Bowden Likes Preseason Position

With Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden holding his annual media golf outing on Tuesday, has some early news and notes from the big man himself in an exclusive interview conducted late last week. Would you believe the Tigers' eighth-year head coach has already read seven preseason publications?

EXPECT SOME ATTRITION: Though the numbers won't be dramatic, Bowden said he expects some players to no longer be with the program this year due to a variety of reasons.

"Usually every year there are discipline and academic casualties, or guys get homesick and take off or want to transfer," he said. "The fact is that you sign 25 a year for five years and that's 125 and you can only have 85 on scholarship, so yeah, that's going to happen and it's expected. Most head coaches plan that in their recruiting and the loss of scholarships."

Bowden didn't offer any clues as to who those leaving will be.

FRESHMEN ON THE FIELD? A bevy of freshmen got playing time last year on both sides of the ball, and while the numbers aren't likely to be as high, Bowden said fans can again expect to see freshmen on the field.

"I hope (they don't have to)," he said. "I think our recruiting has been elevated the last few years, but we've got some pretty talented freshmen. We'll throw them out there during the first four or five weeks before the first game and if they deserve to play they will. In the past, freshmen have played early and I don't see this year being any different. Hopefully next year will be."

Among those believed to have the best chance are RB C.J. Spiller, DE Jamie Cumbie, DE Ricky Sapp and kicker Richard Jackson.

PRESEASON HYPE? Bowden said he's read seven preseason magazines and that only one has picked the Tigers to win the ACC. However, he did say that a couple of them picked Clemson to win the Atlantic Division.

Being the hunted rather than the hunter is exactly what Bowden likes.

"I'd much rather be talked about as a team contending for the title," he said. "That's where you'd like to get your program, but we haven't been there and the last time we were in this position (2004), we didn't handle it very well. But, yeah, I'd much rather be talked about as a challenger for the championship every year, but we just haven't been able to do that since I've been here. Hopefully we can."

With nine starters returning on offense, 10 if you count quarterback Will Proctor, Bowden believes on paper, it's the best returning offense he's had during his tenure at Clemson.

"That paper's not worth much," he said. "But on paper it is." Top Stories