Tigers Strive for Conditioning Early in Orlando


by - Correspondent -
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Clemson's first day in Orlando began with a morning stroll
and ended with a bang.


Tommy Bowden put his Tigers through a short walk-through Monday morning at
Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, then came back in the afternoon with
more than two hours of live contact. The schedule likely will remain the same
today as Bowden seeks the right formula in preparing his team for next
Monday's Tangerine Bowl vs. Texas Tech.


"You gotta stay pretty sharp, but you've got to make sure you don't take it
all out of them," he said. "That's the fine line you've got to walk."


Monday's dual workouts were Clemson's first since the week of the South
Carolina game nearly a month ago. Friday and Saturday practices at Clemson
were not quite full scale because players still were dealing with final
exams.


But if Monday's afternoon practice is any indication, the team seems ready to
get back to work. The opening segment of practice featured live kicking
drills, during which at least one punt attempt by senior Wynn Kopp was
blocked.


By the time the session ended, however, the team seemed to be dragging just a
bit as they work to regain lost conditioning.


"Conditioning has never been a real big problem for us, so I don't think it
will be (this time)," Bowden said. "That's one thing you have to be careful
of with bowl games. You've got to get them in shape, but again don't take
them overboard. Against (Texas Tech) we're gonna have to chase the passer,
run and all that stuff. It's important that I don't take it out of them out
here.


"You want to get them in shape, but do you go to far? That's something we'll
look heavy at. I'm worried about them doing too much work."


The line between work and reward can be a tricky one.


Do too much and the players likely come out flat. Do too little and they lose
focus on why they're in town in the first place.


Fortunately for him, Bowden said, he has a nice model to follow, one with a
proven record of success.


"I more or less just went after that bowl schedule Florida State used when I
was there, and that they used for 14 years in setting an NCAA record for bowl
wins," he said. "There's no sense in not using that, or something similar to
it. You've got to alter it a little bit because of the early date.


"But I've used it and lost and used it and won as a head coach."



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.

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