Bowden Press Conference Notes

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to preview Clemson's upcoming game with Temple Thursday evening in Charlotte.

Do you like the setup of playing in Charlotte on Thursday as opposed to playing in Philadelphia this weekend?
Bowden: Much better. Playing with the team in a large city. To play here close by. Traveling standpoint. Fan standpoint. I'm real appreciative of the administration for getting this game moved to Charlotte. I also want to encourage the fans to come out. I appreciate the fans that were up there Saturday (in Winston-Salem). I know they were a lot of them that didn't want to go back up there but there they were again to support us. We lost up there three years ago and the fans were there. We lost up there last year and the fans were there. I know they didn't want to go up there but they did.

Are you surprised that only 30,000 fans have bought tickets to this game as of early this week?
Bowden: No. I think we'll get a pretty good walk up. It's better than 12,000 in Philadelphia. I don't know if it would have been that much.

You are sitting in pretty good shape but you've got some adversity to deal with. Is there any concern with all the injuries in regards to the physche of your team?
Bowden: If we can continue to win then obviously it's a plus. We've just had an unusual amount of injuries. Like Rendrick Taylor. Etta Etta-Tawo. Instead of having a cold or something where he's out 10 days he's out for the year. Sometimes those things can have a negative affect on a team. But our team so far we've drawn together. We go up to Wake Forest and have four turnovers against an undefeated conference team on the road. Hopefully we can continue to utilize this as a catalyst.

Is there anyway you could lose to Temple Thursday?
Bowden: Oh yes. They are a Division I-A team. Turnovers. Kickoff returns for touchdowns. Could we lose? Yeah.

But you are favored by 46 points Thursday.
Bowden: Well look at Georgia giving up 6.8 points per game and giving up 51 points (to Tennessee). Those are odds. I don't think those odds are any different than what Temple faces.

What is your policy with punt returns?
Bowden: We have not done a good job of feeling it. We've got two rookies back there. We need to stand at the 10 and not back up. We've worked really hard on that but I've got two true freshmen back there. The problem is we are standing at the 15 or the 12 and then the ball goes back.

Is this the kind of game that is ideal for a letdown?
Bowden: This is the environment where you have one in most colleges. So yes.

Do hide some things this week because you have Georgia Tech coming up the next week?
Bowden: We are going to do some things against Temple whether we were playing Georgia Tech or Temple. Especially with the injuries we have at wide receiver.

Do you get the sense that this team surpassed a hurdle by rallying to beat Wake Forest Saturday?
Bowden: We haven't played our best yet. We haven't. We rushed for 274 yards and they were giving up 78. Defensively we held them to 219 yards and 31 yards rushing. A couple of missed assignments we hold them to even less. WE haven't played our best. Kickoff coverage. Punts. We are trying to get better at everything. Thursday night should be our best game.

What's your comfort level with the wide receivers now that you've lost Chansi and Rendrick?
Bowden: We only got one ball. We use a lot of tight ends. We've got five good receivers and two of those five are now gone. When I say five, I mean our top five. I'm comfortable until a certain point. I'm not going to tell you the cutoff point. We still have Tyler Grisham who has made some great catches. Aaron Kelly is talented. La'Donte Harris. Jacoby Ford. After that my comfort level kind of diminishes.

Are you surprised about C.J. Spiller's ability to catch the ball? Especially after coming from an offense that runs the Wing-T (Lake Butler)?
Bowden: No. I think I saw him drop his first ball last night. We've been practicing two and half months and I just saw him drop his first pass. I don't know if Southern Cal knew that or not in terms of trying to replace (Reggie) Bush.

So you are saying you have a Reggie Bush here at Clemson?
Bowden: I don't know. Might. I can tell you in three years.

How do you feel about Gaines Adams' improvement this season?
Bowden: As far as run stopping you'd have to ask Ron West or Vic Koenning. But as far as statistics, I think he's doing really really good. He has definitely stepped it up another notch. Antonio Clay has played pretty good and Nick Watkins.

Are you comfortable with Jacoby Ford stepping into such a large role this year with Chansi out?
Bowden: Oh yes. Chansi Stuckey might be the hardest practice player we have and he's behind him. And now Jacoby is starting to mimic some of his practice habits. He came from Fork Union so he had that extra year and I think the fact that his brother played at Florida State gave him the extra wisdom. He showed us some things that let us know early that was ready to play.

Do you have a rule about leaving your starters in at least one series in the second half even if you are up by a large scale?
Bowden: The only thing I have when my father was ahead 36-8 and lost. I lived that. So I always try to go one more than normal. He got a lot of death threats. There a lot of guns around this place. A lot of hunters. So yes, I probably leave them in a little longer.

Have you changed the assistant coaches and their responsibilities with the kickoff team?
Bowden: The three guys that have always done it, David Blackwell, Vic Koenning and Ron West are still doing it. Hopefully you will see a difference. It's the same three coaches that are there. Just different techniques.

What's the latest on Tramaine Billie?
He got the pin out yesterday. He'll start light jogging next Monday.

Would you rather he redshirt and come back next year?
Bowden: Yeah I'll do my best to try and talk him out of it.

Does Temple do anything that concerns you?
Bowden: They are multiple on offense. Defensively he's made the youth movement. With that you bring energy and enthusiasm. Our's comes from success while their success comes from youth.

You went straight up to Gaines Adams after the Wake Forest game in a moment of appreciation. What were you thinking right there?
Bowden: What y'all kind of felt is what I felt. That was the play of the game and could be the play of the year, or the play of my career. (laughing) It came at a critical time, no doubt. We talked about that halftime that somebody has to do it.

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