National Champions

National Champions

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Broadcast Updates

Wednesday Broadcasting Notes

Let me begin by saying Coach Swinney and the players seemed relaxed Tuesday. I sense from most of them that they are ready to prove the pundits wrong. Is this team under-valued in the National Media? That has yet to be proven but it seems to be the mantra inside the program heading into the season.

The goal for this team is, and should be, to win the ACC. It really is as simple as that….yet that is a difficult thing to accomplish. This will be a young team, but that cannot be a crutch that is used this year.

Confirmed today that Chad Morris, Rennie Moore and Landon Walker will all have exclusive interviews on the Tiger Pregame Show Saturday. Kevin Steele had a personal situation that prevented him from doing his interview, so he will miss week 1 but will be a part of the show in the future. We expect Tajh Boyd and Duane Allen as well, and I will confirm the final lineup in the next day or so.

Remember to sign up for our mobile communications:

Friend us on Facebook at The Tiger Pregame Show
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If you have a Droid phone or IPad, you can download WCCP 104.9 FM Streaming for free with the App called “Tune In Radio”. I have it on my IPad and Droid phone and it works great.

More updates Thursday…so stay tuned.

“The Road To Charlotte Begins With The Tiger Pregame Show”
Scott Rhymer

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday (8/30) Broadcasting Notes

Notes to add from the info below regarding broadcast information for Saturday.

As in the past, we will have a three hour show.

Hour #1 will include Top 25 Report, ACC/SEC Round Up (including Scott and Will's locks of the week), Weather Report, Injury Report, and IPTAY Report.

Hour #2 will include Special Teams Analysis, Defensive Analysis, and Offensive Analysis.

Hour #3 will include the new Bottom Line Segment with Will Vandervort and Roy Philpott, Scott/Will/Roy's Game Day Predictions, and Final Thoughts.

Throughout the show, we will have 3 or4 exclusive one on one player interviews.

Chad Morris will have an exclusive one on one interview in the 2nd hour. Kevin Steele will also have an exclusive one on one interview in the 2nd hour. Dabo Swinney's interview clips will also be used in several spots throughout the show (remember Dabo's new interview policy is in effect and he will not be on the show for a one on one interview this year as in the past).

It is a jam packed show for sure. Read blog post below (from Monday) for show times and listening options.

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Go Tigers!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Broadcast Information For This Week (Including Saturday)

First, let me alert everyone to our multimedia pages for this week and on game day:

Friend us on Facebook at The Tiger Pregame Show
Follow us on Twitter at TigerPregame
Tiger Pregame Show Blog is http://tigerpregameshow.blogspot.com/

I will do my weekly spot with Mickey Plyler on WCCP at 6:20 a.m. on Friday.

103rd Consecutive Broadcast of the Tiger Pregame Show is on WCCP 104.9 FM as you move into the Upstate during your travels Saturday.

If you have a Droid phone or IPad, you can download WCCP 104.9 FM Streaming for free with the App called “Tune In Radio”. I have it on my IPad and Droid phone and it works great.

Broadcast time is 9:30 a.m. and goes until 12:30 p.m. I will be joined by Will Vandervort again this year in addition to Roy Philpott who will join the booth in the 3rd hour. We will break down the day and give in depth football analysis of the game. Our show is for the serious Clemson football fan. Feel free to come by and see us on the Lawn at Littlejohn during the broadcast and pick up free gifts (tune in to Facebook and Twitter feeds above for info on how to get these items).

At 12:30, the Tiger Tailgate Show with David Stein, Roy Philpott, and Ben Milstead will take over.

Pete Yanity and Will Merritt will once again call the game and Roy Philpott will take over duties on the 5th Quarter Show.

All of this can be heard on 104.9 FM, the Flagship Station for Clemson Football. All of these shows, including the game, can be heard via the streaming component at www.wccpfm.com or by downloading the Tune In App as mentioned above.

We look forward to once again providing you with Clemson football coverage and being a part of your game day experience.

“The Road To Charlotte Begins With The Tiger Pregame Show”
Scott Rhymer

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Am Ready

I Am Ready
By Scott Rhymer

We are now less than one week until the start of the 2011 football season. This is a season that has come none too soon. A season that is needed to wash away the bad taste of a 6-7 football season that had more frustrating moments than satisfying moments. A season that was a step back. And a season that caused way too much internal strife in the Clemson Family.

