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Friday Email Bag


  by - Radio Host - Friday, November 30, 2012 11:07 AM
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Friday Email Bag
Each Friday I publish your comments and answer your questions.  To submit a comment or questions please email me at mickeyplyler@hotmail.com.

Mickey,

Love the show and try to listen daily.

I went to the Purdue basketball game and was disturbed by the weak attendance....There were empty seats everywhere.  The crowd that was there were loud and did a good job, but the empty seats was embarrassing.  This wasn't a no name game like Elon or whoever....This was Purdue...This was the ACC/Big 10 Challenge and Clemson was live on ESPNU.  Clemson basketball fans....You just represented yourself to nation.

All I can say is that Clemson fans do not deserve a good basketball team.  This is not some lame duck coach in his 10th season.  Brownell is still rebuilding the program and has a team loaded with freshmen and sophs.  Growing pains are to be expected.  Those empty seats send the signal to recruits that we are pathetic basketball fans..  

Granted, everyone can not make every game, but 40%-50% capacity is awful.  My message to the Clemson fan base is simple....If you don't get behind Brownell, then don't be whining and complaining when he goes to another job where he is actually supported.

Have a great day.

Mark

Mark,
It. Is very clear to me that Clemson is a hard to sell in basketball. I don't understand it but I have fought this battle for years. Clemson fans are just not basketball people. It hurts to admit that. Some love it. Others like it but too many don't care. That hurts to admit.

Mickey,

I read you blog today, "Brownell's Decision."  Sadly, I have to agree with you on this one.  This young man has been given chances in the past and he has simply continued to ignore the rules.  I believe a third strike means he is "out". 

Kindest Regards,

Kirk

Kirk,
Thanks for the email. It will be interesting to see what Brownell does on this one.


Mickey,

While watching the replay Sunday of the NC State game I noticed that after we scored our last points, the camera caught a shot of Dalton Freeman, Coach Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
View Full Profile
and Dabo. Coach Caldwell appeared to be telling Dabo something about the line play. When Dalton walked off it was obvious he was upset about something & you could read Dabo's lips telling him to "forget about it and play, just play." Any idea of what triggered this event?

Al

Al,
I am not totally sure of the time you are asking about but Freeman was flagged for two personal fouls in the game. Once was for taking up for Boyd after he was roughed up. The other was for a legal block but the official said it was behind the play and unnecessary. That was an awful call. Hope this helps.


Mickey,
I debated writing this email several times but after much thought I decided to anyway. Mickey I honestly do not listen to your show for a number of reasons none of which have to do with how good it is etc. mainly where I live "the Charlotte area" but mainly because I primarily listen to the MLB and NFL Networks Radio stations on Sirius/XM...on occasion I listen to 105.7 The Fan out of Baltimore through my iPhone.  Mickey first I want to say that I am a Clemson man who grew up in Maryland and have many friends who go to Maryland games and went to school at UMD...I also want you to know that regularly attend Clemson games and have been an IPTAY Member since 1991 when I got out of school.

First your comment about UMD Fans throwing batteries..I find this comment interesting coming from you especially...you are a Yankee fan and Yankee fans throughout the years have become infamous for this type of behavior. Ken Singleton who I used to go watch play right field for the Orioles @ Memorial Stadium in Bmore with my Dad and who is now part of the Yankee Broadcast team used to say "part of going to Yankee stadium and playing right field is dodging flying batteries."  

Second your comment about UMD fans cursing...I find it very interesting you brought this up especially after what I witnessed Saturday night in Clemson. I heard more F-bombs being thrown by Clemson fans Saturday @ officials and Coot fans than I have ever heard at any games that I have ever been to and I attend Ravens and Orioles games in Baltimore when I get a chance. Here is an example from Saturday - I am sitting on the 50 Yard Line mid-way up Row S Home side and there is a 12 year old girl and her father (both Gamecock fans) just cheering their team...the Clemson guy behind me starts verbally abusing both of them with believe it or not curse words. I turned around and calmly explained to him to leave them alone they were just cheering their team not bothering anyone...he explained to me with many curse words that his family had been siting in the seats for 70 plus years and he could act however he wanted. (Classy) - This is just one of at least a half-dozen situations that arose Saturday and I am sure you get my point without me boring you and detailing every one...my point being is that you calling Maryland out for the same type of behavior that you can see in Clemson is comical. 

Bottom line Mickey is that for some reason in todays society no matter where you go attend a game people think they have carte blanche to say egregious things to other fans and players just because they are wearing and supporting a different team. In reality it is a disgusting reality of sports today.  

