Guest Chat Transcript: Larry Williams


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CLEMSON, SC -- Clemson beat reporter for The Charleston Post and Courier Larry Williams was our special guest in TigerActive Chat on Thursday.


Larry Williams Bio


A native South Carolinian who graduated from Wando High School, Larry Williams became The Post and Courier's Clemson beat reporter in January of 2004. He spent the previous five years at The Augusta Chronicle, where he covered college sports. Williams has won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, Georgia Sports Writers Association and South Carolina Press Association. He got his start in the business at the High Point (N.C.) Enterprise, where he covered college sports. Williams, 33, lives in the Clemson area with his wife and 1-year-old daughter.

Chat Transcript


Question: Larry, I am guessing that TB knows something more about the McDaniel situation, leading to no suspension. Any ideas on what his thoughts are?



Answer: Hey folks, glad to be here. I'll start with sstiger....I think Bowden believes what McDaniel has told him, and I think TDP does as well.





Question: The first offensive line now appears to be somewnat solidified. Who will be the first OL sub and how many snaps will he get?



Answer: Cloy will be the first sub ... not sure how many snaps.





Question: 1st offensive play for Clemson?



Answer: Quarterback sneak





Question: How much do you think Jamie Harper plays on Saturday, if at all?



Answer: Tough question there. I'm not sure anyone really knows at this point. Could be something where they see how he looks during warmups.





Question: Larry, got a prediction for tonight's game?



Answer: I'll say USC 23, N.C. State 13





Question: Hey Larry! Any sense on how strongly TB had to fight to keep De'Andre from suspension?



Answer: I don't get a sense he had to fight that hard. Not with TDP, at least.





Question: How does the OL look?



Answer: Sounds like they're pretty darn happy with the starting five. Beyond that, though, there's a lot of uncertainty. I think they're just hoping to get through this game, and then the schedule sets up well for the OL to develop.





Question: How do the LBs look?



Answer: David Blackwell seems really optimisic about the future, but he's not sure what to expect Saturday when the lights come on.





Question: do you think we will see a lot of the inverted superflexbone now that we have three studs at rb?



Answer: inverted superflexbone....I'm getting a headache thinking about that formation.





Question: What player will be the biggest surprise this year for Clemson?



Answer: Great question. I'll say Ricky Sapp. Not that it'd necessarily be a surprise, but he's been really good lately.





Question: How good is Mickey Pyler?



Answer: Good at what? I met him recently. Nice guy.





Question: Mark May said Cullen Harper hurt his ankle...you got any insight? Mark is so sharp he could not have made a mistake...



Answer: No excuse for that whatsoever. I'm not a fan of Mark May.





Question: null



Answer: null





Question: Zimmerman or Maners?



Answer: Hard to say becuase I haven't watched them, but Maners' experience would be valuable in this kind of setting. But the Zimmerman kid can rip it.





Question: Do you get to attend practices?



Answer: Very little.





Question: Which freshman will make the biggest impact?



Answer: Bowers. Kid is the real deal.





Question: Heard that kick coverage terams have been going full-speed in practice this fall. Have you witnessed that?



Answer: Have not witnessed that. Sorry.





Question: How are you enjoying life in the upstate?



Answer: Have lived here almost five years and really like it, definitely a lot more than I expected. This place grows on you, and it's great for a family.





Question: How come my question wasn't a great question? I worked really hard on it!!!



Answer: Great question!





Question: Who has the advantage when we're on Offense, Saban or Spence



Answer: Really tough one there. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Saban's stuff is gonna be a big mental test for the OL, but I think Bama's inexperience at LB plays right into Spence's hands.





Question: Which game do you see as the biggest potential for a trap?



Answer: At B.C. in November might not be a picnic.





Question: What freshman do you see making the biggest impact?



Answer: Again, Bowers.





Question: null



Answer: null





Question: Do you believe McDaniel is innocent as he claims?



Answer: I really don't know, but I have doubt as to whether he's guilty of what he was arrested for.





Question: Did the tornado hit your house?



Answer: Nah, we got off unscathed. I was in the Death Valley press box when the tornado whipped by. Strange stuff.





Question: larry, are you serious??



Answer: About what?





Question: Larry, apextiger wants to know if you do not see many practices, how do you know more than the rest of us?



