Coach Q&A: Jeff Bowden

Florida State offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden took some time to speak with the media Monday afternoon. The following is a transcript of the conversation where Bowden talks about the health of the team, preparing for N.C. State and whether or not he plans to use his freshmen receivers more.

Q: Do you worry that Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato knows a lot about what you do because of his time at FSU?

A: No, I think - like I said - as much as Chuck is familiar with what we do, we are pretty familiar with what he does. He has a lot that if you took our defense and wanted to compare it to N.C. State's with the exception of who is lining up in those uniforms. The style is almost identical, you can about predict when you are going to get one-on-one coverage on the edges. You can line up in a way that will ensure you get one-on-one coverage. We know what each other is doing. That is where Chuck is going to say, "Listen this is not going to be about finesse, we are going to have to win the line of scrimmage."

Q: Did it shock you last year when they went primarily to 3-4 scheme and dropped back forcing Drew Weatherford to throw?

A: No. I just think at that point in the year we were so committed to the pass that was the (best) way to defend us.

Q: It didn't surprise you?

A: No. Looking at some of last year's game film he just required us to take a lot of short stuff in our passing game and we just weren't quite as patient as we needed to be at times. Then there were times we were throwing four vertical into that drop eight (defense) and it is like I said - if you put your quarterback into a 3-and-13 or something, you are just asking him to throw a pick when you are trying to throw it downfield with all of (the defenders) dropping. The thing that hurt us last season - as we go back and look at it - twice we had 1-and-5 on the five (yard line) and once we get a holding penalty, which makes me sick because it looks like a good block and then the next time we throw a little play action pass and the quarterback gets his foot stepped on and falls down on what ought to be a touchdown. So … we are going to have to do a much better job in the redzone this year if we plan on winning the game.

Q: There defensive line still seems to be their best spot on defense even though they lost three first-round draft picks.

A: Yeah, well you wish you could turn off the Boston College game because that is the game where Boston College looks like they are racking up a lot of yardage and they have some runs spit out of there and they are making some plays throwing the ball but yet you don't see that scoreboard continue to light up and see points continue to go on that board. That game, with them against Boston College reminded me of our Clemson game. It came down to a 3-and-1 and Boston College had a chance to get the first down and the game is over but they fumble the snap, it becomes 4-and-3, you don't want to punt it and they took it over and went down and scored. I thought N.C. State played more like the N.C. State that we are used to seeing in that game. Believe me, they blitzed Boston College a good bit. It is not necessarily a pass blitz. It looked like they tried to play Southern Miss straight up, which is hard to do anymore. For a defense to just come out there and play a base defense - people are going to move the ball now-a-days offensively - and I would think we would too. They changed their personnel a little bit against Boston College and I really expect to see them do a lot of the same that they did in that game.

Q: Because Amato is so familiar with the offense, is it more of a chess match than anything?

A: I don't know. It could be … I would say that we are going to have some calls where they are going to get us and we are going to have some calls where we are going to get them. If we make a play here and there we feel like we are going to get them with these and if we run this play into what they are doing they are going to get us. That in itself is a little bit of a chess match.

Q: How many curve balls does Chuck normally throw at you?

A: I don't know what his curve balls are going to be. I don't know what he is going to do. I tend to want to follow the Boston College game plan. They just won a game against a pretty good football team … and I would think Chuck's philosophy is what it has usually been, which is on defense to just physically line up and whip you. Match-up his corners on your receivers and say you are going to have to whip us, because we are going to give you one-on-one but you're going to have to earn every step of the route and you're going to have to throw a perfect ball into that coverage and the receiver is going to have to be physical enough to go up and get it.

Q: Are the guys physically ready to do that?

A: They better be.

Q: Is the offensive line physically ready?

A: We are getting there. I am not saying we are near as physical as we need to be yet but we are getting there. We are learning how to be physical.

Q: Are you confident that your receivers have done enough to get out of their slump of dropping balls?

A: Yeah, well they had some catches in the last game. I won't be happy until the season is done and you see how they do. They played one good game. You need to put back-to-back good games together. This is going to be one of those games where receivers are going to get the opportunity. So we will have to see. If they are not ready to play - if the receivers are not ready to play – this is what you dream about. One-on-one coverage, wide receiver is out here in this third and the other guy is out here in this third and you have one-on-one coverage - whether it is zone or man there is still single coverage - this is what you want. I am hoping they just go out there and just relax and play ball and make plays like they are capable of.

Q: What is the health status of the line?

A: Well, we have been rotating (David) Overmyer at tackle for Shannon Boatman, who I think is going to be okay. We would be better served if Overmyer can stay inside at guard. The centers have a little bit of hand problems but we think they both are going to be OK to go for the game. Left guard Jacky Claude had a little bit of a concussion in the game. I think he hit his head on the ground but we have been rolling Cory Niblock in there a little bit. Then Mario Henderson is healthy and fine. We are a little bit banged up. I am surprised we are as banged up as we are, coming off an open date, but you go back to your toughness. We grinded them pretty hard last week hoping to lighten up this week. When I say grinded them we put them on the sled and worked some toughness drills for them. I don't know if that was a reason for some of the injuries.

Q: What is Jamaal Edwards' status?

A: He's still out for this game.

Q: Are you to the point yet where you are comfortable with freshmen receivers Preston Parker and Damon McDaniel?

A: Yeah, I have talked to both of them a little bit. I think Preston (Parker) right now at this point is just a step ahead of Damon (McDaniel). I got really nervous because in the middle of the Clemson game De'Cody (Fagg) came out with a shoulder issue that he has had in the past and then Joslin (Shaw) hurt an ankle in that game. Here I am … I am loaded up at Z (wide receiver) with Chris Davis, Greg Carr and Richard Goodman and then Preston, so as soon as that game was over we took Preston and moved him to split end just in case we get slammed with those kind of injuries again because now I am down with true freshman, both of them. They are not going to go out there and play like veterans but if I had to play one right now Preston is probably just a step ahead of Damon (McDaniel).

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