CLEMSON - The news of a pair of untimely deaths in the Bowden family not only had the expected effect on Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, but on son Tommy at Clemson as well.
Word that his ex-brother-in-law, John Madden, and Madden's 15-year-old son, Bowden, had been killed in a Sunday auto accident in Florida had the Tigers' head coach understandably in a somber mood. He issued a statement through the university earlier in the day Monday, then after practice met with reporters and said his comments for the time being would be limited to talking about his team and this Saturday's opponent, Georgia Tech.
Bowden did say he expected to miss one day of practice this week, but wasn't sure exactly which day it would be.
"They've got a hurricane down there," he said. "We have to wait and see what's left to go back to."
Bowden's official statement to the press read as follows:
"The loss of my brother-in-law, John Madden and my nephew, Bowden Madden is very difficult to accept because it is the first time we have had a death in the immediate family. I appreciate the calls and e-mails I have received from friends today and ask that you keep my sister Ginger and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
"It is especially difficult to deal with the loss of a 15-year-old nephew, who I had just seen at our family reunion this summer. Bowden was a football player and I had sent him Clemson workout gear. He was the only one with the courage to wear it at the family vacation. I am told he was wearing it at the time of the accident. The other nephews are all Florida State, but Bowden followed Clemson."
After viewing the defensive tape of last Saturday's 37-30 double overtime win over Wake Forest, Bowden said the most disappointing aspect of the game was Clemson's poor tackling.
"We were a lot better as a team offensively and defensively with assignments, or the lack of missed assignments," he said. "But we weren't very good defensively tackling and we'll work on that (today). We tackle every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday anyway, but I want to make sure we get rid of bad habits early."
Though he was on the field fewer than 10 plays, offensive tackle Barry Richardson showed Bowden enough to justify the decision not to redshirt the true freshman. Now the focus turns to fellow freshman Akeem Robinson, working third on the depth chart behind Marion Dukes and Cole Downer at right tackle.
"We've just got to make a decision whether to waste the redshirt season or not. Barry, we're going to need him. Akeem is right there. If we do it, he's got to play. And if he plays is he going to be a whole bunch better than the No. 2 there?," Bowden said.
With heavy rains forecast for the next 36-48 hours, Clemson likely will miss out on important full pad, full contact work. The indoor track facility has artificial turf and is lined and marked with numbers for football, but the lack of padding underneath means the surface isn't conducive to live scrimmaging.
It also gets crowded with a full squad indoors.
"We may go defense film, offense practice and rotate it," Bowden said. "We can do skeleton drills and some inside (blocking) work. But if it's raining at least we can throw a dry ball and do some things."
Bowden, on his team dropping five spots in the Associated Press poll despite winning last week:
"It's not surprising. I'd say Wake Forest still doesn't have the respect they deserve. It really doesn't bother me, I'm just glad the rest of the conference has to deal with them now."
Defensive tackle Eric Coleman (sprained knee) and safety Travis Pugh (strained calf) were in yellow jerseys Monday (no contact).