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October 23, 2007Never miss breaking news on Clemson sports and recruiting. Sign-up for Tiger Illustrated Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
Question: Any guarantees from you this weekend?
Tommy Bowden: "I expect my team to play as well as we possibly can. We expect to play better than we did last week."
Question: Talk about the focal points of improving in the red zone. Have you improved there?
Tommy Bowden: "Yes, we were seven of seven for scoring touchdowns (in the red zone against Central Michigan). Gut feeling I think we're second in the conference in red zone scoring."
"Our concern more so in the off-season was completing downfield passes. If you complete those on the 18-yard line, you're going to score. We wanted to be efficient throwing the football down the field."
Question: What was it that Maryland did last year that caused you so many problems?
Tommy Bowden: "Just looking at it. It was poor execution on our part. One in the red zone was a poorly thrown ball."
Question: Was this game last year, no touchdowns and four field goals, one of the reasons you had to make some changes in the red zone during the off-season?
Tommy Bowden: "Yeah. We took four field goals in that game. They scored one touchdown. A lot of it was good defense, and a lot was poor execution on our part. If we had seven possessions in the red zone, right now I couldn't tell you what happened with those (last year), not off the top of my head."
Question: Any other reaction or thoughts on Ralph Friedgen's remarks (that he expects to win Saturday)?
Tommy Bowden: "I think every head coach has to motivate his own team in his own way. I think Ralph knows what he's got. I don't know the leadership on his team. I don't know the personality of his team. I've got no idea. He's not interested in how I motivate mine and I'm not interested in how he's motivating his."
Question: You've had some success with tall, athletic receivers. Talk about Aaron Kelly and his emergence.
Tommy Bowden: "He's got another year. This is his third year. He has gotten more consistent. He has taken some pretty good shots, so he's a tough guy. He's really slippery. He doesn't have a great burst or acceleration. He's got good, deceptive quickness when you try to press him at the line of scrimmage. I think consistency is the biggest area of improvement for him."
Question: He seemed to draw some double-teams last week.
Tommy Bowden: "Any time you put two on one it should open up running opportunities. Everyone used to have a basic formation with two-deep wideouts. You have a few more running opportunities if he's doubled-up. If you commit two defenders to him, and two to another man, it does allow you to run more. If you have another guy like him, it does help."
Question: What does your offensive line need to do to maintain the success it had against Central Michigan?
Tommy Bowden: "Play Central Michigan again. We don't get that option."
"I don't know of any team that consistently runs it week in and week out, maybe Navy or West Virginia. I wish I could say that we could do that every week. Defenses are good and some try to take away the run. Most try to make you throw the ball. We could struggle running the ball Saturday at Maryland. I could easily see that happening. Hopefully if it does happen we can be efficient throwing the ball. I think most good defenses can dictate what they want you to do. I think we were just more talented than Central Michigan."
"If you go watch the tight copy, the end zone copy of the Central Michigan game, it was a pretty physical game from tackle to tackle. The technique was good and they were very physical."
Question: Thomas Austin to center, a good change for you guys up front?
Tommy Bowden: "We had 300-some yards rushing against N.C. State and he wasn't at center. They were probably better than Central Michigan. The idea is to get the five of the top eight starting. Barry Humphries would be in that top eight, surely. But I think the move (of Thomas to center) has been a good move for the team. His name came up a lot in the spring, so he has been consistent for us for a while."
Question: Did your players need that performance last Saturday, coming back from an open date and two back to back losses?
Tommy Bowden: "You win 70-14, it always gives some players confidence. It puts a smile on your face and you get more enthusiasm on Monday from them. There was a lot of room for improvement. Had we played a team like Maryland Saturday, we would have lost, based on what I saw on tape. But sure, when you win like that, tailgating is more fun, Sunday in church is more fun. Practice is more fun, too."
Question: Since yesterday, have they put that win in perspective? Can you tell what their demeanor is now?
Tommy Bowden: "I kind of think they do that every week. They don't always play like that the following Saturday. I've talked to several head coaches. It's hard to judge the demeanor of the team on Monday and see how they'll play on Saturday. I don't know of very many coaches who can judge how players will play on Saturday based on how they look or what's in their eye during the week."