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Topic: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...
Replies: 57   Last Post: Nov 7, 2015, 11:29 PM by: bparent
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Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

emoji_events [88]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:02 PM
 

It really wasn't that complicated, actually.

Clemson was infamous for torrid starts and late-season crashes, and for losing games we "shouldn't".

Folks, it really wasn't that complicated. Top to bottom, from 1999 to 2010, we were never an elite team.

Tommy Bowden and Rich Rod rolled in with their run-heavy spread attack from Tulane in 1999, and it was novel at the time. High-tempo, aggressive, featured a running QB. Woody Dantzler posted huge numbers...folks, go back and watch the tape, Woody was a good athlete and a winner and a competitor, but nobody would confuse him with, say, even Braxton Miller - who is no longer even starting at QB at Ohio State. Woody could lob up the deep ball to big dudes like Rod Gardner - who usually had 1-on-1's because they were so worried about Woody and Travis Zachary gashing them on the ground - but Woody was not an elite passer, or even close, and he ran a 4.6, not a 4.3. And if you look at our OL, it was small. Our defense was largely composed of 2/3-star guys who looked a whole lot like, say, the NC State defense of today. We were not a complete team, we just had a novel system college football wasn't really prepped for...and it tended to look like a swallow hitting a glass patio door when it ran into teams with really athletic, aggressive athletes in their front 7's...exactly like Rich Rod's offenses at Michigan and Arizona still do, actually. We mowed down the lesser opponents and the really good defenses stopped the O cold. We had a good scheme, we did not have great talent.

By 2003, we lucked into a future NFL QB in Charlie Whitehurst, who was somehow rated 3-stars by the recruiting services even though he had the size, NFL arm, NFL bloodlines, and NFL understanding, and we had gotten a couple 4-star WR's like Derrick Hamilton and Kelvin Grant...and we were also getting unexpected contributions out of 2-stars who turned out much bigger than expected, like Kevin Youngblood, JJ McKelvey, and later, Aaron Kelly. But we were still largely 2/3-star players across the roster, we just had a crazy-good passing game, which gave us a puncher's chance in games...and Clemson won some big games, and dropped some smaller ones, which is what you'd expect with such an unevenly talented roster.

Our first true "game-changer" was James Davis...who didn't come along until 2005. He was the first true-blue-chip, 50+ offer guy who could have gone anywhere...and chose to come to Clemson. The next year Dabo pulled off the recruiting coup of the century and stole CJ Spiller from Florida, and the year after that Andre Ellington quietly came along, giving Clemson the best 1-2-3 punch at RB...in Clemson history. "Thunder" and "Lightning" won a boatload of games for us, even though our passing game was busy getting Rob Spence'd, but the rest of the team was still largely 2/3-star type guys. Again, uneven roster...and we had the uneven results you'd expect with such unbalanced talent, looking like world-beaters one week and then losing to Duke the week after beating Miami in the Orange Bowl.

It really wasn't until 2010/2011 that Clemson's recruiting really took off. The WEZ project helped, but mostly Dabo got a bunch of quality recruiters out there into the world with the expectation that we were going to land the Big Dogs...and that's when Clemson finally started pulling down the 4/5-star guys, and stacking Top-15 classes atop Top-15 classes, which finally started giving us the depth and roster continuity to not just win 10+ games a season...but to keep winning 10+ each and every year. Also, in 2011, Clemson really got back to the wide-open spread attack we had sort of gotten away from under Brad Scott, Mike O'Cain, Rob Spence, and Billy Napier, and just started attacking teams again with tempo.

We didn't "Clemson" because we were flaky, though Tommy Bowden's sweaty, wide-eyed, gameday demeanor did not help much, IMHO. We Clemson'd too much mostly because our overall roster talent just wasn't there.

Anybody can still lose on any given Saturday, and Clemson's had some close calls this year. Evil juju may align and Clemson may lose yet again to FSU tomorrow, it happened in Tally last year. But Clemson is a world more consistent because we're simply more talented than we used to be, and we're more talented top-to-bottom. Teams now have to be almost perfect - or just really durn lucky - to beat us, and that's the biggest difference between Now and Then.

Just my own take.

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quozzel, if I've never told you before.........

emoji_events [6]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:09 PM
 

I heart your posts.

No gay though, totally straight.

Thanks for being one of the few sources of solid football talk around here.

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@Obed with a sirious sports post ?

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:25 PM
 

Had to begrudgingly +1 you. @Obed you need to up your tailgating game, and donations, so you can become a real fan and park with the rest of the hierarchy on The Avenue of Champions.

