Caldwell glad to be "home", ready to go to work

by - Senior Writer -
Caldwell, who graduated from Furman University, said he feels like he is coming home.

Audio: Robbie Caldwell Press Conference (WMA Format)

CLEMSON – New Clemson coach Robbie Caldwell wasted no time in unveiling his plans for his players on the offensive line.

“We are about to get after it,” Caldwell told members of the media Thursday morning in the WestZone, his first public appearance since being hired to replace Brad Scott. “I told those boys [on the line] yesterday when I met with them, that we are going to joke and cut up and have fun, but when it’s time to go to work, it’s time to flip the switch. And now it is time to flip the switch.”

Caldwell, who graduated from Furman University in Greenville, was born in Pageland, S.C., and he said he feels like he is coming home.

“I have been out of the state for 25 years, but this is home to me,” Caldwell said. “I went to school right down the road here at a pretty special place. I’ve caught a lot of fish in that lake over there, looking over at this stadium and dreaming about what could happen. So what has happened is a good feeling for me. And I want to be the best offensive line coach in America. That is what I have set out to do.”

Caldwell flashed his trademark humor when he was asked how the job with Clemson came about.

“Why? I got fired. I was unemployed,” Caldwell, who was the head coach at Vanderbilt this past season, replied. “That’s one thing about me. Don’t ask me a question you don’t want answered.”

Caldwell said after being released by Vanderbilt, he was actually enjoying his first Christmas away from recruiting when Woody McCorvey, who serves on Dabo Swinney’s staff as Associate AD for Football Administration, gave him a call.

“Coach McCorvey called me one day just to say hello,” he said. “We were talking, but I could tell in his voice that something might be up, but I didn’t know. He didn’t let the cat out of the bag, but he asked me what my plans might be. I told him I was looking for a job. Then later I got the call and learned that Coach Scott had recommended me and that meant a lot to me.”

Caldwell said he doesn’t have a lot of rules, but wants his player to have high character.

“They have to have great character,” he said. “I was a sorry student, the captain of the study hall for three years. I know all of the tricks, and they can't pull anything over on me. I’ve never had a guy play for me for four years and not graduate. I’ve told them they have to be accountable and overcome their coaching. If they can do that, we will be pretty good. We are going to push them hard and go from there.”

Caldwell said he wants to be able to build depth along the offensive line, but also said it never seems to get to the point that there are two full units. Plus, he has high expectations for the players he puts out on the field.

“There is a thing called productivity,” he said. “If you aren’t producing, you can't be out there. There is an obligation to the people in the stands and the people in this room. Playing offensive line is kind of like playing tailback. You pitch him that ball enough, he is going to find out what’s going on and get a feel for it.

“An offensive lineman has to find out what is going on, too. It might be tough sledding for a while, but then you find that slick spot and here we go. It’s hard to rotate people constantly, because they don’t get a feel for the game. If we could play two units, that would be awesome. Yes, we are going to play fast and these guys have to be in shape. And when it’s hot weather, we may have to roll them in there.”

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