CLEMSON -- It's reasonable to say that no coach has ever written a script
where he loses a game.
The ones that think they'll never lose don't stay around long, though.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has pulled out Plan B after Clemson lost Saturday
night to Georgia Tech 31-28. The irony is that Plan B might give Clemson a
better chance to beat Florida State.
"It would have helped us if Clemson would have come in here undefeated,"
said Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who presumably had not seen the
tape of Clemson's loss to Georgia Tech. Otherwise he would have been
drooling over the prospect of taking his shot at Clemson's defense.
Clemson's defense was exposed by Georgia Tech quarterback George Godsey to
the tune of 454 yards passing, the most a Clemson defense has ever allowed.
"We've got to give them a scheme that gives them a chance to be successful,"
Bowden has said he never pays much attention to Clemson's defensive
strategy. He probably won't start. He's has an offensive background and has
always left the defensive game plan to Reggie Herring.
"We played man, we played zone," said Herring. "I don't know if y'all have
any other coverages I can run in there. We're not playing very good pass
defense right now. It's a shame because we've got some spirited kids who are
Herring and Bowden agree that the secondary shouldn't shoulder the entire
blame for what happened Saturday. Clemson's defensive line barely touched
"I'm equally concerned with our coverage and rush pressure," said Bowden.
"All you can do is lineup with what you've got."
"What do you want me to do?" asked Herring. "You want me to go kill all
those kids and find some new ones? It's called college football, men. We've
got what we've got. We've got to get them better. 450 yards don't mean jack.
That sounds nice, but if the corner doesn't stumble and the guy doesn't run
by him and make the play, those 450 yards mean absolutely nothing."
That's what concerns Florida State. Now, those yards mean something - namely
a more determined Clemson defensive unit.
"Tommy got beat last week - that puts it into the mortal thing," said Bobby
Bowden. "He was getting to be immortal. I was playing against the good Lord.
Now, it puts him into the mortal category."
Tommy knew that all along, but the pressure was increasing for the team to
justify its top-five ranking with a win over Florida State. Now, the Tigers
are ranked 10th and the expectations are much lower for the trip to Florida
State -- such as whether Clemson will be able to hold Weinke under 500 yards passing.
"You hope that you can disguise (the weaknesses)," said Bowden. "The last
two weeks it's been hard to disguise. I don't know if we're ready (for
Florida State). I don't think we're ready to challenge them for contenders
right now. I don't think we're at the stage where we're ready to challenge
Bowden is still working on Plan A this week, though, just in case.