Mickey Plyler's Blog for May 12


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Mickey,
I agree with your assessment on May 8th blog with one exception. South
Carolina has no chance at an upset and this is not a rivalry "I hate the
Coots" thing. While ours is not a great rivalry in the grand scheme of
college football, it may be the most bitter.
SC has very little experience on the O-line and what they learn during the
season leading up to our game is likely to be that football is a painful
sport. Against our front seven, they have no chance. It will be ugly and
to paraphrase a line from the original Rambo, they'd better bring a lot of
body bags.
That said, I am more worried about Wake. They lost almost no one from a
team that has given us fits. But South Carolina, who will beat us one day
(even Duke can beat us on a given Saturday) is still two years away from a
reasonable shot.
RJ



RJ,
I don’t think USC will beat Clemson in Death Valley this year either. I
think Clemson is much more talented.



Mickey,
You do a great job Mickey. keep up the good work. Hope some day we can pick
you up on house radio in Greer, S.C. can only pick you up on car radio!
Denny



Denny,
You can always hear the station on the internet at www.wccpfm.com



Mickey,
How would you rank our OL in the conference at this time?
James



James,
We will rank the entire ACC later this summer position by position. But I
don’t there is a finer offensive line in the conference this season.



Mickey,I enjoy reading our blogs everyday. I just wanted to know if you
could talk about the true chances of Clemson making it to the ACC champ game
and the chances of them winning it. I know it's only springtime but if you
had to pick two teams in that game who would they be. Me being only 30 years
old and a Clemson fan for half of that this is the first time I have had
this much excitement going into a season and your blogs make it that much
better. I am one of those fans that love your show but, hate when there is
not enough Clemson football talk, I can listen to or talk about Clemson
football 24/7 if I could. I want hold you up much longer just wanted to know
your early picks or favorites to win the ACC. Chuck from Greenville



Chuck,
This week I talked about expectations in the blog. I think it answers most
of your questions. I would also say Miami should be the favorite in the
Coastal division. Thanks for the kind words and look for more Clemson
football talk on the blog and show in the next two weeks.



Mickey,
About that Notre Dame game in ’77, my friends and I, just teens then, took
my Mom’s car up from G’ville only to find out that there were no tickets
available. We moaned and bitched and walked round and round the stadium til
we found an old man taking tickets at an open gate. We mashed into the
crowd entering the stadium and all three slipped right in.
We crammed onto the hill and the band came out not playing music, but
marching and mimicking the sound of a marching band… everyone was flipped
out. When they finally got into position they slammed into Tiger Rag like
never before… you know the drums finally went “tick, tick, tick, tick” and
the song started, the crowd went into a sick frenzy!
No one sat down that day in the valley and to this day, I have never been to
a game that I remember standing to watch the whole game through.
Thanks for reminding me.
Dave



Dave,
Thanks for your story. It has to be one of the top five days in the Valley.
Hopefully there will be more like it soon.



Hey Mickey!
I enjoy the daily blogs, and I especially liked the breakdown of BC's team
coming into the '06 season. I too, along with several family members and
friends, will be making the trip to Chestnut Hill. My question is this:
What are the chances of getting tickets for this game if I don't have enough
IPTAY points? Although I'm at a good IPTAY level, I've only been giving for
the 11 years after graduation. I've seen several broker sites that have
tickets available, and my instinct is to purchase tickets through a broker
at a premium to ensure I have a ticket. What is your take?
Thanks!
Wes Class of 1994



Wes,
I have never been to a sporting event where tickets were not being scalped
outside of the gates. I would think you could pay much less to a scalper
than a broker. Also, check Tigernet on their ticket section throughout the
summer.



Mickey,
You nailed it on the BC game. The offense that day reminded me of the
offense during the Hatfield era. Boring and predictable. Let’s hope this
time we use the many offensive weapons available and take control early.
Regards,
Bill



Bill,
I think the staff understands BC more after seeing them. I look for a
completely different game plan in 2006.



