Tigers Back to the Basics in Practice


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden wanted a brisk, hard-hitting and efficient practice Tuesday.


His players delivered, a good sign early in what is a very important week.


And let's face it. At 1-2 with a trip to Florida State looming this weekend, Bowden and the Tigers need all the good signs they can get.


"We started with inside drill, (hitting) tackle to tackle," he said. "Just to show you how contagious that is, it carried on to skeleton, carried on to team...and that's kind of the point. If one guy will show a little emotion, it will catch and spread. It kind of did today."

The focus Tuesday was more on a return to fundamentals - blocking, tackling, assignments - than game-planning for the Seminoles.


After watching his team continue to struggle vs. Texas A&M, Bowden proclaimed that this week would be as such. One reason - perhaps the main reason - is the defense's inability to stop the run.


Those struggles have forced an alternate plan of action, at least for now.


"We felt like we needed to do it and be a little more intense today. We've got to find a way to create turnovers," Bowden said. "We've only gotten one in the last three games, and if we're not going to stop the run we'd better be able to create turnovers."


Which, in turn, creates more opportunities for the Clemson offense.


"They kind of go hand in hand," Bowden said.


***


The move from Stephen Furr to Jad Dean as starting kicker sparked a discussion after Tuesday's practice concerning the apparent downturn in the position's effectiveness on a national basis.


Bowden offered up his belief that the recent trend leaning toward using walk-on kickers - thereby saving a scholarship for another position - has aided that trend.


"With the (scholarship) limitations that's one thing you do," he said. "For a long time my father didn't sign a scholarship kicker. He'd bring a bunch of walk-on kickers out there to try out and then award a scholarship to the winner. Now recently, since (Sebastian) Janikowski and the guy before him, they've been signing them.


"I think coach (Lou) Holtz's philosophy has been to sign one, then take the best of the rest after they compete. That's kind of the way it's gone since the scholarship limitations."

Dean,

of course, is Clemson's scholarship kicker. Furr is a walk-on who won the job out of fall camp, but missed three kicks in three games - including an extra point last Saturday.


So why the switch now?


"We just made a mistake," Bowden said.


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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