Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dabo Goin Full Dabo: Co-Coordinators

Dabo did not disappoint, as soon as he beats SC and feels he has the clout, he goes full Dabo again. I was told 4 years ago that him having to fire Napier stung him, because that last season with Billy was really a co-coordinator system between himself and Napier, and that he wanted people to think that he was an offensive coach who knew playcalling. That experiment failed miserably and Billy was thrown out. I was told before he even got the interim tag that Bowden felt he'd never make a great OC and that he'd never get that job after Spence left, but that one is water under the bridge now.

All these things worry me to death again now that Dabo has appointed dual-coordinators, neither of which could really stand up to him in staff meetings.

Despite what TI has thrown out there about TCU's co-coordinator system and some other successful ones, the majority of these situations do not actually work. Usually it fails and one guy leaves the school. Only one man can call plays at the pace Clemson runs, just one. There's time to discuss it between drives, but if you dick around and start arguing about calls in the game, you don't have any tempo. So really, this is Co-OC in name only, and an excuse to protect one while giving both fictitious promotions and raises. The question is who will call plays, and which one is Dabo really trying to protect?

Jeff has been on everyone's radar as a candidate, not Elliott. I have heard several conversations about the staff and Chad's opinion of each of them, but I will not share that info here. I'll only share the one i've stated before, which is that he and Caldwell won't miss each other. He took Joe Craddock, a GA who held the signs on the sidelines, as his OC. He didn't take Tyler Carlton, who he brought from Tulsa here. That should tell you something. No matter which way you slice it, it doesn't make much sense to not even go out and interview a few guys. I know Dab's talked to some on the phone and bounced some ideas off his other assistants, but no interviews. Given the gravity of the decision, and that we could have an team capable of a Playoff run when Watson is a Jr, I just cannot understand.

Clemson has the most talented QB we've ever had coming back, and a bevy of talent to go with him. We have shown that we'll pay the best in the country for an OC. Together that means we can basically go out and have our pick of coordinators. They'd be lining up to get a chance to coach Watson.

And he kept it internal. You don't promote a relatively unknown RB Coach to Co-OC for no reason. You don't let a Co-OC keep the Recruiting Coordinator job, and you don't have a guy who feels that he is worthy of the full job that wants to share the title and the pressure that goes with it. One gets scapegoated if it stumbles, and it may not be the one you really think.

I think the popular idea among all of us was that JS would be getting the job. What if JS got passed over completely? What would he do? Probably leave. What if Tony got passed over? Probably nothing at this point in his young career, unless Morris actually wanted him to be his OC. It makes you think about the true motivation.

But even though I went to school with both of these guys, along with Dameyune Craig while I was at LSU, I would not approve of either taking the job at this point. I want someone with a hard edge. Rich Rod was a dick at Clemson and Chad had no problem putting his foot in some ass here. I don't see any of them as having enough "asshole" in them to take the job. I see a Napier situaiton all over again.

Dabo sinks or swims with this decision.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Clemson pushes SC to 6-6, and The Chad Leaves for SMU

Dabo finally beat Spurrier again, and we totally dominated the line of scrimmage, which is what really made me happy about the game. Clemson's DL, especially DeShawn Williams, blew them up. Several times I saw Williams and Grady blow the Center/Guard 5 yards deep before he could even straighten himself up some. They had to hold Vic Beasley on every other play to keep him from planting Dylan's ass, typical of SEC refs to miss such calls in interconference matchups.

I doubt many of you noticed, but Clemson's Jet Sweep Toss play was actually blocked differently than we usually do, and this new front scheme was integral in its success this weekend. Usually we'll pull the playside Guard/TE outside towards the play, or simply run a OZ/stretch scheme to block it. This time we changed that, and messed up the keys for their LBs. I didn't notice it live, but a coaching friend pointed it out, and now that I've rewatched the game I can see how lethal it was to them. The play works off our normal jet motion + Power O play, where the Guard pulls over to playside and the RB follows him. We run a jet motion to confuse the LB, but the Guard tells where the ball is going.

On the new play, we pull the playside Guard away from the play. As I've written numerous times before, the Linebacker's keys are the Guard/RB and ball. It forms a triangle read. If his main key is the Guard, he'll go where the Guard goes, because naturally the Guard would be blocking as a lead blocker for someone else, as in the Power O play we run often. So the playside LB, in this case often Skai Moore, is reading the Guard, and thinks "power O" when the Guard pulls towards the backside. The LB then flows over there towards him.

Clemson released the TE towards the playside in an Arc release, to take out the safety or OLB. The WR to that side simply blocks, I never noticed a crackback. The playside OT veer releases inside, leaving the DE unblocked. The OT then seals off the backside pursuit, which was often the LB trying to recover when he saw the ball not going behind the pulling Guard.

When the OT down blocks, the DE is supposed to follow the Block-down-step-down rule and squeeze the OT further inside. Theirs never did, and just stood there while Artavis Scott ran right by them. With the backside sealed and an arc block by the TE and a block by the WR, he went a long way.