Mickey,
Awesome summary of the Pell years! I was at Clemson then, '77-'78, and
sharing the weight room and training room with some of these athletes as the
first captain of Clemson's Women's Volleyball Team. It was such an exciting
time! I was in the end zone at the USC game where Jerry Butler caught that
incredible pass! Thanks for the memories!
Blessings,
Teresa



Teresa,
Thanks for writing. How did our volleyball fair in the late 70s?



Mickey,
What’s up? Pretty accurate account of late 70’s, but I’ve always felt Red
Parker got shafted and Charley Pell got way too much credit (see career at
Fla). The program turned w/ the recruiting class of ’75. Steve Fuller was
my best friend in his and a lot of the visits took place at my
house(unlimited in those days). Harold Steelman was the point guy and Lawson
Holland basically moved to Spartanburg. They had 200-300 personal contacts
w/ Steve (he finally signed in late July-early August)…came to every
basketball, baseball game and track meet. That class had Steve, Dwight,
Jerry, Joe Bostic, Steve Kenney…next year Jim Stuckey, etc. Many started as
freshmen and sophs and by the time they were Jrs(when Parker got fired) you
or I could have “taught them to win”….spot the ball and get out of the
way….and you’re right, it was fun…Steve still grimaces over the 4th Q fumble
against ND.
John



John,
I probably did not give Parker enough credit. Those staffs worked extremely
hard and were very hungry to turn their program around. Thanks for your
recollection.



Mickey,
I agree with your recollection of Pell and the Clemson turning point.
I first met him at Clemson Tiger Football camp in the summer of 78.
I also listened to Jim Phillips call that 7-6 victory on that rainy day in
Athens. I was also in the Valley when Montana in his gold helmet and Devine in his
green windbreaker eked out a win. I also was at the game when Fuller hit Butler for "the Catch".
Great Blog.
Thanks,
Frank



Frank,
Thanks for sharing your memories. I still miss Jim Phillips.



Mickey,
Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed the blog entry on Coach
Pell and forwarded it on to my father who I know will love it. My father
was a scout team player (or sh!tbird as they called themselves) on Pell's
1977 team and he always told me growing up that Charlie Pell is the man
who brought a championship team to Clemson. He loves to point out that
Pell recruited the seniors on the national title team and the juniors
chose Clemson following that magical 1978 season.
As another anecdote, it was also Coach Pell who worked with my dad to
start another Clemson tradition in the 1978 season. As the mascot, my dad
started doing pushups in the east end zone after scores and Coach Pell
instructed Obed Ariri to "struggle" placing the ball on the tee to allow
my father the opportunity to finish the pushups before kickoff. He also
allowed my father to sit in a lounge chair with an inflatable Heineken
bottle in the end zone that the visiting team was trying to score in. The
NCAA banned mascots from the during the game after the season, but the
pushup tradition was there to stay (and copied by the rest of the schools
around the south).
I know that one of Coach Pell's final speeches was given to the Clemson
team before the spring game in 2001. I wish I could've been there because
my father listened to Coach Pell in the locker room as a player and at
IPTAY functions as the mascot and swears that he's never heard a better
motivator. There's no doubt that he convinced Clemson players and fans
that they were some of the best in the country and set the stage for
Coach Ford's dominant program of the 1980's.
Just wanted to let you know that there are two Clemson fans out there who
really appreciate you taking the opportunity to give Coach Pell the
credit that he deserves from Clemson fans. Have a good one.
Heath



Heath,
Thanks for your stories. As we have discussed I remember your dad working
hard with those pushups during the Fuller-to-Butler days. Again, those were
special days. Thanks for your e-mail.



Mickey,
Thanks for answering my email re Barry Richardson and Marion Dukes.
You talked about the Pell years....heard Jeff Bostic tell the story when
Clemson fell behind before the Butler catch. He tells the story of how
Carolina kicked off to Clemson. Steve Fuller comes to the huddle and tell
the team not worry. First play incomplete, he again says, no problem, second
play, incomplete and again he says, don't worry and then third down, if I
am remembering the story right, incomplete and on fourth down he complete a
pass and the another, think Rick Weddington was on of the receivers and then
the Butler catch. Bostic laughed and says when Steve was saying it was okay,
they started looking at each other as each down went by.....thought it was a
great story.
He also said of the Super Bowls, etc that he had played in, the
Clemson/Carolina game mentioned above was the greatest game he has ever
played in.
Thanks again,
Big Fan in Chapel Hill
Walt



Walt,
Thanks for the stories. I think that might be the greatest drive in Clemson
history. That win saved the Gator Bowl season. Loved the huddle story.



