The way Clemson coach Dabo Swinney describes it, he spent some time recently learning at the foot of football master Mack Brown.
Swinney, who went 4-2 after taking over for ousted Tommy Bowden midway through the 2008 season, took his entire staff to visit Brown’s Texas program for a few days during the off-season.
"It was a great, great experience for me, because here's one of the most successful people out there," Swinney said during an ACC teleconference Wednesday. "It was almost like sitting down and having the CliffsNotes of coaching 101 visiting with Coach Brown."
In part, Swinney arranged the visit because he thinks Texas and Clemson have something in common -- similar offensive and defensive schemes in addition to having won national championships.
“We won a national championship here [1981 under Danny Ford] and it’s been a long time since we’ve had a championship,” he said. “When Coach Brown went to Texas, they had not won a national championship since 1970. Obviously, they won it in ‘05. They went a long time. I was interested in learning some of the things he did when he took over that job -- what he did in getting people to believe, changing the culture and things like that ... I took six pages of head coaching notes. ”
Swinney and the Tigers, who finished 4-4 in the ACC Atlantic and 7-6 overall in ‘08, face an cram course early in ‘09. They are scheduled to open Sept. 5 against visiting Middle Tennessee State before traveling to Georgia only five days later.
An important issue in preseason camp will be sorting out the quarterback pecking order. Willy Korn and Kyle Parker, both generally inexperienced, are contending for Cullen Harper’s former job.