Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers

by - Senior Writer -
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Dabo Swinney took over for Tommy Bowden on October 13.
Dabo Swinney took over for Tommy Bowden on October 13.

Hopefully everybody had a great Thanksgiving, is full of turkey and football, and is sitting around the house, resting their vocal cords in order to give a special group of seniors a loud send-off on Saturday. I had family over to the house, and now sit down at the keyboard to post my first thoughts on the head coach situation.

I have been quiet on this front, working my sources, and trying to assess how Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips will proceed. And the answer is - I have no clue.

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to answer all of the fans who have written in to me wanting to know what I think about the situation and what I think about Dabo, so here it goes. This is not meant to be writing at its best, this is merely a blog as put some of the thoughts I have down on the laptop.

A lot has been written about Clemson interim coach Dabo Swinney and his possibilities regarding the permanent position, and I like to sit back and read the message boards to see what Clemson fans have to say and think. One thing is certain - everybody seemingly has a different opinion about Swinney and who they want for the head coach.

You have the group that thinks Swinney has done an awesome job, and because he is seen as the catalyst turning around this wreck of the season, they think he deserves the position, especially if he defeats Carolina on Saturday.

Then you have the group that likes Swinney, thinks he's done a good job, hope he beats Carolina, and wouldn't mind seeing him stick around in some capacity when the new head coach comes in. On the opposite side, there are fans who can't believe he got the job in the first place and will be glad when a replacement is named.

Then there is the group that believes, down to the depth of their being, that Clemson has to make a statement hire, a splash, when the permanent position is filled. It either has to be a big time offensive or defensive coordinator or head coach who will get the fan base energized again.

Then there are those that think Bob Stoops is leaving Oklahoma to be the head coach, will have Bill Cowher as the defensive coordinator, Vince Lombardi on special teams, Mike Leach as the offensive coordinator, and Danny Ford as the existing icon. That group needs to go away and sit in the corner with the ones who think Danny would be interested in being head coach again or would be a good fit in today's game.

Back to Dabo, however. Terry Don Phillips left a lot to the imagination when he named Swinney as the interim guy. He said he would have to wait for the season to end, judge his performance, and then make a decision. That started people wondering - how many wins would it take? Would winning four and beating Carolina be enough? Did he need to get them to the ACC Championship game? Did they need to just show improvement? What was enough? Everybody has an opinion, but no one knows for sure.

The rumors have swirled around the Athletic Department in recent weeks, with the new thought being that if Dabo beats Carolina on Saturday, the job is his. Or if they play them close.

However, I can tell you for sure that I have not heard that out of Phillips' mouth myself, and don't believe any of it.

I am just glad that this decision goes above my pay grade.

Also, Phillips has interviewed several candidates, and hid the tracking number on the Clemson plane, which has added to the head coach fervor that has gripped Clemson nation. Kiffin? Leach? Venables? Patterson? Kelly? Calhoun? Muschamp until he was locked up by Texas. And then there is Dabo, who has done everything in a classy, folksy way that has endeared him to many Clemson fans.

Now, let me give my opinion, the only time you will see this in print. You probably don't care, and if you don't, that's fine. If you have a passing interest and the time, read on.

First things first - I like Dabo Swinney as a man, and a coach. I liked Tommy Bowden as a man. I think Dabo Swinney is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and will one day be a very good head coach for somebody. It might even be the Tigers. Is he ready to take over the reins of a Clemson program that needs new life? Probably.

Nothing he has done or said over the past two months has showed me that he is not ready. If he gets the permanent job, I will be very satisfied that Phillips has made the right hire, the man that will take the Tigers to the next level.

Getting rid of former offensive coordinator Rob Spence was a huge first step, and should he get the permanent job, a little further house cleaning would probably go a long way toward getting this program headed back down the road to that elusive ACC Championship game. And I think he would do that house cleaning.

But here is the kicker - I hope he doesn't get the job. I hope Terry Don, quickly, hires a known coach from outside of the program, and installs him. Why? Because Dabo Swinney, as the head coach past South Carolina or the bowl game, would be in an impossible situation. He would be up the proverbial tributary without a physical means of transportation (up the creek without a paddle for any Carolina fans reading this).

Why? Because no matter how well he does next season, no matter how much Clemson progresses in becoming a more physical, aggressive team, anything short of winning the ACC Championship and getting to a BCS bowl game, will be a major disappointment and will leave the dysfunctional Clemson fan base (yes, I said the Clemson fan base was dysfunctional and you know we are) howling for his head and leaving those who thought Clemson should have hired a "name" screaming to the heavens "I told you so. If they would have done what I said a year ago we would not be in this mess."

Why? Because Dabo has never been a coordinator before he took over for Tommy. Why? Because he is indelibly tied to Bowden. Why? Because he is not flashy. Why? Because he doesn't have the name people want? Why? Because it wouldn't make a "statement" about Clemson football the people want this hire to. Why? Because people want Clemson football to matter again, and they don't think he is the man to do it, nor would they give him time.