Answer: Like the other reporters, I try to talk to as many people as possible and form an accurate picture of what's going on. And I don't necessarily know more than the rest of you. I'm sure some of you folks are pretty informed.





Question: Larry - appreciate the job you do and it seems like you are a cut above most of the journalists in this state. My question... what position do you think will the biggest surprise? which will be the biggest disappointment?



Answer: Thanks, TygerMan. I think the OL could end up being pretty good as the season progresses. I like what I've been hearing about the camaraderie up there. And they're pretty athletic, too. As for disappointment, I don't think it'd be fair to say at this point. Special teams would be a candidate, obviously, since they've struggled in that area so much before.





Question: Will Dwayne Allen play?



Answer: Hard to keep that talent off the field.





Question: Who do you see making more of an impact, Jenkins or Cumbie?



Answer: Hard to say. That's a nice combo there. I'll say Jenkins, but it's just a guess. They really like Brandon Thompson, so look out for him next year.





Question: did u know that louser holtz said that cliff ellis is the new DC for the coots?



Answer: I did ... that is just unreal. He and May need to hang it up. They're laughingstocks.





Question: Pepino's or Columbo's?



Answer: Haven't been to Columbo's, so I'll say Pepino's.





Question: Will mobile home sales drop this saturday in Alabma?



Answer: Ouch!





Question: At what point should fans REALLY start thinking about a BCS title shot?



Answer: Wow ... when they're 9-0?





Question: Can Clemson double USC's score on the wuffies?



Answer: Oh yeah.





Question: How is the OL coming along as a unit? Are they close on/off the field?



Answer: That's the most impressive thing about this group, from what the coaches and others have told me. They do EVERYTHING together. And I'm talking about all 15 guys. The same couldn't be said before this year.





Question: Some of us are more pretty than informed....



Answer: Good one...



Question: Do you foresee a similar situation as FSU and SC last year in which we get a good lead and then go conservative only to let Bama get back into the game?



Answer: I see this game being close from beginning to end. I could easily be wrong, though.





Question: So how'd you end up covering Clemson? What's the Larry Williams story?



Answer: Spent about eight months in High Point, N.C., covering ACC stuff. Five years in Augusta covering SEC and ACC. And started with the P&C in Jan. of 04.





Question: Larry, enjoyed today's feature on Danny Ford. Great read!!



Answer: Thanks! I really enjoyd talking to him. He's a treasure.





Question: larry, who is faster; Jacoby Ford or Phil Kornblut?



Answer: Hand-timed or laser?





Question: What's the best road trip in the ACC?



Answer: Boston. A close second is Miami.





Question: Terrence Cody: Sumo Wrestler or Hot Dog Eating Champion?



Answer: C) The Second Coming





Question: Think Jacoby Ford will leave early?



Answer: Hard to say right now, though his speed has put him on the NFL folks' radar. I'd say he stays, though.





Question: Larry, thanks for the vine. What about more these opening games, like at the Georgia Dome doing a bowl atmosphere in the beginning of the season, leading to a playoff at the end? If the box was bigger I would edit that to see if it made sense, if not sorry.



Answer: Playoff? Not gonna happen anytime soon. This Atlanta deal is really cool, though. They want it to be the Daytona 500 of college fb.





Question: since you went to usc do you go to the alumni functions with korncoot?



Answer: I swore off USC a long time ago. No. 1, because rooting and writing is blatantly unprofessional. And No. 2, because following USC is just an unhealthy endeavor.





Question: Why does media continually say Clemson has underachieved when the fact is that Clemson has met or exceeded pre-season projections almost every year since TB arrived??



Answer: I think 2004 and 2006 probably have a lot to do with it. A lot was expected both of those years. And the BC loss last year.





Question: Larry, which WCCP show do enjoy?



Answer: I'm partial to Dan Scott, since I'm on there once a week.





Question: Will be in atlanta and unable to read your pick on saturday. Wanna share? just between you and me....



Answer: Just between us, I'll say Clemson 24, Bammer 20.





Question: Should I be worried about our Linebackers?



Answer: I'd say concern is warranted going up against a coordinator (McElwain) who likes to do a lot of play-action and check-downs to the running backs.





Question: Recruiting has been really solid the last two years. Because it's been so good, does the staff think they'll make a big jump this year if they make the ACC championship game or will it be a slight jump?



