CLEMSON - With 12 days between the Wake Forest loss and this Thursday's game
at N.C. State, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has tried to get as much
accomplished as possible.
There's been extra hitting and more work on fundamentals. Maybe an extra
meeting or two.
But the thing he wants his players to accomplish most during the break is a
greater recognition of the Wolfpack's formations on both sides of the ball.
Whether it happens or not, only game time will tell.
"That's what you hope for," Bowden said after Sunday's practice. "You know
right off this is their top run, this is their top pass. When they have three
receivers to one side, this is their top route. When they motion to it, this
is their top route. You're hoping for formation recognition, or route split
Ditto for his offense vs. the State defense.
How are the linebackers stacked? What are the different levels and tilts of
the safeties? Can your quarterback and receivers quickly spot coverages? What
front is the defensive line in?
In years gone by, given 12 days to prepare, coaches might spend an
extraordinary amount of time with the team in the film room - breaking down the
opposition's tendencies over and over and over again. But with today's newer rules
and responsibilities, excessive film-watching isn't feasible.
"About 45 minutes is all you get for meeting time, so most of it
(recognition) has to come from practice," Bowden said. "With study hall, weights and
class you can't hardly get the old film time you used to. Back when I was
playing you had a easy class, don't go to class. Register for a class and drop it
"You can't do that anymore, so we don't watch film as much as we used to."
Bowden said the Sunday practice was more like a Tuesday workout during a
regular week, though it came after the team had two days off.
Asked if the players seemed refreshed after the break, Bowden shrugged his
shoulders and laughed.
"You'd have to ask them," he said. "It's kind of unusual...and the team is
different every year so you see how they react. But with all the young guys
we've got playing, they did pretty good job today."