Aug. 26, 2003
Head Coach Tommy Bowden met with the media on Tuesday in the first of his weekly press conferences. Clemson’s head man discussed a variety of topics including his team’s preparation, playing a rival on the first game and Georgia’s David Pollack. Click to listen to the audio.
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Tommy Bowden Weekly Press Conference Clemson vs. Georgia August 26, 2003
Overall thoughts on the opener versus Georgia: “I think the players’ mentality will be the same as last year (when Clemson played well in a three-point loss) Add to that the tradition and rivalry between the schools, and that a lot of our players are from the state of Georgia, you don’t have a problem getting their attention. You don’t have to worry about motivation.”
On how much weight is placed on the season opener: “We play 12 games this season, and this is number one. It’s a long season, hopefully 13 games. A lot of things said last year were that the two teams took opposite directions after that game. It was a hard-fought game that came down to a field goal. They went on to have more success than we did, obviously. Whether or not it was because of the outcome of that game, I don’t know. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the first game being a huge factor in the remaining 11 games. There’s too much more football to be played.”
On the Georgia-Clemson rivalry: “The rivalry with Georgia would be our #2 rival, with South Carolina probably never being surpassed at this school. But you don’t want to minimize the significance of Georgia, because it is a state in which we actively recruit and because of what has taken place between the two teams in the past.”
On Clemson’s preparation heading into Saturday’s game: “I think by Saturday at noon, we’ll have prepared as well as we could have prepared. We’ve been relatively healthy. Rain caught us early and we lost a little bit of preparation time early. But since then, it hasn’t rained. But I don’t know if a coach ever really knows his team is ready. From a preparation standpoint, we couldn’t have done any more.”
On preparing for All-SEC defensive end David Pollack: “You have to be careful in accounting for him. If you do too much, like giving your lineman help with a running back, you create some weaknesses in other areas. There’s no doubt we’re going to be aware of where he is. He’s probably the best defensive lineman in the country. He’s up for most postseason honors, which is well deserved. We’d be crazy not to be aware of him, so we’ll have some plan for him.”
On the competition for starting jobs: “Right now Duane Coleman has been a little more consistent than everyone else. Reggie Merriweather’s assignments aren’t as sharp. Right now, it is assignments more so than anything that separates our tailbacks. We’re going to need Yusef Kelly throughout the year, so I imagine his workload will increase tremendously over the next few weeks.
“At cornerback, Tye Hill and Toure Francis are about 50-50 (as far as who will start) going into the game. Maybe someone will come out of that game with some separation. Tye has better speed, but Toure has a little more experience.”
On the possibility of Roscoe Crosby playing Saturday: “He hasn’t been out here very long and he hasn’t been hit in two years, those are my main concerns. If he were a linemen it might be easier. But with throwing and catching being so highly skilled, it takes a little longer to come back. But he’s not a normal guy. The fact that he’s a professional athlete in one sport means he has some pretty refined skills. You never like to say never, but we would not anticipate him doing much on Saturday.”
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