Clemson Coaching Changes


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One Friday in the spring Tommy Bowden walked into a staff meeting room and told the staff that Mike O'Cain is the new offensive coordinator, Brad Scott is the new offensive line coach, Ron West is the new defensive line coach, Thielen Smith had been moved to the Whips and Rovers and Jack Hines was the new tight ends coach. At first, a couple members of the staff were shocked and disappointed. However, several evaluated and now view it as a challenge. One coach said, "I was shocked but I called a bunch of friends in the industry and they told me it is a positive. It will help me be a better head coach one day. I am happy now that I have learned so much since the spring."


We have talked to several members of the staff and a couple of the players affected by the move and here are a few thoughts:


1. Bowden sent a message that he wants to take the program to the next level. There is no complacency on this staff or his players. He sent a message to the staff to go out and learn more and share more ideas. This move has energized the staff and we think the players.


2. Mike O'Cain is a terrific offensive mind. He will be a wonderful offensive coordinator.


3. Brad Scott is very detailed oriented. He pays attention to the smallest detail.


4. Ron West brings a lot of experience from the offensive line to the defensive line. His knowledge of offense will help the defensive staff.


5. David Blackwell will have more input in the defensive meetings. The offensive meetings had several former coordinators and the move of West will also strengthen the defensive staff.


6. Thielen Smith brings energy to the Whips and Rovers. He is an intense coach everyday in practice.


7. The major decisions Bowden has made in the past have worked. When Rich Rodriquez left for WVU he was replaced by Mike O'Cain. He hired David Blackwell and Dabo Swinney to replace two good assistants. This move has played out very well. He inserted Whitehurst as the starter at the end of his freshman season. The decision was a major one but proved to be the right one. We think only hindsight will prove if he was right with the most recent coaching changes but he has a history of making the right choice when facing a major decision.


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