I’m ready to wash away that bad taste. Bad football seasons at Clemson are rare. I’ve sat through only eight losing season in my lifetime. I’ve sat through back to back losses to South Carolina only twice in my lifetime. I think it is fair to say that I (along with many of you) simply are not equipped to handle losing football seasons very well because it is so rare. I am ready.

I’m ready to see Clemson flags flying from cars, trucks, and vans on my way to work on Friday. It is always exciting to watch people who are ready to go see the Tigers play even before a game day approaches. I am ready.

I’m ready to drive into Clemson on a Friday evening for dinner at Sardi’s with good friends and family. Nothing quite starts a Clemson home football weekend for me better than to have a traditional place to eat where the owners, waitresses, and patrons know your name and welcome you back. I am ready.

I’m ready for the First Friday Parade with the pageantry that only the fraternities, sororities, and the Kudzoo Kids can provide. We too often take for granted the unique aspects of Clemson University that so many other schools cannot replicate. The First Friday Parade is a must for any true Clemson fan that has a hard time sleeping before the first football game of the year. I am ready.

I’m ready to watch the sunset on Lake Hartwell with Death Valley in the distance knowing that when the sun comes up the next time it will be game day. I am ready.

I’m ready to wake up on game day to prepare for the Tiger Pregame Show. It is amazing to think we are about to broadcast our 102nd straight Clemson football pregame on location where the Tigers play. I am thankful to WCCP and the Clemson Athletic Department for allowing me to do what I love each week and I am pumped up for what we have in store this year on the show. I am ready.


I'm ready to put on my new game day Clemson shirt. One always hopes that the new shirt is going to bring just a little better luck than the last shirt. I am ready.

I’m ready to park in Lot 2 in the same spot I have parked in for 20+ years and renew friendships with those that have been parking with us for many years and to make new friends with those that are new to the lot. I am ready.

I’m ready to smell the grilled meat, fried chicken, and fixings that are unmistakably Clemson. Being with family is something that we all take for granted sometimes. My children get to experience the same things that my mother and father allowed me to experience on a Clemson game day. Passing that Clemson Experience down a generation may be the most enjoyable part of raising a family. I am ready.

I’m ready to hear Tiger Band way off in the distance as they make their parade from the top of campus, around the East Endzone area, and under the North Stands before heading into Death Valley. The faint sounds of Tiger Rag alert me to move towards the North Stand overhang to watch Tiger Band and cheerleaders walk by and get the crowd fired up for the game. I am ready.

I’m ready to walk into Memorial Stadium for the first time of the year and to look down on field and smell the grass. It is the moment we look forward to from January up until that day, and I always enjoy soaking that moment in for just a second or two. I am ready.

I’m ready to see good friends that have sat near and around my lower deck seats in the North Stands for many years. The hand shakes, hellos, hugs, and smiles of familiar faces that we know only to Clemson and at football games creates a sense of continuity that, once again, is integral to a great game day experience. I am ready.

I’m ready to hear the first chords of “Orange Bowl March” as Tiger Band prepares to set up formation for the Tigers coming down the hill. The first roars C-L-E-M-S-OOOOOO-N of the year always bring a chill to my spine. I am ready.

I’m ready to watch our football team hop off the busses absolutely bursting at the seams ready to come down that Hill. From cagey old veterans that have done this many times before all the way down to the young pups who are getting their first chance to be a part of the “Most Exciting 25 Seconds In College Football”; seeing the players at the top of the hill having to be held back by Dabo Swinney and his staff is a chilling moment unlike anything in college football. I am ready.

I’m ready to watch this new offense, full of promise and pace with a bunch of new faces at just about every position minus the offensive line. Watching last year’s offense was frustrating on a good day and demoralizing on a bad day, so the idea of watching the running backs burst through holes and receivers catching deep passes is enough to get the blood pumping before they take the first snap. I am ready.

I’m ready to watch Clemson play a football game that makes us all walk out of the stadium with our chest stuck out with pride. No matter that Clemson is playing Troy or Wofford or Auburn. The sense of satisfaction of playing hard, with fight, and with a winning attitude and swagger can happen any week against any team. And that is what we want to see and feel from this team. I am ready.

I’m ready to shake this cloak of “potential” and “what if” and watch our football program do something that it is way overdue to do…win an ACC Title. This cloak has covered us for far too long (20 years) and we have all made way too many excuses and justifications for why it has not happened. We have a coach that we can all embrace and players that do everything that is asked of them off the field with character and academics. The single piece of the puzzle that has eluded us is that title, scarring an otherwise wonderful University and football program. We can rationalize it a million different ways, but the time is now and our coach deserves it based on everything he has done right since taking over. But, most importantly, we deserve it by remaining loyal (but restless) for that day when we hold a trophy up over our heads again. I am ready.

You can wrap up all of the offseason angst in a bottle and let it float out to sea. 2011 is another opportunity. Another chance. Another hope and dream.

2010 is now officially buried. 2011 is born.

I am ready.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at srhymester@aol.com
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Really Random Rants-Week Ending August 21st

5 Really Random Rants Week Ending August 21st

We are just two weeks away from the first game of the season, and the excitement is starting to build. It was another interesting week in the world of Clemson athletics, and here are my five rants for the week.

Really Random Rant #1
One of the many things wrong with last year’s offense is that we failed to adjust to defenses once the game was under way. In fact, last year’s offense often scored on the first few drives of the game and then struggled to score as the 2nd half unfolded.

Our offense scored 184 points in the first half last year, and only 124 in the second half. The scoring numbers support the theory that defenses quickly adjusted to our game plan and we had no answer once our game plan bogged down.

One of the things that I am really interested in seeing this year is whether or not our offense can flip that and become the aggressors on that side of the ball. It is a much more enjoyable experience to have the defenses on their heels and guessing as to what you will do than it is to having defenses dictating the offensive playcalling…resulting in situations where you can’t get key drives and scores in the 2nd half with the game on the line.

Of all the buzz about the speed of Morris’ offense this offseason, I am more interested in how this staff will do in adjusting to what defenses are doing DURING the game.

Really Random Rant #2
I love reading newspapers. Reading articles (like this) on a computer is a great way to get access beyond what a newspaper can provide. But there is something about opening the paper on a table with a cup of coffee early in the morning that appeals to me.

As you know, newspapers are quickly becoming dinosaurs. Subscriptions are falling dramatically at most of the nation’s major newspapers and many newspapers that are still alive are owned by major companies and offering cookie cutter versions of their news instead of the small town feel of traditional newspapers.

With that being said, I continue to be amazed at how poorly newspapers are run. Last week, a writer I enjoy reading (Travis Sawchik of Charleston Post and Courier) wrote an article regarding the Clemson Board of Trustees conducting a meeting regarding ACC expansion. The article was a simple report that had quotes from Cathy Sams and David Wilkins. It was a good and quick read by Sawchik, who is one of the few folks in the newspaper industry that do an excellent job in his profession.

But the headline of the article read in a way that the article did not. The headline stated something to the effect that the Clemson BOT was not interested in going to the Southeastern Conference. (The headline has since been changed on the Post and Courier web site). In other words, the article itself stated information that was nothing like what the body of the article said.

When I tweeted Travis about how his article’s headline was very misleading, he informed me that he did not write the headline and that copy editors at the paper were in charge of that. This is not the first time a newspaper writer has informed me that they don’t write their own headlines.

If that sounds ridiculous, it is.

A writer can pound out a 2,000 word article but can’t be asked to add a 4 word headline? And why do writers need an editor anyway? They went to college for 4 years to learn proper spelling and grammar. Not to mention Microsoft Word will do a spell check and grammar check for them…so why the need for a 2nd person to edit?

Writing is a tough job. Not having errors is even tougher. But for goodness sakes, if your newspaper is going under faster than you can shake a stick, how about trying to consolidate some jobs to keep your business afloat? And yes…I edited my own blog today and created my own headline (I am responsible for all errors included in blog)! Maybe if I had a 2nd person editing my blog and writing my headlines it would be perfect.

It’s no wonder that great newspaper writers (like Larry Williams) have said goodbye to the poorly run newspaper industry and have latched on to web sites.

Really Random Rant #3
I know preseason polls are typically as reliable as an airplane arrival time. But in looking at the USA Today poll, I find it really hard to swallow that Florida State could strut into Death Valley the fourth week of the season ranked in the top five in the USA Today poll. Granted, they will have to beat Oklahoma the week before they come to Clemson in order to keep their lofty ranking. But it is certainly possible that the Seminoles could be ranked as high as #2 or #3 if they come to Clemson undefeated.

I think Jimbo Fisher is a major upgrade from the last few years of Bobby Bowden. I also see that FSU has done a great job recruiting the past few years. But FSU has showed nothing under Fisher to this point that would justify someone believing they are a top 5 football program right now.

If FSU beats Oklahoma, they will deserve some praise considering the Sooners are most prognosticators’ #1 preseason pick. But part of being a top 5 program is not only beating great football teams (which FSU has not done recently), it also includes stringing together good wins in back to back weeks (which FSU has not done in a long time). Here is one guy that still likes Clemson’s chances at home vs. FSU in week 4, regardless of what ranking the ‘Noles bring into Death Valley.

Really Random Rant #4
As we close in on the first football weekend in Clemson, a couple of opinions from yours truly on what to do and where to shop as you come into Clemson.

Best Friday Night Restaurant-Sardi’s Den. Best ribs in town and maybe the best ribs in South Carolina.

Best Grocery Store-Food Lion on 123 heading towards Seneca. Most of you will go to Bi-Lo (across from Sardi’s Den), but it is often crowded and takes forever to move through the lines. Food Lion is a better alternative with fewer lines and a cleaner store.

Best Game Day Chicken-Zaxby’s. Easy to pick up and a variety of sauces to compliment good (but not the best) chicken fingers in the Clemson area. Convenience is the key to making this the recommendation. Nothing can beat grilling or smoking meat, but a good chicken finger comes in a close second place.

More favorites in next week’s blog.

Really Random Rant #5
The media made a big deal of the lack of access to fall camp in Clemson. As you will recall, major restrictions were placed on the media and the access they had to practices, players, and coaches as we led up to the season opener. It was as if the world was coming to an end. Gasp!

To be blunt, it has not been a big deal. Plenty of info has been available throughout camp that has fed a hungry Clemson Nation each day. Although we have not been able to get quotes from the freshman, if what they said was anything like the upperclassman that have been interviewed, we would not get anything worth our time reading.

Clemson players have become great at being boring in interviews, and don’t take that as a knock at the players. The PR people at Clemson have taught these boys how to say the right things to not rile up opposing teams and fans. But their canned answers are snoozers and offer little insight to what is really going on.

I like the fact that Coach Swinney feels that closing access is a way to keep things focused on the practice field for our players as opposed to getting in front of a camera and tape recorder to tell us how great you are going to be. I have no idea whether or not this will help win football games, but I also know that the drama created by the media about this decision has fizzled, mainly because it has had little to no impact on fueling the Clemson fan’s appetite for football. We get plenty even with the restrictions.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at
srhymester@aol.com
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

5 Really Random Rants-August 14th

5 Really Random Rants For Week Ending August 14th
By Scott Rhymer

The blog today will kick off what I hope to be a weekly article that will attempt to keep things in perspective as the season goes on. When I say “perspective”…I guess I should clarify that I mean that this is my perspective and you are certainly welcome to disagree or agree.

Really Random Rant #1
Holy cow at the expansion buzz! By the time I finish typing this paragraph, more rumors will filter through cyberspace. Before I have a chance to post this blog, the information and opinions I have now may be proven right (or wrong). To say this is a quickly shifting landscape sells the moment short.

Where everybody ends up (or not) I will leave to the other thousands of bloggers and media speculators out there. If there is a single truth in anything that I have seen in my 30 years following the ACC and certainly in my time following John Swofford as Commish of the league, it will be that this whole expansion situation will be a reactive incident for the ACC instead of a proactive incident.

I stated Thursday when these rumors surfaced, at the end of the expansion process (either this year or soon thereafter) the Southeastern Conference will get better and the Atlantic Coast Conference will get bigger. The SEC will get better because they understand the concept of being proactive. The ACC will only get bigger because the ACC believes in the concept of being reactive.

Mark it down now….SEC will get better….ACC will get bigger.

Really Random Rant #2
Backing up someone who has not started a down at QB leaves you as a scary alternative when the goal is to win the ACC Title. All of the Spring buzz was surrounding how Cole Stoudt was going to push Tajh Boyd for the starting QB position this year. As was observed, Boyd did not have the best Spring and Stoudt seemed to be the most consistent (if not the most talented) QB on campus.

Now that August camp is underway, it seems clear that Boyd is the best QB on campus when it comes to giving the best chance for Clemson to win. Maybe some of that credit should go to Boyd, who by most reports dedicated his post-spring time in Clemson to the film room trying to become a better QB.

As “scary” as it may be entering a season without a proven QB, the thought of there being little separation between the #1 guy and the #2 guy is even more scary. Here is one guy that would love to see Boyd continue to move into the firm #1 QB on the depth chart as we count down to kickoff.

Really Random Rant #3
At some point, media members will quit spewing propaganda about how good players look prior to pads being put on. Once again this year, across America, we have “Flag Football All-Americans” emerging at schools all over the country. Clemson was no exception, as immediate Twitter and Facebook posts, along with articles in traditional print media outlets, were extolling the virtues and prowess of players who looked great while in shorts and shells. Sometimes the “look great” was physical in nature. Sometimes it was observations of running drills. Sometimes it was wishful thinking on the media member’s conscious.

Whatever it is or for whatever reason it was, pumping up football players before they put on pads is like judging a Presidential candidate while they are on the campaign trail. It means absolutely nothing.

There is a reason why football is played in pads. Football is a man’s game. And until you put on the pads and get your head bashed in by another player there is no way to know how you are going to respond in game-like situations. And even if you mentally survive getting knocked on your rear end during one practice, until you get knocked on your rear end over the course of days and weeks can anyone that knows anything about football begin to get a judgment on how you may react come game day.

So save me the praise of (insert player’s name here) physique while he is in shorts and shells and let’s wait to see what happens in September.

Random Rant #4
Season ticket sales, in a worst case scenario, are going to be only 3% off of last year. To be blunt, that is simply amazing. We all are bombarded with the struggles the economy is having right now. And beyond the simply numbers of the economy, the national politics and media coverage paint a picture that is equitable to the 1930’s Great Depression. Don’t think for one moment that the media coverage of our economic crisis (whether accurate or not) is increasing the angst of the American people about where our country is going.

Yet, coming off a disastrous 6-7 football season and with only a good (not great) home schedule loaded with September games, Clemson fans have one again proven to be some of the best in the nation. Over 50,000 season tickets will be sold, and in reality the product that we had last year does not warrant that kind of cash from that many people.

Hope certainly springs eternal, and Coach Swinney is probably responsible for 10,000 of those season tickets simply by making staff changes in the offseason. Maybe the idea of head coaches receiving part of their salary based on season ticket sales is an idea that needs to be explored.

Really Random Rant #5
You know you are a young football team when you get your season tickets in the mail and you have to really think about who the players are on the tickets. I received my tickets in the mail this past Friday. I immediately recognized the Clemson player on the Troy ticket (Duane Allen). I also quickly noticed Andre Ellington (Florida State ticket) and Brandon Thompson (Wake Forest ticket).

After that, it gets dicey for the average Clemson fan and even for those of us that have not missed a minute of a game in 30 years. Do the numbers 62, 40, 72, and 90 jump of the chart to you? If so, before you scroll down write their names down on a sheet of paper and the answer will be below. Ok, seriously, write the names down before going to the next paragraph.

(Whistle Jeopardy Game Show Audio Here)

If you answered Mason Cloy (62), Andre Branch (40), Landon Walker (72), and Kourtnei Brown (90) you know our player numbers better than I do. Hopefully, we will all easily recognize these numbers and the players behind the numbers at the end of the season.

Update
As I sign off, I was correct about expansion talk at the start of the blog. I began typing at 3:30 p.m. Sunday and now it is close to 4:45 and a report is out that the SEC said “no thanks” to Texas A&M. Then again, by the time I save this and publish it things could change.

