Tommy Bowden Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to discuss the 2007 season opener against No. 19 Florida State.

Talk about playing on Monday night. Is it almost like a Thursday night game?
Bowden: Probably very similar. The players will be excited because it's the only game on. I think the fans will be a little more excited because of the holiday weekend. There is going to a little more electricity. I think this will be one of those games where noise will be a factor. I've heard a lot of coaches and players say through the years this is one of the more difficult places to play so I want to encourage our fans to make a lot of noise.

Do you avoid talking with your father over the summer about this game because it's the season opener?
Bowden: We really don't talk about it. In the summer, you are really away from it. You go on vacation to get away from football. So there really isn't that much of a discussion. When we play golf it's usually about who sees each other's golf balls. It's about who's cheating. He's the cheater in my family. (laughing)

Do you have all of your starters set in stone at this point?
Bowden: Bandit might not be. All the linemen, wide receivers and quarterbacks (are). Maybe at corner.

How has this game changed family-wise over the years?
Bowden: Both of us are coming off frustrating years. Usually it is just us and not them. That adds a different flavor to the game. I was disappointed in how we finished and they were as well. We lost our bowl game, they won theirs. It's become a little bit more of a rivalry. The first five years (they beat us) so that adds a different flavor. They won every time (before).

On a scale of 1-10 how would your judge your confidence level in Cullen Harper as the starter?
Bowden: I don't know if that's a fair question until he's played a game. It's hard for me to comment until he plays in a game. I think he will be a very steady performer. How he has performed in practice since Will left is very consistent and steady. Now Florida State is going to have a lot to do with that. This is going to be completely different. I don't know what's going to happen but I don't think he'll be rattled. He has been steady and consistent.

Your game plan … obviously you will be taking that into consideration (Harper's inexperience)?
Bowden: Oh yeah. You wouldn't want to send him up the line of scrimmage with a whole bunch of checks or something like that. Or you could take the pressure off of him by throwing deep on the first play. You can take the pressure of him in several different ways. But the biggest thing would be not to have a whole bunch of checks at the line of scrimmage.

The fans want to know if you are going to play Korn at quarterback Monday night. What you're your thoughts?
Bowden: You know I don't know. I'm anxious to see how Cullen does Monday night. We'll see how the game goes.

God forbid that Cullen went down to injury, would the offense change a lot with Korn in at quarterback?
Bowden: No. Not really. They are both kind of similar in size, height and throwing skills. It could minimize some checks but he's shown the management skills of the offense on Saturdays in the scrimmages.

What are your expectations for C.J. Spiller this year?
Bowden: I know his expectations are high. He's a very talented back. Him and James and they have both worked hard. We will probably be winning if they are getting a whole bunch of yards. You know if we aren't comfortable with the passing game it's going to be a long year for both of our backs.

Early in your tenure you were asking about closing the talent gap with Florida State. How close has the gap narrowed?
Bowden: I think we definitely closed it. The biggest difference would be defensive front seven. We've closed it on the offensive line, running backs, wide receivers. We are close. If they had 15 at the two deep positions (along the front seven), their 14 would be a little bit more than our 14. We have definitely closed the gap.

You talk about the uniqueness of game-planning a Monday game. How does that change how you do things in terms of practice and overall preparation.
Bowden: The thing we have to address, when you have a Saturday-Saturday format, you have four days of work. This way, we have six days straight (to prepare). So you have to look to how long we are practicing, the conditioning you are doing. We've really had to change our schedule. We talked to our team about one of the signs of maturity is being able to handle change. We've had to adjust it and really look at it a whole bunch. There's just not a lot of Monday games so there isn't a lot research and information and available. Except for Florida State and Miami and he (Bobby Bowden) ain't talking.

What do you expect to see out of Jimbo Fisher-coached offense?
Bowden: A tough hard-nosed, run, run-action pass. He's a hard nose guy. They haven't had that the last few years. The biggest thing will be that. It's his first game and he's a bold guy. I've coached with him before and I know his background but the biggest thing is going to be run, run-action pass.

How hard was it to recruit a player like C.J. Spiller to Clemson? Did you have to recruit him harder than most other prospects?
Bowden: You have to work hard because of the intangibles. Proximity to family and things like that. The football environment is similar but the prospects read about Florida, Florida State and Miami every day of their lives. They'll see Florida, Florida State and Miami on sweatshirts worn by a teacher, coach and parent. Dabo Swinney really did a great job recruiting him. You recruit everybody hard, but you have to overcome a lot of obstacles to get a kid like that.

You alluded to it early on, James Davis' big run at the end of the game last year against Florida State (where FSU's defense was not set in the fourth quarter). Did Will Proctor make that call or did it come from the sideline?
Bowden: That came from Coach Spence. That came from Rob Spence the offensive coordinator. I think most coaches have that in their arsenal. The ball happened to be on the far hash from their sideline. A team has the tendency to drift getting signals. The scenario has to be pretty good. As the game goes along … you try to see if they are late getting lined up.

Is Jeff Bowden going to be here for this game?
Bowden: I don't think or know if Jeff is coming. I don't know if my mom is coming. Tim you know? (laughing).

CUTigers.com Top Stories