Clemson Football Notebook

CLEMSON – With all the focus lately on Clemson's lack of a vertical passing game, head coach Tommy Bowden altered his thinking somewhat about the situation after Monday night's practice.

Following Saturday's loss to Boston College, Bowden said the defense and offense needed to be "more wide open." Now, it sounds as though things may stay the same with the conservative play calling.

"Miami threw eight deep balls last year and lost the game," he said. "We threw two more than Boston College did and they won it. I think we're doing enough right now. That was not the reason we lost those two games."

"I think we probably threw it deep more often than Miami did in our game. I know we went deep more than Boston College did and Boston College won the game. Maybe I'm throwing it (deep) too often. I'm throwing too many deep balls. That's my problem."

Just for the record, Bowden laughed at his last statement, but he does believe the offense is taking plenty of chances downfield. Don't expect to see that number increase against the likes of N.C. State, Florida State or Georgia Tech.

Punting competition
Not a lot happened Monday with the new "open" punting competition, but starter Cole Chason begrudgingly understands why Bowden opened up the job.

"Competition always makes you do better," Chason said. "I guess with my performances the last few weeks that would probably be smart. Obviously, I haven't been doing very well. I keep working harder every week."

Chason said he sprained the knee on his kicking leg against Miami and that he wore a brace against Boston College.

Dunham's hit
Linebacker David Dunham's brutal hit on Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan, which caused his unbuckled helmet to go flying and for him to get a busted nose, has been shown a hundred times nationally.

However, there is some talk now on whether or not the hit was legal, even though no flag was thrown. Replays appear to show that Dunham may have led with his helmet, which is illegal. He said Monday that he led with his facemask, which is how defenders are taught to tackle.

"I'll leave that to the officials," Bowden said. "I'm sure not an official. I don't want anything illegal. I think the NCAA's rules do not like hits initiated by helmet. And I would not be in favor of that."

Three keys to winning
Bowden said the three keys to winning a game are turnovers, execution and effort. He said his team is doing well in two of the three.

"You can turn the ball over and still win the game," he said. "Now, since we're second in the nation in turnovers offensively, now it becomes an execution standpoint. We're playing 60 minutes and we're playing smart football, now let's look at the next phase.

"Now the fact that we're the only team in the country that's played this type of schedule, nobody else out of 117 teams, you've also got to take that into account too. Sometimes a team just might be better, but let's make sure we're doing what we can to win."

Quick hits
Bowden said the team seems to be handling Saturday's tough loss fairly well. "I think they're probably a little bit more down," he said. "They bounce back pretty good. The way I've seen them play, they'll respond. Right now, their psyche has been to respond." …

The tackling problem, according to Bowden, is with "one or two individuals. It wasn't the whole bunch." … Bowden wouldn't reveal if any changes on the depth chart had taken place. "I'll let you know here about Saturday at 10 o'clock in the morning like I typically do." …

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