Highlights From Tommy Bowden's Weekly Press Conference


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Highlights from Clemson coach Tommy Bowden’s press conference on Tuesday:

South Carolina's injuries

"It's probably similar to how we were banged up after the Virginia game and guys weren't able to practice going into the Georgia Tech game. So it's a similar environment. You load up the buses with whom you have and you go play. A lot of times you don't know until pregame when you loosen them up a little bit which ones will play.
Coaching-wise, injuries are a part of it so you react pretty normally when injuries occur.
"My first year here, our starter Brandon Streeter was out and we had to go with Woody for the game. Last year, Woody was probably 75-80 percent and played in the game. Injuries the last two years have been a factor with us as far as quarterback. Whether it's South Carolina or whoever, injuries are a part of the game."

Importance of game

"I've always felt this was the biggest game of the year. Going into this season we hadn't beat Florida State or Georgia Tech and now we've knocked off one and that's something that you have to do at this program eventually. But in the whole realm of IPTAY meetings and stuff like that, this is the big game. Recruiting, you could go on down the line as to why it's big, but this one, at this place, will always be the biggest game.

"Anytime you have an in-state rivalry as opposed to cross-state, it's a lot more intense because there's a good chance you have a family member or wife or husband that has either gone to that school or prefers the other school or has ties to the other school. It's a year-round topic. I think the players sense that when they go to family reunions or go back to the high school or home for the summer. This state is split 50-50 and you're born into the split. It's intense because there are no pro sports in the state, so the allegiance is to one of these two schools. "

Seniors going undefeated vs. USC

"Players talk about it more than the coaches do. I think the players are more aware of that. I don't talk about it that much with the team. It's been mentioned once or twice. It's not something we mention everyday and talk about so much. I think the team might, however."

Playing at South Carolina

“It's a great environment. It's similar to Alabama-Auburn or Florida-Florida State and other places I've been where it's a really good college environment. It's loud, it's a pretty stadium. You go out there during pregame and its charged with electricity. And those aren't situations that happen on a week-to-week basis at most schools. Some schools don't have that type of electricity in their environment. It's an in-state rivalry, very intense and you can feel it.

Key to winning

"If we don't turn the ball over I think we can win the game. I think this game is going to come down to defense, number one, and then turnovers, number two. It won't be that hard of a game to get your players up. If we don't turn the ball over and get some on defense I think that will be the key.

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