Wednesday, March 31, 2004

The ACC's all-time best in football

College Football News has put together several lists of superlatives relating to ACC football. Here goes:

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Gaddis moves to cornerback from quarterback

Talented athlete C.J. Gaddis will play cornerback this year instead of quarterback (more here).

WEST END ZONE UPDATE: Clemson will pursue a funding plan to pay for construction of the West End Zone project, which is expected to proceed following the 2004 season.

NCAA VIOLATIONS: Clemson reported 11 violations during the past seven months (more here).

COWBOYS UP: With Oklahoma State's Final Four appearance looming, Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, who was athletic director at Oklahoma State from 1994 to 2002, recalls the tragic 2001 plane crash that killed two basketball players and six other people associated with the university.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Clemson: 37th-best all-time college football program

Using a sophisticated formula, College Football News has ranked all the college football teams. Clemson checks in at No. 37, which sounds about right, though I personally think we're a little higher than that (maybe around 25th-30th). Anyway, it's interesting.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Scrimmage produces positives, negatives

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says the Tigers' defense is lagging (more here) ... Receiver Chansi Stuckey was impressive in Saturday's scrimmage ... Defensive end Moe Fountain is angry about being dropped down to the second team ... Here's the press release about the scrimmage.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Plenty of news from spring practice

Clemson will hold a scrimmage today amid some concerns ... fullback Steven Jackson has moved to linebacker ... running back Reggie Merriweather has had a fine spring so far ... position battles are heating up.

PROSPECTUS: Here's Clemson's 2004 football prospectus, and here's a link to the prospectuses (prospecti?) of every ACC team.

NO PRIVATE FUNDING FOR WESTZONE: This may be old news, but here's more on the funding snafus regarding Clemson's West End Zone project.

PRO DAY VIDEOS: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights from the NFL-tryout thingee held the other day on campus. Check 'em out.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Former Tigers get evaluated at Pro Day

A dozen former Clemson football players, including all-around good guy Willie Simmons, worked out in front of professional scouts Thursday at Clemson. (There's more on Simmons in this Bart Wright column.)

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: College Football News columnist Peter Fiutak ranks Clemson as the ACC school with the biggest home-field advantage in this Q&A feature (scroll down to read the item).

THE FRIDAY FIVE: There isn't one this week, but here's an old one:

1. What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
The last book I read was John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I enjoyed it very much. (I'd read it before, too, and it's a great movie.)

2. What's your favorite book of all time?
That's tough. Either The Bonfire of the Vanities or The Lord of the Rings. 1984 is right up there, as is In Cold Blood.

3. What's the worst book you've ever read?
That's tough, too. I had a hard time slugging through Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King. The first-person tone kind of bugged me.

4. What book that you've read would you most like to see adapted into a movie?
A Confederacy of Dunces, and I think it's in the process of being made into a movie.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend?
Relaxing, and celebrating. The fiancee starts a new job on Monday!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Line work is big talk at training camp

Clemson is hoping to shore up both the offensive line and the defensive line during spring practice.

ALL EYES ON GRANT: Receiver Kelvin Grant has been one of the most consistent players in spring practice, according to this story.

DONNELL'S DAY: Former defensive lineman Donnell Washington, who left school a year early to pursue an NFL career, will get another chance to impress the pro scouts at a Pro Day testing session today at Clemson. Other Clemson players who have a shot at the NFL will take part in the workouts. (More here on Pro Day.)

CLEMSON CLIPS: This site has video highlights of the Tigers' 63-17 demolition of the Gamecocks. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

West End Zone project runs into problems

The Greenville News is reporting that Clemson has run into bureaucratic troubles involving the state government that may hinder funding for the West End Zone project. That figures.

PASSING FANCY: The Greenville News' Bart Wright has a column on Clemson's springtime work on the passing game.

STUCKEY ON YOU: The State reports on former quarterback Chansi Stuckey's transition to receiver.

