Changes Coming on Special Teams

CLEMSON – In his season-ending press conference Friday afternoon, Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden said he was "pleased" and not "satisfied" with the progress of his team in 2005. However, he added that there will be some major adjustments with those in charge of special teams.

All season, several areas of the Tigers' special teams struggled, most notably in the punting department.

Entering its Champs Sports Bowl game against Colorado, the Tigers were 114th out of 117 Division I schools in net punting with a 29.29 yard average. They were also 83rd in the country with a punt return average of 7.14 yards.

"The only thing I'm going to look at (in coaching moves) is special teams," Bowden said. "There could be changes in that area from assignment wise."

Bowden said that was all-around play of the special teams was his "biggest disappointment" for the season and that fans might have seen the last of that swinging gate punt formation.

Clemson had five punts blocked this season. It also had and two field goals and extra point blocked.

"We were very, very average," Bowden said. "I may be moving some guys around."

Another area Bowden stressed that is important in the off-season is recruiting.

He said they will sign 20 players even though they have only 17 scholarships available. Bowden added that it's not a concern because numbers usually free up during the spring, be it injury, discipline, grades or transfers.

With 18 players having committed already, Bowden said he and his staff are going to focus on signing a running back and a defensive player.

Clemson's first big day for hosting recruits will be Jan. 13.

The last piece of important news is that Bowden expects his entire coaching staff to return for 2006, "Unless I have a position coach go to a coordinator or a coordinator go to a head coach… There's not a lot of jobs open this year. The next six weeks is when there might be some contact."


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