Bowers gets lesson in pursuit

CLEMSON — It was during goal line situations that Clemson's coaching staff felt it was time to teach Da'Quan Bowers a lesson.

For much of Saturday's scrimmage at Memorial Stadium, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end from Bamberg dominated. There were times when no one on the offensive line could block him.

He finished the morning with three sacks and four tackles for a loss. He forced a fumble and also got enough pressure on Willy Korn he forced him into a bad read and made him throw off his back foot, which allowed safety Sadat Chambers to jump in front of the pass for an easy interception.

"He can be special. I have said this many, many times, but he is his own limitation," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.

Those limitations — Bowers stepping out of his assignment to make a play. But sometimes doing that can cause him to be burned as well. Watching how he was controlling things, the coaches wanted to see if he was paying attention and focusing on just his assignment.

So Swinney and offensive coordinator Billy Napier called a bootleg to the left side on a third-down play near the goal line. Quarterback Kyle Parker executed the play to perfection and Bowers, who was supposed to have backside containment, jumped out of position and sucked himself inside as Parker turned it outside and walked into the end zone.

A few plays later, the offense tried it again, this time with Korn running the play, but his time Bowers stayed home and forced Korn to throw the ball out of bounds.

"That's being coachable and that's Da'Quan's thing," Swinney said. "It's just do what you are coached to do and how you are coached to do it.

"You have to be disciplined and trust your teammates to make their plays. It is really just him giving great effort, but you have to be disciplined. That is what (offensive coaches) are looking for on the backside box is an undisciplined player that you can boot off of and take advantage of.

"He just has to be disciplined in that regard. You can't play it and do everyone's job. You have to do yours and trust that your teammates are doing theirs."

Bowers was pleased with his play overall, but he knew it wasn't a perfect day by any stretch.

"I had a pretty good day, but I have a long ways to go," he said. "I made a couple of key mistakes. I lost contain out there and (Parker) scored one time and then I came back and got him the next time, but I have a long ways to go."

It's hard to imagine Bowers is that far off. At one point in Saturday's scrimmage he recorded a sack and caused a fumble. He busted up a reverse to Marquan Jones that went for a loss, he tackled Andre Ellington in the backfield for a three-yard loss and then he forced Korn to throw the scrimmage's only interception.

All this happened in a matter of a few plays of each other.

"He did some really good things, but he will tell you this — he is a work in progress even as gifted as he is," defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said. "He is working hard to just get better every day. He is doing that.

"There are little things that he has to keep improving, but wow, he has talent."

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