Answer: They're on a pretty good roll right now, but I'd assume they could make a jump if they finally break through and win the ACC.





Question: Larry, do you try to influence recruits like Phil Kornblut does?



Answer: I can't remember the last time I talked with a recruit.





Question: How can you say Miami is a good road trip? Are you from Detroit or something?



Answer: Because the last time I was there, I got to hang out on the beach in November.





Question: How do you think Tribble Reese will do in Miami tonight? I'm a CSU alum and think we'll lose by a respectable 40.



Answer: I'd say it'd be an accomplishment if he can make it four quarters without breaking something.





Question: As someone from the outside looking in, would you say Clemson is a special/different place?



Answer: Yes. Having the lakes here makes it really nice, too.





Question: And No. 2, because following USC is just an unhealthy endeavor. ....A healthy beat writer is a happy beat writer.



Answer: There aren't many healthy beat writers out there. I try to stay in shape, though.





Question: larry, do you feel that "certain" reporters can't shake their bias?



Answer: I'm not sure which ones you're alluding to.





Question: Think Ken Hatfield will make the Clemson Hall of Fame?



Answer: I'll say no.





Question: where is the best place to go boating in SC?



Answer: Keowee, no doubt. Jocassee is really cool, too.





Question: Is Saban a better Field General than Tommy Bowden?



Answer: I'll go with the coach who's won a national title.





Question: Yourself being the obvious exception ... do your fellow sports journalists take pride in seeing how much they can stir the pot with rival fan bases in the state??



Answer: I really don't think they do, honestly. Not the ones I'm around.





Question: So I've got you on record saying that Tribble Reese will break some kind of record against the Canes. Awesome. Thanks.



Answer: LOL





Question: Larry, where do we have lakes?



Answer: There's still water in Keowee. The slalom course on Hartwell is in bad shape, though.






Question: report from practice is jock mckissic is have a great fall, is that due to jock playing well, the OL not playing well, or all the attention sapp, scott, and bowers are getting from double teams? and do you see this carrying over to games, would it have been the same for Rashaad Jackson?



Answer: I haven't heard much about Jock, honestly, but that doesn't mean he's not playing well. I'll ask about him next chance I get.





Question: which beat writers would you start a newspaper with?



Answer: Man, there are a lot of them out there who do a good job. I'll have to get back to you on that.





Question: Which asst coach is the best interview? which player?



Answer: Clemson has some really good interviews on the staff. Koenning, Swinney, Blackwell, Scott....James Davis is always fun to talk to. I'm gonna miss him after this year.





Question: How much of a problem is it that Clemson doesn't have indoor football practice facilities. Could the time we lost this week due to the storms cause serious problems?



Answer: Not sure about serious problems, but they did lose time that they aren't getting back. So it's a factor, yeah.





Question: Rival fan bases tend to accuse Tommy Bowden of being arrogant ... have you experienced this. What about Steve Spurrier? Mr. Nice Guy??



Answer: I've deat with Tommy for a while now and don't detect that arrogance. He's always accessible and engaging. I haven't covered Spurrier, so not sure about that one.





Question: If healthy, will Jamie Harper get the first touch vs. Bama?



Answer: I'd say it's within the realm of possibility since it's happened before.





Question: Does your wife go to the games with you?....Who does she pull for?



Answer: Wife enjoys tailgating, but she's not a huge fan of the games -- especially now that we've got a 1-year-old. She likes to see Clemson do well, but she's really not into sports.





Question: Larry, love the blog...will J Harper dress if they decide he is not ready to play?



Answer: Thanks ... Like I said, I get the feeling he'll dress and that a decision might not come until gametime.





Question: In your opinion, who was the most improved player in practice this summer?



Answer: Jamarcus Grant. Heck, might even throw Ricky Sapp in there.





Question: touche!



Answer:





Question: how BIG is daquan bowers?



Answer: Listed as 265. Not sure if that's accurate.





Question: Have you heard anything that would indicate that we will see a lot of 2 back sets against Alabama? (Davis-Spiller)



Answer: I've heard JD and Spiller talking a lot about it. I get the feeling we'll see more this year than last.





Question: Why not let Bowers tote the mail first play?



Answer: I'll ask Bowden that tonight after practice.





Question: Heard Cory Lambert came on also?



Answer: Yep. Brad Scott has been impressed.





