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Q&A with Tommy Bowden
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From the Charlotte Observer, 8/1/04:

Quote:Q&A With Tommy Bowden

Clemson finished 9-4 last season, winning its final four games -- including the Peach Bowl against Tennessee -- and saving coach Tommy Bowden's job. The Tigers are a preseason pick to finish third in the ACC.

Q. Although you return 14 starters, are you worried about where this team's leadership will come from?
A. My biggest concern is leadership and that's always a key. There were players who got us through the last four games last season, and some of them were seniors and they aren't here now. After the season, we vote on captains. I tabulate the votes, and those guys are gone. So that's the piece of the puzzle: Who will fill those slots, how well they fill those slots and how soon do they step in?

Q. Beating your dad, Bobby Bowden, and Florida State for the first time last season propelled Clemson to a fast finish. Will it make a difference against the Seminoles this year?
A. In our players' minds, there's no doubt about it. Until you beat somebody it's hard to think you can actually do it. This season, I'll have guys on the team who have beaten them, and it had been (since 1989) since we'd beaten them. That's a generation past for our players.

Q. How are the players responding to this season's high expectations?
A. They're 19, 20, 21 years old, and their idea of how to respond to it is different than mine. I've been coaching 21 years, they've been coaching none. I know the pitfalls, they don't. But I'm listening to them sitting before practice in the locker room, who's going to say, `Who's getting up today, to say we're tired, we're sore, but we're still going'? At the apartment complex at night, who is talking about that? That's what I don't know yet, but I think they will react in a positive way.

Q. Is the feeling at Clemson upbeat these days?
A. In the last six months at Clemson, there's been a little sprucing up: the addition in the locker room, the weight room, Field Turf going down (on the practice field), the new (ACC), the west end zone project starting. We've been seeing these pictures for so long, now we actually see them. It's a good time to be at Clemson.

Q. Last season, backup quarterback Chansi Stuckey played in seven games, giving him seasoning in case starter Charlie Whitehurst got hurt. Will you do that again?
A. I'm not going to do that. That rationale was my thinking last year and I didn't like it, so I'm not going to do it.

Q. Your dad said your job is safe -- until September.
A. "Sept. 4 to be exact. He got the month. I know the day."


COACH: Tommy Bowden (38-24 at Clemson, 5 years; 56-28 overall)

LAST SEASON: 9-4 (d. Tennessee 27-14 in Peach Bowl)

RETURNING STARTERS: 7 offense, 7 defense.

Sept. 4, Wake Forest
Sept. 11, Georgia Tech
Sept. 18, at Texas A&M
Sept. 25, at Florida State
Oct. 7, at Virginia
Oct. 16, Utah State
Oct. 23, Maryland
Oct. 30, N.C. State
Nov. 6, at Miami
Nov. 13, at Duke
Nov. 20, South Carolina.
08-09-2004 10:27 AM
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