Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Clemson set to hire new assistant coach?

The Charleston Post and Courier is reporting that Clemson will hire Chris Rumph, currently an assistant coach at Memphis, to replace Marion Hobby, who left Tigertown to be an assistant for the New Orleans Saints. Lots of Clemson connections here: Rumph was working for former Clemson coach Tommy West at Memphis, and in college, he played for the hated Gamecocks under current CU offensive-line coach Brad Scott.

* Quarterblacks! In honor of the last day of Black History Month, here's "The complete history of African American quarterbacks in the NFL." Clemson's Homer Jordan and Woodrow Dantzler are mentioned, though I'm not sure why. If I remember correctly, Jordan had more success in the CFL and Dantzler has been bouncing around the NFL as a kick returner.

* A blog to watch: Check out Six Degrees of Bowden. The description: "A group of friends composed of UF, FSU and Clemson fans converge to write a blog. This could get ugly." So far, it's gotten pretty funny. Give it a look.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Weekend update: The three-dot column returns!

As originally reported on Tigerpundit, former Clemson assistant (and years before that, starting quarterback) Mike O'Cain has been hired as an assistant coach at ACC rival Virginia Tech. ... Here's a preview of spring football practice from Fox Sports. ... Fellow Clemson bloggers The Sporting Gnomes are excited about the progress on the WestZone project (I am, too.) ... Atlanta Braves star Jeff Francoeur, who played baseball at Clemson, tells an interviewer that he wished he had played football at CU. ... The designations for the 2006 home games have been set. We've got seven home games this year, which has happened only nine times in Clemson history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Clemson's 2006 schedule is set

The Tigers will play at Temple on Oct. 14. (There had been some debate about that game being moved.)

* More scheduling news: Clemson will play at Louisiana Tech in 2008, after games at Death Valley this season and in 2007. Is this old news? If it is, I apologize. It's a slow week for college football news

* WestZone update: The official Clemson site has posted new pictures.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tye Hill discusses his future in the NFL

The former Clemson cornerback, who impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl in January, sits down for a Q&A with Clemson's student newspaper.

* O'Cain to Virginia Tech? Former Clemson assistant coach (and, years before, former starting quarterback) Mike O'Cain is reportedly interviewing for a job at Virginia Tech. O'Cain was fired from Clemson in 2004.
Clemson assistant coach jumps to NFL

Marion Hobby, who coached the defensive line for one season at Clemson, has bolted for the NFL's New Orleans Saints. Godspeed, Marion. Just be sure to lose to the Panthers twice each year.

* Kirkland's number to be retired? Former Clemson great Levon Kirkland, who had a long career in the NFL, might earn a spot in Clemson's Ring of Honor. (More on the ring requirements here.) In other Kirkland news, some commentors on Tigernet's message board are pushing for him to replace Hobby as an assistant coach. Sounds good to me.

* Miller time: The Cincinnati Post looks in on former Tiger superstar Justin Miller, who's visiting his home town of Owensboro, Ky. I love Justin's Kentucky-state-map bling, which marks Owensboro's location with a big diamond.

* Move the prep title games: A movement is afoot in the S.C. Legislature to move the state foootball championship games from Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia to Memorial Stadium in Clemson, or to at least rotate the games there from time to time. The reason? A belief that such games in USC's home stadium give the Cocks an advantage in recruiting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Is it too early for football predictions? No!

College Football News looks ahead to the 2006 season:

I really like Florida State this year, but is this going to be the year the ship completely turns back around? The rest of the league (cough, Virginia Tech, cough) is way too flaky. While Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, NC State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia are all good, are any of them great? Clemson might be and Georgia Tech has potential, but the league is third ... for now. The best team should be ... Florida State
We'll see about that, won't we?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tigers get commitment from offensive lineman

David Smith of Greenville, a junior in high school, has verbally committed to sign with Clemson next. It's the fifth in-state junior-class commitment for the Tigers.

* Random thoughts: Tigernet's Scott Rhymer looks back at signing season and ahead to spring practice and the 2006 football season.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Photo update for WestZone project

The official Clemson site has posted new pictures of construction progress on the WestZone project. Check it out.