As far as UMD leaving...I personally think it stinks...they are a founding member of the ACC and both Clemson and UMD were founded by the same man "Thomas Green Clemson"...unfortunately Maryland's AD has spent themselves into oblivion and were forced to go for the big money of the B1G because the ACC is not comparable money wise with the B1G, SEC or Pac 12 for that matter...I guarantee you this...if the big money of the SEC comes calling for Clemson they will leave the ACC as fast as they can...

Mickey unfortunately the ACC is a rudderless ship with Swofford at the helm.Not sure if it is true but I was told that Kevin Plank made this comment on Baltimore Sports radio recently...If you combined UMD President Loh, the AD Anderson and ACC Commissioner Swofford together they wouldn't be qualified to run a 7-11...and as funny as that sounds its probably not far off. lol Have a good one and Go Tigers!


Charles

Charles,
I agree that all teams have good fans and bad one. Maybe it is just my bad luck but I have been to every ACC school many times except for BC, where I have only been once. Since the late 1970s I have been fortunate to go to over 100 road games. South Carolina is bad at times. Georgia is bad at times but consistently I have heard worse and been treated worse at Maryland than any other ACC school. I have had four or five horrible experiences there. I would go on to say that it really isn't even close in my mind. Also this is a sentiment I share with a lot of Clemson fans. I am glad I don't have to go to College Park anymore after next season.

Good morning Mickey,
 
Love the show Mick
 
(To paraphrase) You said that us fans only hurt a fraction of what the coaches hurt. I totally disagree with that.
 
Also Consider:
The Clemson fan is here because he chooses to be and puts his hard earned cash on the table to wear the orange.
Yes they work long hours and get paid well and take their money home. We work hard and take our money to Clemson. They are here to get paid not us!
Will Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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get buried in a Clemson casket when he dies (not that I would but you catch my drift)
Do they get harassed by family and co-workers and friends like we do and have every time they lose?
Have they been Clemson fans since they were little kids and will they be when they die?
Dabo was not a Clemson fan while holding his last job – I was since ever since I had a job.
 
That said, I agree it’s more important financially that they win the game and to their families (if they like living in Clemson) because as you say, it’s their job and reputation.
But you are wrong in that a Clemson fan does not hurt more… it’s a much deeper hurt than a Coach at Clemson unless he’s a lifelong Clemson fan.
My love for Clemson has been a work in progress for many years… not possible for them to love it like many fans do.
 
Give us some credit…. We spend the buck on CU and they make the bucks off CU.
 
Thanks and have a great day,
Jeff
 
P.S. Let me also add that if Brent or Chad were to take one of these open jobs somewhere else, Their hurting goes very quickly while ours remains until we beat those nasty chickens!

Jeff,
We will have to disagree. You make good points and I don't want to diminish your level of pain but coaches put their names and reputations on the line. Believe me, they are in pain right now. Their level of commitment is much greater than the fans. They spend 15 hours a day doing this and take a lot of pride in their work. Believe me, they hurt!

Mickey,

Sorry man I have to disagree with you today.  Fans hurt 24/7, 365 when they lose to their in-state rival.  Yes the coaches work long hours but they are nothing more than machines.  Come on Mick, we're talking about guys that know the business and they know the good and the bad.  If you went over their right now and fired Jeff ScottJeff Scott
Assistant Coach / WRs / Recruiting Coordinator
View Full Profile
, for example, he takes a job in Cola next week.  He's in some kid's house that night telling them how "they" beat CU 4 years in a row.  You know I'm right Mickey.  For fans it is different and it does hurt more.

Dabo says it best when they lose, this is one game, time to focus on the next and move on, we have a lot to play for, etc...

On a more serious note, what you think will happen to Ellis Johnson now?  I think he deserved another year or two.


Kevin

Kevin,
It is a job but these are ultra competitive people. Ellis will get a good defensive coordinators job very soon if he wants one.

Mickey,

FSU has on TI that Veneables is not happy at CU and interested in FSU DC job. What are your thoughts?

Rick

Rick,
I have not heard anything on him looking around. He bought a big lake house here and has a big buyout. He makes more money here than FSU. I don't see that happening but could be wrong.

Mickey,

Why doesn't the SEC want Clemson? Clemson's fan base is huge.

Jadd

Jadd,
The SEC is about geographic footprint. They are already in South Carolina. Clemson adds nothing to that footprint. This could change but up until now, the SEC has had nothing to do with Clemson.

