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Coaching Q&A: Tommy Bowden

Throughout the football season, AuburnUndercover.com will offer you various opportunities to a sit down for a Q&A session with a former coach. It will feature a nationally known coach or one more closely associated with Auburn.

Former Clemson coach Bobby Bowden

We will post the featured guest’s name in the forums and you post your questions. We will pick 10 to 15 of the better questions.

This week’s guest is former Clemson coach and current Raycom and Fox Sports South analyst Tommy Bowden.

AU02inDC
What was the loudest stadium you coached in in the SEC and the ACC How did the two compare?

Oh man, the loudest in the ACC would probably be Florida State or Virginia Tech. Probably Florida State. The loudest in SEC… there are so many good ones. Probably Florida. Comparing Florida and Florida State, Florida is a little louder because they’re right on top of you. Florida State is more spread out.

TheRealRanRob
Do you still want to coach or are you all done?

If the right thing happened, I’d entertain it. I enjoy what I’m doing, I don’t have to coach. I have talked to athletic directors and presidents from the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA. I just didn’t feel comfortable. If the right opportunity arises, I think I’ll know it. I won’t have to talk myself into it.

Rbl92
How big of a factor is play calling in an offense’s success? If you were to list an offensive coordinator's duties in order of importance, where would play calling be on that list?

I have been in both situations. It is really, really important. At Tulane play calling was very important. At Clemson, at times, play calling wasn’t as important. When you have a guy like Woody Dantzler, play calling is not as important because people couldn’t tackle him. He made guys miss. Overall, play calling is very important though. Everyone has good facilities and good players. Everybody is on equal ground. Play calling can give you an edge.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik

ajoneslaw
What would you do to assist a young QB like Khiel Frazier that has struggled through his first four games?

Try to give him as much help as possible. Run the ball, high percentage passes. Tunnel and bubble screens behind line of scrimmage. Quick completions. Quick passes; slants, hitches, hooks. Completions help build confidence. Boots, waggles, nakeds, one-receiver routes that don’t have a lot of reads. Use those things to get guys open with one receiver routes. No layered routes with two or three reads. Mix in some play action passes.

kitemac
What are your impressions of Auburn for far this season?

They are struggling on offense. Inexperienced at quarterback. Anytime you have young quarterback you’re going to struggle. They lost their center for the Clemson game. That’s a huge thing to overcome. They’re young on the offensive line. If defense is dominant, they can help you get through some rough times, as the quarterback develops. That can really help you. With a new defensive coordinator, they’re not great. They’re good on defense, but not good enough to help the offense overcome.

sam30204 & 1981WarEagle
Has social media changed college football for the better or worse?

It has made more work for the coaches. As far as the ability to communicate with prospects, it has helped. It wouldn’t surprise me to see NCAA get more restrictive. Social media has made recruiting more time-consuming for coaches. It’s year round now. Social media has also taken a lot of preparation time away from coaches during the game week. You can communicate with prospects in so many different ways.

mwdeav
How does Scott Loeffler’s challenges in his first year as Auburn’s offensive coordinator compared to yours in 1991?

I think there’s a lot less patience now than in 1991. That national championship has reduced the response time. And they won with offense. I always think of Auburn as a heavy run team that plays good defense. Cam and Gus changed that. Fans want more offensive success. With Cam and Gus, they stretched the defense. It was a different philosophy. The national championship puts a lot of pressure on. It raises the bar. There was pressure when I was there, but there’s more now.

Jbt
When changing from a spread type offense to a pro-style offense, is it better to make an instant change – or is it better to gradually change concepts as you recruit new personnel?

Do it based on personnel. When I went to Clemson, we had a lot of tight ends and fullbacks, but we were running the spread. We still had to utilize them because they were good players. You have to ease in as you recruit exactly what you need to run the offense you want to run, but you still have to use what you have. Sometimes it takes a year. Sometimes it takes two. I tried to jump into it pretty quickly an both Clemson and Tulane.

TigerzBaby
As a coordinator, what are the pros and cons coaching from the sidelines compared to being in the booth?

I always thought you could see things better from the booth: depth of safeties, corners cheating. linebacker depth. Now a days, the quarterback can change so much at the line, you see more coordinators on field. I think there are several reasons for that. Some guys find it easier to communicate with the quarterback. Others think they can get a head coaching job more easily due to the exposure you get by being on the sidelines rather than the press box. I felt like it was most informative to be in the box. You can see the secondary structure better. It’s harder to do from the field. But, things have changed. Some of today’s offenses are not based on those things. Things are fast paced. They’re snapping the ball before the defense gets lined up and they’re going to just run their offense. I still think it’s best to be in the press box. The most amount of information can be attainted by being in the box.

tigers2291
Compare your head coaching style to Terry's

Our management styles are similar. We’re delegators, not micromanagers. We delegate the defense and get more involved in the offense. We both let our coaches do their jobs.

Auburnrules
Did Terry ask for your input before taking the Akron job?

No. I read it in the paper that he took the job. The fewer people that know, the better. He was talking to my dad, but I didn’t talk to him.

mwdeav
What are the things you look for before taking a job? Are they different now than they were when you accepted the Tulane job as a first-time head coach?

Tulane was my first job. It was to get my foot in the door. Now, it’s different. I have an established track record in recruiting, wins and losses, academics. I have a head coaching resume now. I’m verified. I’m more selective now. I had a lot of coaching colleagues advise me against taking Tulane. I’m in a better position now to make that decision. The most important thing you look for in a program is do they have the financial resources to compete. Are they going to give you the money to hire a staff and recruit Unfortunately, jobs like that don’t open too often. They usually have to be in the BCS to compete at the highest level.

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