The facts are that Clemson will be breaking in a new quarterback next season, two new wide receivers, probably a new running back, a new kicker, losing a defensive line leader, and losing a lot of that experience in the secondary to the NFL.

THIS was supposed to be the season that it all came together and took Clemson to the Promised Land. A young offensive line, coaching inconsistency, and chaos all had other plans, however, and what was supposed to a freight train into the BCS came off the tracks in Atlanta and turned into a train wreck in Winston-Salem. And next year, with new starters at many key positions, might a bit of a struggle until some of the new kids get their feet wet and play up to their potential.

And Dabo Swinney as head coach won't be given that kind of time, whereas someone like the Pirate loving Mike Leach would be given a grace period to make the team his own, and Clemson fans would be looking toward a bright future, willing to put up with a few bumps in the road.

If Clemson comes out under Swinney and struggles, it will be, and you know I'm right, because he was not ready, never a coordinator, knows Tommy Bowden, didn't fire Brad Scott, etc. As surely as Clemson owns Carolina, Swinney would be in trouble before his coaching career gets started. If he remains, and does struggle, attendance might lag, and the message boards will be lit up with a radioactive heat as fans try and figure out how they can get Cowher or whoever is their new choice.

I simply don't believe this fan base can take another season of struggle with a coach that has ties to the Bowden era. And that's too bad for Dabo Swinney, who deserves better.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment Post your comments!
Discuss on TigerBoard   Print   | TigerNetcom Facebook ClemsonTigerNet Twitter TigerNet RSS Feed
Clemson, South Alabama to conclude series with doubleheader Saturday
Clemson, South Alabama to conclude series with doubleheader Saturday
PHOTOS: Baseball Opener vs South Alabama
PHOTOS: Baseball Opener vs South Alabama
Clemson signees earn All-State honors
Clemson signees earn All-State honors
Swinney: Zion Williamson could play QB for Clemson
Swinney: Zion Williamson could play QB for Clemson
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 79) Author
spacer Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer ... why post this "article" the day before the rivalry game?
spacer If an OPINION article has so much magnitude, that it changes
spacer It will have no bearing on the game. A 'hire" Dabo article
spacer why do you think they "sponsor" it???
spacer ...its on their site, therefore they are (by default)
spacer staff=search***
spacer Re: It will have no bearing on the game. A 'hire" Dabo article
spacer your originality is amazing.***
spacer I completely agree with you
spacer what effect does this article have on the game?
spacer Re: ... why post this "article" the day before the rivalry game?
spacer word.point.***
spacer I can't believe someone who DOESN'T sponsor Crump
spacer BEAT USC
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer Hood is SPOT ON with this....
spacer logic? is that you?
spacer The sad things about this is he may be right.....
spacer Re: Hood is SPOT ON with this....
Memphis Tiger®
spacer you are kidding yourself if you think that....
spacer And the reason for that is?
spacer With friends like this, who needs enemies?***
spacer Hood, you hit it right on the head.......
spacer A Seering Comment on the Fanbase
spacer You are right...
spacer the reason is everyone will basically be seeing the same
spacer why do you think his system would be the same as Tommy's?
spacer Re: why do you think his system would be the same as Tommy's?
spacer totally agree and I'd go even further
spacer Re: totally agree and I'd go even further
spacer a good coach is more important
spacer Yes it would...
spacer Exactly!!!***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
Big Tuna
spacer Bingo!****
El Tigre'
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer wow, what great timing you have
spacer Being afraid to make the "right" hire because of fan
spacer that doesn't matter at all
spacer If the next coach wins, it won't matter what his name is
spacer at least you are making a valid argument... and not saying
spacer David Hood is a #########
spacer Re: David Hood is a #########
spacer Yeah, it's HIS opinion
spacer Agreed. I'm glad TDP won't cave to the vocal minority.***
spacer You are
spacer you can't be serious...***
spacer Re: you can't be serious...***
spacer HAHAHA. Please explain why he's a jerk?***
spacer I dont know if he is a Jerk, but certainly has no concept
spacer lmao!***
spacer Go Tigers...Ignore David Hood....he is a rookie***
spacer Props to Hood..gutsy article considering the audience.***
spacer David, this may be the stupidest argument I've ever seen.
spacer It's "Up the proverbial tributary without
spacer Rather patronizing isn't it. Let's save Dabo from himself.
spacer Mr. Hood
spacer Freakin AWFUL timing. Great.***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer David-believe you seriously P O'd some people
spacer Dabo has already been hired, fwiw....pointless article***
spacer Mr David Hood....
spacer I agree, add David Hood's embarrassing commentary down there
spacer thank you for telling the truth!!!***
spacer Very Weak
spacer You sound like Obama on abortion, "Not my pay grade.! If
spacer so Stoops isn't coming to Clemson?***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer Crump not right fit for commentator either.
spacer TIME TO EAT CROW!!! Mr. Hood!***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer CUTIGERTIM. very good post!***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer Think you made one to many phone calls back @ BSA***
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
spacer Re: Commentary: Dabo Not Right Fit for Tigers
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest