Blog...Clawson - Never Was Any Confidence
Coaching his last game as a Tennessee coach, will now find Dave Clawson and his family relocating after 11 months.
By: BE Coleman
It's not 2005, but it feels like it for the folks in Tennessee. The team has an above average defense, but has not been able to find an offensive game plan that was worthy of the name Tennessee.
Even with the return of David Cutcliffe in '06 and '07 there were still issues and inconsistencies. The Vols have never produced like they did in 2001 of the new millennium, dating back to the late 90's.
Phillip Fulmer hired Dave Clawson out of 1AA Football, in hopes of finding a piece or some of what was missing. For Fulmer many things would come to surface in 2008, and quite possibly what he did not believe would.
When you looked at video of Clawson's Richmond Spider program and the current offense in Knoxville, there are glaring differences in the term West Coast Offense.
The media, nor the fan base never came down on Clawson like they did former O-Coordinator Randy Sanders. While it was regarded by everyone that 07 was underachieving with Cutcliffe, no one said a word in fear he might leave.
Coaching his last game as a Tennessee coach, will now find Clawson and his family relocating after 11 months. Last January found Clawson on the big stage when he was named the new successor to Cutlciffe, one of the biggest settings in all of the college football.
The product that was hatched by Fulmer and Clawson had never produced any fruit when the final harvest count was computed and the dust settled.
If the Vols fail to put 24 points on the scoreboard Saturday, it will mark the lowest offensive output since Doug Dickey's 1965 team that was 8-1-2.
Unless the Vols can get their only healthy running back in Lennon Creer loose, anything less than 140 yards of rushing will be less than Dickey's first team in 1964.
The entire collegiate nation is very aware that both the nation's longest winning streak and the chance for the worst team ever fielded in all 117 years of Tennessee football are at very great risk against Kentucky.
The Vols have made history, but it is not the recollections anyone wants to remember as this season will be swept out the door with a clean broom.
There is little doubt any of the current coaches will be back, and Clawson knows the offensive blend Fulmer spoke upon, lacked the full framework for any success.
In his last appearance before the Tennessee news media the former coach of the Richmond Spiders said, "At not one point did I ever feel that we had confidence as an offense," said Clawson.
"I mean you can go back to the spring, and I mean the first scrimmage, we struggled, said Clawson. "The second scrimmage we turned the ball over, then three times in the fall in the scrimmages."
It was a pattern that began with Jonathan Crompton and failed miserably with him as the coaching choice for the quarterback. Reflecting back to his first start against Arkansas in 2006, would be the pattern for 2008.
"I don't think I ever walked off the practice field here saying, well we are finally close to where need to be," said Clawson.
"I don't think at any point as an offensive unit that we had any confidence going into a game, even into a scrimmage," noted Clawson. "It was very apparent to me all spring that the defense was much better than we were on offense."
The difference was a 180 degree spiral from 2007 when the Vols defense could not make a stop nor get off the field with a pass happy attack that saw no balance offensively.
The attack produced 5,621 yard of offense, in '08 the Vols offense hasn't reached the 3,000 yard mark. "we never had a scrimmage were we went up and down the field, or that we didn't have the critical turnover in the Orange Zone area," said Clawson.
"Those things just don't go away over the course of the season and hope they go away," noted Clawson. "Those are problems we had going back to the spring."
Upon departure for Duke last December, Cutcliffe had told the media that red shirt freshman B.J. Coleman was his pick of all three players that were next in line for quarterback. But for the new intern Clawson, he was given Crompton to work with solely.
Spring and Pre-Season camps were duly noted by Fulmer that Crompton was getting the bulk of the work, while Coleman and Nick Stephens were given very little, if any reps. Fulmer noted over and over that Crompton and Clawson were joined at the hip all year long.
"I was concerned in spring and after the camp," said Clawson. "You coach certain things and hope they get better."
"At any point, on one on ones with our defense, and our defense is good, as shown during the season; we never just went up and down the field."
Clawson noted, "What does the offense look like now compared to UCLA or even UAB, and my philosophy when your struggling is to do less and not to do more."
The coach's summation makes perfect sense when you have worked more than 40 weeks of training in the class room and on field with no results.
The fact the team does not have the ability to understand or translate on field does not bode well. At some point it has to be recognized, there is a player problem to a greater extent.
"Certainly when I took the job, it is not what I had envisioned this offense doing," said the Vols offensive coordinator. "I don't think we did anything consistently well and or lack of ability to make big plays."
"When I watch other successful offense on film, ad I was watching Georgia the other day, they go up and down the field and they had a ton of yards against Kentucky," added Clawson.
"It wasn't three or four and five yard plays, they make chunks of yards, and a good explosive offense makes big plays."
"You go back to Florida game and how many 10-12 play drives did we have that generated points. We never got something on the board easy." Last Saturday that's why - what we did (against Vanderbilt)."
"Sometimes it's not what (play) you run, it's who you run it with," Clawson said. -n-
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