CLEMSON - Contrary to what ESPN announcers Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried reported during last Saturday's Clemson win at Miami, Tommy Bowden wasn't threatening to yank kicker Jad Dean from the lineup for missing three field goals.
ESPN cameras caught Bowden talking to Dean on the sideline after third miss in the Tigers' 24-17 overtime victory. During the brief encounter, Bowden could be seen saying the words "one more" to Dean before turning his attention back to the field.
Franklin and Gottfried took that to mean one more miss and Dean was out. But Monday, Bowden said that wasn't the case.
"I was trying to build his confidence," he said after practice. "I was telling him 'This game's going to come down to one more kick. We may need you.' I wasn't threatening him or anything."
Not that using Stephen Furr later in the game, if necessary, didn't cross his mind.
"It's just like anybody else," Bowden said. "If a receiver drops enough passes, or a lineman misses enough blocks, you eventually look somewhere else.
Then, laughing, he added, "I told Jad it might come down to one kick. I didn't say who would kick it."
Dean had made his first seven kicks of the season, including a 48-yarder in the first quarter vs. the Hurricanes. But he then proceeded to miss kicks of 52, 47 and 44 yards. All easily had the distance, but two were wide right and one was wide left.
Bowden said the fact that all three kicks were of long distance wouldn't weigh into any future decision on Dean's status.
"He's too good a kicker. He's got the talent to make those," Bowden said. "I could send you (media) out to miss those. But he's good enough to make them."
Despite the second thoughts Saturday, Bowden said Dean would be the kicker this week when the Tigers travel to Duke.
The unofficial total of 3,500 Clemson fans who attended Saturday's game in the Orange Bowl made enough noise that Bowden and the Tigers noticed.
So Monday, in anticipation of the usual lack of atmosphere at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium this weekend, Bowden made a plea to the Clemson fan base.
"I hope somewhere between 9, 10 and 11 thousand show up (at Duke). That would be really good," he said. "I'm making a public appeal on Monday, before my press conference, that we have a lot of fans there."