Bowden Media Tournament Notes

SUNSET – Following a rain-shortened golf outing in Tommy Bowden's annual tournament for the media, Clemson's head football coach met with writers from across the state to discuss a myriad of topics.

Here are some of the highlights of Bowden's thoughts:

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: If you're trying to get a sense of where the Tigers will finish this fall in the football standings by reading any one of a dozen magazines, it truly depends on which ones you read as to how you shape your opinion.

Most years, most magazines are usually pretty close in their predictions. This year, however, some have Clemson finishing as high as second in the Atlantic Division, while others have the Tigers at the bottom.

Bowden he could see any of those prognostications being accurate.

"That's probably about right, from second to sixth," he said. "The last two years we've been second in the division. Anywhere from second on down will probably be about right."

OPENING NIGHT: Last season, the Tigers began the year with cupcake Florida Atlantic. This time around, Clemson kicks things off against rival and perennial powerhouse Florida State.

And because of that, Bowden said his young team, which has only eight seniors on scholarship, won't get a chance to go through growing pains.

"The biggest thing last year was of course how it started with the competition," Bowden said. "Will (Proctor) could go in there and mess up and he still won. This year, there will be a lot more pressure."

SHORT LEASH: Depending on what transpires this August at quarterback, Bowden said he could be much more inclined to yank the starter and put in a replacement should things be going bad on the field.

"That could possibly be the case," he said. "I won't know that until after the preseason. I've got to see how much separation there is between (Cullen Harper and Willy Korn). If there's not very much separation, then yeah, I wouldn't hesitate to go in the game with the potential to play two guys. But I think a lot will be determined this preseason."

KORN LIKELY TO PLAY: Even if Harper plays at the top of his game and the Tigers are rolling through the season, Bowden said the true freshman Korn will still likely play.

"That'd be a great case, but if he's the second team, you'd like to get ahead in some games like last year and play your second team quarterback," Bowden said. "So, you wouldn't redshirt him then. I'd say it'd be unlikely (he'll redshirt), but it could happen."

IF WAKE CAN DO IT, WHY NOT CLEMSON?: Now that one of the two lowliest teams in the conference in terms of football tradition has won the ACC Championship, it has left those striving to be a stellar on a yearly basis a little embarrassed and also believing anything is possible.

Also, considering the Demon Deacons won with a backup quarterback that was a freshman, while also losing their top running back and a top lineman, added even more salt to the wounds.

"The old adage about experienced quarterback and lesser talent, they just shot a hole in that theory," Bowden said. "It's not just me, but there are other people in this conference that are working under the same set of circumstances."

Bowden also said that Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe was never under the gun to win immediately and therefore could stick to his plan and redshirt every single freshman every single year, which will produce a winner every three years or so. …

"I don't know how many losing seasons he had before last year. Three in a row? He wouldn't have been the head coach here. You wouldn't be able to give him that opportunity. … It's a little different environment. He wouldn't be given that same opportunity at this place."

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