CLEMSON - It's almost deja vu for Clemson as far as bowl opponents go.
A year ago at this time, Tommy Bowden's Tigers were preparing to face the
sophisticated passing attack of Luke McCown and Louisiana Tech in the
Humanitarian Bowl. This year Clemson will be lining up against yet another
sophisticated passing attack, that of Kliff Kingsbury and the Texas Tech Red
Raiders in the Dec. 23 Tangerine Bowl.
The official announcement came Sunday afternoon, the day all bowl
destinations were finalized for teams across the country.
And though the two Tech's may approach the passing game with different
philosophies, Bowden knows they both share one important common factor.
"You never have a comfort zone with a lead against them," Bowden said. "Texas
Tech had a couple of games this year where they fell way behind and then came
back. If they ever get behind, they're never uncomfortable throwing the ball,
because that's what they do."
Do they ever.
Kingsbury, the Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year, has thrown for
4,642 yards and 42 touchdowns this season. His 447 completions (in 669
attempts) is an NCAA record. Kingsbury ranks 13 in the nation in pass
efficiency and second in total offense.
Needless to say, he'll provide a huge test for Clemson's 17th-ranked pass
"Getting a pass rush will be awfully critical, (as will) giving their
quarterback different looks," Bowden said. "With our pass defense, with a
little preparation you'd think that would work in our favor. Sometimes that
can be a deceiving stat, but we've been pretty good this year."
The announcement forced Bowden and his staff to shift gears just a little.
Clemson's graduate assistants had already compiled four tapes on Oklahoma
State, the team most prognosticators expected the Tigers to face in Orlando.
But Clemson already has one Texas Tech tape at its disposal - the Red
Raiders' 51-48 overtime loss to N.C. State early this season, a game in
which Tech forced the extra period by scoring four touchdowns in the fourth
Bowden said he would have plenty more film in by no later than 4 p.m. this
- Clemson plans to practice twice at home before final exams, then open with
two-a-day workouts Dec. 16-17 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Some
of his coaches will miss either the Monday or Tuesday workouts in order to
fly back to Rock Hill to watch Shrine Bowl practices.
Bowden also said he expects some of the Central Florida players on Clemson's
recruiting list to visit bowl practice in Orlando.
- Rumors that offensive lineman Mark Jetton was planning to transfer
apparently are unfounded, at least according to Bowden.
"I talked to him last week and he was planning on going to the bowl game,"
the coach said.
- Bowden said that Rodney Allison's permanent replacement won't be hired
until after the bowl game. Allison late last week left his position as
Clemson's defensive ends coach to take over the head coaching duties at
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.