Dear Dan: Dan Scott Answers Reader E-mail

by - Correspondent -

Letters! We get Letters! We get lots and lots of letter...(Thank you Paul Shafer).

Today a new feature:

Letters to Dan Scott from readers and the occasional email to his sports talk show, and Dan's response.


I appreciate your views and enjoy reading your articles. I'm interested in your perspective on the following.

Bowden and Spence seem to me to be so focused on the x's and o's and the complexity of the next play and their plan, that it seems like no one is watching the game. Who is looking at the bigger picture and making decisions accordingly? The tree and the forest thing. We want to clear the forest so we are very focused on cutting down trees. We have a plan and feel for the most part that we are executing except for a few miscues here and there, but we can fix them. All the while no one is looking at the big picture so they completely miss the fact that the new trees are growing faster then we're cutting down the old ones. Doing pretty good on cutting down trees but the forest is not being cleared.

One can work very hard and feel they are doing a good job, but if they don't see what is going on in total, the end result can be failure.

With all of the tools we have on offense, to only score 3 points seems to me like someone doesn't see the big picture. Great incision doctor but your patient just died.

Keep up the good work.



I'm not sure if it's a lack of seeing the big picture. I think it's more of just getting beaten in a chess game.

The offensive staff puts in a game plan based on what they see in film study, and then once the game rolls around it becomes a matter of calling the right play vs. the right defensive alignment. In other words, the simple explanation is that when Spence and Co. see seven in the box, they call run. When they see eight, they call pass. Then if the defense changes alignment before the snap, it's up to either the quarterback - or sometimes the staff - to adjust. A defense can disguise coverages, blitzes...pretty much anything. That's where all the film study comes in.

Saturday Georgia Tech got the better of it, made the better calls with better timing and kept Clemson off balance to a certain degree. However, one can't discount the dropped passes and other mistakes. Catch a few balls and make a kick here and there and the outcome is different.

Then you can see the forest despite the trees.


Dear Dan,

I normally do not get involved or contact sports commentators. But after Saturday, I have been thinking. I began dating my current husband in 1991 and began attending Clemson football games. I loved the excitement of each game even though in those years, I didn't really understand football. We married in 1998. By that time, I understood the basics and the fundamentals. But at times, even now, I have to ask 'What happened?' or 'Why did they do that?' or 'What was the penalty call?'.

But today, I have been reflecting. I understand that the players are young men with many things on their mind - their college, their major, friends, family, and future employment. Additionally, I try not to blame the staff for the team's performance.

So, I guess here's my problem. I feel like I have made a time and financial commitment over the past 15 years. I have spent many New Years' days cheering at games and some in the rain (Jacksonville). I have gone on road trips to Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, Nashville, and many more cities. I have sacrificed time with my friends and family members and have even missed Homecoming at my alma mater in order to support Clemson. Basically I want a return on my investment of time and money. I want Clemson to do well and succeed. I want Clemson to perform at their best for every game. I want the Coaches to led the athletes through promoting a team spirit. The entire team and staff need to lift one another up and be supportive. I am not sure what is going on or what happened Saturday. But I can tell you, I would rather be 0 - 11, and leave a game feeling like every fan, player, and coach left knowing they did every thing possible to help this program than to leave not understanding why we all fell apart that day.

Tommy Bowden said in his highlights that many teams would love to be 4 -1. I don't believe that mentality. To allow any involved person in this program to have no remorse for the lack of effort on Saturday's game is unacceptable.

I think Coach Ayers from Wofford might have it figured out. When they played South Carolina last year, they understood the dynamics and still pulled-off the most exciting game I have seen in years. Their success and commitment to that program is unmatched. They bravely fought and defeated App. St. - who was coming off of a big win.

