Bowden: We Could Have Been More Aggressive

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - The message boards, chat rooms and talk radio phone lines have been on fire. Seemingly the entire Clemson nation has but one question on its mind:

Was the Tigers' offense too conservative in Saturday's 16-13 overtime loss to Boston College?

Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden addressed the issue in his regular Sunday teleconference, and said in retrospect the offense could have been more aggressive.

"After three or four games people are going to start playing you a certain way if you don't attack certain areas of the field," he said. "We probably need to attack that area (down field) more. When you throw down field the completion percentage goes down, but we have to try."

The BC secondary was considered to be vulnerable to attack, and it was brought up that Florida State had success in that area the previous week. But the only deep ball of note was the 37-yard pass to Curtis Baham near the right sideline.

"Florida State hit some middle routes, and we had some of those called," Bowden said. "(Chansi) Stuckey dropped a catchable ball. Bobby (Williamson) down the middle in overtime, he dropped that one. We probably should have tried a couple more."

Hand-in-hand with the lack of a vertical passing game was Clemson's game-long struggles on third down.

The Tigers allowed Boston College to convert 50 percent (10-of-20) third down opportunities, while offensively Rob Spence's unit struck out; Clemson was 0-for-11 on third down, the first time the school failed to convert at least one such opportunity since the NCAA began keeping the statistic in 1978.

And while third and long is always a crapshoot, the short-yardage situations were the most frustrating for Bowden.

"(Boston College) had shown a weak safety blitz (on tape) on first or second down a time or two, but never on third down," he said. "They did that once and caught us, and another time they got us with a blitz from the back side. It was two good calls on their part. We probably could have protected ourselves better with formations.

"But of everything that happened in the game, the thing that surprised me most was our inability on third down on both sides of the ball."

Meanwhile, the next task is making sure the team's mental frame of mind stays positive.

It better. Wake Forest is next on the schedule, and no one needs to be reminded how difficult the Demon Deacons have been on the Tigers in recent years.

"The team has to remember we don't have any cream puff teams we're playing. Everybody we've played is a pretty good team," Bowden said. "Three of them were in the Top 25 - I think we're the only team in the country to open up that way. I have to remind these guys they're two plays from being 4-0, and now let's go correct the mistakes.

"We're doing some things we can build on. Few penalties, only one turnover. We have to sell to the team those are things that win games. Then we work on getting more points on the board and third down conversions on both sides.


Punter Cole Chason's job is officially in jeopardy.

The junior averaged 38 yards per kick vs. Boston College, and did so against virtually no pressure from the Eagles' punt rush. After reviewing the film Sunday morning, Bowden wasn't satisfied.

"We still have to be more productive," he said. "I'm probably going to let these other guys see if they can take the job."


Clemson Injury update

Brandon Pilgrim--bruised shoulder

Rashaad Jackson--bruised shoulder

Chris McDuffie--bruised calf

Charles Bennett--dislocated finger

All will be updated after practice Monday as far as a status.


Tackle leaders - Waters 14, Billie 13, Gaddis 11, Fudge 8, Hill 7, Watkins 7


Clemson is tied for second in the nation in fewest turnovers committed with just one. UCLA has none, Fresno State, Clemson, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Texas Tech all have one.

Clemson is third in the nation in fewest penalties committed per game with 3.25. Stanford is first at 1.50 and Iowa is second at 2.75.

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