Chat Transcript: Ken Tysiac

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CLEMSON, SC -- The State's Clemson beat writer Ken Tysiac was our special guest in TigerActive Chat on Thursday. Tysiac answered questions from Tiger fans for almost two hours. We would like to thank Tysiac for his participation, and we hope to have him back soon.

Stay tuned for future chat guest on TigerNet.

Chat Transcript

Question: What Clemson football, baseball, and basketball players have been the most enjoyable to interivew?

Answer: Willie Simmons (just a class act and a really intelligent guy); Billy Koch (great sense of humor); and Harold Jamison (also a good sense of humor and a great smile)

Question: Are you hearing any names of coaches if Bowden is fired?

Answer: I'm hearing lots of names, but not from any reliable sources. But out of respect for coach Bowden and his players, there are still seven games left in the season and I wouldn't speculate on that.

Question: Who were the college and pro teams you pulled for growing up?

Answer: I was a Notre Dame fan. And I liked the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres.

Question: Ken, do you ever come on Tigernet and get any ideas for a story?

Answer: I read the Tiger board every day. Occasionally there are things there I'm not aware of, or there are links to stories in other papers that I need to take a look at.

Question: Are you hearing anything about the NCAA investigation of USC?

Answer: I'm not the point man on that for The State, because I don't work in Columbia. I hear more of the same things you do - just Clemson folks speculating.

Question: In your opinio, is the increasing pressure from fans on Coach Bowden justified?

Answer: I think increasing pressure is OK. But I think people are way too hard on Bowden right now. Clemson people are too busy yearning for the top. If they look at how far UNC has fallen, they will appreciate Bowden more.

Question: In your opinio, is the increasing pressure from fans on Coach Bowden justified?

Answer: I think increasing pressure is OK. But I think people are way too hard on Bowden right now. Clemson people are too busy yearning for the top. If they look at how far UNC has fallen, they will appreciate Bowden more.

Question: ken, give us your honest assesment of tommy bowden. personality, accesibility, other things you have to deal with as a reporter. thanks.

Answer: Tommy is very accessible, and he is easy to work with. He also will answer a lot of questions that many other coaches would not comment on. I can ask him, for instance, what the best football conference is. Other coaches wouldn't answer that question. Bowden isn't afraid to answer truthfully.

Question: Ken, what is your take on all of the Ford rumors swirling again?

Answer: I think Clemson needs to get over its fascination with Danny Ford. And I like Danny Ford personally, a lot. But people need to move on.

Question: This season has been up and down for the Tigers... why the consistency problems? Can TB get them fixed in time?

Answer: I don't agree with your up and down assessment. Clemson has beaten the less talented teams on its schedule and lost to the good teams. I think Clemson still has a chance possibly to get eight wins this season if it gets a lot of good breaks.

Question: Ken, which ACC stadium is the best for deadline writing? The worst?

Answer: The worst is Florida State. There are, I think, four phones for the entire press corps, so you have to buy a phone. The best is North Carolina. It's a nice press box with lots of phones.

Question: Is Tizziak pronouned Tisshins?

Answer: Yes sir. It means "Thousand" in Polish. One of my ancestors probably did a thousand really bad things.

Question: What do you think of the current kicking situation - why is Hunt still trying up to 49 yards out? Why not use Furr or even Dean for kicks past 40?

Answer: Hunt's career long is 48 yards, so he has been able to hit from that distance. I haven't seen Furr kick recently, but I saw Dean kick some in the preseason, and he has plenty of leg but needs to work on his accuracy.

Question: Out of curiosity, how much do beat writers scroll through sites like this?

Answer: Every day. Just to see if there's anything you guys know that I don't.

Question: How long have you been covering Clemson for The State?

Answer: Since 1999. I covered Clemson from 1995-98 for the Anderson Independent-Mail.

Question: Ken. Who is the most approachable assistant at clemson

Answer: Most of them are very approachable, but one of my favorites to deal with is Brad Scott. He seems to respect The State after working in Columbia for so many years, and I feel like I've got a good working relationship with him.

Question: Ken. Who is the most approachable assistant at clemson

Answer: Most of them are very approachable, but one of my favorites to deal with is Brad Scott. He seems to respect The State after working in Columbia for so many years, and I feel like I've got a good working relationship with him.

Question: What do you see as Clemson's biggest impediment to improvement?

Answer: I assume you're talking about football. Three things - facilities, competition in a conference Clemson is unlikely to win, and a small alumni base compared to the schools it is competing against.

Question: What is your take on the relationship between Coach Bowden and Terry Don Phillips?

