Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Read what head coach Tommy Bowden had to say about Saturday's game with Louisiana-Monroe.

After looking at film what did you see about what you did last night against Florida State?
Bowden: I've just looked at the offensive side of the ball. Haven't looked at the kicking game yet. I have not yet watched our defense yet, in watching the first half, I thought our offensive line did a good job covering their guys up. Just watching the offense, I was real pleased from an assignment standpoint. In the first game you can have a lot of missed assignments. I was real pleased with the preparation of the staff. Was real pleased with how we prepared from an assignment standpoint.

What did you learn about your team after beating Florida State?
Bowden: Last year down the stretch, we either could convert offensively or stop the opponent defensively. In the second half, when we needed a defensive stop we got it. We had some time-consuming drives. When the momentum was swinging, I thought defensively we got stops where as last year against Maryland we did not. Or had we scored against South Carolina. We only have two seniors on defense and two on offense so that shows a tremendous amount of leadership by underclassmen.

Do you think Cullen Harper did enough last night to convince defensive coordinators to respect the passing game more?
Bowden: I don't know. You'd probably have to ask the next defensive coordinator. We'll find out by how Louisiana-Monroe plays us and Furman.

You spent a lot of time working on the downfield passing game (18-23 yards) this offseason. How would you assess how you did there last night?
Bowden: Pretty good. We called more than we've ever called but we had some sacks. We weren't real productive in the second half but again Florida State had a lot to do with that.

Having gone through this experience of playing a Labor Day Night game, would you do it again?
Bowden: Possibly. It depends on the opponent. Would have to be a big game. National television exposure is a big deal. It puts the face of the university on a national television screen. Saw a couple of highlights last night, like y'all at three or four in the morning.

Is the biggest disadvantage about a Monday night game the lack of prep time for Louisiana-Monroe?
Bowden: That and no sleep for me. I slept a lot better last year after Florida Atlantic as opposed to Florida State. We won't practice today. We'll have a team meeting. Tomorrow would normally be a full pads day and will be cut back considerably. We have a lot of nicks and bruises.

Do you worry about your players' attention this week after such a big game?
Bowden: Last year we had a pretty good feel for not playing down to a lesser ranked opponent. This is a different team but we've addressed it pretty good. I was real pleased, now that you mention it, with the leadership throughout the summer, staying out of trouble and I think some of that showed with how we performed … not a lot of stupid penalties and missed assignments. We did have some holding calls. I think that's a pretty good indication we might be very serious about this opponent.

Can you talk about your kicking game and what went right and what went wrong?
Bowden: Mark Buchholz was kind of a tempo-setter to be honest with you. When those guys have success, it generates enthusiasm. I mentioned Andre Powell's name several times last night. The success last night (on kickoffs) was obvious. Mark kicked some good kicks and we covered them pretty well. We made a counting error. The center blocked the wrong way and the guy came through.

Have you done anything on Louisiana-Monroe?
Bowden: No. We will probably spend zero time on Florida State today. The players can come in a watch it on their own.

Can you talk about Phillip Merling's performance last night?
Bowden: He's a really good player. If you notice he was one of our captains. We usually don't have juniors as captains. He plays how he practices. He's a key ingredient defensively. Him and Cullen got the most votes from a leadership standpoint.

Did you think your front four could be that dominant?
Bowden: No, I'm anxious to see as the season goes on. We anticipated Florida State possibly having problems with a true freshman and a redshirt freshman. I'm sure as the season goes along and we play more experienced offensive lineman I'm anxious to see how they do.

Have you spoken with your father this morning?
Bowden: I talked to him this morning about 1 o'clock. After the game I went over. I wanted to address the practice issue (on how to deal with the short week) with him.

Were you pleased with how Cullen managed the game considering it was his first start?
Bowden: We were a little slow with procedure. Sometimes we'd line up to talk about it but I was real pleased. Florida State it's tough to imitate their speed during practice but you can only do that so much. So, for him to go against some live, fast bullets and with the pocket collapsing more than it does on the scout team … those guys he was throwing to were wide open on the scout team … I thought he made those adjustments very well.

Can you talk about Aaron Kelly and were you pleased with what he did last night?
Bowden: He continues to make good plays. I tell you what you watch him run he looks like Gumby but he's tough to tackle.

Did you tell your father he needs to recruit better to beat you?
Bowden: It's hard to say that when you are 300 wins behind him (laughing).

Do you think it motivated your team that so many people were suggesting Florida State was the better team and would beat you guys hands down?
Bowden: I think every guy gets a little abrasive and gets a little chip on their shoulder. My guys watch TV and they know who picks who. They heard the reason Florida State was being picked to win because of their defense. That always helps. In my line of work , you deal with 18, 19 year olds and it's a mental, physiological game and guys get their feelings hurt and I'm sure that played into it some.

What did you think of Barry Humphries?
Bowden: I thought he did good for his first start. As talented a front four as he'll face all year.

Were you pleased with how James and C.J. handled playing quarterback?
Bowden: Yeah because after watching the reads, and there are some reads involved, we worked hard on it and I thought they made some good decisions. To convert a first down and take three minutes off the clock in a tight game … we got some productivity and mileage out of that.

When do have James and C.J. start throwing passes?
Bowden: Soon.

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