Sunday, February 29, 2004

In wake of Colorado scandal, recruiting gets greater scrutiny

The Anderson Independent-Mail has a couple of stories on the steps Clemson and USC are taking to ensure that the recruiting process remains ethical and legal. Additionally, The State takes a look at the "hostesses" who aid recruiting at both schools.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Football ticket prices go up slightly

The lowest-priced ticket for a home game will now be $32. The South Carolina game will cost $49. Read all about it here, here and here.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Bowden officially signs contract extension

It took him a while after the end of the season, but Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has put his name on a contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2010 season.

MORE ON SALARIES: The Anderson Independent-Mail has its version of the pay-raise story.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, they don't have one this week for some reason, but here's an old one:

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?
I don't really have one all-time favorite, but a short list would include The Who, Randy Newman, Prince, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Ryan Adams, Nick Lowe, The Allman Brothers, and probably a few others.

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?
That would be an equally long list.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?
Stupid question. Uh, sure, I guess.

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?
Been to a few. Jimmy Buffett was really, really good, and a Little Feat show in Wilmington, N.C., was memorable, too. I've also seen The Eagles (at Death Valley), Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Counting Crows with John Mayer, Mary Chapin Carpenter (very good show), and several others, including R&B group Cameo a couple of times when I was in high school.

But I think the best concert/show I've seen was The BoDeans at a now-defunct music club in Asheville, N.C., called Be Here Now. I wasn't really familiar with them, but I became an instant fan. They put on a tremendous show.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?
I think the RIAA should pursue people who steal music, but I'm also worried that some of their efforts could infringe on people's privacy too much.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Assistant football coaches get big raises

Success has its rewards. Linebackers coach David Blackwell got a 15 percent increase, and new offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain got a 12 percent boost. Everybody else got a little bump, too.

WEST END ZONE PROJECT TO PROCEED: This story was first reported on Wednesday by the Charleston Post & Courier.

POPPA BOWDEN COMING TO CLEMSON: He'll be speaking on Monday, March 1 on "Changes in College Football During His Lifetime: What is Good and what is Bad."

MORE ON RECRUITING SCANDALS: This story quotes Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips and coach Tommy Bowden.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

There may be legal precedent: Ah, yes .... ACC 3, Big East 0

Once again, the ACC has come out the winner in a court case with the Big East over last year's expansion moves.

WEST END ZONE UPDATE: According to the Charleston Post & Courier, construction on the first phase of the West End Zone project will begin this year. That first phase could be wrapped up by 2006. Read it here if you are registered. If not, just hit the Escape button on your keyboard the second the story appears, and you should be able to read it. (As a general principle, I usually don't link to papers with intrusive registrations.)

REMBERT IS NOW AN A.D: Remember Johnny Rembert? He was a pretty good linebacker at Clemson in the late 1980s. He was recently named the athletic director at Edward Waters College, a small private school in Jacksonville, Fla. (Link found via Tigernet's message board.)

NUNN IS THE ONE: Another former Clemson player, Arlington Nunn, has been hired as the running backs coach at Ole Miss. Nunn was a defensive back at Clemson from 1987-1990, and he still holds a school record with three interception returns for touchdowns in a single season.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A Colorado-style fiasco? Not likely at Clemson, Bowden says

Bart Wright of the Greenville News has a column up about the recruiting scandal at Colorado. He interviews Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, who seems to think that Clemson isn't at much risk for something this big because the campus is relatively isolated from temptations.

Monday, February 23, 2004

More on recent Clemson signee McKissic

Tigernet has posted an in-depth profile of Jacquez McKissic, the defensive lineman Clemson signed last week. Check it out.

REMEMBERING COACH HOWARD: One of his former assistants, Larry Beckish, has written a book for coaches entitled I Believe in Cream, Apples, and Football � Thoughts for Coaches. A poster on Tigernet's message board has provided a link to an excerpt from the book.

PROBLEM CHILDREN: Virginian-Pilot columnist Bob Molinaro writes about the problems swirling around Miami and Virginia Tech, which will join the ACC this year.

