Bowden: Swinney has taken Clemson to the next level


by - Senior Writer -
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The 2012 football season will be Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s fourth full season at the helm of the Clemson program, and even his former boss admits that the program is in better shape than when Swinney took over.

Swinney took over in mid-2008 for former head coach Tommy Bowden, a season that started with an embarrassing loss to Alabama in the season opener and included a 12-7 loss to Wake Forest that ended up being Bowden’s last game at Clemson.

There have been ups and downs to be sure, and the downs are easily remembered by every Clemson fan – a 6-7 record in 2010; last year’s loss in the Orange Bowl; baffling defensive lapses and a three-year losing streak to arch-rival South Carolina.

But there have been more ups than downs, including two trips to the ACC Championship Game, an ACC Championship last season and a recruiting upswing that has many believing – including Swinney – that the program may indeed be on the rise.

He has a 29-19 overall record as head coach, but that includes a 4-3 interim record in 2008. As Clemson’s full-time coach, he is 25-16, with two Atlantic Division titles on his resume. Just for fun, I looked up the coaching records of some of the game’s best coaches through their first three seasons, and noticed that Nick Saban was 19-16 in his first three season at Michigan St; Les Miles was 21-16 at Oklahoma St.; Steve Spurrier was 20-13-1 at Duke; heck, even Mack Brown was 8-24 in his first three seasons at North Carolina.

The reason I said that is to say that Swinney is doing what a young coach should do – learning from his mistakes and getting better and playing to his strengths, one of which happens to be recruiting.

I have covered Swinney through almost every step of his head coaching career – one of the very first stories I wrote for TigerNet in the middle of the 2008 season covered Bowden's departure and the hiring of an interim Swinney. I have noticed something different about Swinney over the last several months: He is more of a CEO for the program, taking a step back out of the minute-to-minute operations and becoming more of a manager.

I noticed it last spring and I even noticed it during his high school camp in June. Perhaps I wasn’t as observant earlier, but I truly believe what Clemson fans are seeing is a young coach that is maturing before our eyes.

I spoke with Bowden last weekend at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, and Bowden told me that Swinney has taken the program to the next level.

“We were recruiting pretty good, and when you were as close as we were it just takes one player to make a difference,” Bowden said. “Like Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 200
Fort Myers, FL

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- take him off that team last season and maybe they only have seven or eight wins. He has the new facilities, and the program wasn’t in bad shape when he took over. But with that said, Dabo has done a good job of taking it to the next level, which a lot of guys can’t do.”

Bowden said the qualities that Swinney is now beginning to exhibit are what led him to recommend his wide receivers coach to athletic director Terry Don Phillips in his exit interview.

“When I talked to Terry Don that morning, that is what I saw in my mind and why I recommended him,” Bowden said. “I knew he had the recruiting skills, the people skills and the ability to manage people. It wasn’t about the X’s and O’s. I think he had a little edge to him because he never had been a coordinator, even though he could have been.”

Bowden said he noticed Swinney take a step forward a year ago with the hiring of offensive coordinator Chad Morris and in this year’s hire of defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

“I called plays, and my father called plays for a lot of years,” he said. “Sometimes that is not always the best thing for a head coach. If you look at his hire of Chad Morris, he now has a head coach for the offense. He hired Venables to be the head coach of the defense. Now, his job is to manage those guys and let them coach. He is doing what you need to do in college right now – you manage your staff and the players.”

Bowden said he has also seen Swinney make the tough decisions he had to make in order to make the program better, even if that means admitting he made a mistake.

“One of the toughest things you can do as head coach is to make decisions with your staff,” he said. “Billy Napier was a good friend of his and a good coach, but you have to make good decisions if you are going to be successful at this level. He has shown he can do it. He has shown that he can do that with some of the hires he has made.”

The jury is still out on the 2012 season and beyond, but with two dynamic coordinators acting as head coaches on their respective sides of the ball, facilities continually being built and upgraded and an influx of recruiting talent beginning to fill out the roster, the arrow looks like it is pointed up.

