CLEMSON - For all the perceived high-flying exploits of his offense, Clemson
head coach Tommy Bowden would be happy running the ball 75 percent of the
"If you run it that much that means you're winning," he said following
Wednesday's practice. "That wouldn't bother me at all."
Especially Saturday, against a UCF team which brings a high-powered passing
attack into Death Valley. Golden Knights quarterback Ryan Schneider finished
ninth in the nation in passing efficiency in 2000, completing 62 percent of
his passes for 2,334 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Schneider's numbers are an ominous reminder of Clemson's defensive struggles
a year ago. The Tigers' secondary regularly was torched over the final five
games of the season, due in part to the lack of a pass rush provided by the
The ultimate game plan, then, would be to run the ball so effectively that
UCF's offense - not to mention his own defense - spends precious little time
on the field.
"Some of our games, you'll notice, we'll run it 75 percent of the time in a
heartbeat," Bowden said. "But that usually means you're ahead and running the
ball to keep the score down. Otherwise, they can take away your running game
by numbers. I'd do it...but they dictate that by how they line up."
Clemson spent Wednesday's practice working on lining up, among other things.
The helmet and shorts session was designed to "polish" game plan and
alignments as Saturday approaches.
But it also provided another day for Akil Smith to continue his impressive
rebound from a poor start to camp. Bowden said that Smith, the junior tackle
who missed last season due to a blood clot in his lung, then lost his
starting job due to lack of effort in the spring and through the first three
weeks of preseason, should see quite a few snaps Saturday.
"Akil's had a couple of really good days of practice, so his playing time
could increase," Bowden said. "Even on a day like today you can go hard."
- Bowden said Saturday's game plan called for three tight ends - Morgan
Woodward, Ben Hall and Todd McClinton - to see playing time
Woodward remains first on the depth chart, followed by Hall and McClinton,
"That's the plan, but a lot of it depends on how Central Florida defends us,"
- Clemson University Police Chief Lonnie Saxon took over the final 15 minutes
of practice to address the team.
"Once a year he comes out about this time, when school starts, and talks
about gambling, agents, alcohol, sexual harassment...things like that."
- Pressed on whether he'd be running more option this year, Bowden replied:
"Double secret probation. If I told you, I'd have to kill you."
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger and the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9.