Top Five Questions for Spring Ball - #5

With the addition of three new coaches to the staff, spring practice becomes even more important this year. <BR>

#5. How will the coaching changes effect the team?
With the addition of Rob Spence as offensive coordinator, Vic Koenning as defensive coordinator, and Marion Hobby as the defensive line coach, there are bound to be significant adjustments made on both sides of the ball this spring.

How will the team respond to these changes? Without question, this is one of the most pressing issues of spring practice.

Spence, who will bring everything from new terminology to a new attitude to the team this year, has also made no secret about what he expects to accomplish on the practice fields this spring.

"We will do a lot in the spring and there's going to be a learning curve," said Spence. "There will be a lot demanded of our players and our coaches.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges he'll face has to be rekindling the confidence of an offense that finished 110 out of 117 Division I-A schools in total offense in 2004.

Clemson averaged just 395 yards and 21.6 points a game last season. By comparison, Spence guided an offense that averaged 474.1 yards per game and 35.2 points per game during his last season as the offensive coordinator at Toledo.

This spring, he'll be working extensively with quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, while also focusing his efforts on improving the Tigers' running game.

How quickly the team responds to his coaching will likely dictate how quickly the team can rebound from last year's "offensive" effort.

For new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, he'll be installing a new "attacking style" of defense built on speed.

His scheme is a cross between a 3-4 and a 4-3, and it also has a new position, the "bandit." The "bandit" will split time as a defensive end and a linebacker.

"The one position (Bandit) is kind of a cross between a defensive end and a linebacker," said Koenning.

"With the personnel here and the way they are used to playing a four man front, it may be slightly more of a four man front at times, but at times that person will have the ability to be a more mobile guy."

Defensive end Gaines Adams will likely get the first crack at the new bandit position, but Koenning will have more important issues to deal with- like who will step in for Justin Miller and Travis Pugh in the secondary, or who will take the place of ACC Defensive Player of the Year Leroy Hill.

"I've watched the players that we have here now and we are going to try and line them up in positions to start with based on what we think their abilities are," said the former Troy assistant coach.

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