If money is a problem, you can stop by my tailgate and I'll spot you a Natural Lite Ice. It's what the upper echelon Tiger men drink, followed by Heavens Hill Vodka.

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For relaxing times, make it Suntory time


You have a problem with gays?***

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 1:07 AM
 



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Thoughtful writeup

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:09 PM
 

good work

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Great post and you are 100% correct***

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:11 PM
 



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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:14 PM
 

Ellington never played on the same team as Davis, but other than that solid post

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Brad Brownell: more losses than any other coach in school history.


You might be my favorite poster but

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:17 PM
 

man I can't stand when somebody hates on Woodrow Dantzler. He #### near won the Heisman in 2001.

I agree with the rest of your post though.

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Re: You might be my favorite poster but

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:45 PM
 

Agreed. Love the post and he is right about most of it but Woody was the man. Maybe a 4.6 40 time but on the field he was faster and elusive. He was the first big time superstar for me as a Clemson fan. He is one of the greatest dual threat guys IMO in my life. Love the honesty in opinions tho.

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Dantzler beat GT almost single handedly***

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:51 PM
 



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Re: You might be my favorite poster but

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:20 AM
 

He is my favorite Clemson player in the post Danny Ford era.

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This is spot on. You can't win

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:20 PM
 

consistently unless you can own the LOS. Until recently our OL and DL recruiting failed to match the skill we were able to bring in on account of our scheme. Times are changing and the wins are coming along. It all starts up front.

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The definition of awesome!


Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:21 PM
 

I thought the same thing when one day I decided to look at our recruits from back 10 years ago. I was astounded at the 2 stars. I hope we never return to those days.

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They're looking for writers at STS.

emoji_events [6]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:27 PM
 

Get paid.

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"We establish no religion in this country, we mandate no belief. Nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate." ~Ronald Reagan


Flat out GREAT post

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:28 PM
 

One of the best I have ever read on here, period.

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Great post, that's exactly what i was trying to tell

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:36 PM
 

Someone the other day...while we had a few good/great athletes during the Tommy Bowden years such as the the ones you mentioned we lacked in good/great overall talent on the roster. We still aren't there just yet imo. We still have a few 2/3 star guys on our roster but the biggest difference between then and now is that we do a helluva better job developing our players now then we did during the TB era. We had good coaches then, dont get me wrong but the coaches we have now are light years ahead of what they were then imo.

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Re: Great post, that's exactly what i was trying to tell

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:19 AM
 

Player development is huge. Coach Caldwell catches a lot of flack on here, but he is truly one of the best in the nation. Dabo has brought in sound fundamental coaches.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[4]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:40 PM
 

Alot of good points in here...the gist of it imo is that Bowden & Co elevated the program out of the doldrums with improved recruiting, coaching, facilities, academics...overall program got much better under Bowden & co... but like you mentioned, they werent top to bottom talented, and therefore were never as consistent as the overhyping/sarcastic/put you down cuz u actually took a few top recruits away from the SEC?? press?? would have you belive they should be... Clemson didnt have the depth to run the table in the ACC or beat the top programs consistently, they had some stars sprinkled in like CJ Spiller and James Davis (first bigtime gamechanger), but they werent deep and talented, they were well-coached players who worked hard and became good players in their own right... Swinney & co. has rlly gone out and taken the program to the next level in every sense... Clemson is now deep and talented enough to win 10 games most years, and consistently give as good as they get against the top programs around the country with regularity. Its not to say they wont have a subpar season here n there just like any other top program out there, especially in an improved ACC theres no ez wins anymore... but this is a team that is now a legitimate threat to not only win the ACC every year, they are also a legitimate threat to challenge for National honors/title...

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:49 PM
 

Great post...

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Now, that's cutting through the fluff and getting to the

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:52 PM
 

hard facts.

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Depth

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 4:57 PM
 

Great post. Bowden himself said many times during his run that our first string was capable, but after that, eh. Now, we boot the Swag, lose #1 receiver Mike Williams to a freak accident, and still end up at #1 for now. Gotta have not only good bodies but enough of them to keep filling gaps that will occur during the season. And 15 games is a loooong season.

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Talent

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:09 PM
 

Don't ever think recruiting isn't the lifeblood of football. Barry Switzer famously said "Coaches don't win the game, players do" and "The best athletes in the country don't just drop out of the sky and land in Norman, Oklahoma - we bring them here."

Then again, when he was asked what he said to get Running Back Billy Sims to stay for his final year, his answer was "Here's $1500"

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so TNET gurus are wrong when they say we played below our recruiting level under TB?

