Bowden: Duke Film Gives USC More Ammunition

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - When Clemson offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain said Duke's defensive scheme "confused" him at times last Saturday, you can bet a light went on in Columbia.

Head coach Tommy Bowden said he expects South Carolina's coaching staff to use that tape, among others, in putting together a defensive game plan for his Tigers this Saturday at Death Valley.

The Blue Devils found ways to confuse not only O'Cain, but quarterback Charlie Whitehurst as well, never allowing the offense to get in synch. And on the occasions receivers were open, they were just as likely to drop passes - again - as they were to catch them.

Bowden said Duke success, along with that of other defenses which have held his offense in check, will be highlighted by USC's staff.

"They'll take bits and pieces, just like we do," he said following Tuesday's practice. "For example, when we played Miami we took a little something from each of the three teams (Louisville, N.C. State and North Carolina) that had moved the ball on them in the previous games. So I'm sure they'll take something from the Duke film.

"We have 10 of their films. They have 10 of ours. There's plenty to choose from."

What concerns Bowden more is the mental mistakes, such as dropped passes.

When sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Grant dropped what looked to be a sure touchdown pass early in the third quarter vs. Duke, he was benched for the remainder of the game. For that moment, anyway, it was the final straw in string of similarly frustrating moments for Grant.

Bowden has long said the bench was a great teaching tool. Saturday, he used it in hopes Grant learned something.

"I know I use other sports as an analogy, but say a guy is cold and you take him out, then you put him back in; like in basketball, where he starts hitting them," said Bowden. "It's the same thing here. It's a mental game. I just happened to play (wide receiver) in college and all the sudden something gets in your head, sometimes it's best to sit a while, think about it and go back in.

"Same thing with quarterbacks. Some guys get hot after some coaches do that. It's the same thing with receivers."

It seems to be particularly frustrating in Grant's case, because obviously the mental part of his game hasn't caught up with his physical skills.

"He has the potential to be a really good wideout," Bowden said. "Right now consistency is a problem, but I think he'll eventually get it. Right now he just doesn't have the consistency that you need."

"The (good games) are in him. It's not like he's banned for life or anything."


Geoff Rigsby will maintain the long-snapping duties this week despite struggling against Duke. Rigsby had three bad snaps to play a key role in a rare special teams meltdown, and was nearly yanked by the coaching staff.

"Had we had one more, it would have been close," Bowden said. "But we'll give him one more shot."

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