* Welcome home, Chris: While I'm sitting here freezing, Pittsburgh Steelers punter Chris Gardocki, who starred at Clemson, is back home on the Carolina coast, scarfing pizza and playing golf. Bastard.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Boston College in the ACC: Who really cares?

The Charleston Post and Courier has an interesting article about the Boston region's near-total indifference to Boston College athletics, even after the school's high-profile move to the ACC.

The reasons are simple: Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins.

So the ACC added Boston College because of the size of its TV market. Well, what if you get low ratings in that big TV market, and always will? Choosing West Virginia instead of BC is looking better all the time.

* Happy Birthday, EDSBS: I missed this yesterday, but the boys at Every Day Should be Saturday turned one year old on Friday. Congrats, guys. You have one of the most entertaining blogs in any genre, and I wish you continued success. And check out EDSBS's first post:

And did I mention the traditions? The run down the hill at Clemson ... the kickass USC Trojan Band, complete with armor-clad drum major and giggle-inducing phallic symbol ... waking up the ghosts (and the fans) at Notre Dame ... the festive pregame stoning of the infidel at Knoxville ... it's all too much for a single nation, really.
There's something special about Gator fans who can still heap praise on Clemson even after we sent them Charley Pell.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Jacoby Ford: He's fast on the field and off

Clemson signee Jacoby Ford reportedly ran a 4.12 in the 40-yard dash. And he's not slowing down in his education: He's already enrolled at Clemson.

* Yet another recruiting postmortem: The Tiger, Clemson's student newspaper, sits down for a Q&A with recruiting coordinator David Blackwell. Check it out.

* Dawkins in Pro Bowl: Former Tiger Brian Dawkins, who plays for Philadelphia, will be going to the Pro Bowl.

* Clemson is booming: The Greenville News examines the rapid development going on in Tigertown, and not just on the campus.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Clemson-USC game to get an official name?

Apparently, some folks in the Legislature want to link the showdown between the rivals to the state's anti-litter program.

Hmm. The Garbage Bowl?

* Cumbie profiled: Here's a nice story on Clemson signee Jamie Cumbee, an Andrews, S.C., native who played prep football in Illinois.

* Scheduling conflicts: ESPN's Ivan Maisel wrotes about how the addition of a 12th game in 2006 is screwing up schedule-making for college teams. He mentions Clemson's tough stretch in October, when the Tigers will only have five days after playing Georgia Tech to prepare for a Thursday night game at Virginia Tech.

* And finally: In response to this challenge from a UGA blogger, I give you this:

Joe Theismann never played in Death Valley. But Joe Montana did.

The year was 1977, and not even the magical powers of Howard's Rock could overcome the Lucky Charms of the Irish and their maniacal leprechaun that day. Notre Dame rallied from a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit to win, 21-17.

That 1977 Clemson season was notable for an early-season triumph at Georgia, the first time the Tigers had won in Athens since 1914. By way of perspective, that was four years before Spiro T. Agnew was born, and 66 years after the signing of the Seneca Falls Declaration, which was an important step on the path to freedom for America's women!

As most college football fans know, winning in Athens is tough. It was even tougher back then. Imagine sitting in a stadium with 70,000-plus characters from a Patterson Hood song.

They ain't never gonna change, either.

How was that, Kyle?
Napier glad to be back at Clemson

Tigernet has scored an interview with Billy Napier, who was hired this week to coach tight ends.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Did the WestZone project help Tigers with recruiting?

The State says it did. Speaking of the WestZone, here's a recent photo, courtesy of a Tigernetter:

It's starting to look pretty sweet. I can't wait until it's finished.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A minor ACC proposal: Dump Boston College, add W. Va.

A Tigernet poster with the handle of "ClemsonTigers27" has done some research on what the ACC would look like if West Virginia had been invited to join the league instead of Boston College.

In short, the league would have 1) made much more sense geographically, and 2) preserved plenty of the old rivalries. However, West Virginia isn't exactly a major TV market, hence the league's snub of the Couch Burners.

