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Monday, September 8, 2008
Bowden looking for more from Clemson defense

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Clemson opens its conference play on Saturday against NC State, and before it does, coach Tommy Bowden said his defense needs to put more pressure on quarterbacks. The Tigers didn't have any sacks against Alabama and just one against the Citadel. After just two weeks of football, the Tigers rank last in the conference in total defense, allowing 423 yards per game.

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson is expected to return for the Wolfpack after suffering a concussion in the season opener against South Carolina, and he should be able to run the ball out of the read-option scheme better than Daniel Evans or Harrison Beck.

"We're still playing too high -- linebackers, defensive ends, defensive line -- are all playing too high," Bowden said. "We're not a very fundamentally sound football team right now up there at those three positions. We've got to work hard on that as we get into conference play."

Bowden said he wants to see more from his veteran players, but has been pleased with freshman standout Da'Quan Bowers, who was credited with the Tigers' lone sack for a loss of eight yards against the Citadel.

Bowden said Bowers is closing the gap with veteran Kevin Alexander at the strongside end position.

"He's the best pass rusher we've got," Bowden said of Bowers.

Bowden is expecting a report on injured defensive end Ricky Sapp (knee) today.