Mickey Plyler's Blog for May 19


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On Fridays we publish your questions and comments about the blog. I hope
you enjoy a cross-section of readers thoughts.


Mickey,
Continuing to love the blogs you are writing.
Just read the ones about the Clemson coaches, some pretty awesome stuff and
in depth stuff...really enjoyed the accomplishments of Coach Danny Ford.
Of my many year of attending Clemson games....here are some of the players
who were extremely nice to me and my boys when they were young and going to
the games.


Michael Dean Perry

Donnell Woolford

Levon Kirkland

Gary Cooper

Chris Gardocki

Terry Allen


Please keep up the good work, the blogs are great stuff to read.


Tiger fan in Chapel Hill


Walt


Oh, wanted to mention I saw the Clemson men's tennis team play UNC here this
past Sunday. A good 30 loud Clemson fans, clad in orange were there. I was
sitting there alone about 15 minutes before the matches started and Coach
Kriese came to me and introduced himself and thanks me for coming out, I
appreciated it so much and thought it was a class thing to do on his part. I
thanked him for many great years of Great Tiger Tennis.


Walt,
Thanks. I think the world of Coach Kriese. He is a good Clemson man and it
was nice to see his team beat the Gamecocks that weekend. I will write some
blogs featuring some of the guys you mentioned above soon. Thanks again.



Mickey,

I noticed the following (very interesting) statistic in one of your recent
blogs...Can you tell me where you were able to obtain that information. I'd

like to see the overall stats. Thanks!
"This is a trend that has grown in popularity. In the BCS conferences over
the last three years, we have seen the number of players decided to go the
early entry route increase from 34 in 2004 to 35 in 2005 to 54 in 2006. "

Eric


Eric,

I go to a bunch of NCAA-related sites but I cannot recall where that
specific info came from. NCAA.org has some great stats concerning college
athletics.


Mickey,
You wrote, "In summary, some would not have put Cody ahead of Neely. Some
may have put Bowden, Heisman and Howard in a different order. Please e-mail
me and let me know your thought on my ranking of the eight best Clemson
football coaches "
I think you hit it dead on. Heisman has to be in the top 3 but his length
of tenure prevents being 2. Some may have put Bowden at 3 due to length of
tenure vs Heisman, but Heisman's accomplishments are just too audacious for
that at this point.
Some may have devalued Ford in the rankings to 2, 3 or 4 due to the cost to
the program in stature, performance and dollars resulting from the
recruiting violations he was a part of and his part in the later, related or

not, rift between him and the administration. Even if on-the-field results
is the only criteria, what he built in those terms he also helped tear down,

some would say. In a debate I would not mind being given that side to
defend. However, this is not a debate. Regardless of whatever reasons
might be given for placing him lower than 1, to do so merely divides us into

that debate. I would have placed him # 1. His accomplishments are of
course unequalled to date, so lets just leave it at that.
Having said that, if Bowden were to at some point have a record that,
impossibly, exactly equals Ford's in all on-field measurements, he would at
that point have be considered the # 1 coach because of the considerable
other accomplishments. If that is true, is there a point at which that
happens before the records are equal? Talk about debates...
Love your blogs. Straightforward, sensible, well communicated. Thanks.
David


David,
Thanks for the kind words and your input. I really like the debate and hope

many others will continue to add their two cents. I think if Bowden won a
national title then he would be held in Ford's regard. I think the fans
would love him forever. Thanks again.


I only saw the top 4. I agree with the first three in that order. I think
you have to put DF on top simply for the '81 season. And Frank Howard is
everything to Clemson Lore. He is the foundation upon which DF and all
following coaches built a national legacy that is Clemson Football. I also
think when its all said and done, TB will eventually reign supreme atop all
lists as he is quickly building a dynasty that should rival the FSU-90's. I
think we're still a little ways away from that high mark, but I think we
have the system, coaches, talent, and facilities to reach it in the next
three to five years. Thanks Mickey for your blog. It keeps me in touch.

Bandit in Greenville


Bandit,

Thanks for your thoughts. I will be interesting to re-rank Bowden after his

coaching days are done.