Question: You got Clemson gear for that one year old? :-)



Answer: She's got a pacifier with a Tiger paw on it that someone gave her.





Question: How does a team like Bama with a coach like Sabin lose to UL-Monroe in Bryant-Denny Stadium on senior day?? That is SO much worse than any loss we've suffered under Bowden isn't it??



Answer: That was definitely ugly. And definitely worse than any loss under Bowden. Hard to accept that.





Question: Think they'll use the three back set?



Answer: Not sure. I've heard it talked about, though.





Question: Just want to tell you how much we enjoy/appreciate your blog, keep up the good work!



Answer: Hey, thanks for the kind words.





Question: also ask him what the coaches will be wearing saturday so i can wear the same and look like an insider to all my friends. please post his answer on your blog.



Answer: Funny stuff, 90tiger.





Question: Do you think Spence will call a conservative game or will he open it up a little more?



Answer: Reallly not sure, tjhough Bama's blitzes creates the opportunity for some big plays.





Question: NFL Draft. Your on the Clock. Pick one: JDB or Cullen Harper.



Answer: Harper





Question: Will we see CJ at WR a good bit on Saturday??



Answer: I'm sure he'll be out there, motioned into the slot, etc.





Question: lzrry, I am sure selling beer at the Ga Dome will enhance the family atmosphere for this game.



Answer: Should be quite a scene at midnight.





Question: What are your thoughts on Clemson establishing the run against a Saban run SEC defense?



Answer: Struggles in the running game were a factor in all four losses last year (particularly GT, VT and BC), so I'd say it's important that the Tigers be balanced.





Question: Considering Clemson's home run threats (Spiller, Ford, Davis, Kelly) do you think 'Bama might be a little more Cover 2 and a little less Blitz package?



Answer: Could happen.





Question: Who has better hair, you or tigerbdog?



Answer: I have a lot of bad hair days (with the hair I have left)





Question: Clemson wins the toss.....kick or receive?



Answer: Kick





Question: Can you recommend an online sportsbook?



Answer: Not a gamblin man. Hey, nice handle.





Question: Whay does the media insist that Wake owns TB and Clemson when we are 7-2 against them since TB got here?



Answer: Not sure who's insisting that.





Question: If 1-8 doesn't lose, but Clemson beats Alabama by 21+, will they rise in the AP poll?



Answer: Man, you've got too much time on your hands.





Question: What is the last team to NOT lose a game they weren't supposed to? Why is Clemson the only team to continue to get raked over the coals for this?



Answer: Not sure they're getting raked over the coals. But when they've come as close as they have the last three years, you can't ignore it.





Question: In your opinion, what is our strongest unit, and weakest unit?



Answer: Strongest: RBs. Weakest: OL or LB





Question: Larry, you have really stepped it up a notch recently with your blogs. Keep the inside info coming. What do you see as the keys to a Tiger victory on Saturday?



Answer: The OL and DL.





Question: Is there any indication that Rob Spence will be more aggressive this year?



Answer: Hard to say. I think we'll see pretty much what we've seen the last three years.





Question: What does the staff think think of Jon Richt?



Answer: To be honest, I haven't really asked about him thus far.





Question: What is Dwayne Allen's status for playing versus redshirting? Or will they play it by ear?



Answer: The last time I checked, they said he was gonna play. But things could have since changed. But as I said earlier, hard to keep that talent on the bench.





Question: why does clemson start some new guys on the oline and the media thinks that is really huge while ugag's oline is just as thin and younger yet they get picked #1 in the country and no one questions them?



Answer: I think there are some questions about UGA after those injuries. Clemson's OL issues aren't necessarily "really huge." We'll see. But it is an concern. TB has said so just about every day.





Question: Who is your choice for the best unexpected performance Saturday?



Answer: Kavell Conner.





Question: What % chance do you give that Clemson lays an egg this Saturday night?



Answer: What do you mean by laying an egg?





Question: ACC or SEC



Answer: You serious?





Question: Nancy question here...are we wearing some "special" jersey on Saturday?



Answer: No clue.





Question: Who gets the nod at punter?



Answer: Hard to say, but it sounds like they really like Zimmerman. But Maners' experience could be vital, as I said earlier.





Question: What does the staff think of Brandon Maye?



Answer: They like his potential. He had a good week of practice. Just gotta get him to harness that anger.





Question: nc st or usc tonight?