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Subject (Replies: 96) Author
Front Page Story: Bowden: Swinney has taken Clemson to the next level
Crump®
Re: Front Page Story: Bowden: Swinney has taken Clemson to the next level
ALL IN Tiger 888
B-b-b-but, we need a "name" Head Coach!
zettner®
Seem kinda safe to say we have one.***
ClemsonTiger1988®
Re: B-b-b-but, we need a "name" Head Coach!
clemsongradanddad
Does anyone else see the irony in this comment....
DefensiveTackleU
Re: Does anyone else see the irony in this comment....
orangeman
Re: Does anyone else see the irony in this comment....
8992Tiger
Tommy Bowden is going to be one of those people....
Kaplony
Re: Does anyone else see the irony in this comment....
SolidOrange007
Re: Does anyone else see the irony in this comment....
Dahamp2003
Very True and He
GrayBengal®
Bowden said a lot of good things...
6317forever®
Yeah, I didn't like that either. To imply that without
DefensiveTackleU
Re: Yeah, I didn't like that either. To imply that without
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Yeah, I didn't like that either. To imply that without
brad12
Aaron Kelly doesn't belong in the same sentence at JD and CJ***
tigerdrummer®
Re: Aaron Kelly doesn't belong in the same sentence at JD and CJ***
6317forever®
If he would have just caught that TD pass against BC, how
Tiger95
Well, we'd still have Bowden.
6317forever®
How many passes did you catch during your Clemson career?
Lumbee
Switch out Aaron Kelly for Sammy Watkins on that team
joeyb®
Re: Switch out Aaron Kelly for Sammy Watkins on that team
CU_Drew
But then do you take away 5-stars like CJ, Bowers, & Sapp?***
Razzmatazz
Just switch him on one play...******
TigersN06
That's true, but if you look at the rosters top to bottom...
SolidOrange007
TB - "A Play(er) Away from Success" - all same message***
silvavocati
But, Dabo did an end run and took Bowden's job.
ClemsonTiger1988®
Here Razz - let me save you the keystrokes . . .
Rocky the Tiger®
Re: Here Razz - let me save you the keystrokes . . .
orangeman
NICE. +1.***
SOLOS®
Couldn't agree more - I was poking fun at the never-ending
Rocky the Tiger®
Of the 21 teams ranked above CU, any HCs with no experience?
Razzmatazz
We did not have top 25 talent in 2010
Drobins
Re: Of the 21 teams ranked above CU, any HCs with no experience?
orangeman
You didn't answer my question. You cherry-picked bad cases.
Razzmatazz
Re: You didn't answer my question. You cherry-picked bad cases.
marshmk
I didn't say that at all. Read. Comprehend. THEN comment.***
Razzmatazz
I count 10 teams
Kaplony
Re: I count 10 teams
orangeman
Of course I meant HC or coordiinator experience. ZERO.
Razzmatazz
Your cutting hairs razz...
deleted
Yeah... Me & every D1 AD in the country cutting same hairs!***
Razzmatazz
LOL. What are you even talking about?
deleted
LOL. You don't understand. No time to explain it to you.***
Razzmatazz
There's nothing to explain. You rarely make sense except to
deleted
Re: Your cutting hairs razz...
clemsongradanddad
Keep moving the goal posts sport
Kaplony
Re: Of the 21 teams ranked above CU, any HCs with no experience?
TigerHawk76®
Re: Of the 21 teams ranked above CU, any HCs with no experience?
allorangeallthetime52®
Our talent was not that strong in 2010. I thought we already
deleted
So, You saying Dabo is the highest rated 'newbie' coach?
89tigergrad
No need to knock Bowden....
orangeman
Re: No need to knock Bowden....
TigerDen08
oh Bowden...
CU_Drew
Re: oh Bowden...
buie32
Re: oh Bowden...
CU_Drew
Hey Coach Bowden, Thanks for hiring Dabo!***
tigerdrummer®
Tommy will never be as good a head coach as Dabo.
argonaut1992®
Bowden won 66% in his last 3 yrs, Dabo won 61% in 1st 3 yrs.
Razzmatazz
At this point, anyone who can't see that Dabo has Clemson
Bashful Baron
The stats are the stats. It's not what I "want to see".
Razzmatazz
But your stats are incomplete.
Bashful Baron
Re: But your stats are incomplete.
Razzmatazz
LMAO. Here we go. Let the overANALyses begin...
deleted
Stats are for losers = Razzmatazz
orangeblood10
What we "want to see".
TigerHawk76®
His [b]ANAL[/b]yses are comical.***
deleted
It's sad that you can't respond in a civilized adult manner.
Razzmatazz
In order to do that...
cutiger250®
Re: In order to do that...
Razzmatazz
Waaaa! That's so uncilvilized and immature!
deleted
A) I NEVER said I wasn't going to read your posts, B) NEVER
deleted
Re: A) I NEVER said I wasn't going to read your posts, B) NEVER
orangecrush10
Return to being a Top 10 team?
Kaplony
No. I wrote "like when I attended Clemson." I'm an '84 grad
Razzmatazz
Tommy would have figured some way to blow the ACC title
argonaut1992®
On a whole it feels like we win more meaningful victories
Drobins
LOL. Let's see how Dabo is doing in years 7, 8 and 9.
deleted
These comparisons got to stop. Dabo ain't Miles or Saban.
SteelTiger1
I'll take Dabo over Miles any day of the week. Now Saban....
SolidOrange007
Re: I'll take Dabo over Miles any day of the week. Now Saban....
CUZ28
That's a good ponit... Dabo just wears it on his sleeve
SolidOrange007
oops - point****
SolidOrange007
Re: These comparisons got to stop. Dabo ain't Miles or Saban.
Tiger Stripes®
Are you kidding me right now?
PioneerG
Re: These comparisons got to stop. Dabo ain't Miles or Saban.
sideliner
Now that Bowden admits that Dabo is the better head coach
Judge Keller
Bowden was a snob and a loser***
iggyme
Bowden bashing days should be long over. He moved our
TheHill2
I'm with you. I never bashed Bowden. The man did his best,
Swarley
b/c bashing is fun, like listening to gossip tidbits***
silvavocati
Request for TigerNet to ban "Razzmataz"...any 2nd's, 3rd's..
orangeman
2nd! Or just ignore my opinions if they hurt your feelings.
Razzmatazz
I don't believe that is the problem people have with you
Drobins
problem is,razz, thats what you are known for - razzing .
sgt tiger®
Hurt our feelings ??? You give yourself WAY too much credit
Rocky the Tiger®

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