Defense Has Bowden Excited about Tallahassee


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<font class=caption>Tigers will bring the #12 defense into Bowden Bowl IV.</a>
Tigers will bring the #12 defense into Bowden Bowl IV.

CLEMSON - It's hard to tell if Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is being
confident or coy.


Speaking during a teleconference Tuesday, Bowden said he feels like this
current edition of the Tigers has the best chance of beating Florida State
than any of his previous three teams. That would include the 1999 squad which
lost 17-14 in Death Valley.


Why the sudden departure from coachspeak?


Defense.


“I think the fact we are playing consistent on defense (is the big thing),"
Bowden said. "We have played consistent in spurts before but never four games
in a row. When you play good on defense you are going to have a chance every
week. Now you have to have some production on offense and not turn the ball
over.


“If the same defense from the last four game shows up I think we will go down
there and play well.”


Through four games Clemson is ranked No. 12 in the nation in total defense,
No. 14 in rushing defense. Those numbers, up from No. 71 and No. 69,
respectively, from a year ago, are the chief reason for Bowden's confidence.


He also believes having the extra time to prepare for the Seminoles - FSU
plays on ESPN this Thursday night, as well, vs. Louisville - gives his team
an advantage.


"I can align his offense and defense up with our scout team more than he
can," he said. "I don’t know whether that will help us or not but I'm going
to have that opportunity strictly based on number of days.”


Meanwhile, both tailback Bernard Rambert (tendonitis) and fullback Chad
Jasmin (groin) returned to practice Tuesday and took part in limited drills.


"Bernard looked okay, but Chad still has a way to go," Bowden said. "I'm
encouraged by Bernard, but not by Chad."


Defensive tackle Nick Eason (sprained knee) watched practice from the
sidelines in a yellow jersey (no contact). His workload is expected to be
minimal the remainder of the week.

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