Watson was awesome, Gallman ran his ass off, the defense played great, so that's all I can say. I'm happy that we won and don't care about anything else right now. I want the bowl win to get to 10 but I don't care so long as I can flip off every cockfan I run into and say "From Top 10 to 6-6!".

As I'd hinted at on twitter two weeks ago, Chad Morris to SMU happened. While I have my issues with Chad's playcalling in big games, and I think the "we will be a good power run team" stuff is bull, I do think he's the best OC Clemson has ever had. I loved RRod and I love Chad Morris. We will miss him. Expecting us to be as awesome next year on offense as we would be with him seems farfetched. If you lose a good coach and possibly end up changing the whole system, you're going to take a step back. I hope he has great success and can go full Ron Meyer out there at SMU.

Knowing what I know about Morris' issues with Batson's S&C program, I highly doubt he takes a single member of our S&C staff with him. He complained to Dabo after his first year and has complained about it since.

Also as I expected, he took Justin Stepp with him to SMU as WR Coach. Stepp was previously a GA here and Chad promised he'd take him wherever he went as HC after he left for App State. As I recall, Stepp also had a money issue with Dabo where they didn't see eye-to-eye, and Chad took up for Justin. GAs make in the $20K range while they work on their Masters.

While I believed that Jeff Scott would end up going with Chad Morris if he went to a P5 or some other fairly big school, I have heard that he was going to stay. For those who are stupid and haven't thought of coaching as your life career, let me break it down for you as to why he'd ever consider leaving. If you want to be a HC someday, you need to cut your teeth somewhere else, get exposed to new ideas and philosophies, and become a well-rounded coach. If you think you've found someone who can teach you something, then you should go with him wherever he goes. I know Clemson is fond of promoting WR coaches to HC, but that just doesn't happen often. Maybe some who feel that any Clemson coach is awesome and would be awesome as HC don't think that way, but those people are the trailer park fans who don't know anything about football. If I was underneath Saban as a DL coach, I'd go with him wherever he went until I felt I was knowledgeable enough and ready to make my own way. The smartest move for yourself is to go with the smart coach who can teach you everything, then come back home later. If I were Jeff and Chad was going to Florida, or even Tulsa, I'd go with him, learn a few years, eventually take over playcalling, learn how to run a whole program, and then go off on my own. Maybe then I'd take a lateral move as OC as Chad did with us from Tulsa to prove it was me and not Chad. Maybe by then I could get the Clemson HC job if Dabo left. All Clemson fans would accept me if I had proven offensive coaching skills.

That's the thinking and most of you with professional skills and who have thought about your lifelong career understand that.

SMU is a little different in that I think its very hard to win there, so I'd think twice about it and maybe stay put, but that is the thinking going on here, and so I wouldn't fault Jeff Scott either way. I'd wish him luck and hopefully he'd be able to come back someday.

And if Clemson loses a few recruits, then they really werent committed to the school anyway. Alabama and Auburn and Georgia and etc. etc. lose assistants every year and still put up great classes don't they? If you lose a coach thats not an excuse.

We may end up promoting Jeff to OC and turning the RC job over to Elliot too. The concern here for me is that Dabo will go full Dabo in the offense like he did Billy Napier. Chad Morris had no problem telling Caldwell some guys sucked and did the same to Dabo Swinney. He wouldn't let Dabo meddle in his playcalling. Is Jeff that confident in himself and will he stand up to Dabo when he dabs? Dabo is no offensive genius despite what he may think of himself. We've seen what happens there.

Dabo is being very quiet about it all, so I havent heard much at all. All I know for a fact is that I'd interview some guys before I decided. I'd call Rhett Lashlee at Auburn, who doesn't call plays but who has coached this system for many years after having played in it under Gus. I'd call Philip Montgomery at Baylor, which is an absolutely lethal offense that scares the shit out of a defensive guy like myself. I'd call Scott Frost at Oregon, because I think that option style will destroy the ACC's defenses. I'd call up Lincoln Riley at ECU, because God knows Clemson has never once stopped a true Air Raid team. I'd look at Mike Norvell at Ariz State, Spavital at A&M, and Kurt Roper, who walked into a lose/lose situation under Muschamp at Florida.

If I got my wishes, Pearman would move off into an admin role so we can finally get a recruiter in Charlotte and finally get a decent ST coach who could find someone besides AH to return punts.

My other wishlist if the right coaching dominoes fell would be to get Brandon Streeter here as a QB position coach, or even Bobby Bentley (who is a total prick but can coach his ass off) at the same spot.

On defense, Venables shot down the A&M rumor, but I said from the start that this wasn't happening anyway unless he really just wanted to move back out west. He's proved his chops at DC and is ready for the right HC job. Its only a matter of time before he gets offered one he wants. I know Iowa State called to speak with him, but would you go there? If your goal is to get a plum job, you'd pick somewhere a little easier to win at. If he stays, he's getting a raise from the money Chad just left behind, but he won't be here after 2 more years, I'd bet money on that. I'm biting my nails on this one for a few weeks as the coaching carousel takes shape, because our D is going to lose a lot and we'll take a big step back next season, and I don't want to be installing a new scheme too.