Bowden's Tuesday Press Conference

CLEMSON - Listen to Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden talk about Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

Are you concerned at all about your team's mental status after going through so many close games this year?
Bowden: You start breaking down where we are. Are we playing smart? Are we doing the right things? I think we are third in the nation in penalty yards. Are we turning the ball over? We've only turned it over once. … I think the mental frame of mind is good. To be undefeated right now, we'd have to minimize the missed assignments we've had. That's what we are working on right now. … Mentally, I think we are in good shape.

Do you put the dropped passes in the same category as missed assignments?
Bowden: No. I try to make that point clear when I talked to the team yesterday. Nobody is going to ever go through a whole season (being perfect). If the schedule would have been easier, the missed assignments wouldn't be as magnified as much (up to this point). But right now, with what this team wants to do. I think they want do good.

Wake Forest has been a thorn in your side the last couple of years. Can you address what they do that gives your team problems?
Bowden: I'd say their plan of attack is going to be very similar. They give full scholarships just like South Florida does, and they beat Louisville. They are a well-coached team. They are sound. You saw guys running free in that game (LSU vs. Tennessee) game last night. You won't see that against Wake Forest.

The running game, are you getting the production you want right now?
Bowden: I would say we would like to have more running yards. Also, in this type of offense, the little quick flare that Tyler Grisham caught against Miami, that's like a toss sweep. The little draw play where we flip it out underneath, that's like a run. I'd like to have more true running yardage. And we'd like to be a little more productive in short yardage running the football. We need to be a little bit more productive and I hope we will as we continue to grasp this offense. Hopefully we can improve.

Does the last trip to Wake Forest stand out in your mind considering everything that happened afterwards … the talk of the hot seat and the four-game winning streak?
Bowden: No, that's a part of the profession. That was just the first time I experienced that. I've had my time. There will probably be another time in the future based on the profession. The players, they forget things like that to be honest with you. I'm sure the preparation this week will all be based on schemes. Not me, personally.

Is there an explanation for not committing penalties this year?
Bowden: For a while, I do know, I don't know if I was in the conference yet. When Florida State went on that run with 10 straight ACC titles, I think they led the conference in penalties every year and was winning the conference. I think you can do that when your level of talent is above everybody else's. If you don't have (that talent) it's going to come back to haunt you.

Have you seen the defensive collisions that you were asking for a few weeks ago?
Bowden: We are getting more. I think a lot of that comes with the comfort zone with what you are doing defensively. I think they are going to come. We aren't to the level where we will be at in the future. I think earlier we were playing 14 freshmen, now we are playing more than that. Dorrell Scott had a big play, and I think that was his first defensive action. I think those collisions will come as soon as we mature up front with some of these young guys.

You had the element of surprise coming in with a new offense.
Bowden: I would say it's worn off against one of the nation's toughest schedules. But I think being in a position to win every game we've played against this type of schedule, it's been more successful than what happened last year.

You've been asked this a lot this week, but do you feel the need to go downfield more?
Bowden: I have been asked that a whole bunch. My wife asked me. I think right now, as much as we need to, obviously, just like anything else, the further you go into your schedule and develop tendencies, you need to have tendency breakers. From an offensive standpoint, we've put ourselves in position to win every game. So I've got to be careful. I would say, as the season goes on, you are going to have to sprinkle some deep throws. I think we've got enough now because we are in a position to win.

Is there concern for a letdown playing in an atmosphere at Wake Forest? A place where the stands may not be full, etc?
Bowden: That's always a fear, and that's why we talk about Boston College coming into this environment, I thought they would really enjoy playing here because this environment excites you. It's one of the best in college football. What you want is your team to have the maturing level. We've got to get that third win. Let's attack these missed assignments with a sense of urgency. We need to go up there and play with that in mind as opposed to who's in the stands.

Are there little things you can do to prevent turnovers like what your team has demonstrated this year?
Bowden: Chop off hands (laughing). Last year, I had a huge problem and I called head coaches that did not have the problem to see if there was anything I was missing, and the general consensus is that it goes in cycles.

Reggie got more carries than James last week?
Bowden: It's more of a hot hand. Then there is a rotation. A lot of is just feel. There really, it's kind of a feel going into the game. You kind of flip back and forth.

How is James doing in his assignments?
Bowden: Good. As far as James, Tyler Grisham, Rendrick Taylor, and Aaron Kelly, they've all done a phenomenal job. I've been impressed with James and the other freshman skill guys because as you can see, there are multiple formations and changes (going on the field).

Can you talk about Anthony Waters? He seems to have really stepped up in recent weeks.
Bowden: I'm glad you brought him up because I brought him up to the team the other day. He saw that No. 52 (D'Qwell Jackson) up there, potentially a first round draft pick, and I think Anthony personally challenged himself, 'okay that guy is going to get all the attention, let me see what I can do.' Since then, he has now put three games together that are really really impressive. He's putting himself in position right to do some things Leroy Hill was doing. I'm really really pleased with Anthony's effort.

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