Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to preview the Duke game.

Is too much made of the lack of atmosphere at Duke?
Bowden: I think all we can go by is history. We are 13-0 at our place. Up there we are 6-4. I think Coach Ford took a seventh-ranked 4-0 team up there and lost. History has verified that. (laughing) He's been a more productive coach than I have so he should have never lost. ... Sometimes people forget when they are 18 or 19. The environment there is not going to be as electric as it is here.

In terms of replacing Jacoby Ford in the offense. Does your offense remain intact? Do do some different things now on offense?
Bowden: Yes we'll have to. We have other guys and other talented guys. We only have two real real fast guys on the team now we have one. You have to structure your plays and philosophy a little bit. You'd like to have a tendency breaker.

So how do you motivate a team going into this game?
Bowden: You revert back to the stats that Tim (Bourret) has given me. We are 13-0 here. Their last conference win was us. You also have to get to the maturity level where you show up every week with your A-game. So you talk about it. You talk about hte statistics mentioned.

You said maturity is a factor. How is this team in terms of maturity?
Bowden: Well I like what we did against Central Michigan after having two weeks to soak in a loss and after getting behind 7-0 and throwing an interception and putting up 70 points. I like our maturity last week after getting behind 3-0 and then scoring 30 points. I like that. That tells me something about this team. We'll see. I like what's happened the last two weeks with my team's ability to focus and not getting distracted or discouraged despite early struggles.

You obviously remember what happened last time you played at Duke? What was the theme that led to that kind of loss?
Bowden: I think the common theme ... a big win (then a loss - roller coaster). You have to get your team to where they show up week in and week out with a highly motivated state. It doesn't always work that way. We have to be on a mission with what we have the potential to do.

Was that game in 2004 against Duke a defining component of your career considering you decided to change offensive coordinators after that?
Bowden: I think it was a accumulation. It wasn't one. That game happened to be involved in the decision making process.

What impresses you about Tyler Grisham's development since he's been here?
Bowden: Mental toughness. He's been a tough guy and a been consistent player. He has the skills. Had those coming out of high school. Played as a true freshman. Most impressive has been after he had a poor Georgia Tech game and how he responded. But his success hasn't been a surprise. He that against Miami during his freshman year.

Do you have any comments on Barry Richardson and how he played against Maryland?
Bowden: I'm anxious to see what he says. He played as good a game as he's played. He'll tell y'all while. I'm anxious to see what he says because he played really really good.

What about Barry Humphries?
Bowden: He played at guard. At this stage in his career I think he feels more comfortable at guard rather than center. I want to say he played 71 snaps at guard. Right now he's playing right (guard). He played really really good. After this game he may be a co-starter at guard.

There's no chance that Ford could return for a bowl game?
Bowden: No.

It seems as though you've been more balanced the last few weeks. How do you feel your offense is coming along?
Bowden: Well you have to be pleased the last couple of weeks. We ran for 300 yards against Central Michigan. Maryland has always been tough for us. Had Jacoby's run not been called back we would have rushed for over 300 yards.

How much of that do you attribute to your offensive line?
Bowden: I think about 100 percent of it is. First game to where we are now ... it's a continual growth process. They anticipate things now. You have to be able to anticipate. Sometimes they are working in unison without communication.

Will the team be able to move past and make up for the loss of Jacoby Ford?
Bowden: I think the team will. He has a great personality and is always up tempo. I'm sure we'll miss that. We don't have anybody as fast as him except C.J. So we need an extra turnover, sack or a third down conversion or stop. There are some yardage plays that we will have to make up.

Who replaces Ford in the regular rotation?
Bowden: I think Tyler Grisham and Rendrick Taylor.

It's hard to nitpick, but Cullen's play this season. What does he have to do to improve now?
Bowden: Well this game we started out kind of slow. The wind played a factor. He missed Tyler down there and missed Aaron but he responded like you'd hope he would. Tim told me the stats the other day ... about Matt Ryan and he's ahead of him in just about everything. There's just not much right now he's doing that poorly.

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