Mickey,

I listen to your show nearly every day and I am a lady! I do not know nearly as much football as most guys but I am passionate about Clemson to a fault and cant get enough of our football, with the exception of last Saturday of course....My comments have to do with our lot in the ACC. No other options sound viable to me-we would be a natural fit in SEC but that doesn't seem to look promising. If we have 4 non-conference games why in the world cant we play 4 big time teams who are usually ranked (knowing we have to book years in advance) and take our lumps while competing at a high level. It would give us better technique, more national exposure and is the only way I can think of to strengthen our conference. If this idea would be acceptable and I think it makes perfect sense, is it our Athletic Director who is the schedule maker and if so, how far out are games scheduled? Can they be changed? Why do we never read about the AD and choice of teams played? Is this a taboo subject? I would love to hear your views on this. We will never pull the conference up and be able to stay in this geographic area for game attendance by adding teams from places 5 and 6 states away.....Thank you for your time.

Susan

Susan,
The reason you can't play four big time games is because you need home games and the revenue. Bigger schools have bigger budgets and they need home games. LSU, Alabama or Ohio State is not coming to Clemson without a return trip. These schools need at least seven home games so this makes it impossible to play four big non-conference games.

Mickey
 
I enjoy listening to your show each morning here in Florence, SC and I appreciate your perspective. My question is in relation to Tony Steward as  I have only seen him play on special teams and a few times at linebacker.  How is he progressing and how does his future look? 
 
Thanks
 
Julian

Julian,
Steward's knee limited his side to side mobility. He really was not ready to play this year bit he wanted to play. The hope is that a healthy knee next year gives him a better shot at playing time.

Mickey,

Do you think Clemson should start over recruiting 3 or 4 players each year and send the guys that or not working out home . Carolina has done this for the last 5 years and it's worked well for them... Thanks

Robbie

Robbie,
Dabo will not do that. He is not in the business of running players off. He thinks this is unethical.

Mickey,
Wanting something so badly that it hurts when you don’t get it is OK.  My kid hurts this way when we leave Target without the latest Lego set and I felt this way Saturday night.  It’s how you behave and act it out, however, that speaks volumes.  On Saturday night, not unlike those rare times when they suspend trading on Wall Street due to overwhelming and irrational market fears, it would have been nice to see the Clemson chat rooms and boards shut down for a cooling-off period (until after National Signing Day). 
 
I realize the small minority can be quite vocal, they enjoy their freedom of speech, and sometimes are without full-time work or a family to raise.   In spite of all that, some of comments since Saturday establish new lows with references to firing Dabo and other coaches, bringing Danny Ford in as a coach or “consultant,” or the best rant echoed countless times, was to lose many if not all other games as long as Clemson beat SC each year.  Yeah, great idea, let’s tank the university and its brand so a few fans can live a meaningful existence. 
 
I can’t stand the fact that we lost yet again to SC, however, if I chose not to ACCEPT it, that would require me quitting my job and entering the coaching ranks (presumably starting with my son’s pop warner team) in hopes of someday landing the head job at Clemson.  Only then would I truly being doing anything to positively impact the outcome.  Anything less and I’m simply a whiner.  My co-workers and some of my family are from the dark side, but the best thing is to maintain a little bit of perspective and deal in the present, with an eye to the future.   It seems today’s teams are compared to the success we enjoyed in the 80’s.   That’s natural to some extent, but I don’t think the college football landscape resembled the one we have today.  That’s not an excuse, just a reality. 
 
Back to the rivalry… our overall record in this series has been pretty compelling, but for the time being that’s truly in the past now.  We tend to forget that over the years Clemson was not a great team (except for most of the 80’s) and for most of this time we were beating a very poor USC program.  We may have had superior talent overall in those 100+ years but that wasn’t saying much relative to the top programs in college football.   Did we all assume that SC would simply never get better as a program, or that we would magically stay two steps ahead no matter the circumstances?   Would fans be quite as upset today if another highly ranked team came in and beat us by 10 points?  Upset, sure, but jumping off bridges and firing coaches after a 10 win season?  How quickly we forget that this was the first season in God only knows how many, that we didn’t lose a game in which we were greatly favored. 
 
A common refrain which I understand to some extent is, “10 wins, who cares… look at the teams we played against.”  None of the coaches nor any of our players have one ounce of control over the quality of team the other schools put on the field.   While I agree we didn’t beat anyone special, the team simply did everything it could do (less a win in Tallahassee), and with most victories in a very convincing fashion.   Dabo isn’t the only coach talking about how difficult it is to win a bunch of games, no matter the schedule.  If winning a bunch of games (including your in-state rival) was so easy the BCS poll wouldn’t exist because 20+ teams would be no-loss or one-loss teams.   I’m not jumping up and down about this season but I can certainly stand back from the loss to SC and recognize that overall, the team did a pretty good job this year playing a schedule they had no control over.
 
