Bowden Press Conference Notes

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to talk about the season and the upcoming Music City Bowl against Kentucky.

Can you talk about the challenge of facing Kentucky?
Bowden: When you look a Kentucky, the stats that jump at you right off the bat is the quarterback and the fact that he leads the SEC in passing efficiency. I'm very familiar with the running back, Rafael Little, from right down the road. He also does punt returns and kickoffs. He's obviously very good and their line si good.

Can you talk about James Davis and C.J. Spiller and their differences?
Bowden: Well one has better speed- C.J.. James is a little bit more of a power running. They both have good quickness. James is a little heavier, 205, 203 and C.J. is 190.

Do you still know anybody from Kentucky based on your brief time there?
Bowden: I know the sports information director, Scott Strickland. I haven't been up there since I left. Was there 11 months. Got to know the realtors real well. The athletic director is gone. Rick Pitino was the head basketball coach when I was there and he's moved on.

Some of your first thoughts on the Kentucky defense.
Bowden:They challenge throws. Style is very similar to South Carolina with man free coverage which challenges your short throws and high percentage throws. Just from what I've seen a little bit, defensively, they'd be similar to South Carolina.

Your general thoughts on playing Kentucky in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
Bowden: I think it's been 13 years since we last met. My general impression about playing Kentucky, I think you have to look at their conference record at 4-4. We just played a very good South Carolina team and they were 3-5. I look for a very competitive game. Playing in Nashville, it's a place our fans have not gone in 46 years. I think it will be exciting from a fan standpoint. This is a place that will be different for our fans. My wife and daughter like country music. I'm not big on it but maybe I'll learn to like it in the next two to three weeks.

What do you have to do to get back to playing at the level you were at when you were 7-1?
Bowden: Probably we need to play some of those teams we played earlier in the year. That always helps. But probably more points. Three point loss to South Carolina. One point loss to Maryland and Boston College. We've been close so it's not like you have to do a whole lot. Maybe it's just one more adjustment on offense and defense. One more play on offense and defense. But I think the point production at the beginning of the year had to do more with who were playing.

You said the objective is to win the game. Is there any thought to also using the game to prepare for next year?
Bowden: No. Not really. It will be to win the game. Playing another quarterback or running back or offensive lineman, I'd rather just win the game. We'll go to win the game not look for any preparation for the spring or next year.

What is James Davis' and his health like right now?
Bowden: I think my comments after the game were that I was under the impression he was 100%. I'm under that impression now. You can ask him and he might say something different.

Do you plan to do any major tweaking with your offense headed into the offseason?
Bowden: No. I think we are No. 1 (in the conference) in every single category but passing yardage. I think we are in the top 15 in the nation in scoring offense and total offense. I'm sure there is some tweaking and fine tuning we'll do for next season and this game. I usually do it this time of year, going down to Florida with my family, I kind of reflect on the year. There will be one or two things but I wouldn't want to change it drastically because of the success we've had. It's been more success than any other year I've been here.

What about special teams? Any major tweaking there?
Bowden: I've got to do something with kickoff coverage. We've experimented a whole bunch. We went from 114th in the nation to 19th in net punting. Real pleased with punting.

Talk about just being able to win your last game and the momentum it gives you heading into the offseason.
Bowden: Losing your last game. Hadn't loss my last regular season game in a while. There's definitely a positive mood that sends your team into weight room workouts in January. You can definitely feel the difference.

What do you think about your counterpart in Columbia getting a raise for getting seven wins?
Bowden: It's amazing how this thing works. He's at a place where seven wins gets you a raise. Here it gets me fired. (laughin) But here, we are trying to get back where eight wins isn't good enough. Sure, we are disappointed we don't have more wins, but we are getting back to that point where eight wins isn't good enough.

Are bowl practices another opportunity for you to take a closer look at your redshirt freshmen.
Bowden: To some extent. In the past we've had scrimmages with our young guys. There's a lot of enthusiasm with those so I'm sure we'll probably do that.

Your thoughts on Rafael Little and what he's done at Kentucky?
Bowden: We offered him a scholarship early in his career and he did not take it. WE offered him in my office. Then we accumulated running backs. I'm sure he'll looking forward to playing Clemson.

You mentioned getting back to where expectations are more than eight wins a season. Do you feel like the program is where it needs to be right now after the amount of time you've been here?
Bowden: It's never quick enough. You always want it quicker you always want more. The last two years we've come within one point o the divisional championship. But that's not our goal. We'd like to have been in Jacksonville last week. You're eventually going to get on a run. But again, I think to finally get this thing to eight wins, it doesn't leave a good taste in your mouth. But at least we're close enough to finish.

Are you talking about you are feeling pressure from the administration to do more than what you did this season?
Bowden: No. Most of my pressure is interval pressure that I put on myself. Two straight years we are just one point away. Now, on the other end, I do think that shows signs that we are close.

Are you concerned at all that Terry Don Phillips hasn't given you a contract extension.
Bowden: No. I'm very happy. When we talked about this contract a few years ago. I've got more than half of my seven years left. The way I did my contract, I was the first one in the country to do it, is that I wanted the school to get $4 million if I left. But I'm very comfortable. I feel like the stability is very good.

Any comments about who could be the starting quarterback this spring?
Bowden: Cullen (Harper) will go in as the front-runner. But it will be highly competitive.

Do you regret not being able to redshirt more defensive players this year?
Bowden: Yes and no. Early in the season we played those guys a lot of play. That's really going to help them next year.

When you look at the offensive line, what is your biggest concern going into next year?
Bowden: Center. Dustin Fry. Barry Humphries, a freshmen coming in, and Bobby Hutchinson.

How did Chris McDuffie do for you this year filling in for Roman Fry?
Bowden: Good. Real good. He brings a little more strength at the point of attack. Bigger. 6-4, 320. He moves really good. Top Stories