Here's the post, which I've edited for brevity and clarity:

I wish they would have replaced BC with West Virginia. ... WV and VT had a rivalry going in the Big East ... and they are closer to the other ACC schools than BC. Not to mention the ACC could be broken up into East and West instead of these random, made-up Atlantic and Coastal divisions. East and West would, obviously, be divided up geographically, and this is what the divisions would look like if you took the 6 most eastern schools and 6 most western schools:

1) Miami
2) Duke
3) North Carolina State
4) North Carolina
5) Maryland
6) Virginia

1) Clemson
2) FSU
3) West Virginia
4) Wake Forest
5) Virginia Tech
6) Georgia Tech

These divisions would keep the inner-division rivalries such as Duke/UNC, UMD/UVA, UNC/NCST, Clemson/FSU, WV/VT, and Clemson/GT. Having the divisions split this way wouldn't affect ANY rivalry so long as you kept the cross-division rival aspect:

Cross-Division Rivals:

East - West
1) Miami - FSU
2) Duke - Wake Forest
3) North Carolina State - Clemson
4) North Carolina - Georgia Tech
5) Maryland - WV
6) Virginia - Virginia Tech

This would keep the FSU/Miami, Clemson/NCST, UMD/WV, and UVA/VT rivalries intact while pairing other teams (without a set rival) fairly. The Duke/Wake and UNC/GT ones are a little off, traditionally, but it keeps every other possible rivalry in-tact, and both Cross-Division rivalries are pretty much on the same skill level every year, with Wake/Duke and UNC/GT.

About the only problem I can see is Wake Forest. They are small potatoes in the ACC for football, but when basketball season rolls around, I think their fans would probably want to play UNC and N.C. State more than once a year.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting post.
More on new coach Napier; Dabo Swinney honored

The Greenville News and the Charleston Post and Courier weigh in on the hiring of Billy Napier to be Clemson's new tight ends coach.

* Swinney a top recruiter: Clemson assistant coach Dabo Swinney has been named the fifth-best recruiter in the nation by rivals.com. Congratulations, Dabo.

Monday, February 06, 2006

As expected, Napier hired as assistant coach

As expected, Napier hired as assistant coach

Billy Napier, a former Clemson graduate assistant, has been hired to coach tight ends at Clemson. Napier was a former standout quarterback at Furman and had recently worked at South Carolina State.

The buzz on Napier from Tigernetters "in the know" is that he'll be a great recruiter. Also, he's already familiar with the staff, and his knowledge and experience at quarterback is viewed as a plus.

And, interestingly, some posters seem to think the fact that Clemson will be paying him less than the other coaches is a good thing.

* Are we weak academically? That seems to be the thrust of a completely unscientific study from the Orlando Sentinel that was highlighted at College Football Resource. (Thanks for the link, BTW.) Take it with a large grain of salt.
Gardocki gets Super Bowl ring

Former Clemson punter Chris Gardocki, who now plays with the Pittsburgh Steelers, earned the ring with Sunday's victory against the Seattle Seahawks. Congratulations, Chris. Do you have any college eligibility left?

Meanwhile, Seattle's Leroy Hill, another former Tiger, is getting some publicity, too, but not the kind he'll put in a scrapbook. From USA TODAY's "Bests and Worsts from Super Bowl XL":

Best run: Willie Parker rushed for just 11 yards in the first half, but the Steelers running back blasted through a huge hole for a Super Bowl-record 75-yard touchdown run on his second carry of the second half. All-pro left guard Alan Faneca sprung Parker by pulling to his right and swallowing linebacker LeRoy Hill to open the lane.

Actually, that's a little unfair to Hill. He was the game's leading tackler with 8 stops, and he had a great season.

* Recruiting never ends: The State looks ahead to the next crop of top prep football players. Zzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Recruiting: Five-star guys don't always become famous

ESPN's Ivan Maisel reminds us that all the hoopla surrounding recruiting can't obscure the fact that great players often escape the glare of the Tom Lemmings of the world. He specifically cites former Clemson running back Terry Allen, who was not a highly sought player in high school. Yet Allen ended up becoming one of the school's all-time leading rushers and had a long career in the NFL.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Clemson football coaches get raises

Well, they certainly deserve it. Read all about it here.

