Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden's comments on:
Concerns for his team at this point in the season
"Because we have played eight straight weeks without an open date, the mental fatigue of our team is a concern. It is tough to get a team to peak that many Saturdays in a row. I would say that physical fatigue of the players coming down the home stretch is also a worry of mine."
The BCS ranking system and how he feels about Clemson's #7 ranking
"I think it is a good system. I think it is effective because it has been in place two years and both times the best two teams in the country have played in the championship game. Where we are in that ranking is not important until after the season. It is a system that works and what we have to worry about now is playing Georgia Tech on Saturday."
How Willie Simmon's performance against North Carolina will effect future offensive game plans for Clemson
"The one thing it does is that it increases the comfort level of the staff if Woody can not play Saturday. We have a little better idea of how Willie can perform against good competition with the game on the line. I am pretty sure that it will increase Willie's confidence as well. His peformance will not effect our rotation of the quarterbacks in any way and we are not going to change what we do offensively from week to week."
The Status of Woody Dantzler's leg
"I talked with the trainer this morning and not much has changed since yesterday. He hobbled more than I thought he would yesterday at practice, but we will have to look at him every day before practice to see where he is. I don't feel nearly as good about the situation as I did on Saturday night after the game or on Sunday."
Georgia Tech defense
"They are playing much better defensively this season than they were last season. They have many players back from last year and they are playing more much more aggresive now. They are very athletic and they put a great deal of pressure on you. They are not quite as big as North Carolia but they are faster and quicker. Becuase of our lack of size on the offensive line, we match up better agasint teams that are bigger and do not have as much quickness on the defensive front. Georgia Tech is very quick defensively so it is not a very favorable matchup for us."
Georgia Tech offense
"Offensively they run a very efficient, complicated, multiple formation offense that has given us problems for several years. They have several players back on offense from last season and it is an offense that scored 45 points on us last season. With our tendancy to give up big plays the last few weeks and their ability to throw the ball down the field, I am definatley concerned about being able to stop the big plays."
GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH GEORGE O'LEARY
RECAPPING LAST WEEK
We came out pretty healthy and we had a chance to play 75 players. Jeremy Muyres is back to practice, and he was the only one whose health was in question. We are probably as healthy as we have been all year. Looking at the game, from an offensive, defensive and special teams standpoint we got done what we needed to get done in the first half. And then in the second half we got to play a lot of different players.
LOOKING TO CLEMSON
Anytime you face an undefeated team and a team ranked in the top five, your players are ready to play. They are a good football team. When I watch them, I see a very explosive offense but I think the team that has kept them in games has been their defense. When you look at the games, you see a lot of scores like 7-0 heading into the second quarter. Their defense has been forcing a lot of three-and-outs and given the ball back to their offense. We have to understand what we need to do to stop or slow down their offense. And we also have to do what we did last year with controlling the ball when we held it for seven minuted more than they did. I don't think you change a lot of things heading into a game like this, you just try to get better with the things that you do. Our people need to understand that mistakes in games like this are very costly.
We are looking forward to getting up there, and you can sense it among the team. But again, in a game like this it comes down to mistakes and penalties, and the team with more of them is going to lose.
ON CLOSING PRACTICE THIS WEEK
I always close practice at some point during the year. I think now is time. You get to a point where you want all distractions out of the way. I still meet with the press after practice.
ON TRACING THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE OFFENSE
The offensive line started off slow, and they have gotten better and better each week in sustaining blocks and getting movement at the line of scrimmage. With that came the run game. With the run game came the play-action game, and that's where you get your tight ends involved. We're running the ball better, and now our tight ends are a factor in the play-action pass game.
ON PREPARING FOR CLEMSON'S OFFENSE
We are going to play a lot of people. I think that is the only chance you have, because you need fresh legs in the fourth quarter. We will sub heavy in practice this week. The biggest problem that you have in preparing for their offense is teaching your scout people to do it. We run two scout teams and throw them at our defense. The biggest chore this week defensively is getting 11 people on the same page and getting the subs in that we want in. We have seen what they do, its just the tempo that they do it in.
ON TEAM'S EXCITEMENT THIS WEEK
If you need to talk about games like this, then you are in trouble. The kids understand that it has been a great game the last three years that we have played. They are a very good football team and it's a great challenge for us to go up there and see what we can do. We will have to play very well in all facets of the game. As I tell our players in every game, ?Just get us into the fourth quarter and I think we will find a way to do things.'
NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH:
On the Clemson game:
*I felt like we played really hard and played really well in the game against Clemson. But we were not able to make plays in the fourth quarter for the third week in a row, which ended up being the outcome of the game. If you put the same clock on each week with about nine minutes to go, we have a chance to make a play and don*t make it. And because of that we end up getting beat. Really, the last three scores have not indicated the toughness of the games in any of the three. We felt like we*ve had a chance to win three weeks in a row and we haven*t gotten it done. Therefore, we*re sitting here at 3-4 instead of 6-1.*
*At the same time, I*m really excited about our football team. I think we*ve still got a chance to be a really good team. We*re healthy, and we*ve got the majority of our players still around. It*s exciting to be where we are right now. We*ve still got to make some plays when we have the opportunity to make them. Anytime you get ahead of a team like Clemson 17-0 and are not able to pull it out, that*s awful tough.*
*I thought our players went in very relaxed and very excited about playing. And I thought we played 60 minutes of tough, hard-nosed football. But at the same time, we were not able to pull it out in the end, and that*s something that we*ve got to be able to do.*
*I do feel like there is a lot of balance in the ACC. I look at the teams that are basically second through seventh, and I think that any of those teams on any particular day could beat each other. And that*s not to take anything away from Clemson, because I think right now I think they are one of the top five teams in the country as evidenced by their record. At the same time, I hope Woodrow Dantzler gets well. I think it would really be a shame for a young man to put together the stats that he*s had over the season and not be able to finish it out. Because right now, and I said it before last week*s game, if their team continues to win, in my opinion, he should be a Heisman Trophy candidate because of what he*s been able to do for their football team.*
On Ronald Curry:
*It*s exciting to me to know that Ronald Curry came back to play the second half because a lot of quarterbacks would not have played the second half. And quite honestly, I was shocked when he came back for the second half, because I had already talked to Antwon Black about having an opportunity to win the football game for us. So when Ronald did come back, it was exciting for me. And after watching him practice yesterday, he should be full speed on Saturday. I know he*ll be excited about playing on Saturday.*
On the Virginia game:
*We*re getting ready to face a very dangerous opponent. They*ve had a season a little bit like we*ve had except they are 4-3 instead of 3-4. This is always a tough, hard-fought ball game. There are so many similarities between the schools. There*s a lot of respect and dislike involved. We have quite a few kids from Virginia and they have some from North Carolina so that adds even more excitement to it. We know we will have our hands full. We have not been successful in Charlottesville for a long time. We won*t talk about that this week, but our players are smart guys so they understand. We*ll be excited about going to play, and I think it*s a great opportunity for our football team. Just like I*ve said for a number of weeks, this is a very important ballgame. We*re at a point right now, for us to make some things happen the rest of this football season, we need to win this ballgame.*