Can you look past this game from Saturday and determine what happened?
Bowden: Obviously you have no options [but to do so]. The biggest thing is how do you do it? How do you approach it [the rest of the season] mentally? And how do you do it in practice. I've used the examples with you guys already. South Carolina vs. Georgia last year. LSU vs. Virginia Tech last year. I called all of those head coaches, Frank Beamer and I talked to Coach Saban after the game and I told him I'm not a guy that has all the answers. I talked to my father- he took my phone call. They all had some ideas on bouncing back. I think we've got a good plan for practice and I talked to the seniors yesterday about it. Obviously you have to make adjustments with Rashaad Jackson out. Barry Humphries.
You talked to those coaches [Beamer, Saban, Bobby Bowden] after the game? Sunday? Monday?
Bowden: Monday and today. Coach Saban - I didn't know that much [before] but he was very gracious.
Is that common for coaches to call other coaches?
Bowden: I don't know. As I talked to Coach Saban, I don't have enough pride to know that I have all of the answers. He studied us for six months and did a pretty good job. I don't play Alabama again. I don't play Virginia Tech. I'm always trying to learn and correct mistake.
Do you mind sharing what some of those coaches told you and what you told them?
Bowden: Well I want to do what Georgia did [last year after losing to South Carolina]. I want to do what Virginia Tech did [after losing to LSU] and win the conference. I'm looking for those solutions. You have to bounce back. You have no options. In talking with those guys, one of the things my father said the year he lost right out of the gates 31-0 he said his kids read articles. That's how our kids played.
What could you have done differently in preparing for Alabama?
Bowden: I don't think I could [have done something differently]. Did you talk about it? Yes. We relentlessly talked about it. I couldn't change that. Preparation? We prepared like we did against nationall-ranked Texas A&M when we beat them. Like we did against Florida State when we beat them to open the season last year. Talking to the coaches they said it's not so much you go out there and beat your team up. I think the team understands now the importance of the proper attitude. If we are ever ranked again in the preseason we have a great resource to go on.
Doesn't the physicalness and hitting ... that kind of attitude filter down from the coaching staff?
Bowden: Oh yeah. Since the last three years since Vic has been here we've been like that. Before the Virignia Tech game last year, we had played in 26 games straight where we won or lost by six points or less. Since we've been here we've played pretty good defense and we didn't before he arrived.
What about offense?
Bowden: Same way. Some of that is scheme. I think the the offense is a little bit different. Defensively, you try to stop the run. Offensively, if teams stop the run you have to be able to throw the ball.
How much harder is this to fix? You've had special teams problems in the past and other issues... but what about this?
Bowden: I remember coming back from my radio show and thinking about things that need to be fixed. As I looked at game management. Listening to the South Carolina game after my radio show, it was interception, interception, penalty, interception. That made me talk to my guys about, 'hey let's not go out there and commit stupid penalties.' We didn't have those problems. We didn't have problems with game management. We believed what y'all said about us. We aren't that good. Right now, at least. Alabama prepared for us for six months and viciously came after us and we didn't. You could say ... even if Rashaad or Sapp or Ford would have played, it might have been a touchdown closer but we didn't have the same attitude. My point is, from a game management standpoint, we didn't have the typical breakdowns. We didn't have that. It's the attitude of why didn't we respond. That I don't know. That's inside the human mind. The mental aspect? Obviously that's a pretty tough challenge. We'll see if we have one.
So you believe this team has the personnel to do what we thought you could during the preseason?
Bowden: Oh yeah. Yes.
What do you do about your offensive line and their lack of a punch?
Bowden: It wasn't only them. It was everybody on the whole team. It's a concern at every position. In a situation like this, it's important not to point fingers. I don't think that will be a problem. It starts with the head coach. it starts with me and I have to see if we can find a solution to the problem. I'm concerned about them, but no more than anybody else on the team.
Does it matter who you are playing this week?
Bowden: I don't think so. I'm looking for an attitude and intensity that we didn't have. I use the word a sense of urgency. That's the most important thing I'm looking for this week along with winning. You are as good as your last game and I would imagine the people at Oklahoma are excited about their win over Chattanooga. Ohio State is excited about winning over Youngstown State. And hopefully you guys will be the same way if we can win this week.
What have you seen from The Citadel?
Bowden: They present problems for you on offense. They throw it. They've got a good wide receiver that really stands out. Their quarterback can run too and that causes problems. Wisconsin saw it last year. If you don't play with the proper intensity and you turn the ball over, you get a Wisconsin type of game [when it was tied at halftime.]
Can you elaborate on the Jamie Cumbie deal?
Bowden: I've been a head coach for 12 years after wins and losses. I've been involved in numerous games involved with tremendous intensity. There are a lot of things that happen in a locker room that happen but surely I would never make that kind of thing public.
You talked with those coaches today and yesterday? What was that like?
Bowden: To be honest with you, I talked to the team yesterday and the only one I talked to before my team meeting was Coach Saban and that was a self scout of us. All of the other guys I talked with this morning. I guess it was a confirmation of what I told the team. They had similar answers to what we talked to in our team meeting yesterday.
What kind of a sense did you get out of your team and how they've prepared this week?
Bowden: Really good meeting with the seniors. We get their thoughts on the game and let them know how we are going to coach this week. Again, I had a good meeting with those seniors before that game too. All you can do is prepare the best plan possible, meet with them and go out there and do the job. Alabama- we didn't. Somehow my communication wires got messed up. We'll see.
Any other coaches call you?
Bowden: The guy at Walhalla. He wanted to know if he could use the practice turf in case of bad weather. (laughing)
Were all your problems exposed against Alabama?
Bowden: Well no because Alabama and defense. N.C. State runs a completely different offense and defense. They'll attack us in different ways. There's an old saying in football, "If you think you can defend everything you can defend nothing." There will be other weaknesses that good teams and good coaches. Al Groh is a good coach and has coached in the NFL. Ralph Friedgen is a good coach who has coached in the NFL. You'll never have an offense or a defense that can do everything.
Alabama got the ball at the start of the game, they had three penalties on their first drive and they got a field goal. From that standpoint, they didn't manage the game very well...
Bowden: Attitude and intensity. This is a game of emotion, enthusiasm and effort. That's what they didn't have. They overcame that. We surely didn't play up to their potential and we didn't match their intensity.
What was it you saw out of Dawson Zimmerman that made you start him over Jimmy Maners?
Bowden: Just a little more consistency during practice. We had our walk-on snapper, Charles Roediger. They had an entire six months to prepare to attack our technique. Walk-on snapper and freshman punter ... was very pleased. He averaged 40 yards right off the bat. Was very pleased with their performance. Our kicking game overall ... was very pleased.
Do you anticipate Jamie Harper getting more action this week?
Bowden: If he can practice full speed. He was probably up to 90 something percent. If he doesn't re-injure his ankle then yes.
Was that a deal-breaker for Jamie Harper to have the first carry?
Bowden: You'd have to ask him.
Your announcement Friday of the deferred suspension, based on what you know, is that an indication you believe he's 100 percent innocent?
Bowden: I think it's an indication of what the press conference said. What I thought was in that statement. Tim has the statement. We take the charges very seriously and did what we thought was fair.
Tommy Bowden Press Conference
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