Surgery for West: Memphis football coach Tommy West, who was head coach at Clemson from 1993 to 1998, had triple-bypass surgery Friday. I wish West the best and hope he has a speedy recover.

* Recalling a shameful time: Here's an interesting article on the first black players to suit up for a game at Death Valley. The athletes played for Wake Forest, and they took the field for a game against the Tigers in 1964.

* Still more recruiting postmortems: From the Charleston Post and Courier, here's a story, here's a report card and here's a story on how Clemson's class ranked among Internet prognosticators. Amazingly, Tigerpundit is not mentioned.

Friday, February 03, 2006

More recruiting postmortems from the media

The Greenville News' Bart Wright has a column on Clemson's 2006 rushing attack, which will feature James Davis and new signee C.J. Spiller. The Doublemint Twins are mentioned.

* Enthusiastic supporter: The Greenville News also profiles prep quarterback Willy Korn, who committed to Clemson as a junior and is such a big Tiger fan that he has met with potential recruits. Isn't that breaking some NCAA rule?

* Hill climbing: The State's Bob Spear writes about the Seattle Seahawks' Leroy Hill, a former Clemson standout. Here's another piece on Hill, from the Rocky Mountain News, and here's yet another, from the Newark Star-Ledger. (Tony Soprano's favorite newspaper!)

* ESPN's new home page: Check it out (via Heismanpundit.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rumor mill cranks: Is Napier CU's new tight ends coach?

Tigernet's message board is crackling with the as-yet-unverified news that Clemson has hired Billy Napier to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Jack Hines. Napier is a former quarterback at Furman who is currently working as an assistant coach at South Carolina State. A Tigernet poster says Napier's father is a longtime high school football coach in Georgia, which should really help recruiting.

Stay tuned.

* Did a Gator snub sway Spiller to CU? Maybe. According to this story, star running back C.J. Spiller decided to sign with Clemson because the University of Florida didn't offer a scholarship to his longtime friend and high school teammate, linebacker Kevin Alexander. Alexander, an all-state performer, signed with Clemson. From the story:

"I'm sure he (Spiller) based his decision on Kevin's decision," said Patricia Watkins, Spiller's mother. "If Kevin had gotten an offer from Florida, no doubt about it (they both) would have been at Florida. ... I felt Florida was the better place for (C.J.). I met with the coaches, I met with the wives, I met with some of the family members. I just felt Florida was the best place for him."
So, was Alexander the bait that lured Spiller to Tigertown? We'll probably never know.

* Hill gets some love from The Network: In advance of Sunday's Super Bowl, ESPN has a feature on the Seattle Seahawks' young linebackers. Former Clemson star Leroy Hill gets a plug.

* We love Gardocki, too: Former Clemson punter Chris Gardocki, who has seemingly been in the NFL since John Facenda was voicing those classic NFL films, will be kicking for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's big game. Here's a nice Q&A with Gardocki from his hometown paper, the Island Packet of Hilton Head.
New recruits will arrive; assistant coach will depart

Wednesday was a hectic day for Clemson football fans, and the news was overwhelmingly good.

First and foremost, the Tigers closed the books on one of their finest recruiting years ever. In addition to getting top running back C.J. Spiller, Clemson also signed several other blue-chip prospects. CU Sporting News has as good a take as any I've seen in the blogosphere. Another blog, College Football Resource, cites Rivals.com's rankings, which have Clemson's class at No. 15 in the nation. SI.com ranks us No. 21, as does USA Today.

