|New UT coordinator may jolt Vol offense |
| Clawson a jolt of energy for Vol offense |
He is young, bright, ambitious and demanding. New Tennessee offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dave Clawson looks like he could be modeling suits on the cover of GQ magazine instead of coaching football in the NCAA.
But don’t be fooled by that, by all accounts he is a meticulous perfectionist that seems driven toward excellence in his chosen profession.
Not once, but twice he has turned dormant, stagnant programs around at the Division II level, first at Fordham and then at the University of Richmond. Once during his time at each school, Clawson has been honored as the NCAA’s Division II National Coach of the Year. During nine of his 14 seasons as a head coach, nine of his quarterbacks have either been named first-team all-conference or Division II All-Americans.
So why would a guy who has been so successful at the D2 level give up the reins of a program he had just built into a national power and accept a coordinators position in the SEC? That’s easy; this guy is a football Yuppie, upwardly mobile and with his sights set on running his own program in the big time in the not too distant future.
The only similarities between David Cutcliffe and Clawson seem to be that both are sticklers for attention to detail and rugged work ethics. While Cutcliffe had a philosophy of keeping everything simple, Clawson may be a direct polar opposite. The new Vol offensive guru likes multiple formations and blends concepts of the West Coast offense with a desire to still maintain a solid running game that can grind out the tough yards when absolutely necessary.
Word is that Clawson likes to stretch the field with deep throws in order to prevent a defense from loading the box with eight or nine defenders in order to stuff the running game. And after years of chin music from Fulmer and Cutcliffe about utilizing the tight end more, this fall that theory may actually have some practical application.
And even though we have some sketchy ideas about what the new man will do, odds are that much of his intentions are still shrouded in the playbook inside the football offices in Knoxville.
He has most of the moving parts necessary for success. Two big, sure-handed tight ends, one of the top tailbacks in all of college football in Arian Foster, some very athletic and quick albeit young wide receivers and a veteran offensive line that returns intact from the bowl game last season.
The big question mark is at quarterback where fourth-year junior Jonathan Crompton is currently penciled in as the starter. Crompton, who has already had two surgeries on this throwing arm, struggled in early scrimmages against the first team defense this spring, throwing several interceptions. However, he did have a productive outing against the second and third team defenders in the Orange and White contest.
If after four years, Crompton is finally able to live up to his lofty recruiting ranking and the lavish praise heaped on him by some factions of the Tennessee fan base, then coach Clawson may mangle more than one unsuspecting defense come September.
Ramar Smith and Duke Crews booted
Once again Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has proven that he intends to run a program that should be admired and respected. Last week, two veteran players, Ramar Smith and Duke Crews were sent packing. The allegations from insiders in Knoxville seem to suggest that both academics and other serious infractions led to the dismissal of two guys who were expected to be important contributors next season.
While these losses are damaging, they are not devastating. Pearl is bringing in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation and may also sign a junior college point guard who was originally a member of the Oklahoma basketball program.
With junior guards Josh Tabb and J.P. Prince still on campus, the team is certainly not without some experience on the perimeter. The announced return of Tyler Smith also softens the blow of the dismissals along with the fact that McDonald’s All-American Scotty Hopson is expected to play the 2 guard position next winter.
At the center, or 5 spot, this writer fully expected Brian Williams to get the call to start next season anyway. The 6-10 wide-bodied big man is still learning and growing as a college player and certainly Tennessee fans can expect to see vast improvement from him next fall.
Some Vol watchers also believe that 6-8 forward Renaldo Woolridge will be even better than advertised when he arrives in East Tennessee. He is the son of 13-year NBA veteran Orlando Woolridge, who was a double tough rebounder and defender during his days in the professional ranks.