After practice audio from Tommy Bowden: Windows Media
CLEMSON - No disrespect to Jeff Smith, but Tommy Bowden apparently isn't ready to concede that the Boston College kick returner has attained All-America status.
Apparently Clemson's kickoff coverage just made the BC freshman look that good.
On Wednesday Bowden told the media that the Tigers have worked extensively on improving kickoff coverage after allowing 213 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Eagles last Saturday.
"It's not that we've practiced longer, we've just practiced different," he said, intimating that this week's drills have been under game-like conditions. "The problem wasn't (Smith). The problem was us. It was the coverage. We made him look good."
Bowden said film study showed containment to be the issue on two of the kicks. Another was supposed to be what he termed a "sky kick," a ball put up high and short designed to draw a fair catch. That ball, kicked by Cole Chason, went too far downfield.
"We've got to get better at getting off the blocks," he said. "We call it shock and shed. You can't get tied up with a defender on coverage like that."
And then there's the issue of Jad Dean.
Dean had four touchbacks in Clemson's rout of Florida Atlantic at home. He had zero at Boston College. Asked in Alumni Stadium's field turf was any more difficult to kick from that Death Valley's natural grass, Bowden shook his head and tapped his temple with an index finger.
"It's all up here," he said. "It's mental."
- Bowden had very little to say about the news Wednesday that guards Roman Fry and Nathan Bennett were fined by the Department of Natural Resources for their role in the accidental death of Clemson assistant track coach Jarrett Foster.
Neither player will face further charges from the solicitor's office, according to Fry's attorney, Beattie Ashmore.
Both players paid fines of $257.50. The deal was agreed to by Foster's family.
"I'm sure both those guys and the Foster family are pleased that that brought some closure to it," he said.
- The team worked outside Wednesday despite the steady rain that settled into the area.
"We really didn't lose anything," Bowden said. "Thank goodness for that field turf. We kind of split up so everyone could use it, but we got a lot done. Without the turf we'd have had to go inside."