Three weeks to football in Clemson. After a wonderful summer with friends and family…I am now ready for the Tigers to come down that hill. Stay tuned for more Really Random Rants and thanks for following the blog and the Tiger Pregame Show on WCCP 104.9 FM.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at srhymester@aol.com
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tiger Pregame Show Gears Up For 9th Season

Tiger Pregame Show Gears Up For 9th Season

The Tiger Pregame Show on WCCP 104.9 FM is locked and loaded for its 9th consecutive season on the radio, starting with the 102nd consecutive show live on location when Clemson opens the season on September 3rd versus Troy.

The show comes full circle in year nine with a touch of the new and a hint at the old.

Scott Rhymer, host for all nine years dating back to the 2003 football season, returns as the host for what will be his 102nd consecutive broadcast live on location where the Tigers play. “The common thread of this pregame show has always been to broadcast where the action is” Rhymer stated recently. “Our job is not only to inform fans and get them ready for the game, but to also paint the picture of a game day at Clemson or Raleigh or Atlanta. Wherever the Tigers are, that is where we will be.”

Rhymer will once again be joined by Will Vandervort, Editor of IPTAY Media, which produces IPTAY’s official publications Orange: The Experience the magazine and MyOrangeUpdate.com. Vandervort is in his 2nd year on the Tiger Pregame Show and brings to the show an unequal level of access to football practices and coach interviews.

“I really look forward to my second season on the Tiger Pregame Show,” Vandervort said. “The first year was great working with Scott and breaking down the games, and I’m really excited about the new things we have planned for the 2011 season.”

The Tiger Pregame Show is also giving a hint to its roots as Roy Philpott, Publisher of CUTigers.com, returns to the show in the third hour each week to offer his unique insight into the game. Philpott served as host of the Tiger Pregame Show from 2003 until 2009 before joining the Tiger Tailgate Show on the Clemson Radio Network. His return to the Tiger Pregame Show will not only add additional experience and insight into game analysis, but also offer Clemson fans a preview of what to expect on the Tiger Tailgate Show.

"It's a privilege to be back on the air with Scott and now also working with Will," Philpott said. "The three of us will be there to both inform and entertain, while also getting fans ready for Clemson football. It's going to be a wild ride this season."

The Tiger Pregame Show will continue broadcasting six hours prior to kickoff up until three hours prior to kickoff. Game analysis, player interviews, coach interviews, and predictions are integral to the show’s content. “The three-man booth in that third hour is going to add an element to the show that has not taken place in the past,” Rhymer says. “Will and Roy both know their stuff when it comes to Clemson, but they most certainly will not always agree. I think that gives the fan a broader perspective of what they may see on the field in the game.”

The Tiger Pregame Show will continue to broadcast live on the lawn at Littlejohn and will once again be on the road when Clemson plays away from Death Valley. You can receive updates on broadcast information and show locations throughout the season at wccpfm.com on the web. The show also has an active Facebook page (The Tiger Pregame Show) as well as Twitter (Tiger Pregame). Clemson fans can also follow Scott Rhymer’s blog at http://tigerpregameshow.blogspot.com/

According to Rhymer, the multimedia applications of the Tiger Pregame Show are things that all Clemson fans need to have. “Clemson fans want to lock in to all of our multimedia sites to not only keep up to date with broadcast information on the show, but more importantly the breaking news that takes place during the week of games.”

When September 3rd arrives, the Tiger Pregame Show will be on the air for its 102nd consecutive broadcast on location where the Tigers play. Rhymer sums it up by saying, “The road to Charlotte and an ACC Championship starts with the Tiger Pregame Show.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Media Restrictions Place Focus On Winning

Media Restrictions Place Focus On Winning

It did not take long for the Twitterworld to light up with local media folks stammering online about the new changes to the Clemson football program from Dabo Swinney.

In case you don’t know, Coach Swinney spent the offseason implementing a policy that clamps down access to players and coaches during the season. Originally, Swinney said first year freshman would not be allowed to take part in media questioning until the first week of the season. Swinney tweaked that at the last moment on Friday, releasing the following statement via Tim Bourret:

“first year freshman be withheld from interviews until after the first game, not the week of the first game. They will be available if they play in the first game. Only freshmen who play in a game will be allowed to do interviews this year. Red-shirted freshmen won’t do interviews until after the season.”

In other words, first year freshman are going to have to accomplish something on the field before they will have access to the media.

