|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:05 AM||
After the 2010 football season at Clemson I criticized Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile and his staff for lacking an offensive identity. I had grown up with Clemson football and it was clear to me what the identity of the offense was during the glory years.
I was in Orlando in January met a gentleman from Ohio who saw a Tiger paw on my shirt and he said, "You guys at Clemson run that fast-paced offense. I love that offense. I watched your bowl game against LSU and loved you guys running 100 plays in that game."
In basketball, Oliver Purnell had his supporters for most of his time here at Clemson but a few slipped off of the bandwagon in his final season. Like every coach he was criticized at times during his stay here but even Purnell's detractors had to admit he branded Clemson basketball with an identity.
Anyone that knew anything about college basketball at that time could tell you that Purnell's Clemson teams were going to press you for 40 minutes and make the game a 94-foot game. The offense was not beautiful at times and the NCAA tournament record was not terrific, but the program had an identity.
I am hoping Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
View Full Profile can soon establish an identity or a brand for Clemson basketball. After a season filled with bad luck, injuries, buzzer beaters and a long losing streak, I have compassion for Brownell who seemed to be snake bit over the last 11 months. He lost his top assistant in Rick Ray, who left to become the head coach at Mississippi State. He hit a home run with the hiring of James Johnson, an assistant at Virginia Tech, who a few days later left to go back and become the head coach in Blacksburg.
I remember getting the phone call about Devin ColemanDevin Coleman
#15 6-2, 200
View Full Profile in the off-season too. I knew when I first heard the news that an achilles tendon had cost the Tigers one of their promising players for the entire 2012-13 season. I also remember reading about Jaron BlossomgameJaron Blossomgame
#5 6-7, 205
View Full Profile's broken leg and at the time I thought it was a possibility that he too could be out for a while but didn't know it was for the entire season.
So Brownell had a nightmare season where everything seemed to have him running uphill with 100 pound ankle weights on. But that is when you really need an identity.
Sometimes you have to play with the cards you are dealt and you have to adjust. For years North Carolina won with a two post offense. The Tar Heels almost always have big, physical post players that dominate on both ends of the floor. However, this year North Carolina does not have a physical post presence and Roy Williams has had to resort to putting four shooter out on the floor. For the first time in a long time, the Tar Heels look like Duke with their four out and one in offense.
Good coaches have to adapt to situations but I have little doubt that Williams and his staff will go right back to their two-post system in practice number one next season.
What will Clemson go back to?
Brownell prides himself on being a defensive minded coach and I hope his teams can get back to that but I didn't see great defense very often in the second half of the season.
Maybe the biggest goal of the off-season will be a re-dedication to that style of defense. Maybe this staff needs to make it clear that that is the way they have to play in order to win here. Hopefully the day of teams shooting over fifty percent from the field and the opponent having someone go off for a career high are behind us.
Identity is easy when you have players too. Chad Morris had Tajh Boyd, Dwayne Allen, Nuk Hopkins and Sammy Watkins in his first season. UNC had James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Tyler Hansbrough and a cast of a bunch of All-ACC post players.
However, I welcome the day where Clemson basketball is branded again. What is our program about right now? When prospects, fans and opponents think of Clemson basketball what do they think of at this point?
Hopefully in 2013-14 season and beyond, that won't be a difficult question to answer.
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