Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Hopes for Peachy Debut

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coach Hopes for Peachy Debut

Article excerpt

Tommy West couldn't have planned a more ideal situation for his Clemson coaching debut if he tried.

West says he feels no pressure to win tonight's Peach Bowl against Kentucky in Atlanta, a game that comes just a month and two days after he replaced Ken Hatfield.

West will be directing a team he didn't see play all year, running an offense he'll change when practice begins next spring.

"I'm not going to put any abundance of pressure on myself over winning and losing this game," West said. "I'm like anybody else. We'd like to win and we've prepared as hard as we can in a short period of time."

He said he expects the Tigers (8-3) to play aggressively and with enthusiasm, but he doesn't see this as a test for the new staff he brought with him after accepting the job Nov. 29.

"I think it will be very important if we get four or five delays of game because we can't get the plays in and we have 12 on the field three or four times," West said. "Then I think it could have a pretty good impact on how I'm viewed as a football coach."

Kentucky (6-5) looks on its first bowl appearance since 1984 as an opportunity to make up for a regular season-ending 48-0 blowout at home against Tennessee.

"It was crushing to get beat that badly after earning a bowl bid," coach Bill Curry said. "We've worked hard to get back playing like we did in the middle of the season. I like everything that I've seen so far from our football team." INDEPENDENCE:

Neither Indiana nor Virginia Tech has beaten a ranked team this year, and neither has lost to an unranked one. That will change at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

The No. 21 Hoosiers and the No. 22 Hokies meet in the first matchup of ranked teams in the bowl's 18-year history.

Indiana lost to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State - Nos. 9, 11 and 13 - and Virginia Tech lost to West Virginia, Miami and Boston College - Nos. 3, 10 and 15.

Whichever team wins this one will cap a remarkable turnaround from 1992 that was disappointing for Indiana and dismal for Virginia Tech.

"We fell off a bit last year, and we came back strong this year," coach Bill Mallory said about the Hoosiers' 5-6 record, only their second losing season since '85. …

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