Mike O'Cain, offensive coordinator at Clemson University, recently sat down with Dan Scott to discuss his summer, his summer and this upcoming season.
Listen to the full O'Cain interview Here: Windows Media
How do you like to get away from football?
I like to woodwork. I used to play tennis a little bit. I don’t do much of that anymore but I work with wood and different things like that. I take pictures. Go to the beach. I like to hunt and fish. Those are my get away from it things.
How has the summer gone?
Very well. Very well. I think as coaches you have to be able to recharge your batteries. Our season is very, very long, very stressful and intense. Then you get right into the recruiting part of it which just adds another three or four months on to it. We have a very short, narrow widow of time that we can get away. I make my summers count. I get away. I try to forget about football. That’s one reason I do those things because when I am working with wood and when I do doing those kind of things I have to put my concentration on that, and I’m not think about Wake Forest, Georgia Tech or Texas A&M or whoever it may be. It forces you to do something different and to have some patience and relax a little bit.
Talk about how this off-season has been different than last year.
Well it has been a lot more positive I think from every aspect. From the media, from the fans, from the alumni, from the attention we have got from the national media and things of that nature. Just a lot more positive and also the expectations are a lot higher as well. With the positive has come a lot more confidence with our players. Working with our young men this spring you just felt a different air of confidence about them coming off the big, big win over Tennessee and finishing the way we did against two teams ranked in the top ten which I think has only happened one other time here. It just has generated tremendous confidence within our football team. Now that we have some confidence we need to continue to work and our players have worked very hard this summer to get where we need to be when the season starts in September.
Talk about your concerns for the offensive this season like the tackle position.
I think we can be a very good offensive football team. We have got some things we need to improve on. It’s funny, Brad (Scott) and I were talking yesterday a little bit about our tackle situation, and I think we can be pretty good there. When we go back and look at our spring practice when we had problems at that position it was when we put them in very difficult situations. Our defensive ends here are pretty good. They run very well. They get up field pretty good. They can rush the passer. And we put our tackles in a lot of key pass situations where our defensive lineman knew we were going to throw the football. There was no run and they didn’t have to play the run. They just laid their ears back and came at us so we put our tackles in some pretty adverse situations this spring and that is when we had some trouble. When we were in normal downs with a chance of running the football was still very clear then we pretty dag gone good. So we just got to improve a little in those situations. I’d love to go through the whole fall and say we will never put ourselves in an obvious pass situation but I don’t think that will take place. We just got to get better and some of it is just a little bit of technique things that a couple of the guys need to get better at but I feel good about where we are. Again we have a long way to go but we have a great starting point.
Any extra pressure on you now that you have the title of offensive coordinator.
I don’t think so. I don’t feel any extra pressure. I’ve been a head coach. I’ve been there before. Yes, there are more people looking at me now. There will be more fingers pointed towards me. I don’t really feel that pressure. The thing about here is we are a great staff. We are a group of a great men that work well together…very professional and work hard. Even though I guess I am the leader of the offensive staff, so to speak, we do everything as a staff. We make decisions as a staff. We game plan as a staff. We make decisions on Saturday as a staff. So there is a lot of people having input into this thing. I just am fortunately or unfortunately (laughing) as the case may be the leader of this group. I’m very excited about that, and I believe we can be very good on offense.
What are your expectations for this offense and this team for this upcoming season?
They are very, very high. They are every year. I’m not sure if my expectations this year are any higher than they were last year. I felt we could be a very good football team last year…Expectations are very high and I believe we can be very good. We got to stay healthy. I think that is always a key. I think probably any team across the country, if you ask them there are a couple of places they can’t afford to lose players, and we are no different. If we can stay healthy I think we can be right in the thick of things. If you look at our schedule it’s important we start early. I think that’s the one added pressure that we have. If you look at our first five games, and I think four of them are conference games. I don’t particular like that, but that’s the way it is. We are going to know very early whether or not we are in the conference race or we are out of it.
Listen to the full O'Cain interview Here: Windows Media
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.