Answer: I'm never behind closed doors with them both, so I can't say for sure how they really feel about each other. I think they do respect each other because of their shared football background, and I think Tommy appreciated the support Phillips gave him last season when things went south after the N.C. State game.

Question: Do you live near Clemson or do you drive a good distance to cover the Tigers?

Answer: I live in Anderson, about 20 miles from Clemson.

Question: give us your early impressions of purnell and his recruiting job so far?

Answer: Purnell has improved Clemson's recruiting, although I thought Shyatt did a decent job recruiting, too. Purnell's resume in terms of turning a program around is impressive, and he strikes a very dignified profile, which I'm sure appeals to recruits.

Question: will purnell sign 3 or 4 recruits this year?

Answer: He's got three scholarships to give.

Question: Who do you think is the most underrated player on this year's football team?

Answer: I think Jamaal Fudge is quietly having a pretty good season.

Question: If Oliver Purnell lands the class it looks like he will, this will be the best Clemson class in how long?

Answer: Since Rick Barnes' first class of Tony Christie, Andrius Jurkunas, Terrell McIntyre, Harold Jamison, LeDarion Jones and Patrick Garner. Although Shyatt had a pretty highly regarded class, too, with Hobbs, Stockman, Dwon Clifton and Jamar McKnight one year. That class is comparable to this one.

Question: How hard is it to cover a situation like Roscoe Crosby's? How does HIPPA affect the way you report now?

Answer: The new medical privacy regulations really didn't have much of a bearing on the Crosby situation because federal student privacy guidelines protected Crosby anyway. HIPAA affects day to day injury reports now, though. Some coaches are flat-out refusing to discuss injuries. But Clemson discusses them very openly.

Question: In your mind what has been the biggest source of frustration for the coaching staff this season so far?

Answer: The inability to improve the running game after spending all spring and the preseason working on it. But the success of the passing game has cushioned the blow of that disappointment.

Question: Do you think the addition of Yusef Kelly will help us develop a ground game....?

Answer: I haven't seen him in practice, so I don't know for sure. But if he is anywhere near the player he was last year, he will get Clemson a lot of tough yards that the Tigers weren't getting in the past.

Question: Alot of USC "insiders" are saying Lou will step down after this season. Hear anything on that end?

Answer: I've been hearing that for four years now. I think Lou is the only one who knows when he is stepping down, and I think people will continue speculating about him until he does retire.

Question: Is Whitehurst healthy enough to play this week?

Answer: I'm confident that Whitehurst will play.

Question: Please explain to these folks how sportswriters contain their emotions about teams when writing game stories.

Answer: What emotions? It doesn't matter to me whether Clemson wins or loses in any given week. I still get paid the same.

Question: Was Tommy ticked off at you guys for "calling him out" on the Kelly issue?

Answer: Tommy realizes we have a job to do. And we didn't exactly "call him out". Our job is to ask the same questions our readership is asking, because we are your link to the coaching staff. And we asked those questions.

Question: What's your sense of the team chemistry right now, are they still hanging together?

Answer: I'm impressed with them. They still seem to think they have a chance at winning the ACC title.

Question: What is your Tigernet handle?

Answer: Hunter. I don't post anything, though.

Question: When you are on Mickey's show you seem well informed about the reest of the ACC; With your duties in covering Clemson what do you do to follow the rest of the teams?

Answer: I read all the other newspapers in the ACC area online as well as the weekly ACC news release and statistics. And I participate in the ACC coaches' teleconference every week.

Question: Have you noticed any big changes in how TDP operates from how Bobby Robinson operated?

Answer: Terry Don has completely re-done the organizational chart, moved a lot of offices, and changed the duties of many personnel

Question: prediction for saturday.

Answer: Virginia, 27-10.

Question: Why can t Clemson beat top notched teams anymore or favored teams?

Answer: That's a good question. With all the upsets in college football, Clemson seems never to be involved in an upset. They never lose to a crummy team, but they rarely beat a really good team, either. I'm sorry I don't have the answer.

Question: ken-- how much do you keep up with recruiting? And do you notice that the State paper is a tad slanted on their recruiting talk towards ucs..

Answer: I don't notice us being slanted toward USC. I keep up with recruiting, but not to the extent that some of the fans do, to be honest. I really hit it hard in January and February, but I can't get too excited over a 17-year-old kid that I've never seen play.

Question: Have you ever received a staisfactory answer from Coach Bowden as to why we slowed down the pace of the offense after 2000?

Answer: Clemson thought it was wasting plays. It was going so fast that many times it ran right into the teeth of the defense. And even though the defense was tired, it made those plays. That was the explanation I've been given by the coaching staff.

