Todd Bates on stellar first year: "I knew best was the standard"


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Bates has had an outstanding first year on Clemson's staff
Bates has had an outstanding first year on Clemson's staff

Todd Bates is approaching the one-year anniversary of his hire as the defensive line coach at Clemson, and it’s been quite a year. Bates has overseen one of the best defensive lines in all of college football, helped Clemson win a third straight ACC Atlantic Division title, won an ACC Championship and made a trip to the Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff.

That’s quite a year.

“It's been a blessing. It's been fun. It's been fast,” Bates told TigerNet recently. “It's been very rewarding. It's good to see these young men's hard work pay off and they're going to reap the benefits of their hard work.”

All of the success? It was something that Bates expected.

“I would be sitting here telling you a story if I told you that I didn't expect to be here because of the leadership of Coach Swinney and how he gets his vision across to everybody,” Bates said. “He speaks with conviction. I don't see how you can be around him and not believe.”

Bates said he knew going in what was expected – former defensive line coaches Dan Brooks and Marion Hobby put Clemson back on the map with stellar defensive line play.

“I knew that best was the standard. I knew that. I knew all about Coach Swinney because I had followed him for years,” Bates said. “I worked camps for years at Clemson and been around the program through those camps and then watching from a distance when I could being in the profession and playing on Saturdays. It's been everything I thought it was and then some.”

Lemanski Hall was recently added to the staff as the 10th full-time assistant coach and will coach the defensive ends while Bates will take over the defensive tackles. Over the last year, however, Bates coached both groups and knows he’s a better coach thanks to the experience.

“I think it's been very rewarding for not only me but for the players to see the big picture and understand what their job is and what their brother's job as well,” he said. “Just being there talking to d-tackles one time, I try to make sure the ends are listening. If I'm talking to ends, I try to make sure the d-tackles are listening because that makes you a better understanding how the pieces fit together.”

Clemson’s defensive line is not only known for its talent, but it’s also known for a cast of characters that like to play Power Rangers and have fun on and of the field.

“They're fun. I haven't seen them have a bad day,” Bates said, laughing. “There's something really wrong if they're having a bad day. They keep everybody up. They understand that it starts up front and that's in practice and not just in games. They bring the intensity, and they bring the excitement and energy every day. They know that this team counts on them for that. They kind of take that on and take pride in that.

“It makes your job a little bit easier. Of course, you still have to bring it as well. It also makes you step up because you say, 'Hey, your guys, they're ready to play.' You take pride in getting them ready to play.”

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