Bowden Optimistic Despite Loss To Virginia Tech

Sept. 28, 1999

Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden comments on…

The positives for the team after Virginia Tech loss “The positive is that we have no conference losses. Even with the loss to Virginia Tech we can still try to win the conference and gain some respect within the league.”

North Carolina defense trying to emulate what Virginia Tech defense did against Clemson “Most defenses have a style and personality that they have developed over the years. They probably won’t deviate a whole bunch from what they have done in the past. Virginia Tech has been doing the same thing for the last six or seven years and they did not change anything just for our game. Carl Torbush has been a successful coordinator for a long time, and now I think he is calling the defensive plays as the head coach. They’ve got a petty comprehensive defensive system and they are not going to change their base defense for what we do. They will add a wrinkle or two on defense, just like we will.”

Concerns about the Clemson running game “Our running game is always a priority. I don’t think it looks like it statistically right now , but eventually it will. The last couple of years at Tulane we rushed for over 2,000 yards. If we can rush for 2,000 yards here we are going to have a lot of wins. We are no where close to that right now. We only have one win and we will not have very many until we are able to run the ball productively. With three lineman at 250 pounds, I have to do whatever I can from a scheme standpoint to help us win. Lining up in the I-formation and trying to run the football does not give us the best chance to win games right now. “

On being favored against North Carolina and if that shows that Clemson has already gained back some creditability “I don’t think that being favored shows anything because we have won only one game. The credibility that everyone here wants comes from wins. There are certain things that you have to do in order to win. You have to put an efficient product on the field offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game. Once you do those things and play hard, the wins will follow. There are very few people that own a business that show a profit in the first nine months. That is kind of where we are right now. Once we refine our product then we will begin to gain some respect.”

The importance of trick plays to the Clemson offense “I think we are going to have to continue using trick plays. The better you are as a team, the less you have to use them. Just watch Florida State, they used to use them all the time, but now they don’t have to use them as often. We didn’t have to use them at Tulane because we were always ahead and didn’t need them. We are probably going to need them for the next year or two here.”

The versatility of North Carolina quarterback Ronald Curry “He is probably the most skilled person on their team. He is a Peter Warrick type guy and he is like a tailback playing quarterback. When they are in a one back formation it is almost like they have two backs in the game with him at quarterback. We are going to have to do some different things scheme wise that we might not do against a quarterback like Chad Pennington or Ellis from Virginia. I think that he is even quicker than Michael Vick at Virginia Tech.”

Facing an inexperienced North Carolina secondary “They play more of a press man type defense. They challenge you from a secondary standpoint. These guys get their hands on you from the snap of the ball and try to disrupt your routes. Even though they are younger, they use techniques that are very difficult to match up against. They will try to take away the short, high percentage pas that we have used with success this year.”