Question: What is your thoughts on when will the announcement of BC joining ACC be made?

Answer: If it happens, it will be before December. But I don't have a really good feeling for whether BC wants to join the ACC anymore. I don't think it's a slam dunk.

Question: Ken, how do see you the Tigers finishing this year?

Answer: 7-5, Continental Tire Bowl

Question: The mark of a good program is BEATING good teams. How long before Bowden does that?

Answer: I have no idea.

Question: Ken, Clemson win or UVa win this weekend?

Answer: Virginia.

Question: Why is Bowden percieved on the hot seat but yet Lou Holtz is not since they have similar won lost records and Tommy is 3-1 agains him?

Answer: I think you need to ask that question of all the people in this chat who are criticizing Tommy Bowden. And I think it has something to do with expectations being higher and football tradition better at Clemson than at USC.

Question: Ken, cannot wait to read The State Saturday morning.....who will win Saturday?

Answer: Virginia. Sorry.

Question: Does Clemson have a chance against UVA particularly with injuries and EXPECIALLY if Charlie is out?

Answer: If Charlie is out, you can forget it. With Charlie, Clemson has a chance, but Yusef Kelly will be the key this week. The Tigers MUST get solid gains in the running game to win. And I just don't have confidence that they will do that.

Question: How'd you get into this bid'ness? Is a J degree necessary?

Answer: My degree is in American Studies with concentrations in Journalism and Communications. I worked as associate sports editor for the student paper in college and also wrote free-lance stories for the South Bend Tribune. My first job was at an 18,000-circulation newspaper in Rome, N.Y., covering high schools. I worked my way up from there.

Question: Now that you have the Coach Ford question answered, do you think TDP will retain TB’s services next year?

Answer: I think you need to ask Terry Don that question. And I don't think he has made up his mind yet. If Clemson goes 10-2, I think Bowden will be back. If Clemson goes 3-9, he'll probably be gone. I don't know what Phillips' standard is for anything in between.

Question: What is the bare minimum acceptible reason for tearing down goalposts?

Answer: Too much tequila.

Question: Why do you think Lou gets much more support at USC than Bowden does here when he has a better record and has beaten him 3 out of 4

Answer: I think Clemson people have higher expectations.

Question: Ken, have you had a chance to talk with Coach Purnell? What do you think of him and how well do you think he can do at Clemson?

Answer: I talked with coach Purnell this morning. He is a bright guy with a good track record, and I think he has as good a chance as anybody of turning that basketball program around.

Question: u read tigerboard--to see if we """KNOW""" something u dont---how can u tell if it is fact or not :^)

Answer: I read it. Then I check with my sources to find out if it's true.

Question: All things being equal, what sport would you rather be covering?

Answer: Basketball or hockey.

Question: Ken, some people around the program say Purnell is going to sign 4 recruits

Answer: He very well may. But he's got three scholarships available. If he signs four, it means he is counting on somebody leaving before exhausting their eligibility.

Question: Does Kelly rush for over 100 yards Saturday?

Answer: No. You may not have a 100-yard rusher until the North Carolina game.

Question: What is your view on the ability of Purnell to get verbals from Top 100 recruits

Answer: It looks like he's got three of them, so he obviously has done it. I think he is a pretty good recruiter.

Question: What do you consider to be the probem with the running game - OL Talent, Coaching, Size, Lack of Execution?

Answer: Offensive line execution and the failure of running backs to hit the hole hard.

Question: Do you have any feeling for how the coaches (football) feel about the New ACC next year? Or do they even have time to care?

Answer: I think they feel like it's going to be very difficult. Especially the four schools that are playing Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech

Question: Do you have any feeling for how the coaches (football) feel about the New ACC next year? Or do they even have time to care?

Answer: I think they feel like it's going to be very difficult. Especially the four schools that are playing Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech

Question: If we win and prove your prediction wrong, will you print an article entitled "Tigers Prove me Wrong?"

Answer: No. Me being wrong is a frequent occurrence. Therefore, it is not news.

Question: Ken --- Do you ko now Greg Doyel personally? What do you think of his style of journalism?

Answer: I know Gregg Doyel and I like him. I know you guys were upset about his column on Clemson last year. I thought he was off base on that one. Clemson is a football school, if nothing else, because of its fans. Football matters at Clemson. That's why it is a football school.

Question: Ken, did you play sports growing up?

Answer: I played high school basketball. I might have had a chance to play Division III in college, but I didn't pursue my options because I wanted to concentrate on academics.

Question: Will we see Kelvin Grant get much playing time this weekend?

