Tommy Bowden Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media today to preview Saturday's game against S.C. State.

Some remarks you made last night after practice, seemed to be pointed about things you need to improve with your team. Was that a message to your critics or to your team?
Bowden: You know the critics, unless Tim tells me, I don't know what their complaints would be. I don't respond too much to critics. Never have. My M.O. is not much one to respond to critics.

Last week there was some remarks made by a former offensive lineman that your offensive line wasn't tough enough. Your thoughts on that?
Bowden: I did not read the article and I didn't mention it to my team. So I don't know what it said. I think a couple of players may have seen it but I did not read it.

You seem to have called some players out in recent days about being able to play with pain?
Bowden: I'm not a doctor. Once they say the injury cannot be sustained further then it becomes an issue of pain.

Was that message to your coaching staff as well?
Bowden: Well yeah. I'm the head coach. It's things we discuss in staff meetings. There are things you have to address. There's a protocol you address during practice. I don't' want to say I'm not unhappy with a conference win. We beat a conference team for the fifth straight time to tie a record between the two teams. I don't know that this week is any different. We are trying to improve from week to week and that's what we are trying do. I don't see anything different.

While the candor is appreciated, when it deals with family issues you seem to keep them all in house. These cases you seem to be throwing it all out there … making remarks about the team needs to get tougher, specific players and circumstances.
Bowden: Well I said last week we need improvement in pass rush, run blocking, and everybody needs improvement, including the quarterback. We need the whole team to make improvement. Kind of like these politicians that have been running for nine months- y'all have hard jobs [finding something to write about]. Last night I said tackling. Being able to run through the ball carriers.

You said something about the defensive line yesterday but then you backed off. What was that?
Bowden: I forgot what it was.

So what do you need to improve on?
Bowden: The things we talked about last night. Definitely tackling and how we tackle. We held them to three points. The fundamentals of tackling would be the biggest thing. Then the new offensive linemen … they have to make a bunch of split decisions in a few seconds. You have to be patient but you also have to force the issue because you have to play a game every week. It's very important this week that we make improvement in several areas. We've got new guys and Cory Lambert who is just now starting. Thomas Austin has only played a half of year at center.

There are a lot of names on the S.C. State roster you are familiar with. Would it be unwise to overlook these guys?
Bowden: Billy Napier talked to the team yesterday because he just coached there recently. And yes there are familiar names. Macolm Long, Phillip Morris, there was an offensive guard, Julius Wilkerson and an N.C. State transfer at tight end. I'm a lot more familiar with the players they have compared to The Citadel. We also came close to recruiting Markee Hamlin.

Michael Hamlin will get to play against his brothers, Markee and Markquais this week. What do you think that will be like for those guys?
Bowden: The only one I feel for is the mother. She's going to have a hard time. The brothers will have a lot of fun.

What do you make of William Ford, their running back?
Bowden: 10.5 in the 100 meters at Traveler's Rest. We recruited him. Travil Jamison we recruited. Ford is a jet. Those are guys we are very familiar with and are very talented. They run the spread offense where they put the skill guys in space.

What about Malcolm Long, their quarterback?
Bowden: Very talented. We recruited him and we came very close to offering. On tape, he's probably about 235 pounds.

How did this game come about?
Bowden: The administration did all the talking. But when I originally came here, my intention was if we are going to play a 1-AA school, we do it in state and keep the money in-state. They have a great program, a great tradition and Buddy Pough. I'm familiar with him because of what he's done here in-state. They are a quality program.

Do you change your practice schedule this week or keep an eye on Maryland this week in practice given the fact you are playing a 1-AA team?
Bowden: Our practice format is the same today regardless of who we are playing- S.C. State, Wake Forest or Maryland. We've got young inexperienced guys on the offensive line and need to tackle better on defense. Those things are easier to correct after a win than a loss. It will be full pads, like normal Tuesdays. They do a lot of different things defensively, taking the odd stack, similar to what Virginia Tech does with their defense and they are multiple on offense. They'll have two linebackers, three linebackers, five defensive backs. It's going to be a lot of preparation. We have to make sure fundamentally we address those concerns I've been talking about.

Have you noticed a difference in C.J. Spiller this year?
Bowden: He is reminding me more of his freshman year. Joey works these guys hard every summer. But there is a noticable sense of urgency here this year, this season. He's showed a lot of progress but I think he's a little more hungrier this year. Reminds me of his freshman year- averaging right around eight yards per carry. He's getting more mature.


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