JUST A REMINDER: Spring football practice begins on March 6; the Orange and White game is April 10.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Tigers add late football signee

And he's a good one. Jacquez McKissic is a big defensive lineman from Opelika, Ala., and he was being sought by several schools. (More here and here.)

ACC TV DEAL NEARS: The league is close to finalizing a TV agreement that would send an extra $1 million to each school annually.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?
In November.

2. ...went to the dentist?
Gawd, like, 15 years ago.

3. ...filled your gas tank?

4. enough sleep?
Last night.

5. ...backed up your computer?
The fiancee handles that. I'm not sure, but I think she does it regularly.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A little bit of basketball blogging

I don't do it often, but I'd like to post something on the Tigers' big 60-55 victory against No. 13 N.C. State. Congratulations, guys. It's not often that a Clemson basketball team defeats a ranked team, and now they've done it twice in one season. That's awesome.

EXPANSION TROUBLES: Dan Daly of the Washington Times has a column about recent off-field troubles at Miami and Virginia Tech, which will join the ACC for the 2004 football season.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Whitehurst wins statewide honor

Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is the winner of the 2003 Banks McFadden Award, given annually to the best college football player in South Carolina. Congratulations, Charlie.

AIMING FOR THE BIG TIME: Several Clemson players, including Khaleed Vaughn, are taking part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Good luck, guys.

IT'S A DATE: Clemson has announced the so-called "special dates" for the 2004 football season. Homecoming will be Oct. 16 against Utah State.

MOURNING ABOUT EXPANSION: Hampton Roads Daily Press columnist David Teel heaps scorn on the ACC for expanding to 11 (and soon 12) teams, claiming that the financial rewards (more than $1 million extra for each school if you figure in the income from a football championship game, which Teel fails to include in his analysis) don't outweigh the league's loss of credibility and "the demise of round-robin basketball."

Boo frickin hoo.

First of all, this expansion, even though it was poorly handled at times, was undertaken to make the ACC a much more serious football conference. There's little doubt that it will be a success. Teel is correct that money is what's driving this, but what's wrong with that? Yes, big-time athletic programs do have budgets that hover around $40 million, but they also burn through that cash pretty quickly. Very few carry big surpluses. And I would imagine that an extra $1 million would come in handy at a school like Wake Forest.

Furthermore, I notice that an increase in bowl-game income doesn't seem to figure into Teel's math. If the ACC lands two or more teams in the BCS, that would mean an extra payout to each of the schools in the league that could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And nowhere does Teel acknowledge that future television/bowl deals could be even more lucrative.

Secondly, I cannot imagine any scenario under which ACC basketball will suffer. It's the ACC. It's a known commodity around the country, and it will always be a huge draw. Adding a major TV market like Boston is not going to hurt the league, either.

Sure, there will be some scheduling problems. As Teel points out, N.C. State and Duke won't play twice each year in basketball, and that is a bit of a loss. But depending on the circumstances of a particular season, the potential exists for that one game to be huge. (Of course, in other seasons, the potential also exists for that one game to inspire fans to say "who cares"?)

I personally don't know why they can't make the basketball schedule round-robin with 12 teams. Does Duke really need to play the UNC-Wilmingtons or Richmonds of the world every year? Get rid of most of those crap tune-up games and jump right into league play. For example, look at Clemson's 2003-04 basketball schedule. The Tigers are playing 27 regular-season games. With a round-robin format in a 12-team league, Clemson would have 22 ACC games, leaving five or more slots for non-conference games. That's plenty, if you ask me.

I understand the source of these fears. Change always makes people leery, and I'm sure there were columnists in the 1950s bemoaning the break-up of the old Southern Conference. But I am confident that once the games are actually played, these things will be quickly forgotten.

Monday, February 16, 2004

More on Bowden's coaching staff changes

Anderson Independent-Mail columnist John Brasier speculates that Clemson coach Tommy Bowden may have wanted to make staff changes in 2001 or 2002, but didn't feel secure enough in his job to do so. It's an interesting theory.