Answer: I doubt it. But I hear he has performed well in practice and is a promising young receiver.

Question: Did you ever play any sports in high school or college?

Answer: High School basketball

Question: At 7-5 (as you predict) does Bowden keep his job?

Answer: I have no idea.

Question: Ken - So we lose to UVA by 17...the coots beat them by 24...the coots are 41 pts better than us?

Answer: No. Matt Schaub didn't play against USC.

Question: Why no article in last Saturday's paper on Clemson. Usually have alteast 1 article?

Answer: We never have stories on game day. Instead, we have our full-page "GameDay" package, breaking down all the ins and outs of the game.

Question: Can Purnell keep the Tigers out of the ACC Cellar this year?

Answer: I think it's possible. Clemson has decent talent returning this season. I wouldn't write a ninth-place finish in blood. I think FSU, Virginia and even Georgia Tech could possibly finish last.

Question: Any thought of maybe one day covering Notre Dame?

Answer: My wife is from South Carolina, and it's too cold in the Midwest for her. Besides, covering Notre Dame wouldn't be much of a thrill for me. I'm not really much of a fan.

Question: Are any of your sources one of the Five Money Men at Clemson?

Answer: How do you think they got all their money? (Just kidding)

Question: Ken..what has been the problem with Charles Bennett's development as a defensive end?

Answer: Bennett is playing linebacker now. I haven't asked about him recently. The coaching staff thought he was promising after spring practice, but he hasn't made much of an impact this fall and I haven't really asked about him since the preseason.

Question: Ken, do you remember when Jamestown beat Rome Free in the snow?

Answer: No, I wasn't there for that one. I did cover some pretty good Rome Free Academy teams, though. The Myslinski boys were really good players.

Question: OK---7-5...we are now 3-2 soon to be 3-3 per your prediction--which 4 do we win?

Answer: Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and either Wake Forest or South Carolina. And possibly both. 8-4 still is a possibility.

Question: Any chance we could ever get OUR Game-Day stuff on the front of the sports? Not counting weekends that SC does not play either.

Answer: I would be surprised if that ever changed.

Question: What will be score of the USC-Clemson game this year?

Answer: It's too soon to tell. Ask me again in a month. My e-mail is

Question: Would you take on ex Clemson great Bill Harder in a one on one pickup hoops game?

Answer: Bill would destroy me. He was a good Division I player, and I would have been lucky to play Division III.

Question: Ken...what is your opinion of Charlie's going under center and coming back up to check with the sideline? Does this wear on the O'line?

Answer: I think that is a long time to be down in the stance. But it does give the coaching staff a good chance to get Clemson in the right play. That's a tradeoff they feel comfortable making, especially now that they're developing some O-Line depth.

Question: Ken, are you the only non-coot grad that writes or edits for The State?

Answer: No. There are lots of others - Joe Person, Steve Wiseman, Nat Newell, Ron Morris and most of our editors.

Question: How do you pronounce your last name........sounds like what??

Answer: Tishins

Question: Do you think Virginia will blitz every play?

Answer: I think Virginia won't blitz very much at all. That's not what they do. They prefer to play horizontally at the line of scrimmage, and I don't see that changing. They will blitz occasionally, but not often.

Question: What do you predict our record will be at the end of the year?

Answer: 7-5

Question: What do think the chances are of Clemson upsetting Florida St in the Valley this season?

Answer: Not good. Florida State is really good this year.

Question: Ken, what is your favorite clemson sports moment?

Answer: Since I've been covering, the most exciting event from a Clemson perspective was Greg Buckner's dunk to beat North Carolina at the ACC Tournament.

Question: But there is no "N" in your name, You ain't from around here are ya?

Answer: No sir. I'm from Rochester, New York

Question: What are your thoughts about how the ACC will be split up for the next two years?

Answer: I think Virginia, North Carolina, Wake Forest and N.C. State will have a difficult time with Miami, FSU and VT on their schedules.

Question: Why haven't we seen Reggie Merriweather used?

Answer: Apparently his assignments and alignments aren't as crisp as those of the others.

Question: are there any kickers in the state we should be looking at? especially punters

Answer: I would be surprised to see Clemson sign a kicker or a punter. You already will have one of each under scholarship after this year.

Question: What was the last Tiger Football game you attended and what do you think of the overall atmosphere?

Answer: I have been to every Clemson football game since 1995. In general, I think Clemson has the best football atmosphere in the ACC, even better than Florida State's. But I haven't been to Florida State when they play Miami or Florida, so the Seminoles' atmosphere might be better than I'm giving them credit for.

