Koenning, Hobby Arrive in Clemson

CLEMSON – Vic Koenning has waited his entire coaching career for an opportunity like he has now as Clemson's new defensive coordinator. <br>

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While on the staffs at Memphis, Wyoming and Troy, Koenning routinely faced opposing offenses from highly ranked teams. And more times than not, his players were overmatched physically.

But now that is all a thing of the past.

"I've always wondered what this package would do with players that are comparable or better (than the opposition)," said Koenning, who was officially introduced as the new coordinator Wednesday afternoon. "In fact, I was talking to my dad on the phone about that today."

His brand of defense is a cross between a 3-4 and a 4-3. A position known as "bandit" will split time as a defensive end and a linebacker. It is also an attacking style of defense.

In Koenning's style of defense last year at Troy, Demarcus Ware finished eighth in the nation in quarterback sacks with 13th in tackles for loss. He also had two players that ranked among the top 16 nationally in interceptions.

"I'm an excited guy on game day and I think I can teach these guys because I played the game," said Hobby.
The Trojans also forced 32 turnovers last year, which tied them for second nationally. It was the third time in Koenning's last five years as a defensive coordinator that his defense ranked in the top six in turnovers forced.

"We're going to run to the ball," Koenning said. "(The players) are going to get tired of hearing me yell, ‘Run to the ball and bend your knees.'

"We try to stop the thing they do the best first. We're going to have a different look every week. We're going to have a plan going into the season. Each week a team is going to have to make adjustments to us. … If you do things right fundamentally, things will just fall into place."

Koenning said that he will coach the defensive backfield, while David Blackwell will handle the inside linebackers. Ron West will coach the outside linebackers and newly hired Marion Hobby will oversee the defensive line.

Koenning said as far as he knows West and Blackwell will be on staff in 2005.

"I'm looking forward to working with both of those guys," Koenning said. "I know that have a lot of contacts. I know they're going to have opportunities and I hope they stay. … They haven't told me they weren't going to be here."

Hobby comes to Clemson after having spent the last six seasons at Ole Miss.

"I think I'm going to bring some intensity," Hobby said. "I'm an excited guy on game day and I think I can teach these guys because I played the game."

Hobby played at Tennessee between 1985 and 1989, where he was a three-starter at defensive end. He was a team captain in 1989 and was a first-team all SEC selection in that same year.

Hobby was then selected in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings, but he played his entire three-year pro career with the New England Patriots.

During his short time at Clemson, Hobby said he has watched game films from last year and that, "There were a couple of guys that were eye-catching and I learned their names and numbers real quick."

But he also added that every player is going to have an opportunity to show what they can and can't do on the field. And until that time comes, Hobby is just soaking in as much of his new surroundings as he can.

"Clemson was actually the first school to write me a letter in high school and I've always kind of kept up with them," Hobby said. "I'm just really kind of feeling my way around and getting to know the players that are already here."

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