It’s the coach, stupid

With news that Clemson has decided the Tommy Bowden experiment is over, I wonder if Bobby Petrino, fresh off his team’s big win over the other Tommy in trouble, is on the phone with someone in the 864 area code right now or is he biding his time until Auburn acts.  Seriously, Tubbs may have saved himself this very fate in the short term by firing Tony Franklin last week.  Bowden stuck by his OC and now both Bowden and Rob Spence have been shown the door.  Assistant Head Coach Dabo Swinney will step in with the interim tag.  While there are numerous good reasons for this firing, the one that strikes most me is the player revolt that bubbled up.

ESPN has a number of great quotes on this, none more damning than that from Cullen Harper, the recently benched QB: “It’s what he deserved”.  Way to stay classy.  Harper’s father Jeff (yes, Jeff Harper from the 1980 Georgia national champion team) took it even further:

“I’d call it karma,” he said.  “I thought it needed to be done. I think anytime a head coach or someone in a leadership position starts to place blame on his coaches and players, it weakens their respect on the team. His past experiences have shown he’s done that.”

Seriously, if he lost the team that much, Terry Don Phillips had no choice but to pull the plug. I guess the Clemson fans weren’t the only ones fed up with Bowden.

According to Rivals, they have already lost two of their top commits for the 2009 recruiting season (DBack Poppa Loston out of Texas and S DeVonte Holloman from Rock Hill, SC).  For Dawg fans, the biggest question will be who does Clemson go after for head coach and how the timing of that decision changes the recruiting math.  That makes the possibility of having a couple of studs like Northside Warner Robbins’ Eric Fields back in the mix.

Furthermore, they could compete against some pretty good programs if they wait to fill the position.  With the potential of having two marquee SEC openings this season, plus the likelihood of having at least another opening somewhere else in the SEC, maybe even as close as Columbia, the Tigers are in a tough spot if they wait too long to lock up someone.  Lane Kiffin, Will Muschamp, Charlie Strong, John Gruden, Bobby Johnson (as a Clemson grad), any number of guys from the WAC/Mountain West, Tulsa coach Todd Graham, and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald all come to mind as possibilities.  Only one guy makes sense if they are going to make a hire during the season.  Terry Don and the boys have their work cut out for them since they have to either make a quick decision on Dabo Swinney or quickly go get Lane Kiffin and convince him that Lake Hartwell is almost as nice as the Puget Sound.  However, if Cullen Harper didn’t like Tommy Bowden yelling, I can’t imagine he’ll enjoy Lane Kiffin’s motivational tactics.  Otherwise, they could end up getting a Zooked and end up negotiating with someone like Tommy Tubberville in December (not that there is anything wrong with that).


3 Responses to “It’s the coach, stupid”

  1. 1 cousinwalter
    October 18, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I would remove John Gruden’s name from atleast the Clemson’s list. Clemson does not have the money to get him to leave the NFL. Why would Gruden leave the NFL for anywhere let alone Clemson? Even if Tampa Bay fired him, NFL teams would form a line around the block to pay him loads of cash(specifically Minnesota and Kansas City). I just don’t see it.

    Lane Kiffin is not a bad idea even if he is 33 years old. He comes from a good coaching pedigree(Monte Kiffin) and supposively the players in Oakland had his back despite what Al Davis will tell you. ESPN reported that JeMarcus Russell was still calling Kifin for advice on the following week.

    Ron Zook may not have worked for Gator nation but he is a great recruiter. He has changed the culture at Illinois.

    Bobby Johnson just seems like the most likely scenerio. 1.He is alumni.2.If he can make Vandy win why not Clemson.3.He had a very successful run at Furman where he won a Division I-AA National championship- hence recruiting the palmetto state will not be a problem.4.He is a Disciplinarian- the Clemson Football team needs a good kick in the ass and Bobby Johnson can give it to them.

    Since you brought it up and since if he is fired its definitely going to be an issue- Tuberville. why not? Auburn owes him six million dollar if they fire him at the end of the season but I am sure he would not want to take a break from coaching.

  2. 2 bulldoginexile
    October 18, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    I agree Gruden is a very long shot. The more I think about it, the more I think they will make a run at Bobby Johnson, IF they don’t keep Swinney around. Nothing today showed me that Swinney is an improvment over Bowden.

    Tubberville is an intriguing choice in any other year. Not sure their fan base will put up with hiring him after Auburn fires him, if that is what happens.

  3. 3 Jimmy Cracked Corndawg
    October 18, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Two words: Danny Ford

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A Georgia Dawg in the Mid-West alone with his thoughts.

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