Bowden Previews the Buffs

CLEMSON - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden looks forward to the Dec. 27 bowl game in Orlando.

Given that the bowl game is two days after Christmas, how important is it for you try and drum up support from your fans for this game?
Bowden: I think it's important that we have a good showing. I think the record is 8,500. I hope we surpass that. Right now, with the way recruiting is going and the guys we have coming back. Our fan base and fan following and comments that commentators are making on TV. That fanatical fan support- that's appealing to prospects. I don't know how many we'll take, but I hope we surpass the record. I'd really like to challenge our fans inspite of the holiday. They should have their money saved from last year (and not having to travel for a bowl game).

You had a letter on the web site addressing the fans about showing up for the game.
Bowden: I think it's more of to maintain momentum. It's not something you can accomplish by yourself as a coach to get to a championship game Saturday and get to the BCS. It's a situation where you have to have everybody on board. That was more about continuing momentum.

How do you guys go about celebrating Christmas down there?
Bowden: My wife has been doing that for the last 10 days. We are going to have to probably practice on Christmas. We'll plan something, probably that morning as a team. This is the first bowl game that I've been involved in where I won't be home on Christmas day.

Does the mileage money really make this game more appealing for the players?
Bowden: The distance and mileage money wasn't that (more) appealing. But anytime weather is a factor in an outdoor stadium, plus probably, New York City is No. 1 and Orlando is No. 2 for tourists. I would think it's awful appealing.

Playing in Florida has to be helpful for you in terms of recruiting?
Bowden: Yes, because every day something will be written in the paper (in Florida). That surely can't hurt you. Print media exposure, a five second film clip at night.

How soon will you begin breaking down film of Colorado?
Bowden: Someone Rob found a Colorado film yesterday. I don't know where he found it from. But I think the 11-game exchange should be here tomorrow. Coordinators I'll try to keep them here this week, the other seven guys will be on the road.

It sounds as though Gary Barnett may be on the proverbial hot seat. Thoughts on that?
Bowden: I've sat here as a coach and watch my father lose a national championship game to Florida. I've watch Spurrier lose to 50 or 60 to Nebraska. Surely I've had my beatings. It's amazing. I think they've won their division four out of five years. So I don't understand. I'm not out there. But I don't understand the rhyme or reason.

The last time you went to Orlando you were beaten soundly.
Bowden: It's a completely different opponent and a completely different offense. That particular team put 50 points on the scoreboard against Texas. 50 against Texas A&M. Of all the draws you get, that's the one you didn't want. I won't talk much about that. It was pre-Christmas, all the guys were thinking about going home for Christmas. We caught the wrong team at the wrong time.

Kirk Herbreit said that you have most to lose in this bowl game of any head coach because Colorado is horrible. Your thoughts?
Bowden: Like I mentioned, the score 70-3 kind of jumps out at you. Southern Cal beat UCLA pretty substantially. I think that's what those entertainer type guys do. I've seen guys like Barnett bounce back and be pretty competitive in his next game.

Is this game a start to next year or the ending to the 2005 season in your eyes?
Bowden: It's a combination. We will have an opportunity to practice some younger players and do some fundamentals work and some scrimmage work. It's also a game for the seniors. They have been pretty successful. They'd like to get an eight win season and jump into the top 20. It's an initial start.

The last time you went to Orlando you lost 55-15. How did you rebound during that offseason to win nine games the next year? What did you different?
Bowden: Nothing particular. You just kind of come back in this profession coaches are on the road recruiting. Nothing was really discussed about the score or let's work harder because of that. We are always working hard in the weight room in January.

Does an eight win season seem that much more impressive than seven if you can win this game?
Bowden: I think it's much like the bowl game when you say ‘win six games you get sent, win seven you get options.' It's a boost. It's a little more momentum going into the weight room and conditioning. I think it's more confidence that comes with eight wins as opposed to seven.

Is Vic Koenning in line for a raise after talking with Texas A&M?
Bowden: I'm sure eventually ya'll will get a hold of that information.

One of your main goals at the start of the year was to start the season and end the season ranked.
Bowden: That's another reason why eight looks better than seven. That's another accomplishment for your seniors.

Having seven wins this year and knowing where Georgia Tech and Boston College ended up, do you think that this was probably the best game you could have ended up?
Bowden: Yeah. There were other scenarios out there on the table. Most of our guys probably prefer warm weather. We are extremely excited.

Has Tye Hill exceeded your expectations in his development?
Bowden: He really has because he came here as a running back. He's worked really hard. It's good to see somebody like that and get rewarded. He may have exceeded his own.

Coach Spurrier had South Carolina ranked ahead of Clemson in his last coaches poll. Your thoughts?
Bowden: I didn't have him rated. At all. Because I knew this last one was going to be public, so I put a lot of thought into it. Head-to-head competition is usually what I go off and strength of schedule and I think we had a little bit more difficult schedule. He was smoking something. Top Stories