We can talk about a porous defense or questionable play-calling, but as fans we never give quite enough credit to the other team when its due.  Not making excuses for our weaknesses, but very few teams if any over the last two seasons have slowed Clowney and he single-handedly stopped multiple drives with his pressure and sacks.  Perhaps even a bigger factor than Clowney or our ineffective secondary, is the one attribute we’ve lacked for so long at Clemson, and that’s toughness.   While I do believe some of this can be recruited, I also believe it can engendered thru coaching and the atmosphere created.  I think the staff is working extremely hard to address these in all areas and with slowly improving results to show for it (reference some pretty dominant performances this year vs. prior seasons).   My concern however is for the “glass ceiling” called the ACC, a ceiling which Clemson may be bumping their head against now.
 
Clemson can put 4 and 5 star players at every position and teach toughness till the cows come home, but it seems our soft ACC schedule serves to offset this and does nothing to help prepare us for the intensity, speed, and toughness that a team like SC brings from having played a more challenging teams along the way.  Some Clemson fans take advantage of recent years to point out a “weak SEC” with the likes of Tenn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Auburn, etc. yet the bottom-line lately: the best the SEC has to offer has been physically superior to the best the ACC has to offer, and the same holds true for the worse teams from each conference.  SC has not necessarily out-recruited Clemson in terms of talent in recent years, but their SEC affiliation (after many years of playing the doormat role), is now paying dividends as they have recruited better (relative to previous SC teams) and simply preparing for and playing their schedule has made them a tougher program.   They’ve taken their lumps and now they get to dish some. 
 
While we may never find out what Clemson would do in a substantially stronger football conference, there is always hope and I look forward to pounding SC in a contest sooner than later.  In the meantime, life is too short to bemoan 10-win seasons.  Avoid the orange-colored Kool-Aid, but also back up and get some perspective, recognizing that some limitations (conference affiliation) are simply beyond control of the coaches and players.  
   
Bobby

Bobby,
It seems to me that you are too intelligent and too rational to listen to sports talk shows or read internet sites. Your level of each produces a lack of drama needed today. On a serious note, thanks for the great email!

 
                      
Mickey,

I have no idea what the coaching staff was thinking saturday night.It was the single worst gameplan I have ever seen.Anyone who know anything about football knew going in you had to chip Clowney with a back or tight end....we didn't do it.You run screen passes and draw plays to slow down blitzers....we didn't do it. Down by 3 in the 3rd we totally abandoned a running game that gashed South Carolina in the first half. Say what you want about Clemson fans but if Dabo loses in Columbia next year his seat will be hot no matter how many AWFUL ACC teams he beats.Which brings me to my next point; The ACC is killing us. You can't prepare to play physical teams when your league is full of tomato cans.There is no quick fix to this league.Va Tech is awful and I can't see where that changes in the short term.I was shocked to see how far they have fallen athletically.Miami is about to get hammered by the NCAA and they aren't very good now.Everyone else (except FSU) in this league is terrible and would probably go winless in an elite conference.Boston College is the single dumbest addition by any conference ever and now you've added 2 more with Pitt(who no one in Pittsburgh cares about) and Syracuse(who no one on the entire east coast cares about) The Notre Dame addition is laughable. Anyone who thinks they are ever going to join in football is kidding themselves.It seems Swofford is really good at that.The ACC will implode I hope we have an escape plan             

BP

BP,
I did not like the game plan either bit it was not the worst I have ever seen. I have seen some bad ones before. The SEC schools play bad teams too. Clemson would have gone 10-2 with Georgia's schedule this season. I think maybe 10-2 with Alabama's as well. I am not sure playing Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Auburn make you tough. I agree on the BC addition. Pitt and Syracuse were awful too.

