Dan Scott Interview: Tommy Bowden

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Tommy Bowden is 29-20 in his four seasons at Clemson.
Tommy Bowden is 29-20 in his four seasons at Clemson.

CLEMSON -- Clemson head football coach Tommy Bowden was a recent guest on Sportstalk with Dan Scott. SportsTalk can be heard from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9 in upstate South Carolina.

Listen to the full Tommy Bowden interview Here: Real Audio - Windows Media

Scott: Talk about how the loss of Kelvin Morris and Brandon Jamison will affect this team defensively.

Bowden: Well they are still in school. They are ineligible to play, but hopefully they will come back and do well and be eligible next year and get their degree. That’s the objective. Kelvin we were not sure of anyway because of the injury. Brandon would have helped us at linebacker but with the priority being what it is with degrees they have got some challenges ahead of them in that area.

Scott: In general how do any student athletes not meet the requirements with Vickery Hall at Clemson?

Bowden: Well you know the NCAA has stiffened up eligibility requirements or progress toward degree which I am in favor of, and they should have. As you get along in the recruiting process you see educational opportunities for individuals are all different. My wife was a school teacher, and when I got my first fulltime job she became a fulltime homemaker, raised my children, went to PTA, helped with homework and things like that. A lot of times these days with single parent homes the support system is not there when they get home. They are going to college not all with the same educational management style. They don’t have good organizational skills and time management. They were not given some of the resources some of us were given. Vickery Hall is a great tool. I think next year’s graduation rate has been released already. It is 82% which is higher than the student body. So yes it (Vickery Hall) is great but it is not foolproof.

Scott: What is the appeals process you are going through right now to see if you can get Roscoe Crosby eligible for this season?

Bowden: I don’t do this myself. We added a new staff person where this will be kind of be his area. I think there are some things he might try to look into. I think his biggest concern was we overturn ever stone and check on eligibility. Then whatever the ruling of the NCAA is then that is as it is. He wanted to feel comfortable we were turning every stone from eligibility standpoint. That is what he is in the process of doing.

Scott: Another issue is the return or the non return of Eric Sampson to the team.

Bowden: Well you pretty much summed it up there (laughing). I can’t comment on what we don’t know right now. There is some work that needs to be made up academically. Make sure he understands the priority and it is academics. Football is awful important here. There is no doubt you got to win games but the other function of that is work towards a degree. If we see in the next two sessions of summer school that he has that priority in mind then we will reconsider.

Scott: What do you think about ACC expansion?

Bowden: The people that are in the know, the commissioner and the presidents, looks like have done some kind of feasibility study over the last 18 months. They are the people that are in the know from a T.V contract standpoint, they have talked to those people, from a media standpoint, and a credibility standpoint, and marketability standpoint. I don’t access to those figures. I do have confidence in the people making the decisions between our commissioner and our presidents, and it seems the majority of them have looked at this in the last 18 months, and said this is what we need to do. I support their decision.

Scott: Some people say expanding the conference will hurt Clemson.

Bowden: Things go in cycles. I think I have mentioned at some point in time that five years ago Oklahoma and Miami were not even bowl games. I know Florida State went through a cycle where they lost to the University of Florida 6 years in a row since my father had been there. All of sudden they make a turn, and the cycle turns. I think that is entirely possible (at Clemson). If you don’t think it’s possible you might as well not get in coaching and just give up. It happens every year. Look at what happened to Oregon – second in the nation to losing 6 out of last 7. That’s why they play. That’s why teams line it up. The media, the fans, the people on your show and the people who write magazines, and all that make for a creative and exciting summer but again you got to play the season. When I went to Florida State in the late 70’s Miami was contemplating dropping football. They had just lost to Florida A&M in Tallahassee Stadium, and there were serious conversations about them dropping the sport. So things change. and I think this can only add strength and credibility to the conference.

Scott: Do you believe this super conference idea is the wave of the future in college football?

Bowden: I think the fact with what the Big 12 and SEC did with 12 team conferences that has been on the table for a few years and the kinks have been worked out. It looks to be successful and looks to be the wave of the future as you mentioned. Now with an opportunity to go to a 12 team format with three quality teams not only athletically but educationally they bring a lot to the table. They bring a lot of credibility to the conference, and I know the conference is very conscientious about that. I think that addition can only be pluses. But I think the 12 team conference is the wave of the future by opportunities for a championship games among other things. We talk a lot about football and basketball, but I think it is going to help the other sports and be very productive for our Olympic sports with the addition of these three teams.

Scott: In a recent article you said you didn’t hear much of the negative on the IPTAY tour and that people were for the most part very supportive.

Bowden: I think what people want to see is opportunity for improvement or opportunity for hope. Out last game we didn’t give that much. You know we won three out of our last four, changed to our freshman quarterback, we are showing some promise and then the bowl game happens. Your last impression is the impression that you leave. But again as you go out there and speak as you look at this team we should be improved across the board. The three games we lost very, very close - Virginia, Florida State, and Georgia are all home games. Look at Carson Palmer that won the Heisman. His junior year was six and six. He had a losing record his sophomore year. I think there are some very promising things that happened but unfortunately the last game just threw such a negative connation. I am the guy in charge and it happened and I can’t correct it till we play again. As I tell people in the IPTAY meetings that the last thing on my mind and the first thing when I get up in the morning is how we finished the season. I’m looking forward to correcting it. The IPTAY meetings give you an opportunity to show some hope and some reasons we have for improvement, and I think that is what they want to see.

Scott: Can Clemson compete for a conference championship this year?

Bowden: When you look at starting a freshman quarterback going down the stretch of your season and taking three out of four. I know South Carolina didn’t have a winning season, but they were competitive team that played well in the SEC. The way we came from behind. I thought there was a lot of promise up until the bowl game with what we did with a freshman quarterback. I think we got five out of six of our defensive ends back, five out of six defensive lineman back, all our running backs and wide outs, quarterback back, some of our lineman back and kicker back in Aaron Hunt. I think Cole Chason will better than what we had statistic wise. The home schedule the way it is we got an opportunity to compete for a championship. Now you have to go do it, and you have to play. But again with what was left on the table with the last game and the NCSU game on national television you can see why there is a sick feeling and there is for me.

Scott: There was a lot of criticism of Brad Scott and Jack Hines last year. Are you happy with the coaching staff now and is everything falling into place there?

Bowden: Yeah I think with the addition of David Blackwell and Dabo Swinney; most of my staff was my age 48, 49, 50 and 52. I felt like I just wanted to go with younger guys. Dabo is 33 and David is 31. Both come from very successful recruiting backgrounds with success at Alabama and Pittsburgh. I’m very happy with the staff and where we are. We need to go out and win games. There were not any complains after winning nine games my second year, and my staff really didn’t change that much. So even the year with the Humanitarian Bowl we were just about equal statistically to the nine win season, and it’s the same staff.

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