Notebook: Bowden Briefly Returns to Days as an Assistant

by - Correspondent -

ORLANDO - With Rodney Allison's departure to the University of
Tennessee-Chattanooga, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden has reverted back to
his days as an assistant coach.

Bowden has taken over coaching the kick return portion of the special teams
during preparation for Monday's Tangerine Bowl. And in doing so, he added a
wrinkle from his past that apparently wreaked havoc with his players:

As they prepared to field kicks, Bowden would toss his hat in the air as a

"They dropped every one of them," he said. " I used to do that when I coached
punt returners. It's just a distraction, and obviously they've never seen a
distraction before. I used to do stuff like that."


Clemson's workouts here in Orlando have been pretty much like they were
during the regular season. Everything is done on a tight, well-designed
schedule, and Bowden has made sure the team has kept as close to its normal
routine as possible.

That being the case, he sometimes struggles to find new items to discuss with
the media after each practice session.

"After 15 weeks of practice it all looks the same," he said. "The biggest
thing you're worried about now is a lack of concentration because the
environment's completely different."

The situation changes a bit beginning today, however.

After two straight days of two-a-day practices, Bowden will put his team
through just one morning practice the rest of this week. Lying in wait
afterwards are several bowl-related activities the team will be subjected to
in the evenings.

"It will change now. We've got something planned for them (tonight). But they
all kind of run together," he said.


Bowden's brother, Terry, was in attendance at Tuesday's afternoon practice.
The former Auburn coach and current ABC television football analyst watched
from the sidelines and talked it up with his brother or anyone else who would

Asked if Terry had offered any advice, Bowden laughed.

"He gave me some good ideas," he said with a laugh. "Like go into


- Derrick Hamilton's bum ankle appears to be getting better, although he
still limps noticeably during drills.

"He's better now. You should have seen him (last week) in Clemson," Bowden
said. "We gave him Sunday off, and I think that helped him. I don't expect
him to have any real problems unless he tweaks it again."

- Offensive tackle Gary Byrd was back at practice Tuesday, rejoining the team
after staying home for his grandmother's funeral Monday.

"He was back and looked okay," Bowden said. "You're sad about what happened,
but he appeared to have his head on straight. Now it's just a matter of
getting him going. He's a little rusty."

- Bowden on Hamilton's ankle:

"He walks goofy anyway. That's why I call him "Noodle," he said.

Told Hamilton said Noodle wasn't his nickname, Bowden laughed.

"I know, but I told him I'm going to keep calling him that until he quits
dropping passes."

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