CLEMSON -- If the season's early sample size is a sign of things to come for Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson will be enjoying one of the finest efforts by a defensive end in program history.
Bowers was a disruptive force against Auburn, recording four tackles for loss and a sack.
In 121 plays this season, Bowers has six tackles for loss and three sacks. Entering the season, Bowers had four sacks in 955 career snaps.
What's the difference for the junior? Bowers is in better shape, slimming down to 270 pounds, but perhaps more important is he's not forcing the issue on the field.
"I challenged myself and the rest of my teammates to do our specific jobs," Bowers said of his performance at Auburn, "and that's what I did. I did my specific job and plays came to me."
Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele compared Bowers to a 19-year-old Reggie White last year, and indicates he might be on the verge of tapping into his enormous potential that had him rated as the nation's No. 1 overall prospect in 2008.
"He's come to realize that if he knows his job and does his job, the plays will come," Steele said. "At times last year he'd try to find plays and it cost us, and he'd be the first to tell you. This year he's doing his job."
Swinney third in APR
According to Fanhouse.com, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney is third among all FBS coaches in Academic Progress Rate since he took over the Clemson football program in 2008. Only Air Force's Troy Calhoun and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald rank ahead of Swinney. Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson ranked fifth.
While the defense has taken much of the blame for allowing 260 yards to Auburn in the third quarter, the Clemson offense picked up just two first downs in the third quarter.
"Hopefully there were a lot of lessons learned, and maybe there will be a little more of a sense of urgency and focus if we do get up," Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. "You can see the margin of error when you're playing a pretty good defense. We can't let complacency set in when we're having some success."
Quarterback Kyle Parker sat out Wednesday's practice due to his bruised ribs and is not expected to be heavily involved in practice until next week. Tajh Boyd took all the first-team reps, with Michael Wade serving as the No. 2 quarterback.
Since 2000, Clemson is 8-4 when having extra rest to prepare for an opponent ... Brandon Ford has some eating to do if he wants to become a full-time tight end. Swinney said Ford will shift from wide receiver to tight end, but Ford measures in at just 6-4, 220 pounds. Clemson needs depth behind Dwayne Allen, who took all the tight end snaps at Auburn. Clemson wants to redshirt true freshman Victor Beasley.
Tickets for Miami
Clemson has tickets remaining for next Saturday's homecoming game against Miami. To purchase tickets, visit Clemsontigers.com or call 1-800-Clemson. Tickets are $48. Tickets are also still available for Georgia Tech (Oct. 22) and N.C. State (Nov. 6).