Gameday: NC State vs. Clemson

NC State (2-2, 1-2) hosts Clemson (2-3, 1-3) in a crucial game for both teams. Gametime is set for 7:30 tonight, and the contest will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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Carter-Finley Stadium

NC State (2-2) vs. Clemson (2-3)
Thursday, October 13, 2005
7:30 pm Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500)
Raleigh, NC

Clemson Links

Clemson Official Site

Roster

Schedule/Results

Game Notes


Game Stories

  • Week 5: Clemson Tigers
  • ARCHIVE: The 'Pack Pride Radio Show'
  • Tuesday: Amato Quotables
  • Trestman: We're Still Evolving
  • Sunday: Chuck Amato Audio + Quotes
  • Brown Ready To Make Big Plays
  • Saturday PC: Chuck Amato


    Injury Report

    NC STATE
    OUT
    Miguel Scott, S
    -- ankle

    DOUBTFUL
    Jeremy Gray, CB
    - toe injury

    CLEMSON
    OUT
    Cole Downer, TE -
    spleen
    Kelvin Grant, WR - knee injury
    Chris Capote, OL - foot injury


    NC State Game Notes

    Noting the Pack

  • Jay Davis leads the ACC with 258 passing yards per game.
  • NC State ranks 112th nationally with 10 penalties per game, while Clemson ranks second with just 3.4 per contest.
  • Junior linebacker Stephen Tulloch ranks second in the ACC and sixth nationally with 13.3 tackles per game.
  • Darrell Blackman leads the ACC and ranks fourth nationally in kickoff return average.
  • Freshman tailback Toney Baker ranks second in the ACC in touchdown scoring.

    JUNGLE RIVALRY = CLOSE GAMES
    When the Wolves and the Tigers have met on the gridiron in the last several years, the result has been close. Almost half of the games played between the two schools (35 of 73) in the series which dates back to 1899, have been decided by eight points or less, including 14 of the Pack's 27 wins over the Tigers.
    Seven of the last eight games between NC State and Clemson have all been nailbiters, with the outcome decided by eight points or less. Last season, NC State lost 20-26 at Clemson and in 2004, won 17-15 in Raleigh. The only lopsided victory went the Pack's way in 2002, when 12th-ranked NC State won 38-6 in a Thursday night ESPN matchup at Clemson.

    NOTES ON THE CLEMSON SERIES
    For the last two years, the team with the most total yards LOST! NC State outgained Clemson 381-267 and lost last year and in 2003, NC State won after being outgained 323-283. (Last season, the Pack's five turnovers did them in!).
    NC State has out-passed the Tigers four of the last five years. The only time the Wolfpack had less passing yards was in 2002, when State won 38-6. In the last five years of the series, Clemson has turned the ball over 12 times, NC State eight. Last season, the Pack had five miscues to the Tigers' one.

    THE TEXTILE BOWL
    Although not many of the players in uniform know about it, for the past 25 years (since 1981), the series between NC State and Clemson has been dubbed the Textile Bowl, as that industry has such a major economic impact on both states and both schools boast renowned textile colleges.
    The North Carolina textile manufacturers donate money to NC State's scholarship fund every year in honor of the Wolfpack's MVP from the game. Clemson posts a 15-9 advantage in the Textile Bowl.

    THE BOWDEN CONNECTION:
    Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato spent 18 years coaching under Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden's father, Bobby, at Florida State. For 14 of those seasons, Amato served as the elder Bowden's Assistant head coach.
    Amato and Tommy Bowden actually spent one season on the same staff at Florida State, as Bowden coached tight ends in 1982 while Amato was the defensive line coach.

    CUTTING IT CLOSE
    Chuck Amato has now coached in 43 ACC contests since taking over the Wolfpack program in 2000, posting a 21-22 record in those contests. In 24 of those 43 games, the final outcome has been decided by a touchdown (seven points) or less, 27 have been decided by eight points or less and 31 have been decided by 10 points or less.
    Under Amato, NC State has only lost by 20-or-more points just once (14-58 to sixth-ranked Florida State in 2000) and by more than 10 points just five times in ACC games.

    GETTING ON SCHEDULE
    NC State's schedule has been anything but ordinary this season. In fact, the Wolfpack will play back-to-back Saturday games just once before the end of October and plays just twice on Saturdays in its first five contests.
    Chuck Amato's squad opened the season versus Virginia Tech on Sunday, Sept. 4. The team was open the next weekend, due to a last-minute schedule change when Temple dropped the game late last spring. The team was back in action for back-to-back Saturdays on Sept. 17 and 24, but then had 12 days off before defeating Georgia Tech on October 6.
    The Pack has a true week before its Clemson game, as State is playing back-to-back Thursday night games for the first time ever. Nine days later, the team will play at Wake Forest.