Mickey,
Thank you for mentioning Red Parker. I always thought he was a fine coach.
Too many Tiger fans forget about him. Anyone who can win at a military
school, The Citadel, has to be a good coach because he did not do it with
talent.
Jake



Jake,
I don’t know coach Parker but have friends that were very close to him and
hold him in the highest regards. I probably should have given him more
credit.



Mickey:
I think your blog today was pretty darn accurate! I started Clemson in 72
with Hootie Ingram at the helm and finished with my Masters in 1978, so I
was in school and was in attendance at most of the games you discussed
today! Yes, no doubt, Charley Pell turned the program around in one year
from the rather so-so to poor showing in ’76. It all started with our
victory in Death Valley in ’76 however over the Gamecocks, I think the score
that day was 28 – 9. You could hear the team scrimmaging before the game on
the soccer field (behind the North Stands at that time) because we all knew
the team started all the games too slowly that year. As I recall, the game
was more one sided than the 28 -9 score (isn’t it always against the
Gamecocks?).
Why do I think Charley turned the program around, simple story here ……… I
was an intramural basketball hack and played with several of the FB players
(Ken Weichel, John Goodloe, and Roy Epps) on our intramural team. I was at
the track one day in early June about 4PM (and at about 95 degrees, typical
Clemson summer day!) and Ken Weichel (he was a big Defensive Lineman) was
running wind sprints. I said, “Ken, for the love of #######, what are you
doing, inducing heart failure”? He said in a quite serious tone, “We are
going to win next year”. I remembering thinking at the time that Ken had
been out in the sun too long, but I could tell too that he meant want he
said, and I thought, “Oh, OK, sure”. Until our game against MD I did not
think about it again. I thought we played a great game, but it wasn’t until
the UGA win in Athens the next week, I had the feeling then I was witnessing
something special (I remember being in McAlister Square in Greenville at
Belks buying a suit for my upcoming job interviews), when I heard the last
play of the game (as I recall, the weather in Athens and Clemson was
overcast and drizzling), and I got Goosebumps because I felt like this day
WAS history in the making for Tiger FB (of course at the time, you are not
sure, only time gives us that advantage of perspective), and it turned out
to be the bellwether win for our program, maybe to this day?
No doubt that Red had recruited the Steve Fullers, Jerry Butlers, Dwight
Clarks (who did not play that much, BTW), Archie Reese and others BUT
Charley instilled the “we are going to win, PERIOD” attitude. Also, if ND,
Joe Montana and Ken McAfee did not make a furious 17 point (I think?) 4th
quarter comeback against us in the Valley, they were not National Champs in
’77 (I spent $50 at Judge Keller’s for a fluorescent orange jumpsuit with a
Tiger Paw on the hip pocket, still had it until recently and even wore it to
one or two UT games here!). I had NEVER heard the Valley as loud as it was
that day, reminded me of last year’s Miami game!
Anyway, it was sure great to re-live the foundation of the modern era of
Clemson FB from the teams of ’76 – 78 and the players and coaches that made
it all happen. I would hope that the current FB team, coaches,
administration, and fans realize that you were so very accurate in the
defining moment; it was our 7-6 victory on a rainy afternoon in Athens when
we knocked down their 2 point conversion pass attempt in the end zone as
time expired. You don’t get too many defining moments in any venue, but
that one, I will always remember. I think we have a chance to be this
special in the next few years again at Clemson; we have everything in place
to make it happen again, just want everyone to remember when it all started,
at least for me anyway. Up until that point, we were not close to a .500
team during my tenure at Clemson. For the next 11 years, we had to be one
of the top 10 programs in winning % in the country! There will never be
anything more special than my time at Clemson. I wish the folks in
Knoxville knew the “Real Big Orange” (Clemson), oh well, they can dream, I
suppose!
Thanks for a great blog today Mickey and to reading (if you made it this
far) the ramblings of a huge Clemson alumnus and fan here in Knoxville, very
good and very accurate work!
David



David,
Your recollection added so much more. I loved your stories. Thanks for
sharing them with us.



