Bowden and Tigers Still Searching For Answers


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CLEMSON -- With a few hours to examine Clemson’s second-worst loss ever against Wake Forest, Tommy Bowden had no new answers for his team’s performance on Saturday.

Prior to the 45-17 shellacking on Saturday, Clemson lost to Wake 41-12 in 1943, but otherwise had never lost to the Demon Deacons by more than 16 in the previous 14 losses in 68 games.

“We had some missed tackles,” said Bowden on Sunday afternoon. “Other than that it looks like the kids played hard. There were a couple of missed assignments. Wake Forest did one or two things different but nothing unusual.”

Bowden pointed to others that have suffered losses by large margins as recently as yesterday – teams like Miami and Oklahoma State – that will have to get off the mat like Clemson.

“I think if you look at college football that’s kinda the way things are going week in and week out,” he said. “I think we played fairly well week to week. I know wins are the bottom line but when you grade our team we had done that for eight games other than against North Carolina defensively.”

Things fell apart on Saturday and now, somehow, he’s got to get his team ready for his fifth meeting on the field with his father, Bobby Bowden.

In the previous four meetings, only the first one in 1999 was close. Last year, the Tigers appeared to be headed toward a win against the Seminoles until Greg Jones stunned the team with a long run late in the first half. After that, Clemson had a hard time getting its head back in the game and it turned into a blowout late.

Jones’ run last year was a turning point for the Tigers. Clemson seemed to have a hard time shaking it off and lost to Virginia the next week.

Clemson will go into this game with the No. 3 Seminoles as heavy underdogs. A loss will further fuel speculation about Tommy Bowden’s job. He doesn’t expect any help from his father when it comes gametime, even if another blowout could lead to this being the last meeting between father and son.

“During the three and a half hour game, there’s no paternal bond,” he said. “You don’t win as many games as he has with a paternal bond.”

Notes:

- There were no injuries to report from Saturday’s game.

- Tailback Yusef Kelly’s availability will depend on his ability to practice this week. “If he practices he’ll play,” said Bowden. “His ankle bothered him all last week.”

- Bowden and staff will meet tomorrow on some possible lineup changes.

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