    THURSDAYS BACK-TO-BACK FOR PACK
    For the first time in school history, NC State is facing back-to-back Thursday night games. This marks only the second time that the squad has played two Thursday night games in the same season, as the 1998 team defeated Ohio and Syracuse at home on Thursday nights.
    The Georgia Tech contest marked only the fourth time that NC State has played on a Thursday night away from Carter-Finley. Chuck Amato's squad won at Clemson in 2002, and the Pack lost to Wake Forest in 1997 and to UNC in Charlotte in 1999.
    The Wolfpack posts a 9-4 overall record on Thursday nights (7-2 at home, 2-1 away, 0-1 neutral). In ESPN Thursday night games, the Pack posts a 6-4 record, including a 5-1 mark under Amato.
    The last time Clemson visited Raleigh (2003), NC State won the ESPN Thursday night contest, 17-15.

    PACK LOOKING FOR HOME WIN
    NC State has lost its last five conference games in Carter-Finley Stadium, with its last home league win coming on October 2, 2004 against Wake Forest. Three of those losses, however, have come against teams ranks in the top 11 nationally (third-ranked Miami, 11thranked Florida State and eighth-ranked Virginia Tech).

    THE 1,000-YARD CLUB
    Three Wolfpack receivers currently boast over 1,000 yards for their careers. Slotback Tramain Hall has tallied 1,303 yards on 113 catches (the 12th-best mark in school history). Tight end T.J. Williams has 80 catches for 1,092 yards, while Sterling Hicks has 75 grabs for 1,100 yards. Brian Clark needs just 41 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark as well.
    This marks the first time that the Wolfpack has ever boasted three 1,000- yard receivers on the same team.

    CLARK IS THE SPARK
    Senior wideout Brian Clark was devastated to miss two games with a high ankle sprain. But he more than made up for that time off with his performance in the win over Georgia Tech last Thursday night. With four catches for 148 yards, Clark posted the first 100+ yard game of his career. His two touchdowns were also a career high, and the 80-yard scoring catch that won the game for the Wolfpack almost doubled his previous career long play (42 yards in 2003). That was also the longest pass of Jay Davis' career.

    THE T-FLICKER
    Toney Baker did not score a touchdown in the win at Georgia Tech, after scoring five in the previous two games. However, he was involved in a big way in the Wolfpack's first TD of the night. "T-Bake" as he is known to his friends, took the handoff from quarterback Jay Davis, then tossed it back to Davis who hurled it to Brian Clark for the 40-yard score. Baker was the leading touchdown scorer in the ACC heading into the game (he now ranks second) and is the Pack's leading rusher with 216 yards.

    DEFENSE WORKS OVERTIME
    Several members of the Wolfpack defense played as many snaps as they would normally play in two games in the win at Georgia Tech last Thursday night. The Yellow Jackets ran 91 offensive plays, the most for a Wolfpack opponent since 2001 (Duke's 98 snaps that season was a record by an NC State opponent). The offense was only on the field for 56 snaps and almost nine minutes less.
    Senior cornerback Marcus Hudson was in for 89 snaps from scrimmage in the contest, in addition to 19 special teams snaps! Linebacker Stephen Tulloch saw 84 snaps from scrimmage and 14 more on special teams. Roverback Garland Heath picked off the pass in the endzone on his 80th snap of the game, while linemen John McCargo and Mario Williams were each in for 78 plays.

    TACKLING TULLOCH
    Junior linebacker Stephen Tulloch is currently the second-leading tackler in the ACC, averaging 13.8 stops per game. That mark ranks sixth nationally this week. He ranks third nationally and leads the ACC with 2.25 tackles for loss per contest.
    Tulloch has been the Pack's leading tackler in all four games this season, and has 17 more stops than any other defender on the team. He is tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with five.
    Tulloch ranks second on the team in plays this season with 254 snaps from scrimmage. When you add in Tulloch's special team's snaps, he has been in on 319 total plays.


    Clemson Game Notes

    BACKGROUND

    Location: Clemson, S.C.

    Enrollment: 14,000

    Nickname: Tigers

    School Colors: Orange & Purple

    Stadium: Memorial (84,000)

    Conference: ACC

     

    TEAM

    Head Coach: Tommy Bowden

    Record at CU: 44-29 (7 years)

    2004 Record: 7-5 (4-4)

    2004 Bowl: None

    Starters Returning: 13 (7 offense, 6 defense)

    2005 AP Ranking: NR

    2005 Current Record: 2-3, 1-3

    Baham tops in ACC in Yards/Reception
    If Clemson gave an award at midseason most improved player on offense the winner would probably be Curtis Baham. The senior from New Orleans has had a lot of distractions this fall with the events of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on his family, but it has not effected him on the football field.

    Curtis Baham
    It has in fact motivated him. So far this year Baham has been Clemson's big play threat with an average of 22.3 yards per reception (14-312) and three touchdowns. He is tied for the team lead in touchdowns with Reggie Merriweather, who has three on the ground.

    Baham had an 11-yard average as a sophomore in 2003 when he had 22 catches and an 11.8 average last year when he had 16 catches in 10 games. Baham has had at least one catch in every game and had a career high 87 receiving yards on five receptions in the triple overtime game against Miami (FL). He scored a tying touchdown in the first overtime on a fourth down pass from Charlie Whitehurst to send the game into a second OT. He had a 51-yard touchdown catch at Maryland that swayed the momentum in Clemson's favor in the 28-24 Tiger victory.

