Easy Transition for Brad Scott

CLEMSON – It was in the early part of the 1990s at perennial powerhouse Florida State as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach that Brad Scott first became a nationally recognized coach among his peers.

During Scott's four seasons leading the offense, the Seminoles went a Division I best 44-6, which included the 1993 national championship and finishing no lower than fourth in the polls the other three. As a result, he was viewed by many as the top assistant in the country.

With Scott holding down the title of offensive coordinator at Clemson the last three years, the Tigers offense produced very big numbers, including the fourth-most productive offense in school history last season.

That's why it came as somewhat of a surprise when Scott asked to be removed as offensive coordinator when head coach Tommy Bowden asked him to switch as offensive line coach. He held both positions at Florida State, why not do the same at Clemson?

"When I was coordinator at Florida State, I was offensive line coach there, as well, and that's a major responsibility," Scott said. "It's not a bad job to have if you're coaching one guy, and I was coaching the tight ends and in this offense that's one guy most of the time. So that was a perfect coaching position to have to coordinate the offense. I could spend the time doing all the organizational work and all the preparations you have to do during the offseason, preseason and, of course, game week.

"So, since I'd already had that in my little bag of experience, I said to myself, ‘No, I don't want to do that again.' To do a good job with the offensive line, I felt like I needed to be focused on those 15 guys that I'm coaching."

Scott suggested to Bowden that quarterbacks coach and former N.C. State head coach Mike O'Cain take over the roll as offensive coordinator.

"Mike is such a quality coach and had been involved heavily with the play calling the last three years, that it was only a natural," Scott said.

"I had approached Tommy prior to that about the possibility of Mike being in a coordinator or co-coordinator situation. (Bowden's) more comfortable with one guy doing it, so this presented itself and I think it was a good situation for our team and for Mike and it allows another coach to pick up another title. I'm assistant head coach, as well. And with salary increases and all that, I thought it was good.

"I'm going to be 50 this fall. I had my run as a head coach and as a coordinator at two different successful programs, so it's not as important to me if I was 30-years-old and wanting to be a head coach or striving to be a head coach. So, with all that considered into the equation, I just thought that would be a better situation and scenario. And Tommy, I think, agreed with that wholeheartedly. When you've got a head coach that's involved offensively like Tommy is, then a quarterback coach and the head coach in the passing game is a natural fit. So it was a nice and easy and smooth transition. I think it's going to work out and be really good. We had a nice spring with it and I think it's going to work out nicely."

Scott said it didn't come as the biggest shock in the world when Bowden asked him to return to the same position that he had so much success at while at Florida State. In fact, it was somewhat expected.

Theielen Smith was named as the new "whip" linebacker and rover coach, which allowed former offensive line coach Ron West to assume Smith's old spot as defensive line coach. That prompted Bowden to ask Scott to take over the offensive line, which put former "whip" linebacker and rover coach Jack Hines in Scott's previous spot as tight ends coach.

Scott said the move was not because of poor play by the line last season.

"The line played well last year," he said. "Ron West did a good job coaching the offensive line the five years that he's been here. I think it was a more natural change because Ron had defensive experience, had been a coordinator earlier in his career, so it was a natural move for (Bowden) to move Ron over to defense, then, let's say, myself or say, another offensive coach that really doesn't have any defensive coaching experience. By Ron being in that position, then it created an opening on the offensive line, and that being a large part of my background, that was a natural move.

"If it was important for me to be a head coach again, then the coordinator position would be something that would be very important to me. There are those old sayings, ‘Been there, done that, got a t-shirt.' They're looking at younger coaches usually. And once you've been through it and your family has been through it, it's not quite as appealing that sometimes the outsiders might think it is."

Now that he's back as offensive line coach, the first thing Scott must do is figure out how to solidify both offensive tackle positions.

"We don't have a lot of experience at the tackle position because of the graduation of Greg Walker and William Henry," Scott said. "There's a lot of starts between those two guys over the last couple of years. Now, were fortunate that Coach West, last year, rolled in Roman Fry, got him some playing experience, and Marion Dukes. But still, it was very minimal.

"So, when you say you have an area of concern, it's because of lack of experience. There's just not a lot of reps there in game situations between those kids. We're much more experienced in the guard position with older players. Our two starters coming out of spring ball at the tackle positions would have both been second-year players on the field."

Just for the record, Fry had two starts and played 300 snaps last season. He led all freshmen in playing time regardless of position. Dukes played 97 snaps over 10 games.

However, there's little doubt with all concerned that he can mold each of those players into quality offensive linemen just like those he had at Florida State. And it looks as though this is going to be a permanent position for Scott, which is good news for Clemson fans.

"We sold our first home here because I think my wife got too carried away and built too big a house," Scott said. "The boys left, so we sold our house. We're currently building a smaller home for us out in Cross Creek (Plantation). We're putting our roots down and will hopefully be here a long, long time with Coach Bowden."

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