Bowden Talks 2007 Season

SUNSET, S.C. - Listen to Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden talk about the 2007 season after this annual golf tournament with the media.

AUDIO: LINK (23:20)

Some of the preseason magazines have you second, others have you sixth in the division. Do you think there are a lot of unanswered questions with this team that could cause such a wide variety of predictions?
Bowden: No I think a lot of it is you have Wake Forest jumping up there. Last year, most of y'all picked us second and we ended up second. I don't, like y'all, put a lot of stock into it. Y'all have to have something to write about. That's probably about right. Anywhere from second on down would probably be about right.

Is this the same kind of situation you faced last year with the inexperience at quarterback?
Bowden: No. Cullen is a fourth year junior and Will was a fifth year senior. Will had started in the Duke game (in '05) where as Cullen hasn't started at all. A little less experience than what we had last year. The biggest thing last year is how we started with the competition. Will could have started and messed up and we still would have won. Whereas this year there is a lot more pressure (opening against Florida State). Then the way the season ended ... I think after the Georgia Tech game, people said, 'those running backs are pretty good so lets make the quarterback beat us.' I think Florida State will look at those last four games and do the same plan. So that will shed some different light on our quarterback situation this year compared to last year.

You said in the past that you will have a quick hook with Cullen this year and that he won't be given as long (as Will Proctor was last season).
Bowden: I don't know. That's not my terminology, quick hook. I've never used that. That might be somebody's interpretation.

Well, a shorter leash that Proctor had last year.
Bowden: I don't know that. That could possibly be the case but I won't know that until after the preseason when we do three weeks of work. I have to see what kind of separation between the two. If there's not much separation then I could go into the game with the potential of two guys playing pretty quick. A lot will be determined in those three weeks.

Would the best case scenario be Cullen plays lights out and Korn redshirts?
Bowden: That would be a great case. But if he's the second team, hopefully you'd like to play some games like last year where get way ahead and play your second team quarterback. So you wouldn't redshirt him then and you could play somebody else. That could be a potential scenario.

What are you planning on doing with both of your running backs this year?
Bowden: The biggest thing we've got to experiment with is how to get them both on the field. Not necessarily in the backfield. You put them back there in the backfield then one's a blocker and one's a runner. You put them a little wider there's other things you can do. Reverses. Some routes. Quick screens, things like that. That's tough to do in a split backs formation. If you do that, you limit yourself a bit. We did that some last year with them. We'll do it some but I think we have to be a little more creative with getting them both on the field but maybe not in a traditional two-back set. Maybe slot here, slot there, motion here, you things of that nature. Or quarterback.

Spiller would be the natural one to split out right?
Bowden: Yeah he's a little bit different than James. James is more of a threat under the center headed downhill. He's got a little more strength and power. C.J. is a space guy.

Does it put any pressure on the team or on you that Wake Forest was able to win the ACC last year after losing their starting quarterback and running back and other players?
Bowden: Yeah and 11 other teams. The old atage about experienced quarterback and lesser talent- they just shot a hole in that theory. Not only for me, but for other teams in the conference that are working under the same set of circumstances.

Does Cullen have a stronger arm than Will Proctor?
Bowden: He's got a stronger arm. Little bit more velocity. Running skills are going to be similar. I think I saw where he ran a 4.53 in the 40. I think his mom may have been in town that weekend to time him then. I don't think he can run as good as Will but his arm is stronger.

With kickoffs moving back to the 30-yard line this year, that has to be an emphasis for you heading into fall practice given the troubles the team had last year.
Bowden: Yeah with our coverage being so bad consistently, that's a concern. We worked on it this spring and changed some things up. It couldn't have been any worse. We will be better. As I've talked this spring at some of the IPTAY meetings, since it's moved back, there will be very few touchbacks, which will put the ball in Spiller or Ford's hands. So if we can do just an average job returning kickoffs, that's going to be advantage for us because of our return guys. We've worked hard on that. We've worked hard on coverage because we couldn't get the job done last year. Top Stories