    Baham leads the ACC in yards per reception with his 22.3 figure, ahead of the 20.4 by Vernon Davis of Maryland, and Baham's 62.4 receiving yards per game ranks fourth best in the conference.

    If the season ended today, Baham's 22.3 yard average would be the sixth best average in Clemson history among Tigers who have had at least 10 receptions in a season. The record is 32.1 by Gary Cooper in 1988 when he had 13 receptions for 417 yards. Baham will have a chance for the mark based on a minimum of 20 receptions for a season. That record is 22.6 yards per catch by Glenn Smith in 1950 when he had 22 catches for 498 yards. Only three players in Clemson history have averaged 20 yards per reception and had a minimum of 20 catches in a season. Those are Smith, Craig Brantley (1975) and Terry Smith in 1993.

    Whitehurst, Baham Offspring of NFL Players
    Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst threw two touchdown passes to Curtis Baham in Clemson's 28-24 victory over Maryland. It was a passing combination that has strong football genes. Both Whitehurst and Baham are offspring of NFL players.

    Baham's father Curtis played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1987. He was a star player at Tulane prior to his year in the NFL. Whitehurst is the son of former Green Bay Packers quarterback David Whitehurst. The elder Whitehurst played seven years in the NFL. During that time he played in 54 games, completed 51.4 percent of his passes for 6205 yards and 28 scores. He was the Green Bay starter for most of the 1978 and 1979 seasons when he passed for over 2000 yards each season.

    Williamson Had Career High at NC State
    Clemson tight end Bobby Williamson has fond memories of playing at NC State. Two years ago, Williamson had a career high five receptions for 32 yards against NC State in Raleigh. That is the most receptions in a game by a Clemson tight end since 1975 when Bennie Cunningham had six for 87 against Wake Forest.

    Bobby Williamson

    Williamson has had injuries off and on starting with the preseason this year and has just five catches this season for 54 yards. But, Clemson has had the tight end involved this year. Three different tight ends have exactly five catches apiece (Cole Downer and Thomas Hunter the others). The group has 15 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. Downer was injured against Miami (FL) and will not play against NC State. Last year, Clemson tight ends had nine catches for 142 yards all season.

    Stuckey Attempting to Join Exclusive Club
    Clemson Chansi Stuckey is on the verge of joining an exclusive club in Clemson football history. The junior receiver has accounted for a touchdown three different ways in his a career. He threw two touchdown passes as a freshman quarterback at Wake Forest in 2003. He ran for a touchdown as a reserve quarterback at South Carolina in 2003. He scored a touchdown on a punt return against Texas A&M in 2005. Now he just needs to score a touchdown on a reception to become the third player in Clemson history to account for a touchdown by four different means.

    Stuckey has 21 receptions to lead the Tigers in that category this year. He ranks in a tie for fourth in the ACC in receptions per game with 4.2. But, he is yet to get that elusive touchdown. He has 48 career receptions to rank second among active Tigers in that category.

    The other two Tigers to account for touchdowns four different ways are Bobby Gage and Ray Mathews. Both did it four different ways in the same season. Gage scored on a run, pass, reception and kickoff return in 1947, while Mathews scored on a run, pass, reception and punt return in 1948.

    Clemson Offensive Line Young and Balanced
    When someone asks Head Coach Tommy Bowden to rate his top offensive linemen he usually has to pause and think about. Over the first five games, five different offensive linemen have had the highest film grade awarded by Assistant Head Coach Brad Scott.

    Dustin Fry
    Center Dustin Fry led the way against Texas A&M, senior offensive guard Chip Myrick was the leader against Maryland, junior tackle Marion Dukes had the high grade against Miami (FL), guard Brandon Pilgrim was the best against Boston College and junior Roman Fry was the leader against Wake Forest.

    Not listed above are Nathan Bennett and Barry Richardson, who might be the most consistent of Bowden's offensive linemen. Bennett actually leads the team in knockdown blocks with 32, followed by Roman Fry with 23. Roman Fry's total included 11.5 against Wake Forest. Duke has 20.5 knockdowns followed by Richardson and Pilgrim with 20 apiece. Dustin Fry is next with 18. Richardson is a first-year sophomore who was named a Freshman All-American last year.

    What is encouraging for Bowden is the youth of the offensive line. Chip Myrick is the only senior among the 10 offensive linemen who have played in a game this year, meaning just about everyone will be back for the Tigers up front on offense in 2006.

    Matchup of Outstanding Freshmen Running Backs
    Thursday's game between Clemson and NC State will feature two of the top first year freshman running backs in the nation. Both were ranked among the top 10 running backs in high school football last year and both are already leading their respective teams in rushing.

    James Davis

    Clemson's James Davis of Atlanta, GA has 72 carries for 290 yards and two scores this season. He is the top rusher among freshmen in the ACC so far this season and ranks seventh on the conference rushing charts with 58 yards per game. Davis burst on the scene with 101 yards in 19 carries against Texas A&M in his first career game, the first Clemson freshman running back to gain at least 100 yards in his opening game since Bobby Gage in 1945.