Answer: picked USC earlier. If the Wolfies had Toney Baker and Eugene, I'd think they'd have a better shot. That QB could give USC's D some problems.





Question: Will Clemson have any recruits present for the Alabama game?



Answer: Not sure about that. I'm not very informed about recruiting, I must admit.





Question: Larry, of the ACC teams that nobody is paying serious attention to, i.e. Maryland, BC, Miami, UVA, etc, who do you think is the biggest threat to make some noise? I'm thinking Maryland, but maybe I'm the only one.



Answer: I'm just not sold on Maryland because of QB. And their defensive front does not impress me. I think BC could surprise folks who think they're gonna just be bad after Ryan's departure.





Question: Does a loss to Alabama drop Clemson out of the top #25?



Answer: Don't think so.





Question: I am thinking of switching from the State to the P C, your opinion??



Answer: Well, since I work for the P&C....





Question: Talk about the young linebackers, Larry, and how their speed and athleticism could outweigh their lack of experience.



Answer: Could happen. I know Blackwell really likes this group. Conner has really come on and shown a lot of leadership. Blackwell said he's been "knocking people out." Cooper and McDaniel could be a strength at SAM.





Question: Does Sapp look like a different player this year?



Answer: From all accounts, he does. Coaches say he's just been transformed and that his motor is turned up to the max on every play now.





Question: Spence has talked about scaling down our offense for the Bama game. How much of this is true, and how much of it is coach speak? One would think we'd throw the kitchen sink at em.



Answer: I think it could be scaled down because of the OL. Could be something that's dictated by how well the OL protects early in the game.





Question: UNC is the darkhorse to win the Coastal division. Does that make any sense to you? I admit I am not buying it, weak as that division is on paper.



Answer: Makes some sense, because I thought UNC looked like a well-coached team last year as opposed to previously. Lost a lot of close games, too.





Question: Will Clemson bus to Atlanta Friday or Saturday?



Answer: yup






Question: A day at Folly Beach, or a day at Death Valley??



Answer: A day at Folly, since I'm usually working when I'm at Death Valley. But I do enjoy tailgating after afternoon games. It's a cool place with the trees and campus and all that.





Question: Based on your impressions from camp, is this year's OL mediocre, above average, etc? I know it's hard to tell this early, but do you have a gut feeling?



Answer: My gut feeling is that they feel good about the line, but they're really not sure until Saturday.





Question: Bana may stop the run. But Cullen Harper will adjust - unlike Proctor against VT in 2006. Agree?



Answer: Cullen's definitely more capable of adjusting than Proctor. I doubt he'll throw the ball into the stands.





Question: ECU vs. VT. Any thoughts on that one?



Answer: Boy, you'd think ECU might have a shot.





Question: Bobby Hartin has 4 tickets to the game today, selling for charity....ok if I put them on your tab?



Answer: Be my guest.





Question: Why is the time on the posts not EST??



Answer: Not sure.





Question: Larry - How many players on Clemson's current roster do you think will be drafted in the '09 NFL draft?



Answer: They've got a lot of possibilities -- a lot more than usual. That's a good indication of how far their talent has come in the last four or five years.





Question: How well do Coach Bowden and Coach Ford get along?



Answer: I don't get the sense that they have much of a relationship.





Question: Trev Alberts on CBS-College Sports said Clemson would lose to Oklahoma in the National Championship game this year...Is that a possibility or is he smoking crack??



Answer: It's a possibility.





Question: what bama weakness do you expect Spence will attempt to exploit



Answer: LB





Question: Another stupid question: This staff seems to have a real problem with sticking with injured starting QBs late in the season. Any insight?



Answer: Harper was hurting against USC and Auburn, no doubt.





Question: What freshman from either team will have the most impact in the game?



Answer: Bowers and Julio Jones





Question: Larry have you ever Tmailed Peavy1?



Answer: I don't think I've ever Tmailed, period.





Question: Do you like Widespread Panic?



Answer: Love 'em. Been a fan for 15 years.





Question: Laying an egg= total meltdown and bad loss



Answer: 10%





Question: You thoughts on Willy Korn's grasp on the offense this spring and August?



Answer: I think Kyle Parker could give him a run next year. Hey folks, gotta get out to practice. I didn't have time to get to a lot of your questions, and I apologize. Let's do this again sometime. Take care, LW



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