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Highlights From Clemson’s Gator Bowl Press Conference

Dec. 4, 2000

Press Conference Audio
Media Player Sport Event Date Notes
Football Tommy Bowden Dec. 4, 2000 LISTEN to Coach Bowden’s reaction to playing the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Football Terry JollyDec. 4,2000Gator Bowl Press Conference Football Will MerrittDec. 4, 2000Gator Bowl PressConference Football Kyle YoungDec.4, 2000Gator Bowl Press Conference

Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden’s comments on:

The Virginia Tech defense “They are aggressive, they pressure you, and they make you execute the forward pass. Their defensive system creates problems because they put so many guys up on the line scrimmage and they make it really difficult to run the football. They out number you at the line and they always play extremely hard.”

The similarities between Michael Vick and Woody Dantzler for this game “Both guys have injuries, but I think Vick’s injury is one that can heal with time. Woody’s injury, on the other hand, is going to require surgery. Vick could be 100 percent for the game but Woody probably will not be. Woody is a miniature version of Michael Vick. He is shorter than Michael and Michael is bigger and faster, has a stronger arm, and is a stronger runner.”

How he thinks Woody Dantzler will respond to the challenge of going head to head with Michael Vick “Being the competitor that he is, I think Woody will be highly motivated to perform well in this game. He will be going against a guy in Vick that has all the qualities he has but they are just multiplied a little bit. I do know if anybody can equal what Michael Vick does because he is so unique. It is going to be a great challenge for Woody and because Michael is so good you really just have to try to perform close to his level.”

Playing a team that is probably the strongest team outside of the BCS “You always want to play the highest possible ranked opponent in a bowl game and I think we drew that in Virginia Tech. This will be the highest ranked opponent Clemson has seen in a bowl game since the Nebraska game so this is a draw that does not happen very often. This is a great measuring stick for our program because they have achieved a consistent level of success over the years and that is something that we would want to do.”

The possibility of Virginia Tech playing the run and Clemson needing Willie Simmons to throw the ball down field “If Woody is not hot or is injured than Willie will play. Woody went through a spell in the third quarter against South Carolina where he was not hot. If he starts this next game like that than you could see Willie very early.”

The hiring of Mike O’Cain as quarterback’s coach at Clemson “When you look at our staff and reflect on the season, I think hiring Mike is the best option for improving our team. His qualifications are pretty obvious and he is well received by many people including high school coaches in North and South Carolina. He is a tremendous teacher and with his background at Clemson and with his recruiting base in North and South Carolina, I thought it was the perfect combination of what we need at this point in time.

I have known Mike for a while and I have always followed him. Even when I was coaching in the SEC he really got my attention when he was at NC State and they beat Florida State and since I have been here his offenses have been very productive against us. His teams always play extremely hard and I think that is a reflection of his personality. I feel very fortunate to add a coach of his caliber to our staff.”

Mike O’Cain’s comments about joining the Clemson staff as quarterback’s coach “I would first like to thank Tommy for this great opportunity. This could not come at a better time for me personally and my family and I are really excited about coming back to Clemson. I grew up only wanting to play for Clemson and I think deep down I have always had an interest in returning one day. I still have many friends at Clemson and any time you can return to your alma mater it is something very special. I am also very familiar with the staff there and I really look forward to working with everyone.”