CLEMSON - This being Clemson-South Carolina week - the 100th meeting, no less
- one would think outside influences would be hard at work, doing their best
to make sure each head coach knows how important a win would be on Saturday.
But to hear Clemson's Tommy Bowden tell it, he's getting zero pressure from
fans, boosters or any others from outside the program.
The reason? Perhaps it's because they can't find him.
"I don't hear from boosters because I come in when it's dark and leave when
it's dark," Bowden said after practice Wednesday. "I return phone calls, but
I haven't had any from boosters. This is no different (than any other week)."
Bowden has always maintained he doesn't read or respond to e-mail, even
though the university requires he have an address. He reads and responds to
regular mail, he said, but even that hasn't been littered with instructions
and/or overtures from high-dollar IPTAY members.
If he is to be believed, Bowden's days this week are like any other week:
Long hours spent in meetings and on the field.
"I'm in offensive meetings at 6:30 (a.m.). The defense meets at 6 (a.m.). I'm
always in here before that," he said. "Unless (Sports Information Director
Tim Bourret) shows me something one of ya'll have written in the paper, I
don't see anything.
"There sure aren't any lines of people waiting to see me when I get here in
the morning or when I leave at night."
Meanwhile, Wednesday's practice had a surprise participant - Nick Eason.
The senior defensive tackle went through the full workout, including contact,
one day after Bowden said Eason would be doubtful for Saturday. Eason is
nursing a sore Achilles tendon.
The other two players listed as doubtful - offensive lineman Cedric Johnson
and defensive tackle Todd McClinton (stingers) both were held out of contact
Wednesday. Bowden said their status likely would be a gametime decision.
In other practice news:
- Bowden reiterated the importance of the running game against South
Carolina, though he wouldn't put a number on how many yards he'd like to gain
on the ground.
"You really can't do that," he said. "But there will come a time when we've
got to be physical and run the ball. That's one of the keys to the game."
- The coaching staff has been working hard trying to find the right balance
of enthusiasm and temperance.
"You have to be careful they don't get too excited," Bowden said. "You don't
want to play the game today. You want to play it Saturday."
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.