Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to discuss Saturday's game at Maryland.

Can we get your comments on James Davis and what he said?
Bowden: Seems like you guys don't tell rest of the story. Ralph Friedgen, their head coach, did the same thing. He said they expect to win. Their head coach did the same thing. He's one of our leaders. He's been challenged to be one of our leaders and he's trying to motivate our team.

So you are guaranteeing your team will beat Maryland this weekend?
Bowden: Well I expect my team to play as well as they possibly can.

Your red zone offense this year, have you made the strides there you've wanted to?
Bowden: Well we were 7-for-7 last week, so yes. My gut feeling, I think we are second in the conference in scoring. We are second in the red zone. Our concern in the offseason was to be able to complete downfield passes. If you do that from the 18-22 yard line you are going to score. That was one of the primary goals. Red zone scoring was also.

What was it that Maryland did last year that gave you so many problems in the red zone?
Bowden: Execution on our part. One was a poorly thrown ball. One was good defense on their part.

Wasn't this one of the games last year that forced you to try and change some things with your offense?
Bowden: One of them, yes. One of them because of how we didn't throw the ball downfield.

Do you think it was appropriate for Friedgen to make those comments?
Bowden: I think every coach tries to motivate his team in his own way. He's probably not real interested in how I motivate my team and he's probably not real interested in how I motivate mine.

What is it about Aaron Kelly that has made him such a good player for you this year?
Bowden: Right now, he's got another year here ... he's gotten a lot more consistent. He takes some pretty good shots. He has a unique running style. He doesn't have a lot of burst and acceleration but he's real slippery. He's a tall lean guy that has to build up speed but he's deceptively quick. Consistency. Toughness.

What does your offensive line need to do to continue to put up the large numbers running the ball?
Bowden: Play Central Michigan again. (laughing) I don't know of any team, maybe Navy, maybe West Virginia that can run it week in and week out. Defenses now a days, if they are good, dictate whether you run or throw it. I would say Maryland is going to do the same thing. We could struggle running the ball Saturday. Maybe we'll have to throw it like we did in the second half against Virginia Tech. Most good defenses can dictate what they want you to do. This will be a different breed of cat (Maryland vs. Central Michigan). Their size and strength and their quickness. We do need to be able to run the football though.

James Davis said yesterday the move of Thomas Austin to center could be one of the biggest of the year. What are your thoughts on that?
Bowden: We had 300-something yards rushing against N.C. State. I think it was a good move for the team. Right now the objective is to get your five best performers on the field at the same time. Barry Humphries would be in our eight, our top seven and our top six. He may not be in our top five. Thomas Austin- his name is brought up a lot. He has consistently played physical in all of our games.

Is this the quietest offensive line you've ever been around?
Bowden: Yes. By far. I'm kind of glad you brought that up. It's a lot different than Nathan Bennett and Dustin Fry and Roman. Those guys talk, chatter. Nathan, if you breathed close to him he fought you. Every day. Football is a game of emotion. A game of intensity. A game of enthusiasm. This is by far, even as an assistant coach, the most quiet offensive line I've ever been around. Communication - there is no carry over there. Nor with execution.

Would you like to see them talk more?
Bowden: It's hard to trick people their age. Your personality is your personality. I think James saw Mike Hart on TV. I said in my talks with the team in recent weeks that somebody needs to step up. Top Stories