BOWDEN: Challenges Linebackers

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden made no bones about it Monday night in assessing his team's performance against N.C. State. He wants better play from the offensive line, the defensive line and the linebackers.


OPENING COMMENTS: Just a couple of things from the game. The biggest thing is tackling. We hit on the edges a lot. Right now we aren't a very crisp tackling team. Our feet die on contact. We don't run through the ball carrier and knock him back. We are receiving the blow a lot of times instead of delivering the blow. We are working hard on that this week. Then three and outs. We've got four three and outs in three games. I think we are averaging 14 plays less per game than our opponent. Some of that is due to us scoring fast. Offensively we have six turnovers in three games and that's way too many. We also had a short yardage malfunction. For us to get where we want to go, we have to make a lot of improvement. We aren't nearly where we need to be on the offensive line. After looking at the tight copy, from tackle to tackle, we aren't close. We aren't close- assignment wise, steps, etc.

PROBLEMS ON DEFENSE DUE SOLELY TO YOUTH? Yes. Some of those things can be corrected, emphasized. Fundamentals are heavy during spring. During August. Then all of a sudden when you start dealing with scheme that decreases. With young linebackers, and really, Brandon Thompson is a young guy, Andre Branch is a redshirt freshman, Miguel Chavis is a sophomore, Jenkins is a sophomore. Our linebackers- Brandon [Maye] didn't even play. Conner is a first-year starter. Those guys are young and there is stuff they can work on. It's that. I won't go farther. I was fixing to but I'm going to bite my tongue.

UPDATE ON HAIRSTON: He's got the same injury on Ricky Sapp and Ricky Sapp played. That's all I can say. We really aren't supposed to talk about injuries.

MORE COMFORTABLE WITH O-LINE OR D-LINE? Neither one. Neither one. We can play a lot better at both of them. One is younger but the other one is young. Neither one is ahead of the other and we have a long ways to go. It's more assignments on defense. More footbwork and fundamentals on offense. Again, every week you have to win. Somebody always goes forward, somebody always goes back.

SO YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MORE COLLISIONS AT LB? Can you [think of one]? We haven't had a lot of big collisions. Crezdon Butler has a couple. We have an award with the big hit of the day, the hard rock big lick of the day and Mark Buchholz about got it. He's a kicker. It was a good hit. He was a big guy. So it wasn't bad. Grisham has had some pretty good hits.

JAMIE HARPER IN SHORT-YARDAGE? IS THAT DUE TO THE O-LINE? It was missed assignments. It was poor technique. That was more of an issue up front than a running back issue. He [Jamie] was injured a long time with a sprained ankle. He's just now getting greased back up. We were really pleased before he got hurt but we were really pleased before that. Top Stories