Bowden's Tuesday Press Conference

CLEMSON - Read what Coach Bowden had to say about Saturday's game against the Duke Blue Devils.

Will Charlie Whitehurst play Saturday against Duke?
Bowden: We'll see if he practices and how much. And we'll make that decision before the game.

What prevented you from playing Will Proctor last week?
Bowden: The score was close. And I went with experience. Game experience. I should have gone with practice experience.

Missing practice time: describe the difference a quarterback would have in not practicing through the course of a given week.
Bowden: It's a tremendous amount of difference. Obviously you try to paint a picture in the quarterback's mind. You give him as many presentations as you can (of the defense) that stays. In the game, you make the decisions through habit. You develop a habit through repetition. The quicker you can make the correct decision.

Is any of his "arm soreness" preventing throws downfield?
Bowden: You'll have to ask him. I think he's going to be available. I do know right now, he's on pace to establish the school record of passing percentage. So he's been effective.

Who is your third string quarterback?
Bowden: The third string quarterback is Cullen Harper.

Did his injury effect your play calling?
Bowden: Did it? No.

Did Rob Spence do a lot talking about playing Will Proctor last week against Georgia Tech?
Bowden: He brought that up. But there are situations brought up every week among the coaching staff. Fourth down? Punt it or go for it? I get in conversations with all coaches in the course of a game and during the week on personnel. So the conversations I've had with him have been no different.

Does the fact that it's Duke make it easier to play a back up quarterback for this game?
Bowden: We lost to Duke last year.

Have you given any thought to playing Will Proctor the rest of the year considering his lack of game experience and that he's the only returning quarterback with experience next season?
Bowden: No. I haven't even thought about that. If Charlie is healthy and can practice, then he'll play. The biggest concern, from my perspective, is that it's a new offense. There's not a huge amount of separation in knowledge of the offense, but there is in game day experience (between Will and Charlie). And that's important.

Is Will Proctor a better fit for this offense?
Bowden: Better fit? I don't know, we'll find out next year.

If Charlie wasn't injured, there is really no quarterback controversy?
Bowden: Yes, if he (Charlie) practices. It's a pretty cut and dry situation.

Do you feel more comfortable replacing Charlie as opposed to 2002 when you replaced Willie Simmons?
Bowden: Yes. A lot more. Charlie was a redshirt freshman. Will is older. He's a fourth year junior. He's very very sharp in meetings. And what we've seen of him in the spring game, and the preseason against live bullets against our defense, and against A&M and Temple. Will is a little more athletic and runs better.

How do you think Charlie is handling this situation?
Bowden: Ya'll have been around him. I think he's handling it pretty good. When he had a frustrating season last year you saw how he handled it. I've got a lot of confidence in how he's handling it.

What's the most difficult part of this season for you right now?
Bowden: Being 4-4 and when you lose game on the last play of the game. Our four losses have come on the last play of the game. I get kind of physically sick when you lose. Probably most coaches do. When you lose them all close. In your mind, you say that play or that play is the difference in the game. Then you try to, on the flip side, defensively; we are sitting here at 30th in the nation in scoring defense, and would be 15th in the nation during regulation. Then I see 150 yards rushing against this Georgia Tech. I saw Auburn get 50. You try to look and see the positives. Bottom line it's wins and losses.

Do you feel the external pressure from fans?
Bowden: Like I said. My wife got the sign out of the yard on Sunday. Other than that, I don't feel it. I avoid the media. I'm not naive and I know the sense of urgency.

How do you think the players would react to having Will Proctor in there on game day?
Bowden: I'd say they'd react like they did in the Texas A&M game.

How about James Davis? Will he play more this week?
Bowden: He'll be more ready to go this week as opposed to last week. Just by the way he ran, he was a little uncomfortable it looked like. Hopefully he'll see more playing time this week.

How did Cole Downer come out of Saturday's game?
Bowden: Good. Medically, he had no problems.

Was last year's game against Duke your toughest loss as a head coach? And if so, why?
Bowden: Yes. Because we had superior personnel.

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