Coaching Questions Left Unanswered

CLEMSON – Tommy Bowden said firing three coaches was one of the most difficult things he's had to do as head coach of the Clemson football team. But at the same time, he failed to offer any insight on why he did it. <BR><BR> <b>*(Rob Spence Update Also Included)*</b><BR>

"You want me to be more specific than my press release?" Bowden asked. "I'm going to leave it as it is. I wanted to be more specific, I would have been more specific in the press release. …

"This is a small town. If it had been rather significant, y'all would know about it."

The release issued by Bowden through the sports information department reads as follows: "I appreciate the years of service these three men have given to me and our program. All three were important reasons we defeated three top 10 teams in the last two years. They all represented Clemson University and our program well. But, philosophically, I have decided to go in another direction."

However, when asked if he was happy with the way the defense played this season, which finished 31st in the nation out of 117 teams in scoring defense at 20.82, Bowden paused and then responded, "Yes."

That leads one to believe that there are other reasons than field performance for the dismissal of defensive coordinator John Lovett. The same can be said for former rovers and whips coach Thielen Smith and offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain.

"The job descriptions of a coach are pretty comprehensive and it involves all areas of the job description," Bowden said. "Recruiting is one of them."

However, he later added, "I'd say we never developed a firm consistency over 11 games. … But I know I have to be careful and I have to be realistic of where this university is and the resources that we have available right now and what I'm expecting."

Specifically what he expects on offense and defense, Bowden didn't get deep in that subject either. The piece of information concerning his new hires was brief at best.

"I hate to be too vague and too general with you, but I'm in the initial stages of the interview process," he said. "I know exactly what I want to do. I know exactly what I want to do on both sides of the ball. I'm just not ready to share it with y'all until I fill the position."

Bowden did admit that he might give up control of the offense.

"It depends on who I bring in," he said. "It's possible."

One person thought to be of interest to Bowden is Toledo offensive coordinator Rob Spence. However, Toledo head coach Tom Amstutz said no school has asked his permission to speak with Spence.

Bowden said that he would consider promoting from within to fill the coordinator positions. reported Friday linebackers coach David Blackwell will be named the team's new defensive coordinator.

A reporter asked if Bowden if that included Blackwell. Bowden promptly quipped, "Is he within?"

Other insight Bowden offered into possible new coaches was that he would consider a high school coach, but "probably not" somebody who has never before coached. That would appear to eliminate former NFL and Clemson star linebacker Levon Kirkland from a paid position with the team.

He also added that he would like to hire a minority for one of the three positions.

Bowden went on to say that he doesn't think any of his coaches will leave, but if they want do he has a ton of resumes sitting on his desk. He also said Brad Scott isn't interested in leaving for Florida State, contrary to internet reports that were circulating last week. Top Stories