Friday, February 13, 2004

(UPDATED at 6:41 p.m.)

Tommy Bowden: Motivational speaker

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden shared tales of his up-and-down 2003 football season at an event sponsored by the Anderson Independent-Mail. Check it out.

ELIOTT GETS POSTGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP: Receiver Tony Elliott has been awarded a Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship by the ACC. Congratulations, Tony.

WE'RE NO. 2? Here's something I gleaned from the Tigernet message board. It's a ranking of gameday atmospheres in the ACC. Clemson is rated the second best in the league behind Florida State.

Second best? I've never been to Tallahassee for a football game, but I can't imagine it's better than Tigertown. I guess they gave the Seminoles the nod because they've had tremendous success over the past couple of decades, while Clemson has been up and down (mostly up, thankfully).

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

1. Are you superstitious?
Only a little bit.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
I've heard of people planning their lives around superstitions, but I don't know anybody who does this.

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
The black cat one.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
I'm only a slight believer in luck (more so when I was younger). For some reason, five has always been my number, lucky or not.

And on a football-related matter, when my father and I used to go to Clemson football games when I was a teen, I had a ritual of sorts. I'd go into the stadium early and walk all around it in the same way. Then, I'd try to be near the locker room when the opposing team got off the bus. It seemed to work; the Tigers sure were great in the 1980s.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
I don't believe in astrology, because it's just so illogical. However, I do think it's a fun diversion, and I check my horoscope in the newspaper just for kicks. (I'm an Aries, by the way.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

ACC to sign huge television contract

Here's another benefit of expansion. According to USA Today, the Atlantic Coast Conference is close to completing deals that would bring nearly $40 million a year into the league's coffers -- doubling the current income.

"What this means is that the ACC, in my view, is one of the three premier conferences," said ACC negotiator Barry Frank of IMG. "Combined with its strength in basketball, it's on its way to being the premier conference."

And once Boston College joins as the 12th team in 2005, there will be additional revenue generated by a football championship game. For example, CBS pays the Southeastern Conference $8 million to televise the league's championship game.

SCHEDULE ANALYSIS: College Football News takes a look at the 2004 football schedules for teams in the ACC. Check it out.

RECRUITING ANALYSIS: College Football News also examines how ACC teams ended up ranked after recruiting season. (Clemson finished eighth.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

More on the staff reshuffling

The Augusta Chronicle and the Anderson Independent-Mail catch up on the story of changes made to coach Tommy Bowden's staff.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: The Myrtle Beach Sun News has a story from Bowden's visit to a coach clinic over the past weekend. He talks about the adversity he faced during the 2003 season. Check it out.

ACC OUT OF LAWSUIT: Once again, the ACC won't be a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Big East Conference that alleges the ACC, Miami and Boston College were in cahoots to destroy the Big East. If you haven't been following this, it's all related to the ACC's expansion last year.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Bowden shakes up coaching staff

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has made some changes to the football coaching staff for the 2004 season. Brad Scott has been demoted from offensive coordinator to offensive line coach, and Mike O'Cain has been elevated into the offensive coordinator job. Other changes:

Ron West, who had coached the offensive line for five seasons, will work with the defensive line. Defensive line coach Thielen Smith moves to coaching safeties. Rover/whip linebackers coach Jack Hines shifts to coaching tight ends.

Defensive coordinator John Lovett, linebackers coach David Blackwell, running backs coach Burton Burns and wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney are unaffected by the changes.

(More here.)

I think we were all hoping to see something like this, and I hope it pays off. I think Scott's (and Bowden's) crappy play-calling early in the season really hindered Clemson. We certainly don't need that this year.

Also, it's interesting to see who got moved and who didn't. It's an obvious statement about who's in Bowden's good graces and who isn't.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Tigers add Florida receiver; more recruiting postmortems

After being snubbed at the last minute by all-star receiver Mike McIntosh, Clemson got a boost with the late signing of receiver Andrew Diomande of Miami. (More here and here.)

'THE RECRUITING GEEKS HAVE HAD THEIR FUN': The Greenville News' Bart Wright has a spot-on column today about the mini-industry surrounding college football recruiting.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
I'm not going to say here.

