Dabo Swinney's Sunday Teleconference

Head coach Dabo Swinney previews the Florida State game in his weekly teleconference.

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said defensive end Da'Quan Bowers is "probably doubtful" for this Saturday's game against Florida State.

Bowers injured a PCL and MCL during the first quarter of Saturday's 49-3 win over Coastal Carolina.

"The information that I got (after the Coastal Carolina game) was that it was just a sprained PCL and he should be fine," Swinney said. "He even told me that too. It looks like it might be a little bit more involved."

Swinney believed there was miscommunication in the seriousness of the injury.

"It could be a couple of games, it could be just this one--I don't know," he said. "It's hard for me to speculate on that...it's not a season ending injury."

Swinney believes Bowers' absence will become a challenge to the other defensive ends that would step into his role. There have been plenty of players rotated in and out at defensive end this year, including Malliciah Goodman.

"I thought he had his best game on Saturday. He'll have to step it up along with (Andre) Branch. Kevin Alexander will also fill that role too," Swinney said.

Alexander starts at the SAM linebacker position in the Tiger's base personnel group. On nickel and dime situations, he plays on the end.

"We've got good depth there and good players. We'll be OK," Swinney said.

Even without Bowers for most of Saturday's game against Coastal Carolina, Clemson gave up just 27 yards passing. Swinney thinks there's still some things to improve upon on defense.

"There are a lot of things we can improve upon. We can tackle better. We still have some alignment assignment issues, critical errors, but we'll keep working on that," he said.

Offensively, Swinney was pleased with the 252 yards rushing.

"We played really good up front," he said. "We were really dominant at the point of attack."

Swinney said he'd like to see improvement on the back-side of some plays, eliminate the drops by the tight ends and play with a little more "fire".

"It was an opponent that we should dominate and we did," he said.

Starting early Monday morning, Clemson will begin its preparation for Florida State.

"These guys have really created some momentum going up and winning at North Carolina and winning against N.C. State," Swinney said.

Early in Florida State's 45-42 win over N.C. State in Tallahassee last Saturday, Seminole quarterback Christian Ponder was hit in the back by a helmet during the first quarter. He finished the game by completing 26 of 40 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Bobby Bowden said his quarterback will be monitored during practice this week to see how much those sore ribs bother Ponder.

Though his status for Saturday is uncertain, Swinney said Clemson will prepare for Ponder.

"All that stuff you've got to watch as you go through the week. I expect everybody to be ready to go for them," Swinney said.

Ponder has been huge for the Seminoles this year. Ranked third in nation in total offense, Ponder is the 13th most efficient passer in the nation and completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.

"He's as good as we've played," Swinney said. "He's looking like a red-shirt junior now. We'll have a tough task on our hands."

Swinney spoke highly of Ponder's ability to run the ball.

"He's a very dangerous runner and likes to run. He just doesn't end up doing it too often," Swinney said.

Needless to say, he is pacing a Florida State team whose 4-4 record (2-3 in ACC) would be a whole lot uglier without him.

Swinney said the Seminoles will be among the best offensive teams the Tigers have played this year.

"They make a lot of plays and they've scored a bunch of points. They've gotten it going," he said.

CUTigers.com Top Stories