BURNS SPEAKS: Tigernet has an interview with Clemson running backs coach Burton Burns. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Finally! Some college football news to report!

March Madness has drowned out most of the reporting on college football, but a few items relating to spring football practice are out there today.

GADDIS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Backup quarterback C.J. Gaddis is drawing a lot of media attention. He's being considered for a position change because he's such a great athlete -- and also because No. 2 quarterback Will Proctor has been doing so well in spring practice.

SPRING GAME IS APRIL 10: Here are more details.

2004 ALL-STARS: ESPN The Magazine's Bruce Feldman ranks the top 100 players for 2004, and three Clemson players make the list: linebacker Leroy Hill (No. 16), quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (No. 29) and cornerback Justin Miller (No. 85).

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Spring practice objective: Run the ball better

The Greenville News looks at the steps Clemson is taking this spring to improve the rushing attack.

Friday, March 19, 2004

It's the Friday miscellany!

Again, not much Clemson football stuff out there today. The closest thing that resembles a link dealing with Tigers is this blog written by a cat. I'm not a big cat fan, but this is hilarious.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
Southern cooking (fried chicken, collards, fried okra). I just can't seem to find it here in Northern Virginia.

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
Books and CDs.

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Rock or blues.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Davis on ballot for College Football Hall of Fame

It's old news, but here's the press release about former Clemson great Jeff Davis making the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Jeff was a great linebacker and team leader for our 1981 national championship team, but looking over the list of nominees, I'm not sure he's a shoo-in.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: This time, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was at the Horry/Georgetown Clemson booster club meetings. Check it out.

RANDOM, NON-FOOTBALL-RELATED STUFF: My fiancee is a Diet Coke addict, and now I think I'm becoming one, too. Here's why. ... I'm not a huge basketball fan, but I'll definitely be watching as much of the NCAA Tournament as I can. Go ACC, I guess. ... What did the fiancee and I do for St. Patrick's Day? We stayed home and watched TV. The thought of being surrounded by loudmouth, drunken, puking yahoos in a crowded bar is far less appealing than it was 15 years ago. ... This guy's blog is hilarious. This entry contains possibly the funniest thing I've read in weeks (scroll to the very bottom of the page):

In New York this past weekend, there was an Air Guitar Contest. The contest was immediately followed by the Masturbating into a Tube Sock, Then Crying Yourself to Sleep Tournament.

Two days after first reading that, I'm still laughing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Bowden visits Aiken; preseason predictions

Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden spoke Tuesday at the Aiken/Edgefield County Clemson Club's spring meeting, and the Augusta Chronicle was there to cover it.

PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: College Football News says we'll finish fifth in the expanded ACC in 2004 (huh?), and ESPN's Ivan Maisel has updated his preseason top 25 by moving Clemson down a couple of notches. Here's why:

Clemson finished the season as the hottest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers won their last four games, including decisive victories over Florida State and Tennessee, and they had 16 underclassmen among their starters. But wide receiver Derrick Hamilton and defensive tackle Donnell Washington left early for the NFL draft. Instead of losing one top receiver, Kevin Youngblood, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has lost two wideouts who combined to catch 124 passes and 12 touchdowns.

Clemson also has the smell of Auburn about them. When Auburn finished strong in 2002, upsetting highly ranked Alabama and Penn State, and had so many top players returning in 2003, it seemed logical that the Tigers would pick up where they left off. Auburn did pick up where it left off -- in mid-2002, before the strong finish.

Hopefully, we can come out of the gate strong and get that Auburn stink off of us.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Elite journals bemoan death of 'real' ACC

There's not much Clemson football news out there today, but there are a couple of stories of note about how the ACC's expansion will ruin the league's basketball tournament.

The first is from the venerable political journal The New Republic. The second is from The New York Times.

Speaking as a Clemson fan, I think they're both wrong.

