their front four guys are new, three out of their secondary guys are new.

What can you say about D'Qwell Jackson, their star linebacker?
Bowden: I don't know his name, but I know his number. He's good. He's real good. His size, strength, agility, instincts. He reminds you of a bigger version of Leroy Hill.

Do you consider this week a true test considering you want to see how this team responds after a big win?
Bowden: I don't know if it's a true test. But a true test is putting a consistent winner on the field. We haven't done that. Once we do that, like FSU, Miami, and Oklahoma the last few years. Our true test right now is we can play for a championship game and win it. A National Championship game. Or winning the division. We need to solve our problems against A&M. That's a true test.

With your adjustments this week...any personnel changes?
Bowden: Yeah I think we need to look at who our top performers. Reggie Merriweather was one of our top performers in the red zone area. I probably made a mistake by not putting him in position (in the red zone).

Was it a matter of a rotation or was it a planned event to have James Davis in the game on that final drive.
Bowden: That was not planned or choreographed at all. It just happened to be his time. My pre-game comments were that we were going to ride the hot hand. He had the hot hand at that time. I said beforehand that you'd probably see one or two guys separate. I can't see us doing it by four (running backs) every single game.

Why did A&M have so much success running to the left Saturday night?
Bowden: I don't know, you'd have to ask Vic (Koenning). I didn't notice that. They might have had some plays where that just happened.

What did you think about Charlie's performance over the three quarters he played?
Bowden: I was pleased. Threw for 73%, right around there. It was a simple passing attack. You could see that they were high-percentage throws.

No offensive touchdowns against A&M. Are you concerned by that?
Bowden: It would be a concern after three or four games. Three or four games after no touchdowns, I'd be concerned.

Did you talk to James personally about going out there and proving to these fans that he was the real deal?
Bowden: He probably got evaluated by so many people. I might have said something like that, but I don't recall the conversation.

Is it easier to address these players during practice after a big win as opposed to a loss?
Bowden: There's no doubt. Going out to practice last night after a win, our players have responded well after defeats, but, the atmosphere and environment are there, and the enthusiasm is a lot more obvious after a win. There's a lot of lessons to be learned after losing, but there's a lot more to learn after winning.

Can you talk about using so many freshmen against Texas A&M and how those guys did?
Bowden: I think we played eight true freshmen and six redshirt freshmen. That's a lot. I think we played six or eight true freshmen in the first half alone. I think I heard Oklahoma was going to play 13 true or redshirt freshmen and lost. We played 14 and won against a pretty good opponent in Texas A&M. I was real pleased in playing that many. The pass that Curtis Baham caught for a first down, Tyler Grisham was in the game doing what he was supposed to do.

Did those freshmen make fewer mistakes than what you anticipated before the game?
Bowden: Yes, they really did which is a credit to the staff from an execution standpoint.

Have you discussed with this team that this is a division game?
Bowden: I already have. When I was in the SEC for 11 years, we never had divisions. Now it's for keeps. It was discussed Monday to the team right off the bat.

Maryland doesn't lose at home very often?
Bowden: Well they won three years in a row (10 games before last season). We've struggled with them. They've been a really different opponent for us offensively. Hopefully we can turn the tables. They've given us problems home and away. As this conference materializes over the next few years, I think we'll all find out that playing on the road in this conference is going to be difficult.

Could you talk about Charlie? Is he going to be okay?
Bowden: I don't think he's going to have any problems. Yesterday at practice he didn't. The medical evaluations Saturday night and Sunday all checked out at 100%.

How comfortable are you with a field goal kicker like Jad Dean after what he's done for you in two years?
Bowden: You know last year, he was 12-out-15 and led the ACC in field goal percentage. I think I feel comfortable (up to) 57 yards, right around there. He's got a powerful leg and right now he's got a lot of confidence. I feel really good about Cole, I feel bad he had a lot of bad snaps.

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