Phillips, Bowden Address Media
Tommy Bowden
Tommy Bowden

Posted Nov 21, 2004


Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden met with the media Sunday afternoon for his weekly regular season press conference.

Have you had a chance to review a tape of the fight?
Bowden: I have not. I will review it tomorrow morning.

Did you see a picture in one of the local newspapers of one your players punching/kicking a South Carolina player while he was on the ground?
Bowden: I don't think I did. I'm sure Tim will give it to me tomorrow.

How will this be handled? Who is in charge of handing down punishment for what happened yesterday?
Bowden: Whatever disciplinary measures need to be taken, will be done by myself, the athletic director, and the conference.

You talked about what happened in the NBA game the night before. You didn't seem to think that your players were accountable. Were you suggesting that fight was the cause of what happened? (this question was asked Saturday after the game)
Bowden: My point was, they just sit there and watch it for 24 straight hours. What happens is sometimes the media will report half your answer and not report the other half. All I did was answer a question and then I made sure that I stated in my answer, no way do I condone what happened.

You said previously that before the game that you mentioned to watch their behavior on the field. What does that tell you? Did they not listen?
Bowden: Well you know, in my first experience here at Clemson against Marshall. One of my players stepped on the hash and we had a 15-yard penalty. Every time, before the game, I mention it. Especially before rivalry games, I mention behavior. That came in a game that we lost 13-10. Anytime we play as a team, a night game, a nationally televised game, I address that.

Tommy, what did the (officials) say to you? Did they say we’re just going to do offsetting penalties?
Bowden: Offsetting penalties and we’ll go on from here, but you’ve got to help us out. I think South Carolina’s staff and our did a pretty good job of getting it under hand. You know, it wasn’t a bunch of late hits, there wasn’t a bund of personal fouls, there wasn’t a bunch of that play going on. Then all of a sudden it hits real quick.

“You know, for 24 hours, they’ve watched that basketball fiasco on TV. That’s all they’ve watched. That’s on 24 hours a day. Every major news program, that thing was covered and they sat there and watched it, watched it, watched it. But as far as the tempo of the game and cheap shots during the game, unnecessary roughness during the game, late hits during the game, I don’t think there were any calls of that nature. Then all of a sudden you see it escalating real quick.”

Do you think the officials should have ejected players from this game?
Bowden: Well, with a split officiating crew like that, they probably made a wise decision to let each conference handle their own players. I think that looked like a pretty wise decision. Both teams are going to bowl games, so had they made one decision, it would have been looked as being biased. But again, when you go back and look at the tape, they didn't miss a late hit out of bounds, or a late hit on the quarterback.

What in your mind would constitute merit for a suspension?
Bowden: A full evaluation of the tape. Just a full evaluation.

Have you figured out whole this thing got started?
Bowden: I haven't heard that. I'm sure there is going to be a tape somewhere. Everything else is just speculation. All parties involved will see all tapes involved. Until you see all the film, it will be hard.

Could you go back to your last part of the speech on Saturday?
Bowden: This is what I told team, right before they came on the field. I mentioned to the team, watch crossing the hash, that's a penalty. I said be smart.

You didn't mention anything about the NBA?
Bowden: No, I didn't.

Have you talked to your dad about this?
Bowden: They had something like this a few years ago. Notre Dame - Miami has had one. Florida - Florida State has had one pre-game, but I've never had one. No, I haven't talked to him about it.

Could anything have been done to prevent this?
Bowden: I would say just continual education, but again it's tough to put something up on a priority list because it's never been a problem. It's never escalated to this nature.

Did you get the chance to talk to Lou Holtz after the game?
Bowden: Yes, right after the game. They are very short conversations. I apologized for what went out and wished him good luck.

Yusef Kelly was quoted as saying that he left Clemson fans something to remember him by when he threw the South Carolina helmet into the stands. Your comments on that?
Bowden: Well, like I said, I'm going to reserve all comment until the evaluation has been done. I'm sure we'll make one statement.

Will you take into account what was said by Yusef in evaluating a potential suspension?
Bowden: We'll talk to all the players about how to approach the press. We just don't have a lot of experience on how to talk to the press after an event like this.

What is the timetable for resolving potential suspensions, etc?
Bowden: I'd say the timetable would be set by the commissioner and the administration. We don't have a game tomorrow, the kids are going home for Thanksgiving.

Does the fight tarnish this win for you?
Bowden: Yes. No doubt. You like the highlight of your tape on a Saturday night to be a big catch, a tackle. Like the Miami game, we couldn't enjoy it because it was late and we had to get up and go to work. Now with this.

Does this effect recruiting?
Bowden: No.

Opening statement by AD Terry Don Phillips
Terry Don Phillips: We sincerely apologize for the fight that occurred during the Clemson vs. South Carolina game on Saturday. It brought embarrassment to our University and the athletic program. We do not condone this behavior in any way. Fighting is absolutely unacceptable in athletics. We regret that the bad judgment of some individuals overshadowed an outstanding effort by our players, coaches and the Clemson faithful. I, along with Coach Bowden and Commissioner Swofford are currently investigating the incident and will make a determination of appropriate actions to be taken.

Will the police review this tape with you?
Terry Don Phillips: I think they'll visit with us. I have not visited Greg today. We'll look at the video that we have. Well I don't want conjecture anything at this time. I want to have the opportunity to review the video in-depth.

Did you ever consider not letting fans on the field after the game?
Terry Don Phillips: It was asked to me before should we make an announcement to not come on the field. I said that there was no need to because they were coming on the field regardless. Our security did a very good job of securing the South Carolina side and keeping players and coaches on both sides out of harm's way. Our security did a good job.

Why weren't people ejected?
Terry Don Phillips: I don't know if they knew who to eject.

Q: What about Yusef’s comments and throwing a helmet into the stands?
Terry Don Phillips: I don’t want to get into talking about individuals, but I don’t like that. That kind of stuff is just not acceptable.

Did you see how the fight got started?
Terry Don Phillips: It was one of those things where our kids and South Carolina kids were shoving. They weren’t throwing punches or anything, they were shoving. One of the things I’ve seen and I’ve got to look at other video, and I can only conjecture right now that where it really started when Bobby reacted to one of our kids being shoved. He ends of being on top of South Carolina’s quarterback and it just goes from there.


Related Stories
Scouting Report: Cedric Johnson
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Nov 21, 2004
Swofford Releases Statement
 -by CUTigers.com  Nov 21, 2004
Punishments Could Vary
 -by CUTigers.com  Nov 21, 2004


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