Dear Mickey,
I honestly don’t know why I am writing this. I have never done anything like
this before. I entered Clemson in 1977 as a freshman and graduated in
December 1981. I lived through everything that you just mentioned and the
memories are so intense it is hard to describe. I was in the valley when Dan
Devine came to town. By the way we were all wearing orange overalls, the
start of a brief and now luckily extinct tradition. I traveled to the
Maryland game where we drove down the field in the fourth quarter and stuck
it in the end zone for the come from behind win. By the way, both Jerry
Butler and Dwight Clark had spectacular and long touch down receptions that
day. Two pretty good receivers I’m sure you’d agree. What a game. I also was
at the Carolina game where Butler made that spectacular grab and still have
a poster on my desk with a picture of that catch. No cigar tonight indeed! I
also was at the Gator Bowl when Pitt hammered us that year and then when we
beat Ohio State the next year. My last semester at Clemson was in the fall
of 1981! I attended several away games that year including the 10-8 win at
NC. Need I say more? My father graduated from Clemson in the 50’s and as you
can see my blood definitely runs Bright Orange.
I have lived on the west coast for may years and just moved back to the east
coast 1 ½ years ago. I had followed my beloved tigers from afar but it was
very difficult. Though I now live in Rhode Island it is much easier now. I
just joined IPTAY for the first time in my life this year and hopefully will
attend several games this year. I am as optimistic about the program now as
I have been in years.
I am sorry about the ramble but your blog stirred up so many vivid memories
that I was compelled to write. By the way you hit everything perfectly. Keep
up the wonderful work.
Thanks for the memories,
Michael Class of 1981



Michael,
I am so glad you wrote in. Please stay in touch and let us know what you
want in the blog. Glad to have you back on the East Coast.



Mickey,Your May 3 blog is right on the facts. The USC-Clemson game was on
TV, which was rare in the days before cable, and the comeback and those damn
t-shirts the coots wore mad me a Clemson fan for life. Great write-up.



Paul,
I think there were a lot of lessons learned that day about the t-shirts. I
know I learned a lot about humility and seeing someone humbled even though I
was nine years old.



Mickey,
The sad fact is Clemson has not won an ACC title in baseball in over a
decade. However, several teams in the ACC have won titles since Clemson. I
personally believe that if a team cannot win its league title I do not think its odds of
winning a national championship is great. Mickey, if a team is not good enough to win its own
league title what makes one think it is good enough to win a national title? Maybe,
the team is good enough to win an ACC title this year, I hope so, but I am hoping for
the best but expecting problems in the tournament. Just imagine if Coach Bowden goes
over a decade without winning an ACC championship what the fans and media will be
writing and saying on the airways! Thanks for your information concerning Clemson
sports.
Sincerely, Jeff



Jeff,
Thanks. You are right when you say it has been a few years since Clemson
won the ACC tournament. This year the ACC is the nation’s strongest
conference and I think it is possible to not win your conference and still
win the national title. I would give the conference more credit than take
away from what Clemson has accomplished. The league has been very good.



Mickey,
What are you thoughts on the final two series of the season for the Tiger’s
baseball team? There seems to be a log jam atop the Atlantic division
between Clemson and it next 2 ACC opponents, Wake and FSU, who do you see
pulling it out in the end and what does that mean along the lines of hosting
regionals and super regionals?
Chris in Charlotte



Chris,
I think this weekend’s series vs FSU is the key. If the Tigers could take
two of three from FSU then they will put a little more distance between them
and the Noles and WF. The Tigers enter this weekend with a 3 ½ game lead
over FSU and a 2 ½ game lead over WF. They could clinch the division this
weekend actually. The bigger race may be with UNC for the number-one spot
overall in the conference tournament. I think if Clemson can win four of
the final seven regular season games they will host a regional and a
super-regional.


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