Bowden To Be More Involved in Play Calling

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON -- It was the worst kept secret on the football team last season – there was a three-headed monster of a coordinator leading the offense.

Brad Scott had the title of offensive coordinator, but quarterback coach Mike O’Cain called the plays and head coach Tommy Bowden offered suggestions through their headsets as he paced up and down the sideline.

Apparently, the only problem with the scheme, according to Bowden, is that he didn’t have a full enough grasp of the offensive terminology.

On Monday, he vowed that he wouldn’t have that problem this fall. Bowden, who served as wide receivers coach during the first few weeks of spring practice, said he is determined to be even more involved in the offensive play calling.

“During the last six years I’ve been a head coach, I’ve been weaned down from working with the offense,” he said. “Now I want to be weaned up.”

How Bowden lost touch of the offensive terminology isn’t clear. By all accounts, he participates actively in the offensive meetings. He carries the offensive play chart around during the game and he would, at least when Rich Rodriguez was on staff, spend Fridays before the game scripting the first 20 offensive plays.

However, if there was an underachieving part of the team last season, it was the offense. And Bowden, like most head coaches, isn’t about to see that part of the team fall apart until he’s had a chance to fix it.

“I spent a lot of time (calling plays),” he said, referring to his days as an offensive coordinator at Duke, Kentucky and Auburn.

Bowden’s offense was in its heyday while he was the head coach at Tulane. It was there that he brought Rodriguez on board and combined his ideas with his own and also had contributions from Ron West and Burton Burns. Rodriguez brought on board an unpredictability and West brought a solid running scheme from Baylor, where he had worked for Chuck Reedy.

“When you put a staff together, you’re the only ones that know the offense,” he said. “Well, you know, all of a sudden, you lose Rich, and (Rick) Stockstill, whose been with the offense for four years is gone. You lose a couple of guys and get a new wideout coach and now just Ron and Burton and myself are the only guys that have been with the offense since day one.”

Bowden sounded upbeat on Monday about being more involved in the offense. Of course, it also puts the bullseye squarely on his back when things go wrong. Before, it was pure speculation who was calling the plays. Now, Bowden is assuming a much larger responsibility for the success of the offense, which struggled last season with a beat up offensive line.

“Everybody has their philosophy,” said Bowden. “Then, all of a sudden I would try to contribute during the game. I felt like I couldn’t contribute during the game as much as I could. You sit there and say something and you’re more disruptive than anything.”

Bowden hopes that this season the three-headed monster will be less disruptive.

Practice Notes:

- Jermyn Chester, who had jumped ahead of Cedric Johnson at left guard, will likely not return to action for the Tigers after injuring his right knee during practice on the Wednesday before spring break. Chester, a red-shirt senior, could apply for a medical hardship year, but likely won’t, according to Bowden.

- Toure Francis and Khaleed Vaughn returned to practice Monday after being held out of drills during the first three weeks due to injuries. Francis is returning from a torn ACL he suffered against Georgia last season. Linebacker Brandon Jamison also returned to practice after having to take the beginning of spring practice off for academic reasons.

- The spring game on April 5 will be held at Riggs Field again this season. It was held there last year because of the crown being taken off Frank Howard Field. After scrimmaging in Death Valley, it was apparent to Bowden that the field will not be in shape for the spring game and it would be best to move the game to avoid injuries.

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