Q&A with Tommy Bowden

"Well we saw them on tape earlier against N.C. State. Of all the teams, they are probably the most unusual because their run-pass ratio is so much greater than all the other teams in a bowl," said Tommy Bowden of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Can you just talk about what you know about this team off the bat?
Bowden: Well we saw them on tape earlier against N.C. State. Of all the teams, they are probably the most unusual because their run-pass ratio is so much greater than all the other teams in a bowl. It's one of the more sophisticated offenses out there right now.

Do you know any of the coaches on their staff?
Bowden: You know I don't think I know any of them. I know I've met the head coach a few times and I've talked with him on the phone.

Can draw any parallels to your bowl opponent last year and this year with all the passes that La Tech and Texas Tech will put up?
Bowden: The similarities to that type of offense is that you can never get into a comfort zone. Louisiana Tech had a game this year where they came from way down to beat Oklahoma State. Texas Tech had a couple of games this year where a team got way ahead and they came back and won. Texas A&M was one, and Texas was another where they came back to one. N.C. State also had a significant lead and they came back. The one thing about that style of offense is that you never feel uncomfortable coming from behind.

How quickly can you get film on Texas Tech, and what can you do before you get back to practice to prepare for the Red Raiders?
Bowden: We had four of Oklahoma State in the computer. (laughing) I'm sure our film coach has already talked to him and we'll probably have it by 10 in the morning or in the afternoon at the latest. My coaches will be on the road, but Brad and John will come in a day early to get some film work done Thursday and develop a plan for Friday's practice. The biggest thing now is that they've got 12, so we don't wan to study too much.

Can you talk about the pluses and the minuses of the break from practices?
Bowden: It was a long season, and the open date made it even longer. One of the good things about playing an early bowl game is that you don't have a lot of time to let your skills diminish. We did some running and throwing last week, but we got rained out two out of three days. They've got finals this week, and we'll have 8 or 9 days of preparation. The key is you want to make sure they aren't leg weary.

You are playing a team that has won 8 games playing a marquee quarterback, what kind of opportunity is this for Clemson?
Bowden: You always want to win another game, so that's the biggest objective. We want to try and get 8 wins. Their quarterbacks' success is going to make that difficult. They've beat some quality teams, and right now I don't think you could put us in the same category as Texas A&M or Texas. They are going to fully capable to beat us, but we'll be capable of beating them too. We'll have a freshman quarterback going against a senior quarterback, so that will be interesting. The pass rush will critical for us, and it will be difficult for us to come up with a game plan to go against their offense.

Your pass defense is a strength of the team, talk about how that may help you in this game.
Bowden: With a little bit of preparation you'd think that would play in our favor. Sometimes that's a deceiving statistic because that means teams run against you and that's not good. For the 12 game schedule we've played, our pass defense has been pretty good. We've gotten where we can play zone pretty good around here.

Will you call Chuck Amato for any tips?
Bowden: You get everything off the film. It was so long ago. I think I talked to some Arkansas coaches about Georgia earlier in the week. There's not much you can tell them other than what they've already seen on film, and it's the same way here.

Has Mark Jetton transferred?
Bowden: Not to my knowledge. I talked to Mark two days ago and he's planning on going to the bowl and being here. I talked to him last week, probably Thursday or so.

Will you have someone replace Rodney before the bowl?
Bowden: Well you know Justin Watts is gone now, so we'll put Ken Calihan, our offensive video GA on the field, and with Rodney gone, we'll put Britt Timlin on the field. It will be at least until after the bowl game before we replace Rodney.

Who goes out and recruits in his place now?
Bowden: We had him out, but we anticipated this happening. We started shuffling guys around, and plus we are only allowed 7 on the road, so 2 were going to have to come out anyway. I've got 9 fulltime guys, and 7 on the road, I can keep the maximum on the road, so that's not that big of a problem anyway.

Will you recruit while you are in Orlando?
Bowden: We just went over those rules this morning. We had a staff meeting this morning before church. You can designate 7 guys on the road, and when a prospect comes and visits during practice, only those seven guys can talk to them. I think that's right but I'm not sure. What it does is give those guys a chance to stand over there and watch practice for two or three hours. They don't get to see that during official visits in January. So it's a chance to see your team practice and get to know and watch the players and coaches interact a little more.

Will you be flying coaches back and forth for the Shrine Bowl?
Bowden: Yeah, it makes it more difficult. Some guys will have to miss practice in Orlando. Either Monday or Tuesday we'll have take one of those days and release some guys to watch practice on the South Carolina and North Carolina squads. It will be either Monday or Tuesday. I think Tuesday will be our day to fly up there but it's not set in stone yet.

Do you think about your staff as far as next year right now, or do you wait until this game is over?
Bowden: As far as replacing Rodney, I've gotten some phone calls from people and started accumulating names. I'm getting information together myself right now, but that's it.

Would you consider a special teams coach?
Bowden: Not really. He'll have to have some aspect of special teams. Not unless the guy that I hired had a strong background handling it, I might consider it. I don't have any strong inclination to do that right now, that's my management style.

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