CLEMSON - Though the teams he coached only won as many as four games once during his time as a Duke assistant, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden still has fond memories of his days in Durham.
Coaching under Steve Sloan in the early 1980s, Bowden said he operated like the proverbial kid in a candy store.
"It's probably like when a lot of you got your first jobs," he said following Thursday's practice. "I was young, coaching as hard as I possibly could, you had a lot of energy. Not that I'm tired now. But you're 24, 25 years old and it's full speed ahead.
"Plus I met some guys in the coaching profession who have gone onto different places, so there were friendships made there. My daughter (Lauren) was born there."
Though he doesn't know how the academic requirements at Duke - a private university who's admission standards exceed those of the ACC - compare to 20 years ago, he said it was difficult even then to get a large number of quality players on campus.
He compared the situation to Tulane, his first head coaching job, where Green Wave administrators allowed him a certain number of NCAA minimum requirement players in each recruiting class. Doing so allowed the numbers to accumulate over time, which helped make the program competitive.
Duke, he said, could do coach Ted Roof a favor by employing the same strategy.
"Not that I want them to get any better," he said with a laugh. "But it sure makes it hard to compete."
Bowden said the team was able to get in a full workout Thursday despite the cold, steady rain that fell in Clemson.
"We were actually able to work on all fields. We weren't just limited to the field turf," he said. "Had we gone much longer, we might have had to move. But the ground hadn't had a chance to get good and saturated yet."
Bowden would not offer any comment on the arrest of freshman defensive end Xavier Littleberry, only to say the situation "concerned" him.
Littleberry, 19, was charged with assault and battery on a woman in a University of South Carolina dorm. The arrest warrant was issued by USC campus police, and allege that Littleberry of grabbing the woman and throwing her into a wall.
Littleberry posted $1,000 bond Tuesday. Bowden said he would comment further after he has gathered more information.
Wide receiver Chansi Stuckey and fullback Cliff Harrell both are "about 50-50" to play at Duke Saturday, Bowden said. Both are nursing sprained ankles.
Note of the Day:
Bowden, referring to the fact that daughter Lauren was born while working in Durham as a Duke assistant:
"We almost named her Carolina. That's North Carolina, now. You know, as in Carolina girl. That must have been my first year there. I didn't know any better."