ACC expansion will end the long era of the league's political and administrative domination by UNC, and to a lesser extent, by Duke. That will be a positive development. Yes, the ACC has always been very "cozy," to use a word that crops up in both articles, but only if viewed from the perspective of the state of North Carolina. (And I write that as a North Carolina native who has lived for 32 of my 37 years in the state.) One man's "cozy" or "quaint" is another man's "insular" or "provincial" -- or even "exclusionary."

UNC and Duke have enjoyed tremendous success in basketball, but they've used that success to lord over the ACC for years. Witness the fact that the two schools voted against the league's expansion, a move which threatened to scuttle the whole process. That made it clear that they were only interested in protecting their dominant positions. They apparently didn't care about enhancing the profile of the league as a whole.

Another benefit of expansion: No longer will the ACC be known only as a "basketball conference." Finally, the handful of ACC schools that have achieved great success in football will be able to remove that millstone from around their necks. Of course, the league will benefit financially from football in the form of bowl tie-ins and the like, but it now will garner much more national respect in the sport.

But basketball fans needn't worry. ACC expansion will not harm the ACC Tournament. How can it? It's the premiere event of its kind in the nation. It will continue to be a big draw for TV -- and now it will attract even more interest in a couple of huge markets. For the foreseeable future, the "Tobacco Road" teams will continue to dominate in basketball. The tournament will be "uncozy" on Thursday only, when the newcomers clog up the play-in games. By the Friday quarterfinals, it will return to its familiar rhythms.

The bottom line: ACC expansion is a good thing -- financially and competitively. Its negatives exist mainly in the minds of writers overcome by sentimentality and nostalgia.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Tigers get in another practice before break

Clemson held a workout on Thursday, but will be off the field for 11 days because of spring break. Find out what happened here and here.

BYE-BYE, BASKETBALL: Well, Clemson lost in overtime to Virginia Thursday night in the ACC Tournament. The Tigers finished the season at 10-18, and probably won't even make the NIT. But I think coach Oliver Purnell has the program headed in the right direction. Let's see how we're doing in three years.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

1. What was the last song you heard?
Handbags & Gladrags by Rod Stewart. I put it on my iPod last night.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?
Monster and Love Actually. I have mixed feelings about Monster. Charlize Theron did an amazing job, but the movie portrayed serial killer Aileen Wuornos as little more than a victim of her circumstances, which runs counter to the actual historical record. Love Actually was good, but it needed to be a little more focused. It tried to juggle too many stories.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
Dinner yesterday at work, a cup of coffee, and a small bottle of wine.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
Do a little grocery shopping; work out; get some laundry done; relax!

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
My fiancee, Jacqui, and four of my co-workers -- Patrick, Sue, Rob and Yasmine.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I'm back after an unfortunate break

Sorry I've missed the past few days of posting. I had to rush off to South Carolina for the funeral of my favorite aunt, who died on Saturday. I'll try to catch up.

SPRING PRACTICE UPDATES: The Greenville News has a story about the heavy competition for placekicker. (There's also a notebook.) And here's a notebook-type entry from The State that includes an item about Jeff Davis making the most recent ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. Davis, a linebacker, was a captain of Clemson's 1981 national championship team.

HILL GETS EARLY HONOR: Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill, who had a massive season in 2003, is on the preseason watch list for the Lombardi Award.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Spring practice: The first day

News from the first sessions is here, here, here and here.


Saturday, March 06, 2004

Spring football practice begins today

And there's media coverage here, here, here and here.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Spring practice previews abound

Here are some stories from South Carolina newspapers about spring football practice at Clemson, which begins Saturday:

Anderson Independent-Mail; The Greenville News (more here, too); The State.

COACHING CHANGES: Most of the South Carolina papers also have stories about recent coaching changes at Clemson. Here goes:

Anderson Independent-Mail; The State (with more detail here about why Brad Scott was moved to offensive line coach).

DEPTH CHART: Here's the depth chart for Clemson as it heads into spring practice.

