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Tommy Bowden Quotes on Mississippi State

Dec. 7, 1999

Clemson’s Offensive Philosophy vs. Mississippi State’s Defensive Philosophy “Mirror philosophies. Their defensive philosophy is very similar to our offensive philosophy. Multiple formations and multiple looks.”

Chances of Big Plays “When you are number-one in the nation in those categories in which they are number-one. I think they are number-one in the SEC in every defensive category, there aren’t a lot of big plays. If they were giving up big plays, they wouldn’t have those stats. There will probably be a lot of big plays defensively usually that is what happens. I doubt we will have a lot of big plays on offense. I wish I could say we would.”

Are You Surprised That You Are Facing Mississippi State? “I was very pleased it was Mississippi State. I thought the Peach Bowl committee did an excellent job to get a 9-2 Mississippi State team. One that is so highly respected and highly ranked in those categories. A team that was in the top-10 going into the last couple games of the season. My hats off to the Peach Bowl.

“A game like this gives you a good measuring stick for your program. From a motivational standpoint, we will be underdogs. I like being the underdog. They will be favored by, I imagine, 10 to 14 points. That is a scenario that we are comfortable in, one that we have been in most of the year.”

Do You Think the Peach Bowl Was Looking For a Match-up Between a Strong Defensive Team and a Strong Offensive Team? “I think the fact that they are the highest ranked team had the most to do with it. But, the fact that they are 9-2 and a highly ranked team and their defense is number-one in the nation in several categories and number-one in the SEC in most categories, I think that makes the match-up more attractive. We are not nearly ranked as high offensively as they are defensively. But, still I think the styles are going to be very interesting when we play.”

Mississippi State Defensive Coordinator Joe Lee Dunn “A few years ago, I was at Auburn and we played them. They blitzed a bunch, but they played a very soft man coverage, eight to 10 yards deep. They were more interested in making a tackle than an interception or knocking it down. Now he (Dunn) has changed. Now he is on the line, in your face. A lot tougher to execute against.

“His philosophy has been the same as far as unpredictability as far as alignment, but the technique has changed. Which has made it a lot more difficult to be successful offensively.”

Have You Seen a Defense Similar to Mississippi State’s This Season? “No, not in this conference. You see very few defensive coordinators call signals with no headsets. He calls the signals with no headsets, he shoots from the hip. Which makes it unique and there is really no predictability of a pattern. We will do an 11-game breakdown and try to minimize as many games as possible so we just don’t prepare for everything. But that is what probably makes him good, he is not predictable.”

Mississippi State’s Offensive Style “Their style of offense is a heavy run and run-action-pass. They don’t turn the ball over. They aren’t throwing it down the field like we are. They don’t allow for a lot of turnovers. Therefore their philosophy is like a lot teams, it is defensive and the kicking game. Don’t lose the game on offense. They have been very successful with it.”

Are You Worried About the Long Layoff? “Not anymore than anybody else. Same thing for them, everybody is going to have the same problem. We throw the ball more than what they do, but still whether it be Florida State or Virginia Tech they have a longer layoff than what we do. So I don’t worry too much about it. If I had a 40 day layoff and they had a five day layoff then I would worry about it.”

Recruiting vs. Bowl Preparation “We will practice in the mornings and try to get out for home visits in the afternoon. But, you give and take. What we might lose in a little bit more on the road time, we will get in publicity, from newspapers to T.V. coverage. I think the positives far outweigh the negatives as far as recruiting is concerned. We will lose a little time on the road, but we will gain it in exposure.”