Football Head Coach Looks Ahead To Virginia

Sept. 7, 1999

Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden comments on…

The confidence of the team after a close loss “This team has not shown any signs of wavering since I have been here, and I seriously doubt that they will over what happened Saturday. I don’t think the players will let it happen and I know the staff won’t. I feel like the way we lost on Saturday night was totally opposite to the way Clemson lost games last year. Instead of letting the other team score in the final seconds, we were the ones that took the ball down the field at the end and had an opportunity to win the game.”

His biggest concerns offensively after the Marshall game “We are a little softer on offense than I had anticipated. We are not real big, therefore we need to be more aggressive and hard-nosed. That is something that we can correct in practice. It does not have alot to do with size, but with effort and intensity.”

The conditioning of the team and particularly that of the defense on Marshall’s last scoring drive “I don’t think that we ran out of gas on either side of the ball. Chad Pennington on that last drive just did a good job. I think there were a couple of guys that had missed assignments, but it wasn’t fatigue. We were chasing him out of the pocket and putting pressure on him, but he was making pin point passes on the run. When we look at the films, I do not think conditioning was a factor.”

The play of Clemson’s young offensive line “The guys that were playing for the first time were a little tentative. Being tentative did not allow them to be as aggressive as they can and as they want to be. Their abiltiy to make calls and see fronts during games will improve as their comfort level with the offense is elevated.”

Concerns about facing Virginia’s power running game “Clemson has traditionally played well against these types of teams. We’ll take our offense and put it in the I-Formation for our defense to practice against. Obviously it is not going to be the same thing, but we will do the best we can to service our defense. Thomas Jones is a pretty good sized tailback. In fact, he is bigger than two of our starting linebackers. He is a good tailback.”

The status of Clemson’s kicking game “We will have a kicking competition all week between the kickers and then pick a starter based on who ever wins the statistical battle during the week. We will have some pressure situations for them to practice under, but it is impossible to know the exact mind frame of your players.”

The return this week of last years starting tailback Travis Zachary “His attitude has been good in practice and we’ll see how he does the rest of the week in practice. If we feel like he is making his assignments in practice then he will probably play a good bit. He’s got some skills, but how much action he sees in the game will depend on how productive he is on the field.”