Bowden Expects Harper To Be Tested Saturday

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - If Tommy Bowden has it figured right, Cullen Harper should get a major test this Saturday.

Clemson travels to N.C. State (Noon, LFN) for an ACC matchup, and after two weeks of throwing freely vs. the likes of Louisiana Monroe and Furman, Bowden expects the Wolfpack corners to play more press-man coverage. That means Harper's margin for error will be noticeably smaller.

"I expect they'll be more aggressive in their coverage than we've seen," Bowden said Thursday morning. "That means Cullen's throws will have to be more accurate, fit into a smaller window and arrive with more velocity."

Press man coverage was a staple of the Wolfpack under former head coach Chuck Amato.

Now, with new head man Tom O'Brien bringing in Mike Archer as his defensive coordinator, there have been changes in State's basic scheme. In fact, O'Brien said earlier this week his team has probably played more zone coverage than in the past.

But with corners recruited to play such tight coverage, Archer has been smart enough to play to his team's strong points. Even if it means picking his spots.

"I'm sure he adapted his scheme to his personnel," Bowden said. "All new coaches have to do that to a certain extent."

Bowden also expects his offensive line to get a challenge Saturday.

Led by defensive tackle Ted Larson (four quarterback pressures in three games), the Wolfpack defensive line plays with a "volatile" attitude. Rushing the passer with that defensive front, as well an athletic group of linebackers, will be a stern test.

The line graded higher vs. Furman last week than it had against Monroe, even though Harper was sacked five times and the rushing attack mustered just 60 yards. But this Wolfpack group is bigger, faster and stronger, and will be aggressive in their attack on the Clemson offensive front.

But that style of play is what Bowden has been searching for from his line.

"I'd like the whole team to play that way, really," he said.

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