Bowden Pleased, But Wants More After Scrimmage

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Clemson's final major scrimmage of the preseason ended the way it began - much optimism, but with many questions unanswered.

Tommy Bowden worked his team for over two and one-half hours under the lights Tuesday night in Death Valley. Both offense and defense had their moments, he said. But, with the scrimmages complete and preparation for Texas A&M beginning in earnest on Thursday, Wednesday's day off will take on a great deal of importance for the coaching staff.

"I told the team we've got position battles (everywhere)," Bowden said, sitting on an ice chest behind Howard's Rock. "And that's good. It means there's a lot of competition and that makes you a better football team."

Asked if he felt the need to name starters at some of those position battles - offensive line, defensive line, cornerback and safety, to name a few - Bowden shook his head.

"The first and second teamers get almost the same amount of work during (game) week," he said. "So they'll be prepared for Texas A&M, whoever starts."

As for Tuesday's scrimmage, Bowden said the first team offense drove 70 yards on its first possession and came away with a field goal. Later, the first team defense turned the tables and held the momentum.

And for the first time in three scrimmages, the offense finally committed a turnover. Freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey intercepted a pass in the end zone.

"That (turnovers) has been our main focus, so we like the way the offense has protected the ball," Bowden said. "But if we're not going to get interceptions on defense, you'd like to see more collisions out there, jarring the ball loose. We don't have enough collisions right now."

As for other highlights, Bowden praised the play of third team quarterback Cullen Harper, who led three touchdown drives on the evening.

The Tigers have Wednesday off - classes begin at Clemson University - and then return to the field on Thursday.


- Donnell Clark (ankle), Kwam Williams (ankle), Cole Downer (chest injury), and Kelvin Grant (separated shoulder) continue to be on the injured list. Bobby Williamson was "banged up," (shoulder) but still ran conditioners.

- You can hear the entire Tommy Bowden post-scrimmage audio Wednesday morning on Cruise Control with Dan Scott and Mark Hauser, 9 a.m.-Noon, on The Drive, 104.9 FM. On the web, it's

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