So I close with this thought, each person involved in this program - coach, player, or fan - what type of return do you expect from your investment? I want something that is more than obtainable, more than mediocrity, more than 'settlin', more excitement, and more collaboration between everyone. American football great Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is." Let's want to win. We won't solve Cancer, or the Middle East conflict, or the economic troubles of this world. But for a few hours a week, we will all be a part of something larger than ourselves that will engage and empower us with the knowledge of knowing we cannot create this excitement individually.



Wanting a return on your investment is natural. I understand. But the ups and downs are all part of being a fan.

I know the feeling. As a West Virginia fan, I watched for years as Don Nehlen got the Mountaineer program to a certain level but never reached the mountain top. I cursed every draw, screamed for the team to throw the ball more, and wondered aloud why he wasn't keeping up with the changing times in college football.

While you can hope for more, write letters, email the administration or call talk shows, the bottom line lies with you. Are you a fan regardless? Or have you had enough?

I'm not saying you can't be displeased, upset, or even outraged. As someone who pulls for a team and makes such an emotional and financial investment, that's your right. However, what it usually comes down to is love and loyalty. And I usually find that no matter how upset I get at WVU, or my Reds or Bengals, my love for the teams and the sport always brings me back.

At some point, every fan has to face such a decision. Just make sure it's one you can live with.



Is it true that Bowden is actually blaming the players for the Tech debacle? Hard to believe. It appears that the coaching staff took the week off - mystery game plan, schizophrenic play-calling and players not even knowing where to line up on a call like they haven't practiced in a month. That?s all coaching. And blaming a kicker for missing 3 kicks from 50 yards is terrible.

What are your thoughts on why it was such a disaster?



I don't know that he was blaming players. I believe he was just pointing out the obvious.

He also said as head coach it's up to him to get it corrected, so there is personal accountability. Everyone - coaches, players, support staff - has to self-evaluate, correct mistakes and get better for the next game.

And they'd better. Because the Hokies are on the horizon.

Rate this Story:
56 votes

Send Feedback to Dan Scott: Email | Comment
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 29) Author
Dear Dan: Dan Scott Answers Reader E-mail
Dear lord some of our FANS suck***
Its the same every year. The love/hate CTB curse
Re: Dear lord some of our FANS suck***
Most People Don't Get it....
RU, it also ignores the fact that Harper has plenty of
Well, I'll never question a coach again***
I disagree. Great coaches win a lot more than mediocre ones.
Never said TB was a great coach....
You wrote: "Players make or break plays." Very insightful 2!
Re: You wrote: "Players make or break plays." Very insightful 2!
Re: I disagree. Great coaches win a lot more than mediocre ones.
Top tier coaches lose OCCASSIONALLY. Not regularly.
Re: I disagree. Great coaches win a lot more than mediocre ones.
Re: Most People Don't Get it....
Yes. UMD & SoCar out-coached (not out-played) us last year.****
10 points = pretty handily???***
Re: 10 points = pretty handily???***
Did you watch the game?
Re: Dear Dan: Dan Scott Answers Reader E-mail
Re: Dear Dan: Dan Scott Answers Reader E-mail
Great E-mail Kara. Sounds like you understand
Yes, but I wonder what she does when Wofford loses.....
tiger B
There's losing, and there's losing bad
Who's responsibility is it to leave it all on the field?
Re: Great E-mail Kara. Sounds like you understand - 2
Not so Great E-mail Kara. Sounds like you don't get it
Same S**t, Different Year........Blah Blah blah......***
just a bunch of fluff...try to answer some of the harder
Re: Dear Dan: Dan Scott Answers Reader E-mail

Monday's Clemson practice report

Swinney announces starter at quarterback

Swinney announces starting QB, lists who will likely play and who will redshirt

WATCH: McCloud discusses playing cornerback

WATCH: Carter sees depth as key to Clemson DBs surprising

Fuller: "I feel like I had a pretty good camp"

Renfrow on Bryant: 'We know that he's the guy'

WATCH: Swinney after Monday's practice

WATCH: Clemson Police releases Star Wars Eclipse video
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest