Highlights From Tommy Bowden's Weekly Press Conference

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Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden
Press Conference Quotes 8-27-02

On the significance of the rivalry with Georgia:

"I think if any of our players had played in a game against them it
might have more significance. But the last time we played them was
1995, and they are not that familiar with it. It will be real
emotional for both teams because we both recruit actively in each
other's states and a lot of the players know each other. We have a
lot of players from Georgia. It will be more emotional in that way
than as a rivalry.

"If I'm not mistaken, Clemson has only won twice in Athens. Two wins
in 21 tries is not good odds."

On concerns heading into Georgia:

"If you lived in a perfect world, you would not like your
quarterback's (Willie Simmons) first start to be in Athens against a
nationally-ranked team. But that is what we have to do, so I think
it will give us a good measuring stick early on where our program is
and what we need to accomplish to improve before heading into the
conference schedule.

"It will be the first career start for a lot of guys. It will be our
first time without Kyle Young, Will Merritt and T.J. Watkins, who
gave us some continuity and stability in the middle. Also the
familiarity of the defense with a new system. How fast our players
can adjust to John Lovett's system."

On how big the game against Georgia is:

"Well it is the first time we've played Georgia since I've been here.
South Carolina games are pretty big, Florida State games are pretty
big. Those games are probably bigger, but behind those two I would
have to say Georgia is about the third biggest."

On Saturday's matchups:

"I think the most interesting matchup will be their offensive line,
which are all seniors, versus our defensive line. I think that is
the key to the game. If those five guys control our guys up front,
it is going to be a long day. I will let you know whether I like the
matchup or not after the game. If all our guys were seniors, I would
feel pretty good. But with Nick (Eason) being the only senior, it
could be a concern."

On the atmosphere at Sanford Stadium:

"This will be my third trip there with different teams. I have been
once with Duke and a couple of times with Auburn. It is a great
college environment. The noise will be a factor. It will be
emotional, and I'm sure that will cause a momentum change during the
game. We practice with crowd noise and a lot of our signals are done
by hand, so noise is not as big a factor. I imagine that at some
point there will be some communication problems up front because of
the noise."

On special teams against Georgia:

"We've been very productive and I feel pretty good with the amount of
time and work we have put into it. But again, you're always
concerned with first game jitters about punt protection and kicking.
But my main concern in the last two weeks has been consistency with
our punting. The other concern is our long snapper. We have had the
exact same snapper since I've been here in Henry Owen, who did a
really good job."

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