The ninth-ranked Tigers wrapped up their preparations for Saturday's Chick-fil-A College Kickoff Thursday and must now sit around and wait until 8 o'clock Saturday night before they can actually play again. That means they will also have to deal with distractions that come from friends and families requesting tickets and other non-football related things.
"Teams like this separate from the pack," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said Thursday.
"There is a lot of mental playing that you can do from here up until game time. It's
the teams that can do that and focus and separate themselves from all the parents
and the request for tickets and family that (fare better).
"That's what we will find out. It seems to be good, but we don't know."
Bowden also doesn't know what kind of game to expect in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. The
Clemson coach said the outcome of the game will depend on turnovers, penalties and
the kicking game.
"Turnovers are a huge factor," he said. "Mistakes in the kicking game. Those are
things in the first game that you don't have a feel for. That can throw it out of
whack real quickly."
Like N.C. State, which played at SEC member South Carolina Thursday, Clemson has the
added pressure of carrying the conference on its shoulder. With ACC football getting
such a black eye lately with the media calling it the weakest BCS Conference, thanks
to its 1-9 record in BCS Bowl games and its 2-6 showing in last year's bowl season,
it's almost imperative Clemson beat the Crimson Tide so the conference can gain some
"For the conference to gain credibility you have to beat teams from other
conferences and get in BCS bowl games and win them. We haven't done that. Yes, we do
kind of carry the mantel for the ACC a little bit," Bowden said.
But in the end, all Bowden really cares about, "I'm really just kind of hoping for a
win. That's all I'm hoping for."
INJURY UPDATE: Freshman running back Jamie Harper, who was suffering from a sprained
ankle, has been upgraded from questionable to probable for Saturday's game.
Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder) is out as is defensive tackle Rashaad Jackson
PUNTER UPDATE; Bowden said he will name either Dawson Zimmerman or Jimmy Maners the
starting punter after he sees them kick during a walk through Friday night and after
pregame warm-ups on Saturday.
WALK-ONS: Walk-ons Nelson Faerber (receiver) and Maners were awarded
Tigers Go Through Final Workouts
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