Tommy Bowden's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden previews No. 15 Clemson's game against 18th-ranked Boston College.

Any chance your team looks past this weekend against Boston College towards the South Carolina game?
Bowden: (laughing) No. I know with South Carolina having an open date all of their discussion will be on us. But no.

Do you consider Boston College a rival of yours considering how the last two years have gone against this team?
Bowden: Well I don't know. Somebody told me what Matt Ryan said this summer, "In order to be a rivalry you have to have some history." I don't think that is there yet.

You said last week that your players had an electric practice on Monday and were energized after they found out they now control their own destiny. Did you see the same thing last night?
Bowden: A little bit different. Last week was a different scenario. Florida State allowed some life in the tunnel. That win put us in the drivers' seat. Not necessarily bad. Not necessarily good.

What about bringing your players down after such a convincing win over Wake Forest?
Bowden: Yeah. Practice has a tendency to do that when it drags out. I think the biggest thing is concentration. All the electricity and fist pumping and stuff like that is channeled towards assignments.

Your front four had its best game of the season last week against Wake Forest and were very emotional. Was that just because so much was on the line for that game? Because it was a must-win?
Bowden: I don't know. They played that way versus Florida State and Virginia Tech and have in spurts. They have played bits and pieces in that but never for full games. I don't know. I'd say we surely need a duplication of that effort. You know, players at the next level, that's how they play week in and week out. You have to be consistent. It will be important that they play that same way.

What did you learn about your football team Saturday considering you had to win that game to make this game meaningful in the conference race?
Bowden: Well we've had other games we've had to win. But this late, it probably showed that we had good focus and concentration throughout last week. The emotion on Saturday is going to be there for the most part. You have to arrive at the right place at the right time. I think that showed last week that the team prepared well and what the coaches were telling them actually was absorbed.

Talk about Matt Ryan and what he brings to the table for Boston College.
Bowden: The biggest thing is, we have a scout team quarterback and it's hard for him to intimidate of what he brings to the table. The velocity and the accuracy of the passes. Our secondary – there can be a certain amount of separation there and (he can still deliver the ball) and his delivery compared to our scout team quarterback is a lot different. Expect him to be more accurate and the closing speed is going to be different. And plus he's got height. He's going to be more productive. We will take Willy Korn and let him play Matt Ryan today. We didn't do that yesterday but we will do that the next three days.

So is Willy healthy?
Bowden: He's going to limit it on some throws. But I think the presence of him back there, physically. He'll be restricted because of his injury. But he won't be hit or anything.

Do you think Cullen Harper is comparable to Matt Ryan this year?
Bowden: I have never followed Matt Ryan's stats until it flashes on the TV or Tim Bourret gives it to me. I don't watch their offense so I don't study him like I study Cullen. I couldn't quote you stats on him.

Has Rob Spence gotten the credit he deserves considering where Cullen is right now?
Bowden: I haven't really thought about that. It's a combination of a bunch of things.

There is talk this could be the kind of atmosphere that compares to the Georgia Tech game last year. Can you talk about what that feels like from down on the field when you walk into a stadium as the head coach?
Bowden: There has been several stadiums I've walked in, it's like walking into a thicker air. When I was at Alabama and we were undefeated. You could cut the electricity. Florida State my first year here. From what I understand this will bypass those. Noise will be a factor in this point in the game at some point in time. It will be difficult to communicate. From our fans standpoint, it needs to be loud. But we have to tone it down when we have the ball because we communicate a whole bunch between linemen and the quarterback. Talking to people that have been here a lot longer than I have, this will surpass anything that I've seen since I've been here.

Cullen seems like a cool customer can you talk about his demeanor and what it means for this team?
Bowden: A lot of y'all have interviewed him … win or lose … he's not a guy that is going to cartwheels after touchdown passes or do a whole bunch. He has a consistent temperament. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. But for him, he's not trying to be somebody he's not. It is good for this team because there is nothing false from him and it seems to be working.

Some of the players on the team have said that Cullen reminds them of Charlie Whitehurst. Would you agree?
Bowden: It's similar. He'll say something on occasion. He doesn't have a fowl mouth. Charlie, his demeanor was very very similar. Accuracy of throws. Velocity of throws. Very similar.

Can you talk about the importance of James Davis
Bowden: There are some guys on defense, but since you mentioned on offense. Chris McDuffie, at times, show flashes. But it's important because some guys respond to vocal guys. There are certain members of the offense that helps motivate their level of play. 85 different guys on the team. 85 different personalities. Cullen turns some of them on. James turns the others on. So that's good to have that aspect brought to the table.

Does Boston College give up on the run in the film you've watched this year?
Bowden: No. I think it's kind of like what we tried to do early. We tried C.J. and James with multiple tight ends and trying to run. That wasn't working for us so we had to do it more out of passing formations. The ride the big gun. (Matt Ryan) But he's the main guy. He's awful good and that's who they feel more comfortable with.

Is it special teams that keep you up at night at this point in the season?
Bowden: Probably is. Offensively you sit in the meetings and you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to. Special teams involves punt protection, fake punts, fake field goals. It involves so much and it's not as constant. It might be that way with a lot of head coaches where special teams creates the most sleepless nights.

Is this the best defense you've had since you've been here?
Bowden: Statistically it might be. Right now. But we have two very potent offenses coming up in Boston College and South Carolina. We can evaluate that at the end of the season.

How about stats aside?
Bowden: Well with nine of them coming back I'd like to see it next year. But right now, after 10 games, probably the best. But most of those guys are all juniors because I don't recall having nine seniors on defense. That has a chance to be special.

From a talent standpoint, who on Boston College jumps out at you?
Bowden: 44 will knock your lights out and he has a lot of interceptions. Kind of like an Anthony Waters last year. There two inside guys are big run-stuffing guys. They get pretty good outside pressure. Now they have had some of their key guys hurt. No. 40, Dunbar, I know he's been out a little bit. If you watch them, they may not have a Gaines Adams, but they are really sound with their technique and they force things back. They don't have stars that jump off the radar at you, but again, they are just a solid, solid team.

Are they a zone team predominantly?
Bowden: They are a heavy zone team. They will bring pressure. I don't think they have the super stars. It's more of a team. They remind me a lot of Wake Forest, being sound and playing hard.

We will be talking about how big this game is all week. How big is this game for you?
Bowden: I think it's a big game for the players. It's a big game for Clemson's fans you know. For me, God takes care of me. But it's big for them. I look at it more like that.

Is anything less than 10 wins and a conference championship acceptable at this point?
Bowden: That's pretty much what y'all have been writing. And that's what I've been reading with my mail. Yeah, we want to accumulate as many wins as possible.

Ryan went a long time without throwing a pick, but he's throwing seven the last two games. Is that something where the opposing secondaries have just made great plays? What have you seen of him on film?
Bowden: You know I don't know. The guy at Florida State made a great play. I don't even watch the offense. So I couldn't tell you.

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