Bowden Looks for Better Things at Duke

by - Correspondent -
Wide receiver Kevin Youngblood is expected to play against Duke.

CLEMSON - A tumultuous week off the field for Tommy Bowden and his Clemson
Tigers apparently didn't carry over to the practice field.

Bowden said following Thursday's workout he felt Clemson "had a good week of
practice" and expects a better performance Saturday at Duke. The Tigers (4-4,
2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost two of their last three games amid
serious problems on offense.

Earlier this week Bowden said he planned to simplify the game plan to a
certain extent, thereby giving his team a better chance to execute on
Saturday. So far, he said, it seems to be working.

"We did a little less (this week)," Bowden said. "We did some live
short-yardage and goal line work. Not too live, but we felt like we had to do
it. We think we've got a good little package there. We did good, but the game
is what counts."

Bowden said he and his staff will meet today to finalize the game plan. He
expects to follow the practice pattern and choose less material from the
playbook in hopes that everything from the running attack to the passing
attack to the blocking schemes will benefit from his less-is-more theory.

He also knows that often one good performance can jump-start a team.
Hopefully, he said, that performance comes Saturday.

"Eventually you need one for the guys to get their confidence back," Bowden
said. "I want to make sure I make the right decisions. But you need to go out
there and be productive one time."


Another week, another round of moves on the special teams.

Bowden said Thursday that he made personnel switches in a couple of different
areas of his kicking game. But while much of the speculation centered on
whether running back Yusef Kelly was being replaced as the up-back on the
punting team, Bowden was noncommittal.

"I don't want to single anybody out," he said. "But we've made some changes."

- Bowden said his refusal to name a starting quarterback before game day has
nothing to do with trying to play mind games with the Duke coaching staff.

"Every coach handles his team exactly how he feels what's best," he said.
"You're not going to set there and play mind games with another head coach
who's 40-something years old.

- Wide receiver Kevin Youngblood (shoulder), defensive tackle Donnell
Washington (ankle) and backup center Tommy Sharpe (bacterial infection) all
went through Thursday's helmets-and-shorts practice. All are expected to be
available Saturday.

"I'm not going to say they're all going to be 100 percent," Bowden said. "But
they'll play."

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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