On Clemson fans and playing on Monday night:
"We're probably going to see a little more excitement and enthusiasm from a fan standpoint because of the weekend and the holiday. There's going to be a little bit more electricity. I think it's going to be one of those games where noise will be a factor. I want to encourage our fans to make as much noise as possible when Florida State has the ball."
On playing against his father Bobby Bowden over the years:
"It hasn't been easy. Preparing for them is never easy because they are usually very talented and they will be again this year. I think the difficulty comes in finding ways to be productive against them (from an offensive point of view). I study their defense more than I do their offense. We didn't have a lot of running yards last year until James Davis broke that long run at the end. So, it's not so much the formality of the game and family as much as it is execution versus their defense. Offensively, they're going to bring something different to the table (because of the new offensive coordinator)."
On quarterback Cullen Harper:
"He's never started a game. It's hard to comment on a guy's potential performance until he plays. I do think he'll have a very steady performance based on how he has performed in practice over the last year. He's been very consistent and very steady, but it will be a completely different scenario against Florida State. I don't think he'll get rattled. There's going to be some natural nervousness and anxiety as a first-time starter. To prepare for Florida State, he's been going against our defense. That's the closest we have to imitate Florida State's speed and quickness."
On Florida State's defense:
"My preference would be for them (Florida State defense) to rush four and defend with seven, and not get pressure with four. It wouldn't surprise me if their down linemen get pressure. So I think they're going to initially challenge their defense to get pressure with four. If they can get in his (Cullen Harper) face and rattle him, then it will be a long night for us."
On the possibility of freshman quarterback Willy Korn, playing:
"I don't know if he's going to play. I'm anxious to see how the game goes and how Harper does. I've never been one to just put a guy in just to get him experience for next year or later on in the season unless there is a situation on the field that merits it."
On running back C.J. Spiller:
"I know his expectations are high. He's a very talented back. I think he will be successful this year, and if he has a lot of yards, then we as team will be successful. I know both he and James (Davis) have high expectations for this year and they have worked hard."
On starting center Barry Humphries:
"It will be a great challenge for Barry. He doesn't have experience or the size or strength that Dustin Fry (now with St. Louis Rams) did. We're going to give up a little bit in size, strength, and experience in that position, but he's been practicing well. He's had a good spring, off-season, and preseason. He's gone against some quality competition in Dorell Scott and Rashaad Jackson, but I'm sure there is going to be some nervousness in the first game from him and the quarterback position."
On playing Florida State on Labor Day:
"It's a Monday night game and the only game on. It was too good to pass up. The national exposure is too good. We think the positives outweighed the negatives."
On Jimbo Fisher's offense:
"I think they'll bring back into their offensive mix a run and run-action-pass scenario, which they haven't had the last few years. I think the biggest difference will be that. It's his first game and he's a bold guy. I've coached with him before (at Auburn) and I know his background. He has a lot of confidence. The offensive philosophy has totally changed from the past."
On replacing the offensive line:
"It is definitely easier when you replace a very experienced group of players with some talented guys. The thing you can't duplicate is the experience, which is the most important thing. Christian Capote and Brandon Pilgrim are both fifth-year seniors and Thomas Austin is very talented, so we have some talented guys coming along, so it does make their transitions smoother."
How difficult is it to make changes on your staff, particularly when one is your son?
?It?s difficult down inside but it?s not difficult physically. You lose a coach, you replace a coach. Sentimental value, you miss. It bothers you but you do what you have to do.?
What does Jimbo Fisher bring to the table for you?
?Jimbo Fisher brings to the table a quarterback coach at an offensive coordinator and I like what he does, I believe in what he does. He?s fundamentally-grounded in Bowden football because he started off under Terry Bowden and has followed us for years so he runs an offense like I like an offense ran. I like his foundation which is blocking and tackling, very fundamental, very basic, and then I think he has the ability to attack all areas on the football field. If you are going to give him something, he?s got something that will answer it. It sounds very simple, of course you have to call it at the right time. The thing I?ve noticed is whatever the other team does, he does have an answer for it if he can match it up.?
Comment on the uniqueness of really-hyped Monday night games and the challenge of coming off these types of games.
?Number one, we like Monday Night Football, Labor Day night. I don?t want to do it every Monday but Labor Day night. We?ve been fortunate enough to be in this process the last four years. It?s kind of like Monday Night Football, I think, to college football. If we didn?t grab that night, every school in the nation would try to grab it because of the exposure you get with it and everything. I think the thing you have to remember in this ball game, and I would recommend this to all college coaches, don?t put all your eggs in one basket. I?ve seen that done before where a coach put all of his eggs and I?ve got to win the first game, put all of his eggs in one basket, lost the game and blew his team up and had a bad year. The thing about the first ball game, you?ve still got 12 more ball games. You just want to prepare the best you can play and if you win it, good, but you better watch out next week. If you lose it, that ain?t the end of the year, you?ve got 12 more ball games. Learn from it and go on from there.?
Comment on the Bowden Bowl and how it affects the family?
?We don?t like it anymore. I think Tommy does the same thing I do, just keep it in the confines of Florida State vs. Clemson.?
Comment about playing a tough first opponent ? did you hesitate this year?
?There was not (hesitation) when I found out we had the opportunity to do it again (play on Labor Day), I said grab it, get it. Miami and us kind of didn?t like opening with each other but I still wanted that Monday night game if we could get it. I think it is probably one of the most exposure games there is and so it happened to be Clemson. Well, we?ve got to play Clemson anyway. If it were not for the Labor night, I?d probably look at one of those 21-point favorites too.?
How much of a risk is the Clemson game with new coaches, etc.
?It?s a risk, but it is also a risk for them. Maybe more for us because we are the visiting team but there are definitely question marks as we go into the season. Our coaches have come in, they?re coaching their style and that?s what I hired them for to coach their style and by doing that, that means there have been changes. Some of the guys that started last year are not going to start this year. We?re going to play a freshman here instead of a junior here, so there are question marks we?ve got. The main thing, I think, is that we are headed in the right direction. I think we?ll get there, I just don?t know when.?
About Clemson?s defense?
?They?ve got a real sound scheme and have enough variation to it that it?s hard to predict what they?re going to do but they have really, the last couple of years, whipped us up front. Pass rush and run defense.?
How do you like this new staff?
?All of them, I know about. Chuck Amato has worked here for 18 years, I know about him. Jimbo (Fisher), I?ve known him since he was a baby. (Rick) Trickett, I?ve tried to hire him the last three times I?ve had an opening but have been unable to because of financial difference. (Lawrence) Dawsey was an All-American at Florida State, a very popular football player. Dexter Carter was a first round draft choice when he came out. I like blend, I like blend. I don?t like sameness. I don?t like for them to all be the same. We?ve got old guys, young guys, middle-aged guys, mean guys, sweet guys, I think it blends real good.?
About Clemson?s offense?.
?I naturally don?t know as much about their quarterback but we know about those runners. I feel like Davis is probably as good a runner as anyone in the conference and Spiller comes along and is just as good in his own way. I think the thing that scares me most about his (Tommy?s) offense is the big-play capability.?
Expectations of the season and how much he is looking forward to it?
?Well, I?m looking forward to it, I really am. I don?t know how much more excited I am now than I was a year ago. This time a year ago, we were still undefeated. I think that goes through your veins. You?ve always got a good feeling about what?s ahead and after the season?s over, you might be a little disappointed. We?re excited about this year and I think we are headed in the right direction. The thing that scares me most is how many young guys we?re gong to start in that ball game. I don?t know how they?re going to play, we?ll find out.?