    Davis scored his first two career touchdowns at Wake Forest and he also had five receptions in that game, second highest single game reception total in Clemson history for a running back. Davis has 13 catches for 73 yards so far this season and has started four of the five Tiger games. He had 7,339 yards and 80 touchdowns for his high school career.

    NC State's Toney Baker has 46 rushes for 216 yards and four touchdowns so far this season to lead the Wolfpack in rushing. He has added eight receptions for 59 yards and scored one touchdown via the air. Baker was the third ranked running back in the nation by rivals.com last year. He set the North Carolina high school state record for career rushing yards with 10,231, breaking the former mark of T.A. McLendon by over 1000 yards.

    Merriweather Needs Two for 1000
    Clemson junior running back Reggie Merriweather needs just two yards rushing at NC State to reach the 1,000-yard mark for his career. That is quite an accomplishment for the native of North Augusta, GA considering he had just 16 carries his first year and has started just seven games in his three years.

    Merriweather is slated to start at NC State after gaining 92 yards in 17 attempts at Wake Forest. He has averaged at least 5.0 yards per rush in three of the five games so far this year and currently ranks second on the team in rushing yards with 272. He has 272 yards in 54 attempts for a 5.0 average. Merriweather averaged 4.9 per rush as a sophomore and has a 4.8 average for his career (206-998).

    Merriweather is currently 10th in the ACC in rushing yards per game with 54.4. He and freshman James Davis are both ranked in the top 10 in the conference. Davis is seventh with a 58.0 average.



    Yards/Play No Indication
    One would think that a leading indicator of success in a football game would be yards per play gained. But that has not been the case for Clemson this year.

    Reggie Merriweather
    In fact, in each of the first five Clemson games in 2005 the team with the higher yards per play figure has lost the game. That trend continued when Clemson gained 5.7 yards per play compared to 5.4 for Wake Forest on October 1, a 31-27 Demon Deacon victory. The biggest disparity of the year in that area came in the opener when Texas A&M gained an incredible 7.2 yards per play and lost to the Tigers 25-24. Clemson averaged a healthy 5.3 per play that day.

    Third Down Conversion Improved vs. Wake Forest
    Clemson had its problems on third down in the overtime loss to Boston College as Clemson was 0-11 in that category. It marked the first time on record that Clemson failed to convert a single third-down. But, that improved against Wake Forest as Clemson converted 7-13 opportunities. That was the first time since the 2003 South Carolina game that Clemson had converted on at least 50 percent of its third down opportunities.

    Hill Top Draft Choice Candidate According to Kiper
    Clemson cornerback Tye Hill is off to a strong start in 2005 and ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has taken note. In his latest listing of top senior NFL Draft prospects, Kiper ranks Hill 14th overall, third among defensive backs.

    Tye Hill
    Hill has made a seven place jump in Kiper's rankings since the season began. Kiper ranks Southern Cal quarterback Matt Leinart first in his rankings of draft eligible players, followed by Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk. The only defensive backs ranked ahead of Hill are Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams and Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen.

    Hill has 32 tackles to rank fifth on the team, including 25 first hits, which is tied for second on the club. Hill is coming off a career high 11 tackles at Wake Forest, including three tackles for loss. That was a Clemson single game record for tackles for loss by a defensive back. Hill now has two interceptions for 11 yards and three total passes broken up for the season. He also has a fumble recovery for a team best three takeaways, and has a caused fumble to be involved in another turnover.




    NC State Press Conference Quotables

    Chuck Amato
    Talk a little about how important it is to get an ACC win at home:
    It just kind of answers itself. We've got to win, period. Home or away. But we do have to win a game here for everybody involved. Could you imagine this place if that game the other night was played here, won here, how crazy the fans and everything would have been on that last play? We have collapsible goal posts, so they can't take them down. But it's important to these young men, and it shows you that every game we've been in with the exception [of Eastern Kentucky] has come down to the last play. Theoretically, every game could have been won on the last play of the game and it was won or lost on the last play of the game. Every one of them. I know what it's like to lose on the last play of the game. These people – the Wolfpack fans can be well-assured that we are doing everything within our power to concentrate now because today is Sunday, excuse me today is Monday, to get ready to play a good Clemson team, that could just as easily be 5-0 as they are 2-3. Talk about losing games at the end. That's the way this league is. It's going to be a crazy year. But we'd like nothing better.

    Sometimes teams can really get on a roll after an emotional win like Thursday's. Do you sense your guys have that feeling? I was hoping you wouldn't have caught that, you see. I was going to use that on Thursday night before we hit the field. Really, it should. Success breeds success. I said this the other night. What a feeling, on the field after the game was over and in the locker room after the game was over. We've got an awful lot of correcting to do yet on those penalties. We start the game, and the one thing we said is we have to protect Jay enough that he can complete his throwing motion. And he goes back on third down, and he goes to complete his throwing motion and somebody hits his arm. Wobbly pass. I guess it was an interception. So we start off that way. And then defensively we have a penalty on like first or second down. But they don't get anything. But those penalties they have got to stop. If we don't have two penalties on what we call our attack team, the punt block team, that gave Georgia Tech the ball over again, it would have been as dominating a game in the kicking game as we would have had against a really quality, quality football team. But those things, they all come into account, too. You know what we did after that game? We celebrated the win because Earle Edwards told me a long time ago. He says, "Chuck." He called me Charlie. "Don't ever apologize for a victory. No, the object is to win the game no matter how you do it. And then we'll correct those things the next day."

