Clemson's Bowden calls Saban Print
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Tuesday, 02 September 2008 11:21
NCAAF Headline News

 CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -Call it immersion therapy, delving into a hurtful event to prevent it from happening again.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden took the plunge Monday, calling colleague Nick Saban after his Alabama team knocked the Tigers out of the Top 25 with a 34-10 loss Saturday.
``As I talked to coach Saban, I said, 'I'm not one to have enough pride where I've got all the answers. I see you got six months to study me, a guy like you, what did you see?'' Bowden said Tuesday.
Saban wasn't the only high-profile coach Bowden called on this week. He said he also spoke with his father, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden; Georgia coach Mark Richt and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer about how the Tigers would recover from the beatdown at the Georgia Dome.
Georgia and Virginia Tech were both stung by early losses last season, then surged back for strong seasons. The Bulldogs fell to South Carolina 16-12, while Tech got beat by LSU 48-7: Both teams played in a Bowl Championship Series game.
``Bouncing back, you have no options, and those were examples of teams that all did it,'' Bowden said. ``Teams that were all very resilient.''
The Tigers (0-1) play Championship Subdivision opponent The Citadel on Saturday to start their home season.
Bowden's job was to make sure his players didn't dwell on last week and possibly bring on an Appalachian State-style shocker at Death Valley.
Bowden's father thought Clemson got caught believing the hype of a possible national championship, as the Seminoles did in 1988 when they were ranked No. 1 and lost their opener to Miami, 31-0.
Florida State did not lose another game that season, finishing 11-1.
Bowden has called on coaches before, notably Michigan's Lloyd Carr a few years back when Clemson was struggling to produce defensive turnovers. Bowden's philosophy is simple: He'll talk to anyone it takes to help the Tigers get better, even if it's the coach who just embarrassed them on national TV.
``I'm always trying to learn and correct mistakes and solve potential problems,'' he said.
There were plenty of problems against Alabama.
The Tigers got zero yards rushing as the offensive line couldn't keep out the Tide's bruising pass rush. Alabama put up 239 yards on the ground behind a line that overpowered the Tigers' defensive front.
Perhaps most frustrating of all was the inability to match Alabama's intensity.
``Alabama played with an attitude and viciousness that we did not,'' Bowden said.
The Crimson Tide's quick lead probably had something to do with that. Alabama was up 20-3 midway through the second period. At one point, Clemson was outgained 114 yards to 1.
Alabama's tailbacks continually pushed through for sizable gains, something that's got to change.
``We've got to get some guys to say, 'Get on my back,''' Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said.
The best news out of the bad loss - it won't count in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
Clemson entered the season the favorites for their first ACC crown since 1991. That quest starts Sept. 13 when North Carolina State comes to Memorial Stadium.
``Our goals are still there for us,'' quarterback Cullen Harper said.
Bowden met with his players Monday, urging them to keep focus and not give up on things this early. That may be hard to do.
Linebacker Brandon Maye said he got so many voicemails, including one caller who kept singing ``Sweet Home, Alabama,'' that it locked up his cell phone.
``As an athlete, you've got to put it behind you,'' Tiger offensive lineman Chris Hairston said. ``You know you're going to face adversity and it's up to you to handle it.''
 

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