Bowden Press Conference Notes

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to preview the N.C. State game, as well as what went wrong last weekend in a 13-12 loss to Maryland.

Can you address the overall psyche of your team after these last two losses?
Bowden: It seems to be pretty good. I've tried to be realistic about what we've still got out there on the table. The problem you face now you don't want a loss to affect you twice. I think it's important for our staff to focus on the fact we need an eighth win. So we don't worry so much about what ifs. It has been a relatively draining season. I think we are the only team in the season that's had to play five top 25 teams out of 119 teams. So I don't want them to think the sky is falling, the season is over and everything is diminished. There's more out there. WE need to win another the game.

The idea of the bye week … when would you like to ideally have one in the course of a season?
Bowden: If I had generically to pick a week to have one it would probably be the middle of the season. If I had a choice. But I've had positive experiences with no open date.

You've had a chance to watch the film from last Saturday. Have you had a chance to
Bowden: For a first year starter I think he's done pretty good. If you stopped the season today he'd be tied for the fourth most efficient season in Clemson history against the schedule I just mentioned. The progression reading under pressure. He's probably not making as good of those decisions. Now if he makes those decisions, he's probably completing 75% or 80% of his passes. Right now he's over 60%. IF this was his second or third year starting, he'd be closer to those numbers.

You always hear rumblings about playing the back up quarterback because he's gotten off to slow starts the last two games.
Bowden: Yeah that's where you have to be careful … the rumbling. I think it should be a requirement for the media to watch the film with us on Sundays before you ask the questions. But surely, he's improving.

Is it just as simple as they are putting too many players in the box to defend your offense the last couple of weeks.
Bowden: I think a lot of it has to do with competition. The holes aren't opened as big nor as long. I think the Georgia Tech game would be similar to our Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech was not that bad and we were not that good. We were not that bad against Virginia Tech. So it's the competition. I'd hate to look at our offense and defense right now and say we need to re-invent the wheel. Look at the statistics. So I don't think it's so much where we are doing a whole bunch wrong.

Anything you notice on film about your ineffectiveness in the red zone?
Bowden: If we convert one of those things. You aren't going to have a lot of success against really good teams. I don't want to expect where we are going to score 55 or 60 points. But when you play a team like Maryland or Virginia Tech, you better score touchdowns. So we are going to have to study how to get more of those drives to end in touchdowns. That's an area of concern. If I told you, then NC State is going to say ,'ah!' they are going to do this and we will be ready for it. So that's what we've been doing and hopefully we'll be more productive. But yes, there are some adjustments and some fine tuning we'll have to do. And this is a good defense we are going to face. I think we'll get the kind of game they had against Boston College and Florida State. They have to have this game to get to a bowl game. We need to keep that in consideration.

Is it fair to say the play-calling was more aggressive against Florida State or Boston College than Maryland?
Bowden: No I think that had to do more with defensive scheme. I don't have our run-pass ratio in front of me. We threw it 43 against Boston College. We could not rush it against Boston College looking back on the number of times we threw it.

Back on stats, Will Proctor is 135.5 passing efficiency. The best Charlie Whitehurst ever had was 135.6. Is that a fair comparison between quarterbacks?
Bowden: Well the only way I know how to compare them would be stats. Probably our schedule this year was a little tougher. So I'd say they are comparable.

What specifically are limiting Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese from seeing the field and competing more against Will Proctor?
Bowden: Experience. I think both Cullen and Tribble are both going to be competing for the job (in the future). Just two more years of experience in the spring. Situational scrimmages. That's probably the only thing that's separating them. The good news is those guys were closing on Will during the preseason but the big thing is experience.

Have you thought about using Cullen Harper to replace Will at any point this year?
Bowden: No. We did that last year with the injuries that Charlie had. That has not happened this year. In the South Carolina game, we seriously considered coming in with Will in the second half.

Would you ever consider bringing in Cullen Harper to get a spark for your offense?
Bowden: Oh yes. For sure. I would surely do that. It's just hard to get a spark when your offense is No. 1 in conference in everything against the toughest schedule of all division I-A teams.

If Cullen and/or Tribble are not good enough to get meaningful reps this year during games, with the game still in doubt. Should there be any concern about next year?
Bowden: I didn't worry about last year playing Will. I want my best on the field this year. I'm not interested in preparing them for another head coach.

Have you talked to your team about the fact that some of the special goals are no longer on the table this year?
Bowden: Well we haven't won 10 games in fifteen years so that's still on the table. I don't know if that's special or not. Top Stories