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?
Skydiving, I think.

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)
Probably a four or a five.

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?
Can't really say.

5. ... and what's the worst?
Again, no comment. I will say I've been arrested a couple of times for alcohol-related offenses, but that was a long time ago when I was young and foolish.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

And now, the recruiting season postmortems begin

It seems the late addition of Akeem Robinson helped ease the sting of the last-minute snub by Mike McIntosh. (More here, here, here and here.)

Once again, here's a link to bios of the players we signed.

BLACKWELL PLEASED: Clemson recruiting coordinator David Blackwell says he's happy with the players who signed with Clemson. Coach Tommy Bowden was pleased, too.

HOW'D WE DO: Recruiting "expert" Mike Knobler gives Clemson's incoming class a C. But check out Maryland; the Terps signed 11 SuperPrep All-Americans. And according to, we had the nation's 53rd-best class. (No link available.)

GET AN ICE CREAM MACHINE: Still upset about Mike McIntosh changing his mind at the last minute? Check out this anecdote from a recruiting story in the Boston Globe:

Stories of last-minute changes of heart are legendary. Some are funny, some are sad, as kids struggle with the fame that is about to be cast upon them. Former Wake Forest coach Bill Dooley tells about a recruit he thought he had until the signing date. It was Wake Forest and Clemson, in that order. Or so Dooley thought. But when the announcement was made, the recruit signed with Clemson.

Dooley, as was his practice with recruits he did not sign, called the player to wish him well and ask what he had done wrong so he could do better next time.

"Coach," said the recruit, "the difference was that Clemson served soft-serve ice cream in the cafeteria, and Wake Forest didn't."

Needless to say, Dooley had a soft-serve ice cream machine installed the next day.

Great. Now the NCAA will probably launch an investigation into Clemson's Dairy Sciences center.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Today is National Signing Day; who will we get?

We're already starting to find out who Clemson has signed. The official Clemson site will be updating a page on signings all day. The page will have links to player bios and photos of signees in Clemson jerseys. Check it out. Again, this page will be updated throughout the day, so check it often.

RECRUITING OVERVIEWS: Stories from The State and the Anderson Independent-Mail.

A LOOK AT LAMBERT: The Greenville News has an article about offensive lineman Corey Lambert, one of the top recruits in the nation, who committed early to Clemson.

BLACKWELL'S MAGIC: The Anderson Independent-Mail takes a look at the hard work put in by David Blackwell, the Tigers' recruiting coordinator.

ALL-ACADEMIC TIGERS: Three Clemson players -- Justin Miller, Tony Elliott and William Henry -- were named to the All-ACC Academic Team. Congratulations, guys.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Media emit low-pitched whistle over Clemson's schedule

The newspapers that cover Clemson football all agree -- that's one tough road schedule. (More here, here and here.)

Here's more on the rest of the 2004 ACC schedule.

RECRUITING UPDATE: Where will defensive tackle Akeem Robinson of Miami choose to go to college? Hopefully, Clemson.

Monday, February 02, 2004

(UPDATED at 6:40 p.m.)

2004 football schedule announced

The Tigers will play six home games, but must make three difficult road trips; to Texas A&M, Florida State and Miami. Top home games include South Carolina, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Maryland. Here's how it looks:

Sept. 18 at Texas A&M
Sept. 25 at Florida State
Oct. 7 at Virginia
Oct. 30 NC STATE
Nov. 6 at Miami (FL)
Nov. 13 at Duke

And here's a look at the composite ACC football schedule.

RECRUITING UPDATES: With National Signing Day almost here, there were a couple of recruiting-related stories out there this weekend. The Anderson Independent-Mail has a story on the importance of recruiting to a strong program. The State examines Clemson's recruiting class so far, and also looks at the S.C.-based prep stars who could sign with Clemson or USC.

PANTHERS FALL SHORT: Man, but what a great game. At least we didn't get killed out there.

Although they didn't win, I'm very proud of the Panthers, and my home town.