Here's the list of guys we signed:

1. Alexander, Kevin, LB, 6-3, 215, Lake Butler, Fla. (Union County HS)
2. Butler, Crezdon, DB, 6-0, 180, Asheville, N.C. (Asheville)
3. Campbell, Jeremy, LB, 6-2, 215, Port Orange, Fla. (Spruce Creek HS)
4. Cox, JoJo, RB, 5-10, 210, Jeffersonville, Ga. (Twiggs County HS)
5. Cumbie, Jamie, DL, 6-7, 255, Morris, Ill. (Morris Community HS)
6. Ford, Jacoby, WR, 5-9, 175, West Palm Beach, Fla. (Fork Union Military Acad.)
7. Gaither, Darius, DB, 6-0, 195, Winnsboro (Fairfield Central HS)
8. Hairston, Chris, OL, 6-5, 270, Winston-Salem, N.C. (Carver)
9. Jackson, Kendrick, WR, 6-2, 270, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Dillard)
10. Jackson, Richard, K-P, 5-11, 185, Greer (Riverside)
11. Maxwell, Byron, DB, 6-1, 185, North Charleston (Fort Dorchester HS)
12. McDaniel, DeAndre, DB, 6-1, 190, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby HS)
13. Medlin, Jamal, OL, 6-3, 305, Orangeburg (Orangeburg-Wilkinson HS)
14. Ogren, Jeffrey, WR, 6-3, 185, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (American Christian Acad.)
15. Palmer, Michael, TE, 6-4, 228, Lilburn, Ga. (Parkview HS)
16. Russell, Chris, DB, 6-2, 210, Nashville, Tenn. (Coffeyville JC)
17. Sapp, Ricky, DL, 6-2, 225, Bamberg (Bamberg-Earhardt HS)
18. Spiller, C.J., RB, 5-11, 190, Lake Butler, Fla. (Union County HS)
19. Wade, Michael, QB, 6-2, 187, Greer (Riverside)

More media postmortems: The State (also here, here, here, here, here and here); The Greenville News; The Charleston Post and Courier. And for a tongue-in-cheek round-up of Signing Day, there's always EDSBS.

Needless to say, Tiger Nation is buzzing. A Tigernetter said it best in a message board post:

"I've been waiting 15 years to say this: 'We're back!' "

I hope he's right.

Now, on to the other big story of the day: the resignation of tight ends coach Jack Hines.

Hines, who is coach Tommy Bowden's brother-in-law, had managed to hang around Tigertown for seven years despite apparently doing very little.

Nearly every year he was given a new coaching position (he held at least four different jobs during his tenure). Last January, Hines' salary was being "evaluated". (In other words, he didn't get a raise, and he was already the lowest-paid coach on the staff.) This past season, Hines' responsibilities also included the punt team. The Tigers finished last in the ACC in that category and 99th nationally. Clemson had five punts blocked in 2005; during Bowden's entire tenure prior to this season, CU only had seven kicks blocked.

Adding to Hines' problems was the fact that he didn't appear to be much of a recruiter. Rivals.com shows him going 0-fer this year in prospects. Tigernet launched a mini-investigation, but couldn't find many of Hines' fingerprints on the recruiting trail, either.

I'm sorry if I'm being harsh on Hines. (That's part of blogging, right?) Obviously, this is a difficult time for him. I wish the man well, and I hope he finds a job soon, but it was clear to many Clemson observers that he was out of his depth at a Division I football program.

The question is: Who replaces him?

Tigernet's message board seems to be rooting for Virginia Tech's Danny Pearman, a former Clemson player. (There has already been buzz in the Virginia media about Pearman's possible move to Tigertown.)

Whoever we hire, I hope we do it soon. Spring practice begins in just a few weeks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

In a major coup, Clemson signs running back C.J. Spiller

All the rumors appear to be true, and now they've been confirmed by Stewart Mandel. Clemson has signed the No. 8 prospect in the country. He's widely considered to be one of the best running backs out there this year. Spiller is the Tigers' highest-rated recruit since, um, Roscoe Crosby. Uh-oh.

For more updates on Signing Day, keep checking back with Tigernet and the official Clemson site.

Hit the road, Jack: Clemson assistant coach Jack Hines, who is also coach Tommy Bowden's brother in law (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), has resigned to "look for other opportunities." More on this tomorrow.
The ACC-SEC Challenge? In football?

It ... could ... WORK!!!