Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden discusses Clemson's upcoming game with N.C. State.

What is the approach this week given this is your first game on the road?
Bowden: We talked to the team a little bit … I mentioned once at a team meeting about that. We've got guys that are travelling for the first time, guys stepping on a plane for the first time. I told the team we had to stay very businesslike. We've addressed that. There is some concern. We'll address it again at the end of the week.

They have two losses are against Central Florida and Boston College- with both teams looking to be pretty good, especially after Central Florida's game against Texas this past weekend. What are your thoughts on that?
Bowden: Central Florida's performance against Texas got everybody's attention. Parity has arrived. Week to week verifies that. Had we played those two guys we might have the same record right now.

Are you surprised by the criticism you've come under for the whole Lloyd Carr situation?
Bowden: Yeah I was shocked. I called him yesterday. Appalachian State and Furman are natural rivalries. I guess the people in that part of the country are not familiar with that rivalry. I felt so bad seeing comments that said, "Bowden Rips Carr." I said listen I don't remember it coming up. I told him I was going to call him last week anyways because I saw the way he handled the press conference after the Oregon game and thought to myself man I hope I can handle pressure the way he can.

Do you see some similar things in State's defense that you saw in Kentucky's defense given Mike Archer is their defensive coordinator?
Bowden: Some, but he has different personnel. His base defense is similar. He's inherited Coach Amato's personnel. They challenge you pretty good in press man. Not as much as last year. They recruited that way. They still have some down people, some ends that can rush you pretty good.

Do you feel that this team's ranking now is more legitimate than its ranking last year?
Bowden: The only thing is when I talk to the team … you realize how insignificant rankings actually are. We were here last year … and I don't want the team to feel like … They are 3-0 and but the ranking is so irrelevant.

Do you talk to Cullen about his first start on the road?
Bowden: Rob, I'm sure will. No, I don't think it's going to be that much different. We'll probably pipe in crowd noise on Thursday … which we have not done yet. Florida State game prepared us for that … that was a pretty loud game. Even when we had the ball it was loud.

Will this be the final test for Cullen … proving himself on the road in ACC play?
Bowden: I think the final test comes at the end of the year in whether you can win a championship or not.

Is N.C. State's defense this season more similar to what Archer did at Kentucky or more similar to what O'Brien did at Boston College last year?
Bowden: It would be more similar to what he did at Kentucky. Mike has a whole bunch of experience in college as a head coach and as a pro.

No. 14 Clemson faces off with QB Harrison Beck and N.C. State Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.
Have you ever suspected another coach of cheating?
Bowden: It's kind of hard to do it in college at a game. A long, long time ago. This was in the 1970's. We took pictures in the press box at halftime and showed it to our team. I guess you could but I've never heard of anybody videoing signals or taking Polaroid camera shots. We do have dummy signalers. Offensively, we have several guys qualified to do that (laughing). Defensively I don't think we do.

Was last year the most humbled you've been as a coach?
Bowden: I've been humbled in a loss. In a single game loss. In a single game bowl game. Texas Tech when we lost really bad. But over the course of losing four out of five after having started how we did.

But did it truly affect how you coach and speak with your team?
Bowden: Oh yeah. Definitely how I talk with the team. It has me because I try to discuss things in a different light. I am trying to take a different approach.

How so?
Bowden: It's not so much who you play but how you play. Rankings are not important. You don't get a trophy for being 3-0. We beat teams last year by 50+ points but did we get better doing it? I don't know. We had better players but we weren't making significant improvements every week. Had we done that I think we would have been a better team at the end of the year.

Do you talk with your team about taking advantage of the opportunity in front of you given that the conference is somewhat down right now?
Bowden: No I kind of highlight what I just said. … with our team. I've never ever talked about, "hey the conference isn't that good this year. Or that team isn't that good."

Do you feel like your team has improved from the Florida State game until now?
Bowden: In certain things, yes. Obviously I can't say running game. Cullen has made improvement throwing the ball downfield. Kickoff coverage has been pretty good. I think our effort has been good.

What would you say is the bigger concern with your offensive line … pass blocking or run blocking?
Bowden: I wouldn't say either one of those. Biggest concern would be productivity in the running game this week against N.C. State. I think it's a combination of things.

What do you expect out of his team on Saturday?
Bowden: He's got an NCAA bowl wins. I think his nine consecutive wins or nine consecutive winning seasons. He knows how to win and he knows how to get his guys' attention. I just hope his track record doesn't start this week but he gives every indication he'll be successful. That's all he's ever been.

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