The 1-4 start is not good. I am not here to try to tell you that there is
anything positive that has come out of it. However, I am an optimist. Like
Ronald Regan said, "I believe our best days are still ahead."
Lets look at the bigger picture and our advice to each factor:
1. Clemson. I have been to College Station, TX, Tallahassee, FL, and
Charlottesville, VA in the past few weeks. In recent years I have been to
every ACC school and every SEC school with the exception of Vanderbilt and
Arkansas. Most of those schools have better facilities but that is short
term. When the West Zone project is complete that will not be a factor
anymore. Clemson has so many natural advantages. There are few atmospheres
like Death Valley. Clemson is also a terrific village. It homes terrific
people. There are few campuses that have the natural beauty of Clemson with
Lake Hartwell at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Joe Sherman said it
best, "There's something in these hills."
Our advice: Let Clemson be Clemson. The leadership at Clemson needs to
understand that Clemson is not Duke or Harvard. It is Clemson. We should
be proud of what Clemson is about. We should be proud of why Clemson is
2. Terry Don Phillips. This is a strong athletic director with a great
vision. He understands Clemson and Clemson people. Phillips is a football
guy that understands the game and the environment in college football. He
is also a strong personality that will stand up to those in the
administration and on the board that need to be stood up to. He is a man of
action and a man who is proactive instead of reactive.
Our advice to Terry Don is to stay strong. Stand up for what you believe
in. Lead do not follow. I have full confidence that you will fight for
everything you believe in.
3. The West Zone. Bill D'Andrea is another bright guy that understands
football. He will make this project happen because it has to happen.
Failure is not an option. D'Andrea will make this happen. Former players
like Jeff Davis and Rodney Williams are examples of strong personalities
that will help make this happen. The West Zone is a team effort and the
people behind it are united.
Our advice to Billy D and his folks is to work relentlessly. This project
will be the legacy of many who are involved. Your tireless work will
prevail and Clemson will be better because of it.
4. People. We all have heard the phrase "Clemson people." I understand
that phrase. The Clemson people will take this program back to the level it
Our advice to Clemson people is to be part of the solution and not part of
the problem. Those that want to bitch and moan on the internet and sports
talk radio are part of the problem. The ones that chose to not come to the
games are part of the problem. If you boo then you are part of the problem.
The ones that support the program with their time, effort, energy and
money are part of the solution. The ones that go to the away games are part
of the solution. The fans that let players play, coaches coach and athletic
directors lead are part of the solution. The ones that truly love Clemson
in good times and bad are part of the solution.
Two weeks ago I wrote a column on the state of the program. In it I said
the short-term outlook is not good because the problems on both lines of
scrimmage and the difficulty of the schedule. The column also stated that
the long-term is brighter because of the young offensive linemen. That
column also focused on football. This article focused on the bigger
picture. In summary, I have two questions for you: Do you truly love
Clemson? Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?