Q&A with Coach Hines

CUTigers.com continues its summertime series of interviewing every coach on the Clemson coaching staff.

With Rob Spence's use of the tight end, has the recruiting of tight ends changed at Clemson?
Hines: One thing we have to do as coaches is let the tight end prospects know where the offense is going and that it will give them an opportunity to catch a lot more balls in the game and affect the outcome. In the past, we utilized the tight end at times, but maybe not as much as Coach Spence has done in the past. We'll still have four-wides in there and we'll still have five wides at times, but we'll have three tight ends in there on first down a lot to mix in.

Are you looking to bring different types of tight ends to Clemson? Maybe get away from the blocking type and more of a receiver type?
Hines: In this style of offense, I think we're looking for an on-the-line tight end, which at times can be an offensive tackle, but we still want him to be able to run good routes and get open and be able to catch the ball. We also want a tight end that's going to be like a fullback at times, be in motion and run routes, but at the same time we want him to be able to knock people off the ball. I think there's a little bit of everything as to how what kind of tight ends we're looking at.

When you're looking at game film of high school kids, what specifically do you look for with your tight ends?
Hines: Nothing has changed in recruiting. We're looking for big kids that can run. The quality of high school film is different from school to school. You just want find somebody with size, athletic ability and somebody that has some speed. I don't think that's ever going to change.

With all the different moves over the past few years, which position have you liked coaching the best?
Hines: I think without any question, coaching is coaching and working with young people and building a game plan. Although, most of my career during my 30-some years of coaching has been on the defensive side of the ball. I have a lot more experience there, but at the same time from the offensive perspective, knowing what defenses can do and have done, I can see it and be valuable to the team in that perspective. But at the same time, it's given me a chance ... I've had some opportunities looking at some head coaching opportunities at some schools, but I didn't have enough offensive background. So this is giving me a different view point, maybe.

Is getting a head coaching job something you're interested in?
Hines: My opportunities have been at I-AA, and I think that would be the avenue. I don't have the background to go at I-A. That's something I'm considering, but there haven't been a whole lot of offers. When they start coming in, I'll be a lot more inclined to jump on that bandwagon.

How are you feeling with the kickers?
Hines: Starting with the punting, Cole Chason, during his first year he averaged 36 yards a punt. I think he went up to close to 40 yards a punt last year. Statistically, I think he made some improvement. If he continues to make that kind of improvement from year to year, I think he'll be up there among the top punters in the ACC. But I don't know if he can make that big of a jump in one year. But as long as he makes steady improvement every year, he can be a solid punter for us. The biggest thing in his past is he's been unlucky as far as injuries go and that slowed his progress down a little bit. The kicking, Jad Dean has got a tremendously strong leg. He's a streak kicker. He just needs to work on consistency. But the main thing is his mental aspect.

From any player at any position, who is the one player on the team that didn't get a lot of publicity last year that you think might have a breakout season?
Hines: The only guy I can say right now that I look to have a breakout year would be Chansi Stuckey. He was injured a good part of last season and I expect him as much as anybody on our team to be the player with that capability. There are some other players that I'd like to see make that kind of move, but they haven't shown the consistency that he's shown and the biggest thing for Chansi is to stay healthy and I think he can do it.

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