Question #7: What will Clemson Look Like Under Koenning and Spence?
Following the 2004 season, Coach Tommy Bowden dismissed offensive coordinator Mike O’Cain and defensive coordinator John Lovett. In 2005, Clemson will have Rob Spence running the offense, and Vic Koenning handling the defense. The pieces are in place for the Tigers to have a smooth transition.
Spence has most talented offensive line Clemson has had under Tommy Bowden. The improved play of the offensive line will aid Spence in a couple of ways. First, Spence’s offense is dedicated to running the football. In the last couple of seasons, it has been difficult for Clemson to stay committed to the run with question marks on the offensive line. Clemson will use its running game to set up the passing game. The Tigers will mainly use one-back sets.
The second facet an improved offensive line will aid in the transition under Spence is the tight end will not be asked to block as much. It has been difficult for Clemson to throw to the tight end, because the tight end often had to stay in and block. Now, Spence will add the tight end as welcomed addition to Clemson’s passing game.
Koenning brings in a new scheme on defense. Clemson will use more zone coverage in the secondary this year. It will put less pressure on the cornerbacks and his scheme could protect some inexperienced cornerbacks. The one position under Koenning that has drawn a lot of attention is the bandit. Gaines Adams will be the starter, and fans are eager to see how Koenning will use the long and athletic Adams. The bandit is used to rush the passer, but the person playing bandit also needs the ability to play in space.
The transitions seemed to be going smoothly according to the players following spring practice. The coaches spent the final practice of the spring outlining what needed to be done over the summer. The players took heed to the coaches advice and turned out the most productive summer under Tommy Bowden.
The changes in coordinators seem to have brought the team closer together. On more than one occasion, it was mentioned to me how much time the players were spending together. At times, there would be close 50 players gathered together at house or apartment. The team were eager to learn the new systems, and they all worked together. The leadership this group of seniors has taken on since the spring should not go unnoticed. It would not be fair to single out one player, but this group of seniors knows this is their team and everyone else knows too.