Hobby thrilled with return to Clemson

CLEMSON - It was all just a blueprint when Marion Hobby was at Clemson in 2005.

The portion of the West End Zone project that he'd only seen on paper is now reality, and he's happy to call it home.

"When I told my wife that I was looking in this direction, she looked it up on the Internet…she was pulling up facilities and coaches, it was a good feeling," Hobby said, after he was introduced as defensive ends coach at Clemson.

But it wasn't an easy feeling parting ways with David Cutcliffe.

Hobby worked under Cutcliffe at Mississippi from 1999-2004. He coached the defensive line at Clemson in 2005 before heading to the New Orleans Saints for two years. In 2008, Cutcliffe hired him at Duke, where he served as defensive coordinator.

Moving from a coordinator back to a position coach wasn't easy either.

"That's always tough. You go from a coordinator, but I've done both," Hobby said. "I'm good with that. I've been a leader at different levels. And I've been a solider. I'm comfortable with either one. It's a little bit different."

Shortly after he was named defensive coordinator at Duke, Hobby sought advice from Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

Though they coached in the same conference, Steele was willing to offer his guidance to one of his former players.

After all, Duke wasn't on Clemson's for several years.

"We just had conversations on how he organizes his practices, how he did things—the discipline had," Hobby said. "It doesn't surprise me that he's a disciplinarian, because that's how he was when I even played for him. I've followed his program ever since."

At Tennessee in 1987 and 1988, Steele was defensive backs coach and Hobby was a starter on the defensive line.

When Hobby emerged as a candidate for the vacancy left behind by Chris Rumph, he placed another call to Steele.

"I wanted to make sure that he was comfortable with me being a part of his staff, and the grounds that he made up—I don't want to be the weak link on his staff," he said. "It was no different. Talking to him, it felt like I had talked to him yesterday, like we had never been apart. He understands that I want to learn and grow from there."

Hobby's first coaching job was the defensive tackles job at Tennessee-Martin. He served two seasons at Southwest Louisiana as strength and conditioning coach (1996) and defensive tackles coach (1997). He served as an assistant strength coach at Tennessee in 1998.

In 2005, Clemson went 8-4 and finished in the top-25. The Tigers were 11th nationally in scoring defense (17.6 points per game) and in the top-25 against the run.

"When you leave a place, sometimes you're not welcome back. When you feel like you get a great job and your welcomed back, that's encouraging," Hobby said. "You feel good."

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