    How much has it lifted their spirits? I told you guys last week, their spirits weren't down. It was down but we had 12 days to heal those wounds. These young men, contrary to popular belief, have a lot of character. You have to have that when you lose two games on the last play of the game. You have to have that. You have to have the firm belief that you're going to win. These kids have it. Now, there is no question that it helps to come away [with a win]. Reggie Ball had a phenomenal game in the second half. Phenomenal. But he needed three more. He needed three more and didn't get it. If he would have gotten those three more, we were driving to the airport and the bus would have been silent. The plane would have been silent. When we landed, they would have thought there were corpses on there. Three yards. Three yards. Same game. Same game. Clemson is in the same situation. They could be 5-0 or even 0-5.

    Has it ever been to this extent where every game it seems is this close? I think it's been that way with about all the games we've played, since I've been here. We couldn't get Jay Davis in the game when Philip was here because we couldn't pull away from them, because we weren't playing very good defense for a couple years. Then we got him in a couple of times and Jay probably, if he wouldn't have gotten in another game, would have gone down in history of being the best completion percentage because he was 10 of 10. It's been that way. One of these years we're going to learn how to kill a fly with an ax. We've just got to make sure we use that right end to kill that fly. Talk about the gut check for your defense on that last drive by Georgia Tech. They called timeout, and it looked like your guys were pretty tired: It's one play at a time baby. One play at a time. What happened the play before, two plays before, doesn't mean anything. It's one play at a time. And that was it. We practice goal-line every week. Every day we're in full pads. That could be twice a week, and we get on that dadgum goal-line and it's live. It's a goal-line attitude and nobody is going to get in when we're in that. We're going to force them to have to throw the ball to score. Yeah, you could almost sense what might was going to happen, and it did. Hey, we had him doubled and we still lost him. He had his hands on the ball, I saw him have his hands on the ball. Then I saw his feet come up. I saw the ball come out of his hands. Then I didn't know what happened after that. I didn't know what happened after that. I didn't know if he came back down on it or who got it. And they did. They could have just said, "Forget about it. It's going to happen." Does that make it look like they have poor spirits? Not at all. That's character.

    How gassed was your defense at the end of the game, especially your defensive line? That's a bad word to use.

    OK, how tired were they? Very. How tired would you be if just played two snaps in a row? Very. No, they played I think 47 snaps in the first half. But we helped them on those two punts that we allowed them to have the ball back and we had to come back out on the field. One, we actually gained field position by doing it, but we lost time off the clock. They were tired. But that's the great thing about playing a game, and it comes down to a gut check. Whose gut is going to check the hardest? Can you make one more play? Can somebody make one more play? We had an opportunity to put them down on two or three occasions, and we didn't – Reggie Ball – on that drive. Can somebody make just one more play? And we did.

    Can you talk about the play of Stephen Tulloch on your defense? Stephen is an outstanding linebacker. Stephen is getting a little more disciplined in some of the things he does on the field. He is such a playmaker. He sees so much that sometimes he gets into trouble because he has great, great vision. He's a youngster, that if he was that much taller (about an inch or two), he probably wouldn't be here, because a lot of other people would have recruited him. And when they heard we were recruiting him, they tried to get on him, but it was already over. That much. Isn't that crazy? That much. He's good and means a lot to us … [Size] didn't prevent Sam Mills from playing. There are a lot of them up there, a lot more than you think because they fib about heights and weights even up there.

    Talk about Oliver Hoyte's play against Tech, especially on that last drive, if he doesn't make the tackle, Reggie Ball gets in: There's no question. If he doesn't make the tackle. But that's negative. He made the tackle. That's why he eats on the training table. To make tackles. That's what linebackers are there for. And he had to shed a running back as well before making the tackle. That's exactly right. That's the way offenses they normally do. They're going to try and block you. You've got to shed a block and go make a play, and he did it. It was huge, really. All the things that Marcus Hudson did and everything else in the kicking game, on top of the best wide receiver probably in all of America, but somebody had to make a play and he made it. And it gave us an opportunity to be able to have someone make another play.

    Why is height a big deal? Why does it matter for linebackers to say be 6-1 instead of 5-11? Well, you'd rather have them be 6-1. But if you're a good player. I can remember my first year at Florida State, and I was recruiting. There was a team in the playoffs that was playing down there in Miami and I was going down to watch them in the playoff game … One of the coaches had the other team. He said, "Watch this kid. He plays slot on offense and he's a linebacker on defense." So I come back and I say, "That kid is a natural linebacker." [They ask] "What do you think about his size?" And I said, "I don't care about his size. He's just a natural. Just in his stance he looks natural. And he sees and he's tough." I said, "You mean if that's much taller (and inch or two), we'd offer him a scholarship?" I said, "We're crazy if we don't." His name was Paul McGowan. He won the Butkus Award. And we were tinkering of whether we were going to offer him a scholarship for that much (an inch). I said. "We'll put lifts in his shoes to get him a little bit taller. Sure, you'd like to have them [taller] but we're playing college football. We're not playing in the NFL. We're playing college football. We're trying to get the best kids that can come and help us play college football. Because someone who is short has something else that's a positive – vision, instincts, the natural instincts, which those two guys definitely have.