So that is when things got testy for those that make a living following Clemson.

Greg Wallace of the Anderson Independent fired off some tweets upon hearing this information:
“I don't want this to be a pity party. I'll be at every media opportunity this summer and this season. The people I feel bad for.... are the state media. Fan Day media opportunity (which was Dabo, 6-8 players, freshmen, assistants) was also taken off schedule this month.”

Wallace went on to vent in another tweet:
“Pete Carroll, Bobby Bowden and Miami pre-Randy Shannon won plenty of national titles w/open media…All about control. I think it's unnecessary control”

Paul Strelow, writer from 247Sports Network, tweeted this on Friday afternoon:
“I don't blame a coach for measures like these ... to a degree. But what's the harm in limiting freshmen to 1 preseason interview?”

Strelow went on to suggest in another tweet that this policy will create some kind of covert operation by the media in order to get information:
“What I think is often overlooked by coaches here is that lack of frosh commentary will only lead to increased snooping, er, investigating.”

The Bottom Line:
Let me begin by saying that I do feel for the media folks who earn their living covering, among other things, Clemson football. There is no question that Swinney’s changes to media access prior to Friday and then the additional limitations imposed on Friday put a severe dent in the level of access the media have with players and coaches. It will cause writers to work harder to get story ideas and it certainly will force them to add more commentary to an article instead of copy and pasting quotes from players.

In many ways, this impacts the Tiger Pregame Show in terms of access during the week to Coach Swinney and his now lack of availability to do an exclusive interview for our show. But our show is not contingent upon one coach or one player, so the news hit me this summer like water sliding off a duck’s back. No big deal to me.

But if my livelihood were contingent upon access to the Clemson football team, I would be frustrated with this new policy. So I get their concern, even though I think they overestimate the impact this will have on them…especially if they are a good writer. Good writers don't need player or coach access at all. Their observations and the writings from those observations are what separate a media beat writer from a great commentator of sports.

But what the general media forget sometimes is that this whole football thing at Clemson is not about them (media). Sometimes members of the media engross themselves so far into their work that they begin to believe that they are an integral part of the process when, in fact, they are not. Clemson football can and will exist with or without the media. That is even more true in this day and age when fan access via technology is at an all time high.

Clemson football is not about the media and what is convenient for the writers. It’s about wins and losses.

Dabo Swinney has a keen sense of his situation at Clemson. A 6-7 football season can put very clear perspective in a coach’s mind. And to Swinney’s credit, he seems to get it.

What specific motivations Swinney has in limiting freshman to the media is left up to us to determine since Swinney did not get specific reasons why.

One thought is that this policy is motivation for a group of kids that came in to Clemson with a ton of “media-driven” accolades. Swinney, by limiting these freshman to media interviews only after they have played, is sending a message that your high school accolades are meaningless now and the only way you will earn the media privilege is by earning the playing time on the field.

Another theory of the new policy is to keep those inexperienced with the media from opening their mouth and giving motivation to other teams by brash comments.

And yet another theory is out of respect for returning players. Often times when you have a recruiting class that earns praise, too much attention is given to the kids that just set foot on campus and not enough attention is given by the media to those that have been a part of the program and have now earned their starting jobs and their rightful “moment in the sun”.

Whatever the motivation of Swinney for this limited access, it is certainly obvious that part of the rationale is that Swinney wants to reign in some control of his program.

So if Coach Swinney wants to garner more control of what is said by his coaches and players to the media because he thinks that helps his football team win football games, those in Clemson Nation should celebrate and support that decision. At the end of the day, Swinney will never have to answer to the media folks. He answers to the fans and the fans wield way more power than a beat writer when it comes to coach security.

The most reasonable tweet that surfaced Friday afternoon from the media was from Larry Williams, Senior writer for Tiger Illustrated. Williams tweeted:
“Win big, and it'll be regarded as masterstroke of a coach taking control of program. Lose, and it'll be regarded as paranoid and insecure.”

I think Williams nailed it. And I am 100% ok with that.

Hearing Sammy Watkins give a canned answer to a media guy after a practice can wait for me. Especially if that somehow focuses this team and coaches in a way that will equal more wins.

Scott Rhymer can be reached at srhymester@aol.com
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