Bowden Sees No Trends in Bowl Season


by - Correspondent -
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BOISE, Idaho - As his team prepared to wrap up its final full day of
preparation for Monday's Humanitarian Bowl, head coach Tommy Bowden talked
about developing trends thus far in bowl season.


His conclusion: There are no trends.


At least not consistent ones.


"As you watch the games on TV the underdogs had been winning," he said
Saturday. "All the sudden Alabama wins, which wasn't an underdog. Texas wins,
which wasn't an underdog. Texas has the No. 1 total defense in the nation and
gives up 40.


Tigers try to stay warm on their final full day of practice.


"The more you watch the bowl games the more you don't know what's going to
happen. It seems there's a trend going on, then the trend is broken."


The easy answer to such inconsistency is to blame it on the layoff between
the final regular season game and the bowl. While some teams had as little as
two weeks between games, others - such as No. 1 Miami - will have as much as
45 days.


For Clemson, the gap will be exactly 30 days. How that will affect the
Tigers?


"You don't know," he said. "You take Texas, who was scoring a lot of points,
and they scored (47 in the Holiday Bowl). That trend wasn't bothered. The
fact that they gave up a lot of points was unusual. So half of their team
responded, and half didn't. Same coaching staff, same amount of time for
preparation."


One area such a layoff potentially can affect a skill-oriented offense is in
its timing.


Bowden said the throwing and catching between quarterbacks and receivers has
improved over the course of Clemson's workouts in Boise, a sign that the rust
from the four-day Christmas layoff is shaking free.


The team also seems to have adjusted well to the Astroturf at Broncos
Stadium. Even the cold weather has been a non-factor.


But how the Tigers react when the ball goes in the air Monday remains a
wait-and-see proposition.


"The timing between the wide receivers and quarterbacks is going to be the
biggest thing," Bowden said. "But until you play you don't know. You've got a
lot of freshman offensive skill who've never been to a bowl game, never been
on Astroturf and never been this cold.


"You think they've prepared well. They've practiced well. But until game time
you just don't know."


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