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:16 PM
 

wow.

of course you could have gotten that simply by looking at the recruiting class rankings for TB over the years - only 2008 was in the Top 10, and only a couple of Top 20's other than that. All the other classes were low 20's at best.

What's sad is that it takes the likes of a respected poster on TNET to post - 7 years and 1 coaching change after the fact - something that the more emotional of the board can somehow finally accept -

Clemson simply wasn't 1980's material in the 2000's. Better than the 1990's maybe - but not 1980's material.

Of course you could have gotten that by noting that TB's overall winning % at Clemson was in fact slightly higher than Clemson's all-time winning % - which is significantly lower than what Danny did back in the day.

I don't know - one can only hope that maybe all the clowns on here throwing Brownell under the bus will get the hint -

keyboard AD's are worth exactly what they get paid -

nothing....

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It's more simple than that. It's the OLine!

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:26 PM
 

This is our best OLine since the late 80s. It shows. Hence, we are a better team. We've always had talent on D before James Davis came along- Justin Miller, Tye Hill, Gaines Adams, etc. And we've had talent on offense. It's been the line. And if I'm right we've had exactly one offensive lineman drafted early than the 4th since the 80s. That's a sign.

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James Davis... Helluva defensive player.

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:39 PM
 

When he wasn't playing at running back.

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we used to "Clemson" under Danny Ford

emoji_events [5]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:42 PM
 

all the time. Some of you posters just don't remember. Danny had loaded, and I mean loaded teams in the late 80's. NFL talent across all aspects of the defense. At one time we probably had the best collection of LB's ever assembled at one school(at the time), yet Danny's teams always found a way to stumble once or twice a year vs lesser talent.

The only difference then was the lack of coverage by ESPN and Twitter.

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Re: we used to "Clemson" under Danny Ford

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:50 PM
 

True. Just some INEXPLICABLE losses against NC State in particular. Plus, people forget how many of our wins came from end of game desperation drives. Aged me more than I care to remember. Danny's teams were cast iron defenses, and slow, grinding offenses. If we could score 21-28 we could win nearly any game we played in. If the opponent got 30, through skill, luck, or hand of God, we were in trouble with no reliably fast way to catch up.

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I remember this to be true- both posts are true indeed***

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 6:42 PM
 



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Re: we used to "Clemson" under Danny Ford

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 8:57 PM
 

#### Sheridan was at NC State some of the 80's and he had Clemson's number.

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Duke in 1989 was the biggest "Clemson" ever***

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 6:43 PM
 



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Re: Duke in 1989 was the biggest "Clemson" ever***

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:01 PM
 

My all time headscratcher was the 30-0 at halftime game IN Death Valley vs a middling NC State. I think we threw 51 passes in the second half trying to claw back....an NCAA record at the time. Ultimately lost it on two dropped passes to Tracy Johnson over the middle, running the same play twice in a row, on 3rd and 4th down. Final score, 30-28 as time ticked out. Still scratching my head right now. And of course, the 20-7 bed wetting vs a 3-7 Gamecock team.

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Those years on Tigernet when quozzel was dormant were much

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 5:44 PM
 

like the very years you describe above...uneven.

So good to see your posts again. Well said.

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My thoughts too- Bowden brought us to the speed of sound

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 6:29 PM
 

and Dabo to the speed of light. At the highest level you have to weather the errors, learn from them, and ultimately be done with them. We've done that in pretty much every way-- getting knocked out to losing one from our own doings. So I'm not so sure the "luck" factor or "fate" factor deserves too much consideration because we've already weathered these instances. On top of that, things needing to get fix are getting fixed. That in itself isn't always feasible even at the highest level. So it is earned in my eyes.

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Re: My thoughts too- Bowden brought us to the speed of sound

[2]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:21 AM
 

In defense of Bowden, he inherited a mess.

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Brought us out from the depths of darkness Hatfield/West

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 12:32 PM
 

Took us a long, long way

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I'd just like to add that

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 6:35 PM
 

this is a very good post.

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you got a td from a gamecluck fan because

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 6:36 PM
 

this is too much to read on break at Long John Silvers...

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:06 PM
 

Amen! (Seriously, phenomenal post bud!)

GO TIGERS!!

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If Dabo weren't the high-minded righteous kind, he would

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:11 PM
 

have hung "Clemsoning" squarely on the TB years in his recent rants, which is where it belongs. It was never a thing before (Ford's '89 Duke loss was to the eventual ACC champion) and it hasn't been one since.

