Bowden: Blame Still Mine; Changes Coming


by - Correspondent -
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Rod Johnson picks off a Charlie Whitehurst pass in the first half.

CLEMSON - In his postgame press conference following Thursday night's 38-6
loss to No. 12 North Carolina State, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden
repeatedly took the blame for his team's embarrassing performance.


After a night to sleep on it, nothing had changed Friday afternoon.


"When you go out and don't perform there's only one guy held accountable, and
that's me," Bowden said. "I spoke to the Quarterback Club in Anderson
(Friday), and I could have backed out. But they wanted to hear from the guy
at the top.


"It's up to me to get it corrected."


Bowden said he will start the correction process by employing the
less-is-more theory.


After watching his offense steadily regress since the 22-17 loss to Virginia,
Bowden has decided to simplify his offense. The game plan for next Saturday's
game at Duke will consist of fewer running plays, fewer passing plays and
more basic blocking schemes.


That, he hopes, will get the entire unit - from quarterback all the way
through offensive line - untracked.


"We have to make sure we're not doing too much and only put out on the field
what we can execute," he said. "We've had a base offense for six years, and
this year we had made improvement in every area for (each week) until the
last two games. We need to simplify a little bit and get to something we can
execute."


That being said, don't look for the Tigers to become a wishbone/triple option
team.


"If you're in this profession, what happened (Thursday) night is going to
happen unless you choose not to coach," Bowden said. "You'll have a time or
two when nothing goes right, and this probably won't be the last time.


"The worst thing you can do is abandon ship and make wholesale changes."


But apparently all aspects of the offense are being examined, and at least
some plays, sets and formations will be scrapped for the time being.


And that's not the only aspect of the team under the microscope.


Bowden, who often compares the job of head coach to that of a corporate CEO,
seems to be playing the role now with more of a purpose than at any other
time in his nearly four seasons at Clemson. That was never more clear than
during one short, but telling, moment during his Friday teleconference.


As the person taking the blame for the overall game plan, Bowden was asked if
- as Clemson's CEO - his assistant coaches responsible for helping carry out
the plan would feel some of the heat trickling down from his spot at the top.


He answered yes, without hesitation.


"It's going to trickle downhill," he said, without trace of his trademark
humor which normally accompanies answers to such questions.


"But that's for me to handle privately, in a business context."

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