Mickey,
What a great job you do on this site keeping all of us Tiger fans up to date

on what is going on with our Tigers.
I thoroughly enjoy the 'Blogs'. They give good insight into the overall
program.
As for the coaching rankings, I do not disagree with your picks. I was a
football scholarship athlete under Coach Howard, and he was quite a
character. The thing I liked most about him was his honesty. He was brutally

honest, but he was a gentleman, with great integrity who knew how to give
bad news and good news, and after it was over you had to respect him,
because you knew it was the truth. He was very smart, really a scholar, and
he really wanted you to get your degree. I was there when he told us he was
retiring, and I hated it. So did everybody else, because that was the
beginning of the "Hootie" era.
Win, lose or draw, I am a Tiger, and I want us to win, play by the rules and

have real "Student Athletes", and I think Coach Bowden is doing a pretty
good job, and he is running the program in a way that Tiger fans can be
proud. He follows the rules.
If he will just get the team fired up and ready to play every game as if it
were the Carolina Game, or Miami, or FSU, I think he can be the best in the
country. He can't let us play like champions against Miami, and then get
beat by Wake Forest or Duke, though. I hope he gets that worked out. If he
does, we can play with anybody in the country, and he will go down as the
all time best we ever had.
By the way, I think Coach Ford is at the top of the list right now. He ran a

good program, too. He is the one, in my mind, that built the winning
tradition we enjoy today. He got us in the habit of winning. It was not
fancy, but just get down in the trench, whip the guy in front of you, make
the other guy beat you, and walk away with the win. He got blamed for many
transgressions that were not of his doing, and I hated the way his leaving.
He will always be a very special coach in my mind.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
Gerald


Gerald,
Well said. Thanks for adding your thoughts. I love hearing from former
players.


Hey Mickey! Why not rank the So. Car. coaches? We have 14 weeks until
kick-off. That might be enough.
Houston


Houston,
I thought Holtz was the greatest coach to ever blow a whistle but I have
figured out that the best coach in USC history is the next one.


Mickey,

I can't make a comment on the men who coached before my time but I whole
heartedly agree on numbers one through four. Coach Ford is definitely number

one. However; before he retires, I think Coach Bowden will be number one.

Thanks for the blog. I look forward to it each day.

Best regards,
Steve
In Dillon, S.C.


Steve,
Thanks. Coach Bowden has a tougher job than Ford did because of the
conference. I think Bowden has a chance to have a few special years in the
next two or three seasons.


Mickey,
Enjoy your blogs. I'm a 2001 Grad. and love Clemson sports (I was up this
past weekend for the FSU series), but I'm not all that familiar with Clemson

history. So, my question, is why did Coach Charley Pell only coach for two
seasons? Was it health reasons or did he move on to another school?
Thanks,
Rob


Rob,
Coach Pell left to take over as the head coach at the University of Florida
in December of 1978.


I would have been disappointed had you not made Danny #1. He put Clemson on

the map. I still miss him at Clemson, but I am a Clemson fan first and will

support any coach we have. Tommy is doing a really good job and I believe
good things are getting ready to happen with Clemson football, just like in
the Danny Ford Days.
Really enjoy your blogs.
Al


Al,
Thanks. To me Coach Ford was a no-brainer but some disagree with us.
Riggs, Heisman, Cody, Neely, Howard and Pell also helped put Clemson on the
football map.


I wanted to tell you that your articles are appreciated. They are very
good. I really look forward to the second part of your Clemson coaches
tomorrow. If Danny isn't #1, with a national championship, 96-29 record and

darn great teams, then besides my head exploding on my keyboard, you will
lose all credibility on all articles going forward. No pressure, but this
is a race that is not even close.
Very Very Excited Very Very Proud
Robert


Robert,
Thank you youngster! LOL. I am glad your head is still attached. Very
Very Kind words about the blog. BTW-Can you imagine Coach Ford even knowing

what a blog is or saying blog?