Mickey,

Record number of emails this weekend?  No doom and gloom from me about Clemson.  I am bitter about the game, especially living in Columbia, but this program is trending up and has been ever since Dabo took over.  Our coaches are doing a fine job of controlling the things they can control.  However, I see some huge issues that our president and Wilkins and the board are going to have to deal with THIS YEAR.  First, we are recruiting well despite weak competition that our conference can offer these kids.  We have 2 great SEC teams within 2 hrs on either side of our school, and yet we are getting great kids from both states.  That is just a huge tribute to the recruiting skills of Dabo and the staff.  The problem is this: over the last several years the SEC schools have received better media exposure and have been able to recruit a few more better players based on this exposure.  With the exception of Vanderbilt, they also are not subject to the academic entrance standards that are required of the ACC schools, and we've seen certain players make the difference in an average year and a national championship for an SEC team.  Over the last few years, this media exposure and these recruiting standards have built the SEC into the best conference in the nation and the product on the field is proof of that--just look at rivalries, bowl records, national championships, etc.  The second problem we face is that while the SEC continues to go up in stature, the ACC is going down--it's not even stagnant--IT'S GOING DOWN!  Because of the momentum the SEC has built, what used to be the premier football schools of the ACC like Miami, VTech, Clemson, and FSU have lost recruits to the neighboring SEC schools over the last few years.  This has made a huge difference in the strength of those SEC schools and the strength of their conference, and it has completely detracted from the success of our football schools in the ACC.  A five star recruit or a few four stars would probably make the difference in FSU playing for a national championship this year.  Instead, they were just handed their 2nd loss which happened to be from an SEC school.  Our strong schools are having trouble making the leap to greatness, and our average schools are becoming below average.  Add to that the maneuvers of adding schools like Pitt and Syracuse and our conference's marketability is completely shot.  Hey Swofford!  The product is football!  Not basketball!  Some are reluctant to join a more competitive conference because of the reason of competitiveness, and I have never understood this.  If you want to be the best, you have to consistently beat the best.  That is why a 2 loss SEC team gets the nod every time over a 1 loss team from another conference.  Our backs are actually against the wall here.  Come 2014 a one loss Clemson team doesn't stand a chance to make the new postseason playoff system.  I wonder if an undefeated Clemson team this year would have gotten into that playoff had Oregon remained unbeaten with Notre Dame--my guess is no--it probably would be the SEC champion and another 1 loss SEC team.  The conference is a wine and cheese sailboat going down, and FSU, Clemson, VTech, and Miami need to jump on a life raft and get over to an aircraft carrier.  Who likes wine and cheese anyway?  Hats off to Dabo who continues to put out a quality product in the face of these adversities and who lowered his salary so he could bring in quality assistants.  I know the move to another conference will cost money and is a risk, but it needs to be looked at as an investment in the future of the school.  The writing on the wall concerning this conference could not be clearer.  Hey Wilkins!  Hey Barker!  How 'bout that life raft?

Michael

Michael,
As usual your analysis is right on. Expansion is only about football except for the Big 10 Network. Clemson is a football school and hopefully one day it can surround itself with others who feel the same way. The ACC has issues but the biggest is the presidents' lack of vision. This thing is about football. Those that don't get on board will be left behind.

Mickey,

You frequently discuss the lack of talent on defense as a primary reason for lack of defense effectiveness.
This is difficult to disagree with to some extent but in regards to this years loss to the Gamecocks and previous years losses
for that matter I submit the following:

Spurrier has dominated our past two defensive coordinators in offensive -vs - defensive strategies.
As he is arguably one of the top 25 offensive minds of all time (college) this is not meant as a total slam on our coaches.
He seems to know what buttons to push to get receivers wide open against us. On at least five occasions they had receivers unguarded.

Spurrier's post game press conference highlighted this with sly comments such as:

' They seem to play poorly against us' and

In reference to the slant pattern to Sanders (unguarded) 'the play was called to the tight end but they had THREE guys on him'.

As I sit in the upper deck I get a good overall view and was watching the defensive backfield on the play. We had two safeties and two cornerbacks
back peddling 20 to 25 yards deep. The Gamecocks had no receivers going deep. Sanders ran a simple 15 yard slant - wide open.

I suspect these four guys were doing what BV had taught them to do for whatever mindless defensive play call he had made.

IMO the defensive strategy should have been pressure, pressure pressure including with the cornerbacks. The worst thing that could happen is they 
score quick and the offense gets the ball. Instead we employee a strategy that enables them to keep the ball the whole second half. 
We had three seniors back there Hall, Meeks & Brewer, they aren't without talent.

IMO the reason  for four consecutive losses has been mostly the Coaching matchup not mostly on the lack of talent. The Senior class
had the most ACC wins, they weren't that untalented.

Having said such I would sign Dabo to a ten year contract tomorrow for all the good he has done. Hopefully he is studying and learning about 
'battlefield' strategy from the ol' ball coach..

Just saying! 

Brian 

Brian,
The only flaw in your argument is that the DBs are doing what they are taught to do. The DBs have had busted assignment after busted assignment all season long. They just don't have anyone to replace those guys right now.

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