It bottles the mind how lazy today's sports "journalists" can be in their craft and still get paid.

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Duke won the ACC because we lost to them othewise

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:52 PM
 

we would have beat them. We were ranked #7 and they were 1-3. We had 2 ACC losses Duke and UVa had 1 loss and were co-champions.

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And an upstart Spurrier dialed our number that day and

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 8:39 PM
 

beat us straight out. That kinda thing happens to the best of them, and he proved through the rest of the season that it wasn't a fluke.

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Re: If Dabo weren't the high-minded righteous kind, he would

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 10:21 PM
 

We did some "clemsoning" under Dabo as well. When we hired Dabo, he was a relatively young and relatively inexperienced coach. We all knew it would be a growing and maturing process.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:15 PM
 

Love you he post but a few errors. Ellington never played with Davis. He redshirted that year and Harper played. Also not sure McKelvey played with Whitehurst. I think he left with Woody. I could be wrong about though.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 8:26 PM
 

I remember seeing them in the snow ,. cold taking train rides and then playing
on that awful blue turf ,., I thought those players will do anything to get back
to a bowl in Florida ,., Woodrow played lights out though .,

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Spot on.***

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 7:30 PM
 



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The term is also due in part to our global popularity.

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 8:52 PM
 

Your average non-diehard tends to take a liking to Clemson football - the hills, the paw. The loss to FSU last year after beating them up and down the field for most of 60 minutes was a heartbreaker for the casual sports fan. I believe there's a larger pull and desire for Clemson to succeed outside of its base, and thus a larger impact for disappointment when we come up short. We've done nothing different than probably half of all programs in football over the past generation in terms of losing expected wins but we're, fortunately maybe, held to a higher standard.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 9:48 PM
 

good post!

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 10:19 PM
 

I agree. I also believe that during the Tommy Bowden era post Rich Rod, the inconsistency was due to the fact that Bowden could not find an identity. He constantly changed Coordinators and systems.

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I don't think it's that simple. Under TB, Clemson didn't

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 10:22 PM
 

have the right mentality and didn't pay attention enough to the details.

How many games did we end up losing b/c a TE didn't line up on a key play? Couldn't make a fg?

Clemson was talented enough for most of the 2000's to win an ACC title ('06 Wake says Hi)

There was a lot of other coaching stupidity, too. "Duke confused me", 43 passes vs Kentucky, did I mention bubble screens?

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Re: I don't think it's that simple. Under TB, Clemson didn't

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2015, 10:24 PM
 

I have always firmly believed that Rich Rod was the brains behind Bowden. Without him, Tommy was lost and pretty much clueless.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 1:27 AM
 

Great post. Not one mention of coot, coots or cooting.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:14 AM
 

What is Cooting? It is normal for them to lose all the time.

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morning bump***

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 7:03 AM
 



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You are wrong about 1 thing, Dantzler was much better than

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:24 AM
 

Braxton Miller.

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In a nut shell (with ALL this said)

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:25 AM
 

outside of what you said.....

Clemson did not recruit OL very well. Or DL for that matter.
With all the great athletes we brought in, the staff CHOOSE
to "settle" when it came to Lineman. I hope, HOPE that
is changing.

#21

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Re: In a nut shell (with ALL this said)

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 9:55 PM
 

what started it with the O-Line --Rich Rod had the idea he could take 260 pound linemen and if they could run he could win with them. Other schools would tell O-Line prospects if you want to go to pros don't go to Clemson they will keep you so small pros won't even glance your way.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 10:02 PM
 

"Tommy Bowden's sweaty, wide-eyed, gameday demeanor" Lol'd at this. He still has that on the "ACC network" broadcast every week.

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Re: Why Clemson used to "Clemson"...

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2015, 11:29 PM
 

You are a coot! Ridiculous dribble like this propagates the ridiculous inference that losing games, expected or not, is the sole domain of a Clemson team. Just tonight 3 undefeated teams lost. Were they LSU'ing, Michigan Stating, TCU'ing? What about South Carolina losing to Navy when the coots were undefeated and primed to be number 1, or losing by a bazillion in a blow-out loss to Auburn in their only chance to win the SEC championship? Or, the coots losing to underdogs in the last several years when a win would have given them their divisional championship with a so-called hall of fame coach? I could give many more examples. Why do you want to keep these lies and false representation going? Did you just want to write your fictional interpretation of historical events just to be a spin doctor like the SEC-ESPN pundits that use facts to misrepresent truth? This has no place in a Clemson forum and from a Clemson supporter.

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