Toledo offensive coordinator Rob Spence, who has guided one of the top Divsion I offenses since 2001, has spoken with Bowden about the vacant position, CUTigers.com has learned.
Through a spokesperson at Toledo, Spence issued a statement saying he will not comment about the Clemson job or any other. Rockets athletics director Michael O'Brien and football head coach Tom Amstutz each said they haven't been contacted by anyone at Clemson seeking permission to speak with Spence.
However, others associated with the Toledo football team said they have heard Spence, 46, is a candidate for the job with the Tigers.
The Rockets finished this season as Mid-Atlantic Conference champions. The offense was the key reason why.
Toledo finished the regular season ranked seventh out of 117 teams in the nation in total offense at 474.08 yards per game. The passing game also ranked seventh at 306.33 yards per game, while the rushing offense was 45th at 167.75 yards per game, all of which ranked higher than Clemson.
In the most important category, scoring offense, Toledo averaged 35.17 points per game, which ranked 13th in the nation. Moreover, the team's passing efficiency rating was an extremely high 164.08, which ranked sixth in the nation.
Spence got to Toledo in 2001, and the Rockets finished 13th in the nation in total offense that same year. The following year, they ranked fifth in offense.
Last season, the Rockets were 11th in total offense, where then sophomore quarterback Bruce Gradkowski was second in the nation in completion percentage (71.2%) and became the third Rocket quarterback in each of Spence's three seasons to break the MAC record for completion accuracy. Gradkowski also set the school record with 29 touchdown passes, and became just the second Rocket quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season.
Those numbers are pretty much the norm for Spence's offense.
He came to Toledo after one season at Louisiana Tech, where he was co-offensive coordinator and developed Luke McCown, a freshman All-America selection who threw for 2,544 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has also continued his career with the Cleveland Browns.
Prior to his one season at Louisiana Tech, Spence was offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Division I-AA Hofstra from 1997-99. In his final season, Hofstra averaged 34.0 points per game, finished with an 11-2 record and a No. 5 national ranking. Hofstra quarterback Gio Carmazzi was selected in the third round of the NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
In 1998, Spence's offense averaged 38.7 points per game and ranked No. 9 in total offense (464.9 yards/game). In 1997, the Flying Dutchmen went 9-3 and ranked ninth in scoring (34.8) and eighth in total offense (453.9).
Spence was an assistant coach at Maryland from 1992-96, where the Terrapins' wide-open offense set 70 school records. Spence was quarterbacks coach in his final three seasons at Maryland, helping guide quarterback Scott Milanovich, who broke several ACC and school records. In 1994, Milanovich led the Terrapins to a No. 10 national ranking in passing offense.
Spence broke into the coaching ranks in 1981 at the high school level as an assistant at Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, N.Y. He joined Iona Prep School in New Rochelle, N.Y., as the offensive coordinator in 1982, and later as the head coach from 1984-88.
Spence, a native of Pelham, NY, played high school football at St. Andrews High School in Middletown, DE from 1972-75. He went on to play tight end at Iona from 1978-81. He earned his bachelor's degree in social work from Iona in 1981, and later earned his master's degree in education from Iona in 1990.
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