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Bowden Comments On Saturday’s Matchup Against Marshall

Aug. 31, 1999

Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden comments on….

The importance of gaining back the credibility of Clemson football.

“You used to always read articles where Clemson was mentioned in the Top 25, but now Marshall is mentioned in the Top 25. When you start rolling off the Top 25 on a yearly basis, Clemson should be mentioned up there somewhere. That is the kind of respectability that I am talking about.”

The importance of playing well in front of a large crowd on Saturday and setting a positive tone for the season.

“What we will do Saturday is establish a barometer of where to start from and how far the program has to go. The team with the best players will probably win, and then we will see where we need to go from there. The barometer has to be set, and it will be set on Saturday.”

What this week means to him personally.

“Very few times in your profession do you have the opportunity to live a dream. That is what I am doing now. It’s been a fun nine months and now it’s time to get serious. From here on the motor runs full speed until signing day. For the last 23 years of my coaching career I have worked to be able to run down the hill in front of 80,000 people.”

The surprises he has faced so far as head coach at Clemson.

“To be honest with you, there haven’t been any surprises. When you have coached at other schools that have great football tradition such as Auburn and Alabama and then you come to school with similar tradition, that is what you work and prepare for your whole life.”

The rise of Marshall’s football program.

“Anytime you jump from 1-AA to 1-A into a respectable conference and win it two years in a row, then you have arrived as a program. What can you say negative about a school that has the winningest percentage in college football in the 1990’s. They’ve got my respect because I know the head coach and know what caliber players he has recruited.”

The experience of Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington.

“The thing about Pennington is that he will not be intimidated. If he were a freshman or a sophomore then you might be able to rattle him. I saw one game where he played the entire game with a pulled hamstring. He is a guy that you will not be able to intimidate, but hopefully the speed of the game will be a little faster than what he is accustomed to.”

The part of his team he feels most comfortable with.

“Conditioning is the area that I have control over. I can’t control if our wideouts don’t make the catches and our linemen don’t pressure the quarterback. I can control our conditioning, however, and it is the aspect of our team that I feel most comfortable with.”

What Clemson fans will think of the new offense.

“I think eventually they will be impressed with the offense, but I am not sure when. My second year at Tulane we had 10 starters coming back and I had a pretty good idea that we would be productive. This year I just don’t know, but I think eventually we will put a productive product on the field offensively.”