Bowden Optimistic About Direction of Football Program

by - Correspondent -
Bowden says he feels pretty good about the state
of the program 10 months in all things considered.

CLEMSON -- Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is skipping through life, singing a song.
And it has everything to do with Saturday night's 35-31 loss to N.C. State.

Bowden arrived back at Clemson around three in the morning on Sunday, taped his television show and went to bed. He woke up, went to church and came home to receive a phone call that the officials from the previous night's game had been suspended.

"I sent no film," said Bowden. "I talked to no one."

Bowden sent film from Clemson's game with North Carolina to the Atlantic Coast Conference office. That didn't work.

After the N.C. State game? "Back to Greenville. Taped my television show from three-thirty to four. Slept from 4:30 to eight. Went to church. Got back from church and they were disciplined."

Bowden said he won't be sending anymore tape to the conference office. "It doesn't accomplish anything." What works? "Prayer," he said.

Then, after thinking about the game, he figures his team did well to escape with a four-point loss to the Wolfpack.

It might have been a long plane ride home for the players, but you couldn't tell from Bowden's comments on Tuesday. He's at peace with where the Tigers are at (2-3 overall , 2-1 ACC).

"We lost our quarterback that set a Clemson record for passing efficiency and all of a sudden we're playing an N.C. State team that beat a pretty good Texas team with your second string quarterback and Woody (Dantzler) did a pretty good job," said Bowden. "The fact that this team is ten months into a new coaching staff, went in and turned the ball over and almost won the game. There's playing bad and losing close and there's playing bad and winning. We've got to get to the next level. We're not there. Right now we're not a good enough team to win with turnovers and penalties. We had both. We had turnovers and penalties."

Call Bowden an optimist, but he figures you can't get any better than that - turnovers and penalties and he still lost the game by just four. Well, maybe a win would have been nice. But he points to the fact that it would have been an easy win without a couple of key penalties and the turnovers.

"Take away the turnovers and the penalties I think you're looking at 45 points," he said. "With this offense at this point in time I would have been extremely pleased with that."

He said he can fix the turnovers and penalties. The rest - experience and talent - will take care of itself over time, which is the one thing he's got. He can afford a close loss.

"At the end of my contract, I would be concerned losing a game on that basis," said Bowden.

For now, he's not doing cartwheels, but there's a spring in his step. "I see enough in there to think that we can get the ship in the right direction and get the things done that I was hired to accomplish."

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