DS: Everywhere you turn, someone new has you in their preseason Top 10. Do you welcome that kind of outside pressure?
TB: I think a lot of it, Dan, when that happens is based on your success last year and who you have returning. Of course none of it is based off what this year's team has done, which in the end is the significant part, but you still have to accomplish something. I think that your program has to establish some kind of stability and consistency to merit that kind of ranking and that's a good thought. It shows we have staff continuity, good players returning, had a pretty good recruiting year, players seem to behave themselves...so you take all that into consideration, with last year's success and you get a high preseason ranking.
So I think there are a lot of positives when that happens. So that's kind of what you want to do as a coach, you want to create that solid foundation where, hopefully, you can put yourself in that situation every year.
DS: I know you won't go into specifics on the DeAndre McDaniel case, but in general terms tell me the process you go through when an off-field legal situation comes up?
TB: I try to be fair, accumulate as much information as possible to be fair to both parties. You try to be fair, but what you don't want to do, Dan, is make a decision on public opinion. You know, people who don't have facts. So that's what I try to do, and I'm sure I make mistakes like some other people. But I try to accumulate as much information as I can and use as much wisdom as I can. I have been in this situation before and have encountered similar situations, so I try to make the best decision I can.
DS: As you've expanded your recruiting base to include some national kids, the WestZone Project has gotten a lot of the credit. Better facilities are always one reason, but what else has helped in that area?
TB: I think that comes with some of the success we have had. I have to be careful about the guys I mention, but some of the far away places like Texas, some of the success we have had there has been from the television market. And I think that possibly the same thing could happen with the Alabama game this year. The young guys envision, since they were Pop Warner players, playing in that kind of environment on a Saturday night or Saturday afternoon, in front of a national television audience. We aren't purposely going out to these areas, we are receiving interest from these prospects that happen to see us and being initiated by prospects from these far away places.
TB: Well, I think the facts are the facts. You know the head coach stayed the same, we've won about the same, Clemson's history is the same. There's only one thing that's really changed, the common denominator, and that's the facilities. So I do think those guys have been pretty productive as players and I think if you look at the program…it's been a little bit more productive toward the end here.
But I think it's a lot brighter with who we've brought in. So I would think from a talent standpoint we have increased the numbers, we've had pretty good players in the past and we have more of them now so I think you could definitely divide it.
DS: Ultimately, when it's all said and done, in comes down to getting that one more win, doesn't it?
TB: Oh yeah, because who wants to be…no coach wants to be known as the nice guy. You know, he's a nice guy, he's won some games, he disciplines well, graduated his players. That's nice but that's not why you get into coaching. You get into coaching to win at the highest level, play in the championship games, to go to the BCS Bowl Games. That's been the disappointing thing so far. The other things are nice and that's good to have tagged along with your name, but there's no sense of accomplishment from my end. I surely don't have to be reminded that the goal is not accomplished and surely there's not a huge sense of satisfaction.
Dan Scott is host of the sports talk show Cruise Control on the flagship station for Clemson sports 104.9 FM The Drive weekdays from 9 AM to 12 PM. You can send Dan a story idea or ask Dan a question for his new mailbag feature coming up on CUTigers.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.