Tigers Balance Work and Play in Idaho

by - Correspondent -

BOISE, Idaho - At 9:30 a.m. local time Thursday the Clemson football team
began a 2 1/2 hour workout on the infamous blue turf at Broncos Stadium in
Boise. By 1 p.m., it was boarding buses to take a scenic train ride through
the snow-capped Idaho mountains.

A little work. A little play. Such is the routine during bowl week.

 Not too cold for DB Coach Jack Hines.

Humanitarian Bowl organizers, much like those at every other bowl game around
the country, try to put together a full schedule of events away from the
football field to entertain the teams involved. Each day consists of one or
more activities designed to acclimate both Clemson and Louisiana Tech to
Boise and its surroundings.

Balancing that entertainment with the necessary workload is high on Tommy
Bowden's priority list this week.

"That's always a concern, (but) the more you go to a bowl the more you learn
to balance it," he said following Thursday's practice. "We had good
preparation in Clemson (last week) and good preparation today. You're always
concerned about that, but most of our coaches have been to several bowls. I
think we're doing the right things."

Bowl appearances such as the Humanitarian Bowl, where nothing is on the line
save for team pride, can prove to be difficult for players to maintain focus.

On one hand, you have a Clemson team which has lost five consecutive bowl
games, and only reached Boise after a mass fan effort opened the eyes of the
bowl committee. The seniors, who began their careers with a 3-8 season that
saw Tommy West get fired, are hoping for a victory to close out their

Then there are the younger players, talented freshmen such as Airese Currie,
Roscoe Crosby and Eric Sampson - to name a few - who are experiencing bowl
week for the first time. Making sure they understand the importance of
working hard during this week is paramount for the coaching staff, who hopes
this is the first of many bowl appearances for the class.

But a bowl week with all work and no play hardly would be appealing, so
Bowden and his staff strive to balance reward against distraction.

"We talk about it. The bowl's for fun and the bowl's for winning," he said.
"Winning's work, so you do have to have some work if you want to win. So you
take the morning meetings and practice time and explain it to them as work
time, then you go have fun afterwards.

"You talk about it, but you don't know how much is kept on tape in the
computer (player's minds) up there, and how much is ejected out."

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