CLEMSON - The sleepless nights Tommy Bowden experienced after last December's embarrassing Tangerine Bowl loss to Texas Tech proved to be just part one of a two-part series.
The Clemson head coach said he spent most of Saturday night awake, replaying that afternoon's 30-0 loss to Georgia over and over again in his head. The hopeful attitude and quiet confidence that surrounded the Tigers as preseason camp wore on gave way to yet another miserable performance before a record opening-day crowd.
And no matter how many times he watched, the end result always was the same.
"Losing. Losing's the biggest thing," Bowden said in his regular Sunday teleconference. "You replay the game in your mind. Georgia's a big game and I thought we'd play better."
But they didn't.
And the letdown happened across the board, from the anticipated to the unexpected. Offensive lineman Cedric Johnson was the only player among that group to grade a winning performance, Bowden said.
He also singled out linebacker John Leake and cornerback Justin Miller as players who "need to perform better if we're going to win games."
But above all else, Bowden said, was his hope that the players took Saturday's loss as hard as the coaching staff.
"Anger's not a bad thing, and I hope they were as upset as we were," said Bowden. "There's a lot of disappointment, but I will say this: Win or lose, every time you look at the film they're never as good as you saw on Saturday or as bad as you saw on Saturday.
"We just have some things we need to get corrected."
Other highlights from Bowden's teleconference:
- Bowden said personnel changes "could be coming, and could be anywhere. We've talked about it, now we're going to sleep on it and see what we're going to do...There's not much patience at this point."
- Cole Chason's 41-yard average on six punts was enough to warrant Bowden's confidence.
"I thought he did okay, considering he's a (redshirt) freshman and his first game's on live television. Last year we had a senior in the same situation drop one."
- He plans to stick to his guns on the running game.
"Our (yardage) per attempt wasn't good, but by the end of the year I want to be a productive running team. I wish we were in the first game."
- On Georgia All-American defensive end David Pollack:
"We had nobody who could block him."
- Clemson tackle leaders off the coach's film vs. Georgia - Leroy Hill 16, Eric Sampson 8, Khaleed Vaughn 7, Travis Pugh 7, John
Leake 7, Donnell Washington 6, Jamaal Fudge 4, Tye Hill 4, DeJuan
Polk 4, Lionel Richardson 4, Eric Coleman 4, Vontrell Jamison 4.