Tigers Put 'Noles To Rest, Prepare For Louisiana Monroe


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - When Tommy Bowden finally got a chance to review the full game film from Monday night's win over Florida State, he came away with mixed emotions.

Bowden was very happy with the overall play of his defense. He couldn't say the same about the offense.

The inability to "Finish The Job" - the slogan by which the team has been operating throughout fall camp - irritated the Clemson mentor. Ahead 24-3 at the half, the Tigers couldn't muster any points over the final two quarters and held on for a six-point victory.

"One score and we could have put the game away," he said following Wednesday's practice. "But we just couldn't find a way to get it done."

And it was mistakes that caused the problem moreso than an inability to execute.

A pair of holding penalties negated significant gains that could have led to promising drives. And at least once a wide receiver - in this case Aaron Kelly - wasn't on the same page as quarterback Cullen Harper; Kelly wasn't looking for the ball on a beautifully thrown pass by Harper that could very well have gone for a touchdown.

Those are just three examples that frustrated Bowden in the second half.

Still, the Tigers won and did so largely because of a great defensive effort.

"Other than just one drive we played pretty good," Bowden said. "They broke one short-yardage play for the (49)-yard run. Their scores were set up by mistakes in the kicking game, not the defense. I watched every snap of every player to see if they were playing hard, and they all gave a good effort."

In other Wednesday news:

- Bowden got his first look at Louisana Monroe tape, and came away impressed with their defense.

"They don't have a bunch of big guys. They have one 300-pounder on the defensive line. But what they do have is a bunch of guys who will play hard and who will hit you. They recruit good, hard-nosed players."

Offensively ULM will use multiple formations, including the spread, and run the option out of all of them.

- As his right guards continue to heal, Bowden and offensive line coach Brad Scott are looking at possibilities for Saturday's game. Brandon Pilgrim (elbow) seems to have the best chance of returning to action at close to full speed, while Thomas Austin (sprained ankle) remains questionable.

Bowden said one possible scenario, if need be, would see Christian Capote move inside from right tackle to the guard spot and someone else - perhaps Cory Lambert - start at right tackle.

- The team will practice full speed again on Thursday, then have a rare Friday walk-through as they continue to make up for the short week.

"I told the team that other than a bowl game, playing on Monday is uncharted territory for me, too. But I feel like we've got a pretty good plan in place. We'll see how it works out."

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