"This weather, I can never remember the weather being better this time of the year to practice. You can go out and get all the heat that you want, and that makes you drag through practices and you can't get a lot done. Or it can be raining and lightning and drive you inside where you couldn't work. Our practices have been really like you would plan it. Pretty hot in the morning. Then cool in the afternoon. Rain has stayed away from us. Lightning has stayed away from us, so we've been very fortunate in that regard.
"We are beginning to...it looks like we are beginning to jell a little bit. Got one more week to polish, try to eliminate....get to where we know what we are doing and won't make those dog gone mistakes that will get you beat. We have to get that accomplished next week. You know how concered we are about their quarterback (Seneca Wallace). (Lorne) Sam is running the scout team quarterback -- he gives them a pretty dog gone good look. I didn't realize he could move that good. But he's wearing No. 15 to represent their quarterback.
"We went into scout teams today. First day we've done that. We will mix that up. Tomorrow, of course, is the luncheon. We will have meetings tomorrow. The ACC officials will come in and talk to our squad about the rules and the rule changes and give us a chance to ask any questions. We will have that last scrimmage Friday night. It will be the starters plus several key reserves against the rest of them. As it progresses, we will bench some of the starters and maybe bring on a guy from the other side. We will use regular ACC officials. We used SEC officials Wednesday. We do that every year."
The players seemed pretty excited after practice (squad was jumping up and down to celebreat the end of two-a-day practices).
"I am sure that's the reason, because it's a glorious day when two-a-days are over. Next week we will have meetings in the morning and then afternoon practice will be. ..I am not sure. It could be 3:30 or could be 4. We will go into that routine."
We heard that Deion Sanders was interested in getting into coaching.
"Deion would be good in anything he went into. He's one of the most talented young men I have ever seen, in regards to athletecs and demeanor and everything else. If Deion went into coaching, he would be an excellent coach. I don't know if he would like the paycheck (laughing). The paycheck ain't like what he was making as a player. But he would be an excellent teacher, I would think."
Here are coach Bowden's comments from Thursday's morning practice.
"Well, looking at the film of the scrimmage, I think we improved over the previous scrimmage (last Saturday). You could see a little improvement. A couple of times we even looked like a ballclub, but it wasn't all day long. Now, we must do is improve that much at our next scrimmage and our next workout. At least we will be on schedule. Injuries that we had, Brett Williams (right shoulder sprain) was out here working. (Ron) Lunford (ankle sprain) wasn't. We came out of that scrimmage pretty decent, I thought. We came out this morning and worked on trying to correct the mistakes we made yesterday. Try to correct them and try to eliminate them. That's the key right now."
What has been your biggest surprises of two-a-days?
"Not any real big surprises. Probably a lot of little ones. But nothing real big. The big thing is I am not disappointment in anybody. A certain guy who wasn't putting out or wasn't trying hard, or was doing lousy, that would catch my attention for than anything else. I didn't see any of that."
Do you get a sense that either the offense or defense is front of each other, or do you need a game to show that?
"As I long at them, no, I don't get the feeling that one is way ahead of the other. You can tell they've made progress, but we are not close to where we need to be to play a ballgame. We have eight more days to keep polishing, keep polishing, keep polishing. The scrimmage tomorrow night will be our last contact in terms of a scrimmage-type thing. Keep our fingers crossed on tomorrow night."
Are you confident this team get to where it needs to get for the opener?
"Yeah, if we keep working hard and we don't have a siege of injuries. There's no reason for us not to get where we can get. This is still a young bunch of boys out here, which means they can still get better, better, better, thank goodness."
There has been so much hype surrounding the return of Anquan Boldin and Robert Morgan and what they bring to the team, but the guy right now appears to be Talman Gardner.
"Talman has been the outstanding receiver the last two years. He was last year and he hasn't let up this year. Talman just needs to stay healthy. That's just the key to big Tal. He has already done good, but he just has been snakebit his first two years. Let's just hope his senior year he doesn't get an injury.
Without having Anquan out there right now, it also shows some of these young guys that you just can't rely on those two to have a big year.
"That's exactly right. One of the plusses last year was you got some great experience for Craphonso (Thorpe) and (P.K.) Sam. Same thing on (Joey) Kaleikini and some of those other guys. Now then that gives us more depth in case Anquan struggles or Robert struggles. I think it's gonna take an injury to make them struggle. I think as long as they are healthy they are going to be okay."
Are there any starting positions that are up for grabs that are starting to settle?
"There are some positions that are close, no doubt about it. But I think we could list a starting lineup today. But there are some positions that are still close, where there is always potential changes. I really like our fullbacks. They are inexperienced but they have the tools and they are all working hard. They have a pretty big pack (players) in there."
What our your impressions of Iowa State?
"They are a well-coached football team. They play with a lot of enthusiasm. They are well-coached, you can tell that. They have people at the right place at the right time. They don't make a lot of mistakes. They hustle real good. They do all of the things that a good a football team is supposed to do. He (quarterback Seneca Wallace) is very dangerous. I've seen him go back to pass, get trapped on one sideline, turn around and run all the way back over here and run for a touchdown, 45 or 50 yards. He has that kind of speed and that kind of elusiveness. Very gifted athlete with a great arm."
Is this the kind of opening test you welcome?
"I will tell you after we play them (laughing). They are good enough to scare you. They scare you."