    What are your thoughts on Clemson and QB Charlie Whitehurst? Y'all know how good he is. Last year, you can erase the tape on that one. Y'all had him picked to win Heisman Trophies and well-deserving All-ACC in the preseason. Well-deserving because he's good. Now, I think he might only have three interceptions this year at this point. Last year, that might have been doubled. But he's playing with an awful lot of leadership and confidence. Not that he didn't last year – don't get me wrong. I really feel he doesn't care if they throw 60 times or they throw six times. He just wants to win.

    Do you think Clemson will come out with the same mindset that you did on Thursday, considering they've lost three close games? Knowing Tommy like I do and having been around him, and him being around his father, and he being around my step-father, that he will do nothing but accentuate the positive things and make them come up here with the feeling they are 5-0. That they are going to come into this stadium and feel like they are 5-0 even though they are not. That's the only thing that counts, is how you feel when the game starts and how you play. They'll come up here and play hard because they are a good football team. Another good football team that their record may not show it. Boston College, overtime. Miami, overtime. Good football team.

    Is this life in the new ACC? It is. They beat a good football team in Texas A&M, a good football team. Some people had them picked to win [their conference]. They still might out there. They beat a good Maryland football team as we're seeing. They'll be confident because they are youngsters. Tommy will get them ready there is no doubt about it.

    Talk about John McCargo. Every time you watch him, he's just dominating centers: He seems to have a rare blend of speed and the ability to be physical at the same time: John McCargo just keeps getting better and better and better. It's now the better he gets at the technical aspect of playing defensive tackle, the better he's going to perform. He's started working on really coming off the ball and playing run, run, run, run, run. And then you can convert to pass so much easier. But he's starting to play with his knees bent and his back flat. He is so quick. His hat speed across the ball is so quick that when we he reads the football, I mean I just worry at times that he jumps so fast that we'll get called for offsides and he really wasn't because sometimes the other ones don't go as quick as him.

    How does he get that ability to jump in so fast? I've been coaching the heck out of him, I really have. It's an ability the Good Lord gave it to him. Really, he was a fullback in high school and played a little linebacker. He thinks he's a skilled person. One of the plays on the goal-line, we had a little stunt, and he came around the outside and he jumped up in the air to knock a pass down. He had a pretty good vertical jump on that one, I think it was around three and a half inches. But he's an athletic kid, and those are the kind of players that I like to have on the defensive line.

    Talk about developing depth on the offensive line: We'll, where we're at is they are getting better every week. We can't afford to have anybody miss anything. And the depth is not deep as it is on most teams. We've got to be careful even what we do in practice. I'm one that likes to be physical, football is a contact game, but we've got to watch the reps on some things that we do. I've actually pulled off here or there just to make sure people are going to be able to play on Saturday, or in this case Thursday. We've got put him in, McKeon. He's almost like Sean Locklear was a few years ago. He can play at any one of the positions, center, guard or tackle. He can play them all. And we've got a couple of young guys behind him that are going to be good; they are not ready.

    We noticed you had McKeon at right guard. Was Herndon having any difficulties? No, we wanted to keep those three guards in; we did a lot of movement with all three of them. And we only had 51 snaps offensively. It's funny yesterday, I told the defense that I would meet them early, and then I'd meet the offense after that. Then I got to thinking, because we got in about four in the morning. I should have done it the other way around because the offense only had about half as many as plays to grade than the defense did. You know what, a youngster can really watch from the sideline and see what is going on. Sometimes he might pick up something the coaches are trying to tell him to see that he might be missing out there when he's doing it.

    Talk about the play of J.J. Jones and DaJuan Morgan as they rotated in after Miguel Scott's injury: You know, J.J. has been playing quite a bit and DaJuan was actually a starter back in two-a-days until he got hurt. We feel very happy about what they've done. Now, we can't afford to have any of them or Garland Heath hurt. Especially because all I have to do is put Garland on the goal-line. He's intercepted a couple down there. They are coming along real good. A lot of confidence in them.




    Clemson Press Conference Quotables

    Tommy Bowden
    Georgia Tech showed a lot of patience on offense in their game against N.C. State. The way that N.C. State plays you defensively with a lot of press man coverage, they take away a lot of high percentage throws. You have got to be patient because eventually you are going to get one. As I talked to the team yesterday I made sure they were aware of the big plays that N.C. State had offensively, they hit an 80-yard touchdown on a post, and had another big passing play. Our team is aware of their big capability on offense, and then we are also aware that when we are on offense we will have to be patient.