Mickey,

First, I want to say I really enjoy your blogs. I just read your idea of
moving the football practice fields to the west end zone parking lot. While

I understand why that might be slightly more convenient for players and look

somewhat impressive to recruits, I think it's a terrible idea. The parking
there is vital. First of all, I used to park there as a student. Not
because it was great place to park - it wasn't. I would have to either wait

for a shuttle or walk. I parked there because the other lots got so full
that I would wind up wasting time going from lot to lot looking for a space.

Secondly, that lot is essential for game day parking. I don't park there,
but a lot of people do. If they are forced to move, then that would move
everyone else further out. I have missed only a handful of games since my
freshman year in 1988. I was at Clemson for 7 years and never missed a home

game. But parking has gotten so ridiculous that I only went to 3 home games

last year. A few times I didn't bother waiting in the traffic. I just
parked and made the 30 minute walk. Between the drive and the walk, I
didn't bother with the early games. Between the price of tickets, the price

of gas (I live in Atlanta), and the parking situation, watching the game on
TV has become a lot more appealing.

Keep up the good work,

Ty


Ty,
The parking could be moved to the current practice fields. We miss you at
Death valley though. TV is convenient but the atmosphere in the Valley has
been rockin'. Come back.


Mick...you gotta be kidding me...Charley Pell number 7? No one did more to
turn Clemson into a big time winner than Charley other than Frank Howard and

Danny Ford...maybe. Go back and re-read your recent emails on Charley and
what he meant to Clemson football! When you re-rank your list I think
Charley will be in the top three. Thanks Mick and I enjoy listening to
you!
Chip


Chip,
I loved coach Pell but he was here for two years. He also left on bad terms

and left the NCAA hanging around. Pell had a ton of positives but a few
negatives.


The blog is awesome, and I hope it continues! One quick question: How do
you
think we are doing in terms of recruiiting the 2007 class? I am a bit
concerned
that players such as Gary Gray, Quentin Richardson, and Trinton Surdivant
have
committed elsewhere, and other players, such as Mark Barnes, have shown
little
or no interest in Clemson. I know Will Korn is all everything, but what
about
the other players who have verbally committed to Clemson?
Hugh


Hugh,
Clemson is doing very well. They would have liked all three of those
players especially Strudivant but the ones they have are very good. I think
they are headed for a great class.


Mickey,
I enjoy reading your blogs and your obvious appreciation of
Clemson. I received my undergraduate degree from Clemson in December
'03 and am now pursuing my MBA at the University of Alabama. The
addition to Bryant Denny Stadium is massive and quite impressive. The
outside facade will serve as the "main entrance" to the stadium and will
look very nice. I sat through USC at Clemson in 2000 and thought the
only game ever louder than that in the Valley was FSU in 2001. I did
not make it back for Miami this year. I did watch Florida at Alabama
live and I can tell you that no stadium has ever been louder than that
when I have been there. The addition is only going to close
Bryant-Denny more, and Tennessee and Auburn players might go deaf when
they visit. There is more reverence here for Bear Bryant than at
Clemson for Danny Ford, but Bama fans love Ford and we know why.
Probably the biggest difference in the football atmosphere is tailgating
because no matter what Alabama does, it cannot compare with the people
and camaraderie of Clemson fans.

Peter


Peter,
The Miami game was the loudest I have ever heard a football stadium. You
are right on two things. First, Alabama is serious about their football.
The renovations are incredible. Second, no one tailgates like Clemson.
Thanks.


Mickey, I'm a bit confused over the list of APRs for the top 25 schools that

you reported in your 05/15 blog; I thought I saw a recent report of
graduation rates in the ACC showing only Wake Forest and BC ahead of our
Tigers? Is my memory failing me? And APR is only an "indicator" of this,
right? I find it difficult to accept that Auburn (CU w/o the lake) and Jan
Kemp's Dawgs could be showing better progress....

Roger


Roger,
The list we had this week was for the top 25 poll from the on the field
action and re-ranked in terms of APR.