THE FRIDAY FIVE: OK, here goes:

What was...

1. ...your first grade teacher's name?
Mrs. Stewart, at Pinewood Elementary School in Charlotte.

2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?
Bugs Bunny & Friends.

3. ...the name of your very first best friend?
Bob Mock -- and he's still one of my best friends.

4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal?
Frosted Flakes (but I haven't eaten them in years).

5. ...your favorite thing to do after school?
Play. When we were young, we'd play Army. As we got older, we'd play sports.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

UPDATED at 4:36 p.m.

Coaching changes discussed on eve of spring practice

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden gives more detail about why former offensive coordinator Brad Scott became the offensive line coach. (Quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain is now the offensive coordinator.)

Bowden said Scott's switch is not a demotion. He said Scott, when told he would coach offensive line, asked to be removed as offensive coordinator to reduce his workload. Bowden said Scott will continue to have input into offensive strategy.

"When I told Brad that I was going to move him to offensive line, he said, 'If I'm going to coach those five with additional responsibilities, it would be better if Mike would be coordinator,' " Bowden said. "Mike and I are calling plays, so from an organizational standpoint, it makes sense."

OK, makes sense to me. I guess it wasn't a demotion after all. My bad.

Just a reminder: spring football practice begins Saturday.

THE PALMETTO BOWL? It could happen. It would be played in Charleston and pit an ACC team against a Conference USA team. Hey, why not?

MORE ON HERRING: The Durham Herald-Sun has a story about N.C. State choosing Reggie Herring to be defensive coordinator. Herring was a longtime defensive coordinator at Clemson.

COLLEGE NICKNAMES: Here's a Web page that lists the team names for virtually every college in America. Check it out. I still love the Pittsburgh State Gorillas, but the Cal-Long Beach Dirtbags (that's the baseball team only) is right up there. (Link found via Tigernet's message board.)

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

(UPDATED at 8:01 p.m.)

Spring practice preview posted; Herring to N.C. State

Fox Sports has a preview of what's ahead for ACC teams as spring football practice begins. Check it out.

HERRING JOINS N.C. STATE STAFF: It's official. Former Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has been hired as the defensive coordinator at N.C. State. Here's the link.

MORE ON BCS EXPANSION: The Greenville News interviews Keith Tribble, president of the Football Bowl Association and chief executive officer of the FedEx Orange Bowl, about the Bowl Championship Series adding a fifth team.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Papa Bowden speaks at Clemson

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden spoke at Clemson Monday night about changes he's seen in college football during his lifetime. Bart Wright of the Greenville News has a column here, and The State provides a straight news story here.

I have a couple of problems with the story from The State. In a passage where Bowden defends some of the actions of Colorado football coach Gary Barnett, who has gotten into hot water for statements he made about former Bufs kicker Katie Hnida. Hnida has claimed that she was raped when she was on the team two years ago. Here's the passage:

Barnett was placed on paid administrative leave last month after he called Hnida an �awful� player who �couldn�t kick the ball through the uprights,� during his response to her allegation. Barnett later said his comments were taken out of context.

The assertion that Barnett responded to the rape allegation by saying Hnida was an "awful" player is a lie. (He did say that she was an "awful" player, but that was NOT a response to a direct question about the alleged rape. It was part of a 15-minute press conference.) Read here and here to find out how this story has been spun by the media through a combination of laziness, dishonesty or both.

It's clear that there are huge problems at Colorado, but this sideshow does nothing to bring the truth to light.

NEW GOAL POSTS: The NCAA has an article up about breakaway goal posts. Clemson is mentioned throughout the piece. Check it out.

BCS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: CBS Sportsline answers key questions about the addition of a fifth bowl game to the Bowl Championship Series.

Monday, March 01, 2004

BCS to add fifth bowl game to mix

In a move that potentially could boost revenues for an expanded ACC, the Bowl Championship Series has decided to add a fifth bowl game. The change will take effect beginning with the 2006 season.