Question: Do you think Mac's is a good place to eat?

Answer: Yeah, I like Mac's. I don't get out there much, though. I'm trying to watch my cholesterol.

Question: Do you think Bowden has become less flippant with the media?

Answer: I think Bowden has a good sense of humor. I don't see him as flippant.

Question: Are you a Cubs fan? What is your take on Clemson baseball? Will Jack Leggett have the team back in the CWS soon?

Answer: I'm an Orioles fan. I think Jack Leggett is a heck of a coach, and I'd be surprised if Clemson isn't in the CWS within three years. But the loss of six first-round draft picks in two years has hurt the talent level in the program.

Question: What do you think about the movie radio and why isn't Josh Peter getting more credit for bringing that story to life?

Answer: Josh isn't getting more credit because there aren't enough people who know that he helped get Radio publicized by writing an outstanding story for the Anderson Independent-Mail about 10 years ago.

Question: How often do you go to the "home office(columbia)? I imagine you have a fair amount of autonomy....

Answer: I go to Columbia about four times a year. I do have a lot of autonomy covering Clemson, and I appreciate my editors' trust in my news judgment and ability.

Question: What do you think the outcome of the Kentucky-USC game will be?

Answer: I think USC will win by two touchdowns.

Question: Will Clemson be wearing the purple jerseys?

Answer: I doubt that Clemson will wear purple at home. I think they want to save purple for special occasions on the road.

Question: 27-10? So you think Virginia is better than Maryland or is that because of the injuries? Do you think Whitehurst will be effective

Answer: I think Virginia matches up better with Clemson than Maryland did. I think Whitehurst will be effective, but the Virginia defense is good at limiting big plays in the passing (notwithstanding Troy Williamson's 99-yard TD)

Question: How does Clemson match up with Virginia this Saturday?

Answer: Not well. Virginia is vulnerable to strong power running teams and is pretty solid against the pass. That's bad news for Clemson.

Question: Do you see us beating South Carolina?

Answer: If I had to guess right now, I would say yes.

Question: Does this Virginia team have a legitimate shot at winning the ACC this year?

Answer: Florida State is the overwhelming favorite, I think.

Question: Ken are you discounting GaTech win...aren't they a "good" team???Auburn & FSU,NCState think so, not you though???

Answer: Georgia Tech was lucky to beat Vanderbilt in overtime. I'm just not sold on the Yellow Jackets yet.

Question: Could Virginia be looking ahead to next week's showdown with FSU and possible ESPN GameDay coverage?

Answer: I doubt it. Virginia has respect for Clemson and for the difficult environment it will encounter at Death Valley.

Question: What have you heard about Will Proctor moving to WR?

Answer: He practiced there some on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There are some in the program who think that's where Proctor will end up, because C.J. Gaddis supposedly looks really good at QB on the scout team.

Question: Yankees or Red Sox ???

Answer: Red Sox.

Question: Ken...what will a forthcoming letter from the NCAA informing USC that it will be conducting a formal investigation of their program do to recruiting, etc.?

Answer: I don't have any information that such a letter is forthcoming. If it does come, I think it's obvious what effect it would have.

Question: Which ACC team (other than the noles) has the best shot to survive in the New ACC?

Answer: I think Maryland is positioned nicely in a major media center with a really good coaching staff. As long as Friedgen is there, Maryland will be solid.

Question: Given the gmes vs Virginia and maryland over the last couple of years It appears we match up better with virginia---we have had over 400 yards of offense each of the last 2 years and lost due to mistakes....Recent Md games have not been nearly as close....your thoughts?

Answer: I think Maryland's talent has been better the last two years than it is right now (E.J. Henderson). I think Virginia's talent wasn't as good the last two years, particularly in 2001. Just in terms of matchups and how they play, I think this Virginia team matches up well with this Clemson team.

Question: If you had your choice who would the 12th team be?

Answer: Florida

Question: Do you sometimes think the written media does a poor job of portraying TB's humor?

Answer: No. I think we portray him accurately.

Question: If Chansi plays and goes down, do you think Proctor will be ready?

Answer: I think Whitehurst is playing, so it's a moot point.

Question: Ken, do you find yourself really pulling for Clemson, even when they play USC?

Answer: I don't pull for or against anybody.

Question: What is your worst Clemson sport moment?

Answer: Clemson's worst sports moment since I arrived was losing in football to Duke in 1998.

Question: Who is one Clemson player you think may have been judged unfairly by the fans?

Answer: I've been trying hard to think of one, but I can't. I appreciate all of you taking the time to ask so many good questions. Thanks for chatting. Good-bye.

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