    I would say that their defensive front is very similar to Miami's. I think that No. 9 (Mario Williams) is probably going to be a first-rounder and possibly No. 90 (John McCargo) as well. You hear a lot about their defensive ends, and No. 91 (Manny Lawson), but McCargo is a guy that could possibly go in the first round if he were to come out early, I think he is only a junior. On offense, I think their tight end (T.J. Williams) may be the best one in the country. The guy at Maryland (Davis) was also very good, but when you talk about the best I think most pro scouts who come through here think of T.J. Williams. So they have potentially three first round guys on their team.

    Last year they went into our game having played a lot of press man coverage, but then against us they played a lot of two-deep zone. I think that was probably due to a lack of respect for our running game. I think we are running the ball a little bit better this year. I would anticipate we that we would see a little more man-free coverage than we saw last year.

    The off week gives us a little more time as far as formation recognition, front recognition, and things like that. We'll find out how productive this past week was once we play. The team has been in pretty good spirits, I think some of you saw the scrimmage with our scout team guys and our spirits are still high. We are not quite half way through the season yet and the personality of this team is one that shows it will play you hard for 60 minutes. This is also probably the smartest team I have coached in regard to penalties. I also don't think I have coached a team as highly ranked in regards to fewest penalties and fewest turnovers.

    This team has developed an identity and I think that demeanor has been good over the open date. As the head coach, I have to make sure that I don't flinch and sit here and try to change a lot of things because obviously we are pretty close. We have to find a way to make one more play.

    We have not played out of control where things get discombobulated with things such as penalties, 12 men on the field, or mismanage the time late in the half. We have not done those type of things. We have played very consistently for five straight games. We have played five 60-minute games that have all come down to the last play, and our team has not shown signs of getting tight. We have played five consecutive games that have been decided by six points or less, something that has not happened at Clemson since 1906.

    I think the most important thing for our team right now is that we have got to find a way to make one more play. Are our games close? Well, yes they are close. It would be crazy for me as a head coach to go and change a lot of things. I have learned to stay the course. Now if we were losing games by 30 points, then yes we would have to change things, but we have not been doing that.


    NC State Two-Deep Depth Chart

    2005 NC State Depth Chart
    Offense
    Quarterback
    10Jay Davis6-2/220Sr*.
    9Marcus Stone6-4/230So*.
    Tailback
    2 Darrell Blackman OR 5-10/209So.
    22 Toney Baker 5-10/228Fr.
    20 Reggie Davis OR 6-0/236Jr.
    26 Bobby Washington OR 6-1/215So.
    Slot Receiver
    21 Tramain Hall 5-10/194Sr*.
    5 Sterling Hicks 6-2/195 Sr*.
    Split End
    13 Lamart Barrett 6-1/190Jr.
    88 Geron James 6-4/180 Fr.
    Flanker
    5 Sterling Hicks 6-2/195 Sr*.
    87 Brian Clark 6-2/211Sr.
    82John Dunlap6-2/215So.
    Tight End
    80 T.J. Williams 6-3/253Sr.
    83 Anthony Hill 6-6/270So.
    15 John Ritcher 6-3/255Sr*.
    Left Tackle
    78 James Newby OR6-5/295Jr*.
    75 John McKeon6-4/307Sr*.
    54 Merci Falaise 6-5/292Jr*.
    Left Guard
    69 Kalani Heppe OR6-3/295So*.
    75 John McKeon6-4/307Sr*.
    Center
    64 Leroy Harris 6-3/295Jr*.
    72 Luke Lathan6-4/295So*.
    Right Guard
    62 Dwayne Herndon 6-3/296Sr*.
    76 Curtis Crouch 6-5/354Fr.
    Right Tackle
    71 Derek Morris6-6/327Jr.
    79 Jon Holt 6-6/299Jr*.


    Special Teams
    Place Kicker
    12John Deraney6-4/215Jr*.
    Punter
    12John Deraney6-4/215Jr*.
    35Tucker King6-1/203Sr*.
    Long Snapper
    85William Lee6-2/226Jr.*
    Holder
    13Chris Young5-10/184Sr.*
    Kick Returner
    2 Darrell Blackman OR 5-10/209So.
    26 Bobby Washington 6-1/215So.
    Punt Returner
    5-10/194Jr*.
    2 Darrell Blackman 5-10/209So.
    Defense
    Left Defensive End
    9 Mario Williams 6-7/290Jr.
    95 James Martin II OR 6-1/229So.*
    97 Willie Young 6-5/230Fr.
    Left Defensive Tackle
    90 John McCargo 6-2/295Jr*.
    41 Martrel Brown 6-2/285So*.
    Right Defensive Tackle
    92 DeMario Pressley 6-4/288So.
    72 DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler 6-2/294Jr.
    55 John Amanchukwu 6-4/283Jr*.
    Right Defensive End
    91 Manny Lawson 6-6/245Sr.
    96 Renaldo Moses OR 6-5/222Sr*.
    95 James Martin II 6-1/229So.*
    Weakside Linebacker
    50 Stephen Tulloch 5-11/230Jr.
    45 Ernest Jones 6-2/220So.*
    Middle Linebacker
    22 Oliver Hoyte 6-3/247Sr.
    42 Patrick Lowery 6-1/240Jr*.
    Strongside Linebacker
    29 LeRue Rumph 6-2/225So*.
    36 Marcus Howell 6-2/223Jr.*
    Roverback
    19 Garland Heath 6-2/225Jr.
    7 DaJuan Morgan 6-2/202Fr.*
    14 J.C. Neal 6-0/185Fr.
    Right Corner
    1 Marcus Hudson 6-2/200 Sr*.
    8 Jimmie Sutton 5-11/181So*.
    Free Safety
    25 Miguel Scott 6-0/203 So.
    4 J.J Jones 6-0/189Sr*.
    Left Corner
    3 A.J. Davis 5-10/190Jr*.
    24Phillip Holloman 5-11/194So*.

