Bowden: Swinney has taken Clemson to the next level


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Bowden: Swinney has taken Clemson to the next level

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