Bowden's Tuesday Press Conference

CLEMSON - Read what Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden had to say about this weekend's game against Florida State.

Opening comments....
Bowden: I talked to him (Bobby Bowden) today. Terry Don made me call him. He's 76. I sent him chocolate covered prunes and a box of depends (laughing).

What will you specifically watch with Charlie Whitehurst this week and his availability for Saturday's game?
Bowden: The amount of practice time and how the shoulder feels. Pain tolerance and amount of practice time.

Do you have to decide early in the week on whether or not Charlie will play?
Bowden: I think today and tomorrow are the key dates because they are the longer practices. Tuesday and Wednesday are the ones that will merit whether they are going to play or not.

How much more confidence do you have in Will Proctor after his performance last week against Duke?
Bowden: Anybody that's been around this position ... going in there and actually performing and executing, it does wonders for your confidence. Management of the game, checks and calls, and then executions of throws. The staff's confidence is elevated because his (Proctor's) is elevated.

If Charlie is healthy, are you a lot more confident with him just because he's been in this situation and won so many big games?
Bowden: I think that just common sense will tell you with a guy that's beaten Florida State, Miami and Tennessee, that you have a lot of confidence in that kind of player assuming he's healthy.

With the defense, did you suggest to Vic (Koenning) about the change with Sergio Gilliam?
Bowden: I let him handle that. He's had a lot more success coaching those guys.

Are you concerned that nine games into the season you still haven't found that replacement for Justin Miller?
Bowden: A little concern. You'd feel a little more comfortable if it was settled. I think we've been fairly productive on defense overall. I know we gave up a lot of passing yardage against Duke and Temple. You'd like to see a guy nail the position down the very first game. You'd have a better comfort zone.

After viewing Duke film, does the offense look a lot different with Will in the game than with Charlie?
Bowden: The play calls are very similar. The plan of attack is very similar. The threat of bigger yardage is a little more real because Will has better running skills.

Do you think the players feel as though this game with Florida State is as big as the game with South Carolina?
Bowden: No. (It's) South Carolina. There's a completely different feel and mental approach in that regard. A rivalry is a rivalry. There's nothing that compared with that. Both of them are very intense. It's just that rivalry is a rivalry.

How much of a rivalry is this game for you?
Bowden: I wish it was more of one. We've played six times and we've won only once. I think we've closed the gap in terms of the competitiveness of the game.

Which family members will come to this game?
Bowden: My brother Steve, Robin, me, my father. Terry is doing Georgia Tech-Virginia.

Do you get the opportunity to savor this moment, father vs. son, and especially considering your father is now 76?
Bowden: I will. You don't now. I think that will come later when either he or I get out of the profession. I think the first year we played it was a chance for his 300th victory. Then they named the field down there after him. Then I played him on his birthday, then last year they unveiled that big bronze statue. You can't enjoy it right now because there is too much at stake. We've got to win this game. I need the win. He wants the win.

With FSU coming off a loss to N.C. State, what do you think their mindset is this weekend?
Bowden: I think the normal analysis is that they would be mad. But hearing my father's analysis on his TV show, they want some respect heading into the ACC title game. He'll have them highly motivated. It doesn't mean as much to them obviously, but he'll have them ready to play

How odd is for them to be so bad running the ball this year with the kind of talent they have?
Bowden: I went through that. Those formations are difficult to run out of. I know it's frustrating at times to go that direction. I made that choice those few years. But again, Oklahoma won that national championship that year ranked 97th in rushing.

Why are they struggling to stop the run when they used to be so good against it earlier this year?
Bowden: I know they have a bunch of injuries. I think it's more up front and that's where (the injuries) it starts.

Did James Davis come out of the Duke game okay?
Bowden: He came out okay but he's nowhere near 100% simply because of the healing process of a broken bone is about six weeks. There is still some soreness and still restriction as far as movement.

What's the cooling down period after this game is over as far as talking to your father?
Bowden: Saturday night or Sunday. I give him 24 hours of venting after the game. I talk to him Sunday, pretty much as norm. I happened to talk to him today because it's his birthday. When I play him, like this week, I probably wouldn't have talked to him any more after Sunday. The biggest thing (we talk about) is how long are you practicing (because of teams being so tired this time of year), and how much hitting, those are the things we talk about the most.

What do you think has changed about your father during the course of the last 30 years of coaching?
Bowden: When I played for him, he cussed. He doesn't anymore. I remember his Friday night talk. Just remembering some of those talks. I'm sure those have changed some because athletes have changes. He's fairly matter of fact. This profession is so emotional, so intense. You know, and he used to appeal to mothers, now he appeals to grandmothers. His biggest change in his philosophy is his involvement in calling plays. From a football standpoint, that's probably the biggest change. He still studies film a lot, and he still stays active in recruiting. He still is very active in the day-to-day operation of a multi-million dollar corporation.

There are 48 kids in this league that have gone the prep school route. What are your thoughts on going that route as a more practical option given the NCAA standards for progress?
Bowden: I think it's a great option. As you go in homes nowadays, you see more of a dysfunctional home and single parent homes. To give a guy an extra opportunity or a second chance to go to prep school is an opportunity I think we need. We've had a lot of successful people, graduate on this team go the prep school route. I hope we continue to do it.

What has been your overall perspective in this series?
Bowden: I think it has to do with the fact that Clemson used to be Florida State, and we aspire to get back. That's one of the things, as a young coach is attractive about this job is the passion, tradition and history. Our fans aspire to be the Florida State of the ACC. Top Stories