NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Nearly 10 years ago, my parents and I loaded two cars to the brim and departed left Concord, Ohio, driving south. I had relatively few possessions then. I had relatively few life experiences. But I was taking my first big risk. I had accepted my first job at the Rocky Mount Telegram, a small paper, in a tiny town on the North Carolina coastal plain.
My stomach was in knots the entire trip. Big change will do that, at least for me. I’d never lived outside my native state. I felt I was traveling to a foreign land as we traversed through the Blue Ridge and to the coastal plain. I fretted crossing the Mason-Dixon line, and feared only country music would be played on the radio. I was anxious as to what awaited in my future.
Cortez burned his ships when he reached the New World to keep his crew better motivated. My parents didn’t burn their sedans but they did leave me in Rocky Mount, N.C. with a 1996 Chevy Lumina, a flip phone, and a few furnishings for a $500-per-month apartment. I was rolling the dice on a career in journalism, starting from the bottom.
Continue reading “A bittersweet farewell” »
CLEMSON – Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is not going to give away his secret sauce. He probably exposed too many ingredients last year when openly talking about why he went to Nevada and Oklahoma State — though I think most of us could connect the dots to why Nevada was of interest (the Pistol).
Morris and his staff visited Arizona State earlier this offseason, they have already entertained Ohio State, and Morris hopes to bring in the Texas A & M staff for a visit.
Morris is always looking for a better mousetrap. But unlike last year when Morris unveiled an extreme makeover in going with the pistol as a base formation against Auburn and deploying through much of the regular season, Morris told me not to expect any such significant changes in scheme this season.
Continue reading “Tweaks, not makeovers, in 2013 … and why Cole Stoudt should be the backup (but Chad Kelly can have a role)” »
CLEMSON – The Clemson staff is wise to visit and entertain other college coaches as they did last season (Nevada, Oklahoma State) and have done again this spring, sending its offensive staff to Arizona State, and inviting the Ohio State offensive staff to Clemson.
No college staff has a monopoly on smarts.
(Urban Meyer did not visit, his OC did, but we know he loves Clemson and Chad Morris. The last time he was in Clemson he was an ESPN analyst and tried to hire Chad Morris away the following offseason when he took the Ohio State job.)
Last spring, Morris’ trip to Nevada yielded an understanding of the pistol formation which led to a much improved running game, and the trip to Oklahoma State in part resulted in leading DeAndre Hopkins to Justin Blakmon/Dez Bryant-like numbers.
Continue reading “The bottom-up philosophy and Clemson’s troubling projected frontcourt” »
CLEMSON – Earlier today on ESPN, Jay Bilas and Jalon Rose were debating why college basketball scoring is at a modern-era low this season.
College teams are averaging 67.6 points per game, according to KenPom.com, which would be the lowest average since 1952, and just the second time in the last six decades that scoring dipped below 68 points per game.
Bilas and Rose named some of the usual suspects in an effort to solve this mystery: the erosion of offensive skills (namely shooting) and the departure of the game’s elite players to the NBA.
Continue reading “The science of Syngery is changing the game but an artform remains … and how can we get scoring back” »
CLEMSON – If the defensive backfield is not the most improved area of the Clemson football team this season, it might be the the defensive end position.
Because the Tigers are still waiting on eight defensive back signees from the freshman class to arrive this summer, the defensive end position is the most improved group this spring.
Dabo Swinney looks around and sees Vic Beasley up to 232 pounds, looking more like a defensive end than the wide receiver playing defensive end he was last season. Swinney called Beasley a “science project” last year. It worked (8 sacks in limited time). Beasley said he’s more comfortable this spring because he’s focused on one position.
Continue reading “Will the defensive ends lead Clemson D to significant gains? And Clemson’s $9M arcade” »