CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden is saying all the right things as Saturday's game with Wofford approaches.
The third-year Clemson head coach undoubtably knows his team is a huge favorite Saturday. But out of respect for his in-state opponent - not to mention wanting to keep bulletin board material to a minimum - Bowden has focused on areas his Tigers can improve, and not the likelihood of a blowout victory over the Terriers.
"Whether it's Wofford, Florida State, Virginia or South Carolina, what you're looking for is a player to improve his performance from the first week to the second week," Bowden said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "I'm more concerned about the improvement of players than I am about the score. We know (our) players and their talent level, and we want to see how much better they can play this week."
Wofford, a nationally-ranked Division 1-AA program, was a last-minute replacement on Clemson schedule for 2001 when Tulane backed out of it's committment to play in Death Valley.
The Terriers will bring an option-oriented attack into Saturday's game, meaning the focus of Clemson's defense will be entirely different than it was against pass-happy Central Florida.
Oddly enough, though the schemes are different, the Tigers' focus will be on the same key position.
"Anytime you run the option the quarterback has pretty good running skills," said Bowden. "That's always a concern because it's not run much in Division 1-A...The quarterback is a threat, but more so is the offensive philosophy.
"It's assignment football that you're concerned about, and the quarterback's running skills make it more difficult."
Other notes from Tuesday's press conference:
- Defensive end J.J. Howard will see more playing time in a backup role this week, Bowden said. Howard will likely see more time in the spot currently held by Khaleed Vaughn, who Bowden said didn't play as well as he had hoped against UCF.
- Asked about the possibility of redshirting sophomore tailback Keith Kelly, Bowden was hesitant.
"It's tough to get through the season with just two tailbacks," he said. "I'd hate to have to play Travis Zachery or Bernard Rambert in a blowout because I had to, and take a chance on getting them hurt. So we'll look at it from game to game and see if we need (Kelly) or not.
- Bowden said another group of true freshmen likely will see playing time in the near future, rather than be redshirted. They include Roosevelt Nelson, Leroy Hill, Charles Bennett, Eric Coleman and Jamaal Fudge.
- The ACC has announced that the Clemson vs. Florida State game
scheduled for November 3 will kickoff at 3:30 PM. The contest will be
televised by ABC.