Bowden and Pruett Continue Chess Game

by - Correspondent -
Bowden's weekly press conference will
be aired on FOX Sports South

Marshall coach Bob Pruett acts confused. He wonders if he'll be able to find Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Back in Clemson, Tiger head coach Tommy Bowden said he might put Woody Dantzler at receiver or running back Saturday against Marshall, he really doesn't know. He might; then again he might not.

Neither coach is as confused as they would like it to appear.

"I'd like to have as many question marks as possible," said Bowden, admitting he isn't going to answer the tough questions before Saturday.

There aren't as many questions as either coach is letting on, though, other than the ones by the media that are basically going unanswered. Both are happy to take the questions. The answers are meant to confuse.

"I guarantee Clemson's got better football players than he talks about," said Pruett, responding to some of Bowden's poor-mouthing. "They've had eleven drafted in a the past few years. We haven't had eleven drafted in the history of the school. Having poor football players isn't their problem. Hopefully, we can be smart enough to find the stadium down there. I don't know what we'll do after that."
Pruett knows exactly how to get to Clemson - the path to an undefeated season for Marshall goes straight through it. Nothing on Marshall's schedule looks nearly as imposing as the visit to Clemson.

"I think this is a nice game for us," said Pruett. "We're excited about going down there, but each ballgame is equally important to us. If we go down there and are successful and stump our toe the next week, you lose everything you've built. Like anything, you build things one game at a time. I don't think we're over the hill if we're successful. And I don't think we're buried if we're not. We're going to represent the best we can."

Marshall has won 101 games in the 90's, more than any other Division 1-A school. Pruett knows how win. Both coaches know how to put a spin on the truth.

"With Marshall being ranked twentieth in the nation, we couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to start the season off," said Damonte McKenzie. Where did he hear that Marshall was ranked twentieth? "All the coaches were telling us they were ranked twentieth in the nation. I was going by what they said. I haven't read anything."
Bowden is preaching the message he wants his players to hear: Marshall is dangerous. He is using the fact that most of his players don't pick up a newspaper first thing in the morning to his advantage.

"They don't read the newspapers a lot," he said. "They've got girlfriends and school. They don't read it unless it's written about them."

Bowden is also hoping to confuse anyone at Marshall that might have had an ear to the wall at his Tuesday press conference.

"If it could help, I'll hold that card," said Bowden when asked about who will start at quarterback - Wooody Dantzler or Brandon Streeter. Dantzler hasn't played anywhere but quarterback at Clemson, and Bowden won't say if he's practiced at any other position during the last few weeks. But there's always that chance.

"It's just part of the chess game," Bowden said. "A good offense is unpredictable."

Unpredictable, indeed. Between closed practices and statements meant to send Marshall off like a police dog on the wrong scent, he's offering little about what Clemson's offense will present Saturday.

He and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez will script the first 24 offensive plays Friday night.

"We want to make sure the players aren't surprised," said Bowden.

They'll be the only ones.

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