    Notes

  • * - Indicates redshirted one season


    Clemson Two-Deep Depth Chart

    Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.

    LT 79 BARRY RICHARDSON 6-7 335 So.

    73 Tim DeBeer 6-6 285 *Jr.

    LG 72 ROMAN FRY 6-4 295 *Jr.

    74 Brandon Pilgrim 6-6 290 *So.

    68 Chris McDuffie 6-5 315 *So.

    C 62 DUSTIN FRY 6-3 315 *Jr.

    72 Roman Fry 6-4 295 *Jr.

    RG 63 NATHAN BENNETT 6-5 300 *Jr.

    64 Chip Myrick 6-4 285 *Sr.

    RT 75 MARION DUKES 6-4 315 Jr.

    67 Christian Capote 6-4 300 *So.

    TE 81 BOBBY WILLIAMSON 6-4 260 *Sr.

    89 Thomas Hunter 6-4 250 Sr.

    84 Akeem Robinson 6-5 260 *Fr.

    WR 18 CURTIS BAHAM 6-1 190 *Sr.

    80 Aaron Kelly 6-5 180 *Fr.

    88 Kelvin Grant 6-2 210 *Jr.

    5 Rendrick Taylor 6-1 225 Fr.

    QB 6 CHARLIE WHITEHURST 6-5 215 *Gr.

    14 Will Proctor 6-2 205 *Jr.

    RB 37 REGGIE MERRIWEATHER 5-8 210 *Jr.

    1 James Davis 5-11 210 Fr.

    28 Kyle Browning 5-7 175 *Sr.

    FB 35 STEVEN JACKSON 6-2 260 Sr.

    36 Cliff Harrell 6-1 240 *Sr.

    WR 2 CHANSI STUCKEY 6-0 185 *Jr.

    26 La'Donte Harris 5-11 185 So.

    13 Tyler Grisham 5-10 180 Fr.

    Clemson Defense

    Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.

    DE 86 CHARLES BENNETT 6-5 250 *Sr.

    94 Phillip Merling 6-5 275 Fr.

    NG 44 DONNELL CLARK 6-3 265 *Jr.

    91 Rashaad Jackson 6-3 270 *Fr.

    or 7 Cory Groover 6-3 275 Sr.

    DT 92 TREY TATE 6-4 275 *Sr.

    50 Jock McKissic 6-6 290 Fr.

    97 Dorell Scott 6-3 305 *Fr.

    BE 93 GAINES ADAMS 6-5 265 *Jr.

    98 Kwam Williams 6-3 245 *So.

    45 Cortney Vincent 6-1 245 *Fr.

    SLB 20 TRAMAINE BILLIE 6-1 205 Jr.

    46 Lionel Richardson 6-0 215 *Sr.

    42 Maurice Nelson 6-2 215 *So.

    MLB 40 ANTHONY WATERS 6-3 240 *Jr.

    43 Antonio Clay 6-0 225 Fr.

    WLB 32 NICK WATKINS 6-2 220 *So.

    31 David Dunham 6-1 225 *Sr.

    47 Josh Miller 6-0 215 Fr.

    FCB 8 TYE HILL 5-10 180 *Sr.

    29 Haydrian Lewis 5-11 170 Fr.

    CAT 25 MICHAEL HAMLIN 6-3 195 *Fr.

    12 C.J. Gaddis 6-0 205 *So.

    FS 24 JAMAAL FUDGE 5-10 190 *Sr.

    22 Chris Clemons 6-1 200 *Fr.

    BCB 15 SERGIO GILLIAM 6-3 180 Jr.

    3 Duane Coleman 5-10 195 *Jr.

    Clemson Specialists

    Pos. # Player Hgt Wgt Cl.

    PK 7 JAD DEAN 5-11 205 Jr.

    48 Stephen Furr 6-1 185 *Sr.

    P 30 COLE CHASON 6-0 165 *Jr.

    49 Jimmy Maners 6-0 190 So.

    KO 7 Jad Dean 5-11 205 Jr.

    LS (PK) 59 Nic Riddle 6-2 220 *Jr.

    LS (P) 54 Colin Leonard 6-3 210 Jr.

    HO 30 Cole Chason 6-0 165 *Jr.

    PR 2 Chansi Stuckey 6-0 185 *Jr.

    KOR 3 Duane Coleman 5-10 195 *Jr.

    88 Kelvin Grant 6-2 210 *Jr.

    * - has spent one season as a red-shirt player


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    Thanks to NC State and Clemson Athletics for much of the information in this preview.


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