Mickey,
What exactly does APR stand for and how is it determined. I gather from the

article that it is tied somehow to graduation percentage, but I am curious
how it is determined. Also, are there any penalties from the NCAA for not
achieving a certain score? It seems as though I heard they were going to
start ling this APR score to the number of scholarships a school is given or

something of that nature. Lastly, what is the latest on the Wilkerson kid
from Gaffney? Love the blog.
Thanks,
Tom


Tom,
The academic progress report gives credit for a player staying in school and

for making progress towards his degree. If schools fail to reach a certain
score the NCAA will take away scholarships from the school. Nothing has
changed on Wilkerson. If he qualifies Clemson will take him.


Mickey,
I've heard there are a large number of instate OL coming out of HS next
year. Who are the best and what are our prospects with each?
Thanks for all of your insight.
Houston


Houston,
Clemson has offered David Smith from Greenville (Clemson commitment), Wilson
Norris of Pickens (Clemson commitment), Quentin Richardson of Spring Valley
(USC commitment) and Mason Cloy of Spring Valley (Undecided). I think they
have a good shot at Cloy. They would take Cloy, Landon Walker of North
Carolina and Nick Claytor of Gainesville, GA or Chris Little of
Jeffersonville, GA and be finished.


Mickey,

First off, let me start by saying that I was once one of those students in
Bob Brookover's sport management class that got the opportunity to listen to

you a few years ago. It was a great time, and I admire how you've worked
your way into living your dream, and since graduating last May, I too am
working towards mine. I'm currently in radio in Florence, selling for
Cumulus and 100.1, the Fan, working towards making my way back to Clemson
some day. After the day you spoke to our class, I did realize that those
dream jobs do exist, you just have to work to find them.

The question I had for you Tiger-related was that it seems to me the
Football team is flying way under the radar, even in the ACC, and I was
wondering what the outside opinion and expectations for this upcoming season

for the Tigers was. I find that T-netters tend to have higher expectations
than the rest of the country, and usually reality shows us at the end of the

season it was somewhere in the middle. Hopefully that won't be the case
this season, but I was wondering what you've heard outside the Clemson
Circle.

Thanks,
Mike


Mike,
Congrats. I think you will see Clemson get a lot of pre-season pub. The
magazines are starting to come out and a lot of people think highly of the
Tigers. I think this is a good thing and this national attention only
helps.


Mickey, your blog rocks! Reading it allows me to escape the chaos that is my

job for a brief moment each day. Now, brown-nosing aside, it seems as though

Clemson is geared up for a great run at the ACC Championship this year,
baring any unforeseen injury. Which position(s) do you think an injury would

hurt Clemson's chances the worst? My guess would be QB. ~James from
Memphis


James,
Thanks for the brown-nosing. I think Clemson could not afford injuries at
quarterback or defensive end. However, there is depth at every other
position.


Your Phase 4 idea sounds great on the surface, but it will not work. You
state "the only downside is the parking that would have to be moved but that

lot is really only used a few days per year." A few days per year? How
about 7 times next fall! What are you going to do with all the numbered
parking spots in that lot? What present lot would fill that need or would
you create a new one somewhere? I park in Lot 4, so I do not have a direct
interest except that Clemson would certainly bump me further out to
accommodate the lost numbered lots behind the West End Zone. I know this is

not a concern to you because I am sure you park right next to the stadium,
and do not have to walk 3/4 of a mile, but I do not relish having my hike
backed up another 1/2 mile or so just because you think this would "Look
Awesome"!
I love your blog and radio show, but I think you are definitely dead wrong
on this point.
Jerry


Jerry,
I park as far as you and would walk from my house if I had to. It is about
the players. We need to think players first.


Mickey -

I want to preface this message by saying I enjoy reading your stuff and am a

Tigernet addict.

Unfortunately, I take issue with a statement on your May 11 blog post about
a Phase 4 of the West Endzone project:

"Beside the costs the only downside is the parking that would have to be
moved but that lot is really only used a few days per year."

