Bowers becoming a vocal leader

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Prior to last Saturday’s game at North Carolina, junior defensive end Da’Quan Bowers gathered his teammates around him, and took yet another step in the evolution of becoming the leader that his teammates want, and need, for him to be.

His teammates gathered in a circle and took a knee while Bowers loudly – and pointedly – told the group what he expected from the group in terms of effort and execution.

Clemson eventually suffered a 21-16 loss in the game, but Bowers vowed to continue his new role as the voice of a defense that is struggling to find its way, even though the display is a departure from the norm for the usually reserved Bamberg native.

“It’s a process that I had to go through,” Bowers said. “I’m not really a vocal guy. I’d rather lead through my actions. Sometimes you just have to say what’s on your mind and I thought this was one of the games that we needed to win to turn our season around. I thought we all needed to give our best possible effort and I wanted the players to know that I was going to give my all and all I had and I just wanted the same kind of effort.”

Bowers was asked if the transition from quiet leader to vocal leader was difficult, and he said no.

“It’s not hard at all because I’ve learned to adapt to situations in the past,” he said. “I’m becoming a very vocal leader. I don’t say a lot; I bite my tongue a lot, but when I have something on my mind, something on my conscience I’m going to say what I’ve got to say. My players may not like it.

“Sometimes, I may be vocal with it, but I just want to say what’s on my mind. It’s not to point anybody out. I just want to say it and get better as a team, get it corrected and show them the faith I have in them and hopefully the faith they have in me so we can come together and be a great, dominant team.”

And just in case anyone has forgotten, he is also letting his actions on the field speak just as loudly as his words.

He ranks in the top four in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss. He has six sacks in five games and his 1.2 per game average ranks fourth in the nation. He has 2.20 tackles for loss per game through five games, and that average ranks third best in the nation.

Bowers has made quite a jump during his junior season. He came into the year with four career sacks, so his six sacks have easily surpassed his career total. In terms of tackles for loss, he has 11.5 so far this season, already more than the 11 he had last year.

He had four tackles for loss against a now Top 10 Auburn team back on September 18th and followed that up with 3.5 tackles for loss against Miami. He then had two sacks at North Carolina, and is on pace to get 27 tackles for loss this season, a figure that would tie the Clemson record for tackles for loss in a season by a Clemson defensive lineman.

William Perry had 27 in 1984 and Rob Bodine had 27 in 1991.

“I’m just trying to be consistent- trying to be a consistent player every week,” he said. “My biggest thing this year was to try to be a dominant player each play. I come in with that attitude each week, and each game my attitude is I won’t be stopped and I’m going to give it my all for my teammates. My teammates are depending on me to be dominant and make big plays, so I’m trying to do it for them.

“It’s a challenge that I’m willing to take. Somebody has got to step up and be a vocal leader and an action leader. I think I’m capable of doing both of them, so I’m really trying and attempting to step up to the plate.”

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