New Defensive Line Coach Dan Brooks Happy to be Back on Football Field


by - Senior Writer -
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Dan Brooks was out of his element, and he knew it, so when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney called to inquire if Brooks was interested in getting back into coaching, he jumped at the chance to become a Clemson Tiger.

Brooks, a 34-year coaching veteran who spent the last 15 years coaching for Philip Fulmer at the University of Tennessee, was officially named to head coach Dabo Swinney’s staff on Monday as the defensive line coach, replacing David Blackwell, who became South Florida’s defensive coordinator earlier this month.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Brooks said to the media after Monday afternoon’s practice. “I am happy to be back coaching football, because that is what I am supposed to do. I am much more back in my element. It has been a tough three months for me, and now I am excited to be here. I have got some great young people to work with.”

After Fulmer’s buyout at Tennessee, the athletic administration decided to take care of Brooks, keeping him on staff working in facilities maintenance, where he was to oversee several construction projects within the Volunteer athletic department.

It was not a match made in heaven, however, and it didn’t take him long to realize he belonged back out on the football field.

“Instead of dealing with football, I have been dealing with architects and engineers and contracts and things like that,” Brooks said. “There is a lot of stuff going on with Neyland Stadium, and the baseball facility, and I was just out of my element and think they realized that. If I had not been here today, I would have been in a meeting about the golf practice facility, and I don’t even play that sport.

“I did not know what to do with myself. My wife was ready to get me out, I know that. I started doing that little job, and would get home at 5:30, and my wife wanted to know what I was doing there. I wanted to get back into coaching.”

Swinney had to wait until Brooks passed the university background check before making the announcement most people knew was coming almost a week ago.

“He has been the coach-in-waiting for about a week now,” Swinney said. “I am glad that we can officially announce Dan Brooks as our defensive line coach. His experience speaks for itself. The biggest thing I can say about Don Brooks is that he is a winner – he was won everywhere he has been. He brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge to our defensive staff, and he is a great recruiter. I am excited he has decided to join us here at Clemson.”

Brooks said he won’t try and reinvent the wheel at Clemson, but does think he has something to offer a wealth of defensive line talent the Tigers currently have.

“They have had a lot of good coaches here, and nothing I am going to tell them is rocket science,” Brooks said. “We are going to help Coach Steele be the best defensive coordinator he can be, and I am going to help them be the best player they can be. I don’t have all the answers; I’m not one of those kinds of guys.

“But football is still a game of fundamentals, and the worst thing they are doing as a group is their pad level. You cannot play defensive line up there. I have had some big old tall guys before, and they may not like me for a while, but they will after it helps. I am really pleased with the group, and how they respond and look you in the eye. I think we have got some guys that can be good players.”

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