It is easy to forget that when football is not going on, Clemson is a school

and many students live on campus. The lot you are talking about (I assume
R3) is one of only 3 major lots for students to leave their cars during the
week. The only reason it is empty on the morning of football Saturdays is
because the university makes the students move their cars to the other side
of campus.

There is no fault in dreaming aloud, but there is fault in forgetting that
Clemson rises and falls primarily on the backs of its students and teachers
- not on the football program.

With that said, GO TIGERS! BCS in '06!

-Matt '05


Matt,
The CAT buses work. They can go another 500 yards farther. Put the
commuters where the current practice fields are. The football program takes

up less than 1% of the land on campus.


Mickey,

You were a lot less dismissive and fairer to the period of 1960-1976 than
most people are. However, Clemson did beat at least two other ranked teams

during that era, NC State in 1967 in the game with the orange shoes, and
North Carolina in 1963, which was not ranked when they played but was at the

end of the season a week or so later. The Tar Heels finished 19th and had
an outstanding team.

The three consecutive ACC champions from 1965-67 included 6 Clemson Hall of
Famers plus other all ACC players and future pros. Of course, other Hall of

Famers also played during the 17 years cited as the down period. The fact
that they played in no bowls is basically irrelevant. In the bowl situation

existing since the 1980s, they would have played in at least 5 and probably

6 bowls. The worst period was the time between 1968 and 1976, although there

were some highlights then, too. However, almost everyone seems to want to
expand the bad times back to 1960. Hindsight is wonderful in all endeavors.

As I said at the beginning, you treated those years better than most. I
enjoy your blogs.

Sincerely,

Keith


Keith,
Good points. I will go back and check about the rankings. Thanks.


You know, great minds think alike. I have brought up the idea several times

that the practice fields should be moved to the parking lot behind the west
endzone. I personally think the existing parking lot is an eye sore. Let's

hope somebody with some actual pull reads this blog and takes ownership of
the idea.
Chris


Chris,
This idea may be years down the road. When you are I are named athletic
director then we know it will happen.


After writing this email, I decided it is necessary to create a preface:
I think your idea is creative and accompanies a great recruiting
perspective. This is simply the realistic student perspective. I hope it
doesn't come across as idea bashing. I enjoy your blog.

Your idea for Phase Four of the WestZone project sounds excellent from the
perspective of a coach, player, or Clemson football enthusiast. I think
you could make a convincing argument for it from a purely athletic
standpoint; however, you inaccurately mention in you blog that the parking
lot is only used a few days during the year. Obviously this parking is
convenient for tailgating use on a handful of Saturdays, but it is also
used for Littlejohn events like basketball games or concerts, the
motorsports club uses it for racing, and most importantly it is 90% full
with student commuter parking 5 days a week (for most of the year).

With a more visible/easily accessible practice fields, other students
would be likely to use the fields for recreation after a good Saturday
rain accompanied by tailgaters leaves all of the intramural fields muddy,
with tire rutts, chicken bones, broken glass, and sharp bottle caps (it
happens every year). This would make the practice fields more difficult
to police, and maintain.

Another thought: The current practice fields are benefited by surrounding
drainage ponds which help avoid flooding/standing water on the fields.
Behind the stadium is in somewhat of a valley and it would be more
difficult to properly construct proper drainage in this area while
maintaining a level practice area.

Respectfully,
David


David,
This is exactly the kind of interaction I had in mind with the blog. Thanks
for your e-mail. Obviously you thought it out and presented it well.

Are you nuts?? Premium parking for donors and you want to give up several
hundred prime spots??? I thought we were trying to raise $$$$$$$$$$ and we
are a few zillion million short of finishing the project. I can tell you
get press parking.

Bob


Bob
I park farther out than almost anyone I know. I would also walk farther if
it helped the program.


Mickey,

If Lucas Gover gets to play in the Ryder Cup... I am going. Hell could not
stop me. And I am going to deck out in all of my Clemson orange. Look for
me. As time gets closer, encourage anyone other Clemson people going to do
the same so we can recognize each other and give special ecouragement ot
Lucas.

Howard
Albany, GA


Howard,
He is 6th in points so you better get your tickets.


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