TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After Louisville's stunning 26-20 overtime upset of
Florida State Thursday night, questions immediately began to surface about
how the Seminoles would respond a week later when Clemson comes to town.
Will FSU be angry, or will the loss evoke memories of a disappointing 2001
Seminoles' coach Bobby Bowden hopes it's the former.
"I think we'll be mad," he said during a Friday teleconference. "We should
be. That might not be good enough, but there's no reason we shouldn't respond
Responding better to a staunch run defense would be a good idea, too.
Playing in a driving rainstorm that limited quarterback Chris Rix's
effectiveness, the Cardinals put as many as eight players in the box in an
effort to slow tailback Greg Jones. On most occasions, when Jones broke
through the line of scrimmage he was met by a safety, limiting his potential
If the same thing happens this Thursday, Bowden said his pass offense must
make plays in order to loosen up the run defense.
"We're a lot better when that happens," he said. "A team can prevent you from
doing that by bringing eight guys up. You clear the line and there's a guy
there waiting for you, like (vs. Louisville). It forces you to throw, so you
have to throw effectively."
Of course, Florida State has thrown so much on Clemson the past two years
that the footballs themselves qualify for frequent flier miles.
But this Clemson defense has been strong through four games, most
surprisingly against the pass. Coordinator John Lovett's scheme confused
Louisiana Tech's veteran quarterback, Luke McCown, and slowed easily the most
sophisticated passing attack the Tigers will see all season.
But La. Tech was a one-dimensional football team, and Clemson's hopes of
beating the Seminoles for the first time since 1989 likely rest on taking
away one aspect of the FSU offense, probably the run.
In any event, the elder Bowden knows how much is at stake here for both
himself and son Tommy, especially in light of the Louisville debacle.
"As we prepare this week I'm not thinking Tommy, I'm thinking Clemson," Bobby
Bowden said. "Same thing for him. If we stay in it long enough it will
happen, he'll eventually beat me. Nothing lasts forever.
That's the hard part about being family. Tommy needs to win. I need to win.
Sad thing is one of us ain't gonna win."