Sept. 4, 2007
On Clemson’s performance against Florida State: “I’ve just looked at the offensive side (on film). I haven’t looked at the defense or kicking game yet. I know my father (Bobby Bowden) said last night that their defense didn’t tackle very well. In the first half, I felt our offensive line did a good job from an assignment standpoint by just covering their guy up.
Sometimes it may have been a physical mismatch, but we covered them up and our backs did a pretty good job of hitting the holes. Last year down the stretch we either couldn’t convert offensively or convert defensively. As the momentum changed in the second half, we needed a defensive stop and we got it. We only have two seniors on defense and three on offense, so it shows a lot of leadership and composure for underclassmen.”
On reserve offensive guard Bobby Hutchinson: “I thought Bobby did a pretty good job. I don’t think he had any holding calls, which really hurt us in the game. I thought he played extremely hard. He covered guys up. I was real pleased with his performance.”
On the offense’s performance against Florida State: “We called more than we ever calledÂÂŠroutes designed to hit the 18 to 23-yard horizontal stretch. We had them called on a couple of sacks. We weren’t really productive in the second half, but again, I assumed that was Florida State coming out (ready to play). At least we prepared our players mentally for a 60-minute game, and it surely came down to that.”
On playing another Monday night game: “I might do it again. The national television exposure is really good. It puts the face of the University on a national television screen. I saw a couple of highlights on television last night at three or four in the morning, and it was pretty electric around this place. Our administration has done a good job promoting one common theme.”
On schedule for this week: “I talked to my father after the game about what he’s going to do for the rest of the week to prepare for his Saturday game. I also talked to Larry Coker (former Miami coach who had a Monday night game with Florida State previously). We’re not practicing today. Tomorrow will be a full-pads day normally, but that practice and Thursdays won’t be as long as they usually are. We’re having a walk through on Friday when we normally don’t. So our schedule will be altered a whole bunch.”
On the kicking game against Florida State: “I mentioned the kickoff coverage to the team after the game. Mark Buchholz (place kicker) and kickoff coverage was a tempo setter. When those guys had success, it generated enthusiasm. Andre Powell (running backs coach) has invested a lot of time and effort, and he has brought a little bit of perspective to the coverage and how we approach it. The success was obvious. The blocked punt happened because we made a counting error on the guy that came free to block it. The center blocked the wrong way and the guy came through.”
On defensive end Phillip Merling: “He’s a really good player. He was one of our captains, and we seldom have a junior captain. His work habits over the summer and preseason and his vocal leadership on the field shows that he is a hard worker. He plays like he practices. He’s a key ingredient defensively, not only as a player, but as a leader.”
On quarterback Cullen Harper: “For him to go against some live bullets (Florida State) where the pocket collapses more than it does at practice and against the scout team, he stepped up and avoided contact and made throws with tight coverage. I thought he made those adjustments really well.”
On the defense’s motivation during the Florida State game: “They watched television on Saturday night and saw who picked who to win the game and they noticed that no one picked us. Florida State was favored. As commentators made their comments about why Florida State was favored, the only reason they stated was because of their defense. Well, our defense gets a little chip on their shoulders. That always helps with motivation.”
On linebackers Tramaine Billie and Nick Watkins: “Billie on the field is a really good leader. He is respected and Nick (Watkins) is the same way. They make a lot of plays because of their speed. They played well last night.”
On playing Louisiana-Monroe: “We’ve been going hard on Florida State so we haven’t had much time to study Louisiana-Monroe, but today we will. I know they put 40-something on the board versus Kentucky last yearand that will be my biggest concern. We will talk to the team about that because we surely couldn’t do it (last year) and they did. They have a very good running back (Calvin Dawson) who is very productive consistently.”
Video from Coach Bowden’s weekly press conference will be available on Clemson Tigers All-Access later this afternoon.
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