Bowden Keeps Poll in Back Pocket for Recruits

by - Correspondent -
Tommy Bowden overtakes his father in the polls after Florida State's loss to Miami.

CLEMSON -- When Tommy Bowden showed up at Clemson nearly two years ago, no one really figured he would have the Tigers ahead of Florida State so quickly.

That's where the Tigers are now, in the minds of the pollsters anyway.

Clemson is ranked No. 5, ahead of his father's Florida State team, which lost to Miami and fell to No. 7. Clemson held off undefeated, but unranked, N.C. State, 34-27, Saturday. Clemson's win all but assured the Tigers they wouldn't fall in the poll. Miami did jump the Tigers to No. 4, but none of it seemed to matter to Bowden.

He said he'll take the polls seriously at the end of the season, even if he does carry a copy in his back pocket to show to recruits.

"I think for the fans it's a big deal, for the team it probably is," he said. "For the coaching staff it's not that significant because it's not the end of the year. It's nice to have, but with five more game, it's kinda insignificant."

Especially when he has to prove his team is better than Florida State on Nov. 4.

"I talked to my father this morning, but more about the Miami game," he said Monday. "When you're a coach, you realize how important it is at the end of the year. It's like calling the game at halftime. I'd like to call off the season now, but we can't. We have Maryland this weekend, then we're at North Carolina and then Georgia Tech at home. There's so many more battles to go."

Bowden has plenty to keep him busy, anyway. Several areas of concern are obvious. Clemson gave up three long touchdown passes Saturday. The kicking game struggled - there was a missed extra point, a blocked field goal and a punt that was nearly blocked. Clemson also turned the ball over three times while its defense didn't force any turnovers.

Tommy Bowden Press Conference Keith Adams on the play of the defense. Jovon Bush on getting pressure on NCSU QB Chad Carson on NCSU QB Phillip Rivers Woody Dantzler on finally winning a close game Reggie Herring on the game saving fourth down play Rod Gardner on his 10 catches Will Merritt on moving up in the rankings Travis Zachery on breaking the Clemson TD record

Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said Saturday that he thought the defensive mistakes that led to the touchdown passes weren't anything to worry about. On Sunday, Bowden said Tony Lazzara would likely take over the place kicking chores. Lazzara was Clemson's regular place kicker last season, but Bowden put him on the second team when he signed Aaron Hunt. Hunt, however, has missed two extra points and two field goals, along with the one that was blocked Saturday.

Bowden said he thought Hunt's 35-yard attempt with 6:35 to go in the game was kicked too low.

"They didn't get great penetration," said Bowden. "The snap was good, the hold was good. There's a good chance we'll go with Lazzara on field goals and extra points."

Still, with all the other worries, Bowden still gets a chance to review the rankings every time he talks to a recruit.

"The response from our recruiting has been good," he said. "There's no doubt it's been good. Our success in the poll, the number-one public university ranking and the facility improvements -- you add all those together and you don't have to go very far to get what you want. That's why the potential is very good."

Maryland Game Time Announced

On Sunday it was announced that the Clemson - Maryland game will kickoff at
6:00 PM. The homecoming contest will be televised by ESPN-2.

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