Highlights from Tommy Bowden Press Conference

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Tommy Bowden Press Conference

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QB Charlie Whitehurst

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"I don't know if I would have gone there or not (Georgia) but it would have been nice if they have recruited me a little harder."

Chip on his shoulder? "Maybe a little bit. I don't hold anything against them. They got the guys they want there and I think we got the guys we want here. So I don't know if there is a chip on my shoulder but I would like to go out there and prove to them and everybody in Georgia that I can play too."

OL William Henry

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"We (offensive line) are playing together as a unit. In the last few years you might have a few people hanging out together here or there off the field. But I think (now) we are a unified group and we play well together."

DL DeJuan Polk

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"Playing a top ten team will let us know where we stand compared to the best teams in the nation."

LB John Leake

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"If we win this game it's a big plus for us and it kicks off our season strong. To me it's a must win. We can't lose this game."

WR Michael Collins

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"I think this year's team is a lot more focused. Coming off of last year I think some guys realized that things could have been different if every body had been more intense and everybody had been a lot more focused. I think this year's team is a lot more focused and has a plan that we are sticking to."

Tommy Bowden Quotes

Overall thoughts on the opener versus Georgia:

"I think the players' mentality will be the same as last year (when
Clemson played well in a three-point loss) Add to that the tradition
and rivalry between the schools, and that a lot of our players are
from the state of Georgia, you don't have a problem getting their
attention. You don't have to worry about motivation."

On how much weight is placed on the season opener:

"We play 12 games this season, and this is number one. It's a long
season, hopefully 13 games. A lot of things said last year were that
the two teams took opposite directions after that game. It was a
hard-fought game that came down to a field goal. They went on to
have more success than we did, obviously. Whether or not it was
because of the outcome of that game, I don't know. I don't put a
whole lot of stock in the first game being a huge factor in the
remaining 11 games. There's too much more football to be played."

On the Georgia-Clemson rivalry:

"The rivalry with Georgia would be our #2 rival, with South Carolina
probably never being surpassed at this school. But you don't want to
minimize the significance of Georgia, because it is a state in which
we actively recruit and because of what has taken place between the
two teams in the past."

On Clemson's preparation heading into Saturday's game:

"I think by Saturday at noon, we'll have prepared as well as we could
have prepared. We've been relatively healthy. Rain caught us early
and we lost a little bit of preparation time early. But since then,
it hasn't rained. But I don't know if a coach ever really knows his
team is ready. From a preparation standpoint, we couldn't have done
any more."

On preparing for All-SEC defensive end David Pollack:

"You have to be careful in accounting for him. If you do too much,
like giving your lineman help with a running back, you create some
weaknesses in other areas. There's no doubt we're going to be aware
of where he is. He's probably the best defensive lineman in the
country. He's up for most postseason honors, which is well deserved.
We'd be crazy not to be aware of him, so we'll have some plan for

On the competition for starting jobs:

"Right now Duane Coleman has been a little more consistent than
everyone else. Reggie Merriweather's assignments aren't as sharp.
Right now, it is assignments more so than anything that separates our
tailbacks. We're going to need Yusef Kelly throughout the year, so I
imagine his workload will increase tremendously over the next few

"At cornerback, Tye Hill and Toure Francis are about 50-50 (as far as
who will start) going into the game. Maybe someone will come out of
that game with some separation. Tye has better speed, but Toure has
a little more experience."

On the possibility of Roscoe Crosby playing Saturday:

"He hasn't been out here very long and he hasn't been hit in two
years, those are my main concerns. If he were a linemen it might be
easier. But with throwing and catching being so highly skilled, it
takes a little longer to come back. But he's not a normal guy. The
fact that he's a professional athlete in one sport means he has some
pretty refined skills. You never like to say never, but we would not
anticipate him doing much on Saturday."

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