Bowden Expects Close, Physical Game


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Each of the last two Clemson-South Carolina matchups have come down
to desperation deep throws at the end.


Two years ago it was Woody Dantzler to Rod Gardner - did he push or didn't
he? - setting up Aaron Hunt's last-second field goal for a Clemson win. Last
season in Columbia it was Clemson throwing deep again, this time without
success, as South Carolina held on at the end.


Following Thursday's final practice, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said he
wouldn't be surprised if Saturday's meeting boiled down to a similar ending.


"I see a 60 minute game. I don't see a lot of points being scored," he said.
"Both defenses are playing pretty good. I think it will be a defensive
battle."


The talk this week has been one of contrasting styles: The Gamecocks and
their tough, physical type of play vs. the Tigers' speed and finesse.


Thursday, Bowden was quick to point out that before this season his offense
had always been extremely successful running the ball. To do so, he said,
required some degree of physicality.


But his offensive philosophy also doesn't require linemen to blow opposing
defenders off the ball, as would a traditional I-formation offense.


Still, he said Clemson will have to match USC's physical nature in order to
be successful.


"This is a tough sport. It's all about contact," said Bowden. "To me that's a
factor in every single game, and always will be, as long as they play
football. As long as it remains a contact sport toughness is an issue."


NOTES


- Bowden said his team will go through a walk-through this afternoon, most
likely inside Death Valley, as a final tuneup for Saturday.


Asked whether that tuneup, or any of this week's practice time, has been
devoted to working on trick plays, Bowden laughed.


"You know I can't answer that," he said.


- Defensive tackles Nick Eason (Achilles) and Todd McClinton (stinger), along
with offensive lineman Cedric Johnson (stinger) will be game-time decisions
Saturday, Bowden said.


McClinton would be the least likely to play, Bowden said.

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