Bowden Press Conference Notes

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to discuss No. 19 Clemson's upcoming game with North Carolina.


Competitively is it harder to win a National Championship than when Clemson last won it in 1981?
Bowden: I don't think there's any doubt. You can start with parity, scholarships and work your way down. Arms race. The dominant teams that you saw, being from the southeast, like Alabama signing 150 guys so Auburn couldn't get them. Those days are over.

Does UNC's offense present some of the same problems that Boston College did two weeks ago?
Bowden: Yeah I do. I know a little bit about (offensive coordinator) Frank Cignetti. I've watched his offenses at Fresno State. Run, run-action pass. Physical. I would anticipate he was hired for that reason. I would say it's more like a Boston College type environment for our defense.

Have we seen the end of Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno-type coaches staying at the same school for 30 or 40 years?
Bowden: Most definitely. I don't think there's any doubt. The losses, I'd say I speak for a lot of coaches but not all, but stay with you for seven days. The victories for about 24-48 hours. Over time that starts to add up. There's more pressure. There's more expectations. Salaries magnify the pressure.

What's the update on the placekicking deal? You said you weren't going to kick at halftime then you did.
Bowden: Practicing. Since I had the lead with eight seconds left I felt a little more secure. I think I was ahead 14-9 at half and had two blocked and that was the only points they had. When I got ahead 26-20 with eight seconds to go, I said lets practice and make one. We need to shave about .2 seconds off (the kick).

What about Jad Dean's confidence? Is that a concern?
Bowden: No, I think he'll speed up. I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue. I did a poor job of recognizing that. It was lack of attention to detail on my part. He'll respond like he has for four years. He has a pretty good tracker record. It's going to be easy to correct?

So were the times that Jad kicked against Florida Atlantic were the same as Florida State at Boston College?
Bowden: Yeah. And that's where I didn't do a good job.

Any chance of overlooking North Carolina?
Bowden: That's been our problem in the past. Messing up and losing a game where we are favored. Just because you are favored doesn't mean you are necessarily going to win the game. When you don't have the same intensity in practice and on Saturday's that's when you get in trouble. But how we responded when we opened the season against Florida Atlantic and to some of the summer tragedies we had with Antonio Clay and with Jarrett Foster, I think we'll see that again (Saturday). I think we will see a different tone. I believe Furman punted three times against North Carolina. Rutgers punted three times against North Carolina. Virginia Tech punted seven times.

You said last week you felt like the Boston College game was the best your team had played up front offensively. Did you feel that way against Florida State?
Bowden: I felt like our Boston College game was the best we played across the board since we've been here. The Florida State game I did not feel that way. 85 of our 150 yards (rushing) was due to our blocking. That counts, and it goes in our rushing total. I thought they knocked us around up front. So it's kind of deceiving. How we got those is not indicative of how we need to play up front.

How much has Aaron Kelly elevated his game this year?
Bowden: He's played well. Rendrick Taylor made some key catches in that game along with Aaron. Competition is keeping both of those guys highly motivated. If you want to play, you better be productive in the game, and both of those guys were productive. They made big plays.

It seems like Will Proctor is really starting to play well for you.
Bowden: He performed well against Boston College but that was a school he always liked and wanted to go to so you know his anxiety level was going to up another notch. He surely answered some questions in that game. I feel like now after three games, he's really done well. I think Rob Spence has done a good job with him and Will's attention to detail and willing to work has really done well.

What else is there left for him to prove?
Bowden: North Carolina. From a leadership role, seeing that we perform at the highest level of efficiency we can.

What did your dad tell you after the game Saturday?
Bowden: I talked to him this morning for the first time. I probably need to keep in private because I don't know what he's told his staff on their performance. If I see in the press what he told me, then I'd tell y'all.

How impressed are you with Antonio Clay and how he's been able to respond after the death of his sister and moving back to middle linebacker after Anthony Waters went down?
Bowden: We knew he was a pretty good football player when we signed him by the schools that were recruiting . Anytime you put a young man out there that suffers a personal tragedy you don't know how he's going to respond. He's performing at a high level of efficiency. A lot of that credit goes to David Blackwell and Vic Koenning for how they've handled it but I've been really impressed with his response and how he's played.

Have you noticed any sort of difference in Ray Ray McElrathbey since the announcement that there will be a trust fund established to help his little brother?
Bowden: There's no doubt because last year he came into my office crying several times talking about what was going on with his family. So yes, I can definitely see a different, first hand.

Have you had any talks with Tramaine Billie lately regarding whether or not he'll try and redshirt this year?
Bowden: Haven't really asked him. He's not ready to play. He'll have to make a decision. When he gets closer to the rehab station is probably when we'll have that conversation.

Did you recruit their starting running back out of Clover, Ronnie McGill?
Bowden: I don't believe so. I don't believe we did and I'm sure he'll have something extra for us Saturday as a result.

It seems like North Carolina's defense has struggled early this year. Would you agree with that?
Bowden: They have. They are a talented team but sometimes you just don't hit on all cylinders. I think it's just a case of 11 talented guys that aren't hitting on all cylinders. Just some inconsistencies on that side because they are learning a new system. There's a lot of talent in North Carolina. It's twice as big as South Carolina and there's plenty of talent there. We haven't played our best and we haven't played our best. We just hope they don't play their best Saturday. Top Stories