Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to preview Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

What has allowed Wake Forest to climb up to the top of the ACC?
Bowden: Two things. The 85 limitation on scholarships and Jim Grobe.

Can you talk about Jim Grobe and what he has meant to Wake Forest.
Bowden: He's a good coach. By that I mean he takes players and gives them a chance to be successful. Like with their offense. Misdirection. They are extremely sound. They are well-coached and they have good players.

Could you talk about Riley Skinner?
Bowden: He's just a very productive guy. He's one of those guys that went unrecruited. Charlie Whitehurst wasn't a highly recruited guy. Cullen Harper wasn't a heavily recruited guy. He's got all the intangibles you'd like to see in a quarterback. They put him in a position to make plays and he doesn't buckle under pressure at all.

Are you curious to see how your team responds to pressure now with you controlling your own destiny in the Atlantic Division?
Bowden: I don't think they see it as pressure. We'll try to put pressure on them in practice. Today we'll do some new schemes on offense and defense. You can't play uptight on Saturdays. You can't play not to lose. The pressure would be on me. They are going to see their girlfriend after the game, regardless of whether we win or lose. The pressure is on the staff and me.

Their defense often gets labeled "opportunistic." Would you agree with that?
Bowden: They challenge throws. Their secondary plays a little tighter. You might can get some double cuts on them but they rush you. I think when you play hard you become opportunistic. Instead of having two guys around it, they have four guys around it. They play hard. And they do get a lot of turnovers and it is related to that.

Are you concerned about the slow start of the team the last couple of weeks?
Bowden: We've scored 150 points the last three games. Wake Forest was down 24-3 to Maryland and came back. They were down. I'm not really concerned because it's a 60 minute game. You know, I stress to the team that nothing is going to happen early in the game that is going to determine the outcome. Would I prefer to start fast? Yes. I would prefer to start 21-0. 10-0. Get the first score.

Have you figured out why teams have played well on those first couple of series against you?
Bowden: Nah. Not really. You'd like to say the team studies you for a week and they use all of that new stuff they got and they take the ball down the field and score. Statistics are important, but after watching Wake Forest last year I've emphasized that much less year. Stats in the second quarter. Stats when playing behind, etc.

Their kick return guys, Kenneth Moore and Kevin Marion are two of the best in the country. Do you have a plan on how to deal with those guys?
Bowden: Yeah. We have a plan. We talked about it this morning. I talked about it with the team yesterday. You don't want to fear anybody but you respect. Devin Hester. We have a tremendous amount of respect for No. 21 and No. 14. Our punt coverage, and our kickoff coverage is going to give them a tremendous amount of respect. We have several things we plan on doing.

Noon games or night games – what is your preference?
Bowden: The earlier the game the better for me and the staff. Because Sundays are hard work days through the grind of the season. The Miami game a few years ago, it was a day time game. It was the loudest crowd we've ever had for a game with that decibel thing. I think it will be fairly electric. The crowd will. (Similar to) the Miami environment. The loudest crowd we've ever had here is when the sun has been up than down. My preference? I like the old SEC kickoffs at 11:30. Watch everybody else throw up.

Any chance of a letdown this weekend against this team?
Bowden: Oh no. Not after last night's practice. Last night's practice has probably been as spirited as any one as I've ever been here. Any time you have the reigning champions coming in and you are in the driver's seat. We haven't had that since I've been here. First time I've had it. First time our players have had it. Maryland last year, we didn't know it at the time. I don't think enthusiasm or emotion is going to be any problem.

That must have been a pretty good sign with practice going like that?
Bowden: Yeah. It was. I think we'll maintain that the whole week simply because of what is at stake. I know for a fact they ain't looking ahead towards Boston College. I met with the seniors last night, first. And I know for a fact they aren't.

You talk about the Wake offense. Deceptive is what you use. Is that because you only see it once a year?
Bowden: It's that. And the execution of it. The guy calling the plays does a really good job. Both of their coordinators are really really good. You really only see it once a year. People have copied some of it. Even the pros have started copying some of it.

What is it about Jim Grobe that has grabbed your respect?
Bowden: His teams play good. I don't think they've been rated in the top 15 in recruiting in 50 years. I know he's well-respected in the coaching profession. I think our fans finally realize that because this is the first sellout ever for Wake Forest. It's going to be a hard fought game. We know that. But the year I played up there and got beat so bad. He could have put 80 on us. I told him afterwards, when there wasn't much to say, "I know you are Christian now."

Jim Grobe has done the mass-redshirting of classes he's brought in there to help gain an edge with so many fourth-year juniors and fifth-year seniors. Your thoughts on that?
Bowden: Yeah he had a couple of losing seasons in a row redshirting those guys and the administration was really patient with him. You don't get that losing option here. Yeah, he's play a lot of fifth-year senior and he hit it just right last year.

Have you been pleased with Barry Richardson's play the last two weeks?
Bowden: His last two games he's play like he's capable. He did not earlier in the season. He has the last two weeks. He needs to play that way the remaining part of the season if he wants to play on Sundays.

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