Notebook: Bowden, Big Fun And Baseball


by - Correspondent -
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Catching up on a few odds and ends...

***

Had Tommy Bowden on my show this morning.

The Clemson head football coach seems genuinely happy with what his team has accomplished this spring as the annual Orange and White Game looms. He was especially complimentary of his young group of linebackers, including former Byrnes standout Stanley Hunter.

That position - both inside and outside - will be the key to how Clemson's defense performs this season. Staying on the defensive side of the ball, he said another concern is finding depth behind Chris Chancellor and Michael Hamlin.

Offensively, it's the line play which continues to be the biggest unknown as spring wraps up. Bowden said of the four spots up for grabs, he's comfortable with "about two-an-a-half" of them.

To hear the entire interview, go to our station website at www.wccpfm.com. The link is on the front page.

***

Advice for this weekend. Come early, and don't expect to find a parking spot close by if you don't.

Besides the spring game and the Clemson-UNC baseball series, Littlejohn Coliseum is hosting a carnival-type midway on its lawn, as well as outdoor concerts Friday and Saturday which will begin at 3 p.m. and run until after midnight.

Inside Littlejohn is a show called Stomp The Yard, Southern Style. And there is an ROTC function happening this weekend along with a number of Olympic sporting events on campus.

Wouldn't you love to have the concession gate for those two days?

To find out more, go to www.solidorangelive.com.

***

Speaking of baseball, the Tigers' current losing streak - six games - is the longest for this program in 26 years.

Yet speaking to someone in the baseball office today I was told that there's no sense of panic setting in. At 18-14, the Tigers are still very much alive for most of the goals set before the season began.

And baseball is a funny game. Just as a slump is contagious at times, so is a hot streak. And while the Tigers are in a huge funk offensively at the moment, sometimes all it takes is a 47-hopper sneaking through the infield or a bat-handle bloop just eluding a defender in pursuit to get things going again.

Of course a strong mental approach helps, too.

The biggest difference in Miami and Clemson last weekend was the Hurricanes' mental toughness at the plate. Not giving away at-bats, as it's called. When a Miami player got in a two strike count, you could almost see the change in approach at the plate. The 'Canes battled for every inch of the strike zone, protected the plate in those two-strike counts, and more often than not put the ball in play which, in turn, puts pressure on the Clemson defense.

Of course, you're also looking at a team stacked with veterans. Blake Tekotte, Jemile Weeks, Yonder Alonso and Dennis Raben - the first four hitters in the lineup - are all juniors.

Look back to their freshman and sophomore years and check out the 'Canes records. They were significantly below Miami standards.

Not that youth is an excuse here at Clemson. These kids were brought in to play, and to a man they should all be doing better work.

Right now they're in a funk. No question.

But let's allow the season to play out to a conclusion before we start jumping to them.

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