Friday, October 17, 2008

Vic Koenning - Weasel

Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning doesn't hide the fact that he's whiny and weasely. I like that about him. He doesn't pretend to be one thing on the outside and to the media, then act totally different to his team and in private. He's equally grumpy and scummy everywhere. He's chock full of stuff to complain about. One year he was complaining about Georgia Tech's chop block tactics. This week, Koenning had this to say about Georgia Tech's offense:

"If you’re a great quarterback, you don’t want to go there. If you’re a great receiver, you don’t want to go there," Koenning said, repeating verbatim what the scout told him. "I’m not trying to be ugly — they’re going to throw the ball 12, 15 times a game. You want to catch balls. Offensive linemen, if you want to be in the NFL, you don’t go there, because you’re not going to get looked at."

This is why I respect Koenning. He open about his weasel-ishness. Most coaches are going to use these empty tactics on recruits one-on-one and in private, then be all "what a great offense that is" with the media. Koenning doesn't hide his slamming of Paul Johnson. He does it right out in the open. Face it - all coaches are using these same tactics to recruits. Koenning is special in that regard.

I don't have time to go into all the comments here, but I'd like to point out some things.

Koenning: "Offensive linemen, if you want to be in the NFL, you don’t go there, because you’re not going to get looked at."

Ok, let's look at some facts.
Number of Clemson offensive linemen in the NFL = 1
Number of Navy offensive linemen in the NFL = 1
Number of Georgia Tech offensive linemen in the NFL = 2

Think about that for a minute. Navy's recruiting classes have been consistently ranked in the bottom 5% of the 116+ 1A teams. Clemson, on the other hand, typically has had top 30 classes every year, including top 20 and top 10 in recent years.

So Navy gets offensive linemen that nobody else wants in college - NOBODY, and they develop one guy to the NFL. Clemson gets many of the top recruits in the land and they only match Navy's ability to put offensive linemen in the NFL.

I think the message here is clear - Clemson cannot take more highly touted, bigger recruits and get them to the NFL any better than Navy, who runs some whacko offense that the NFL pays no attention to and can't get any of the same guys.

The message is clear - DO NO GO TO CLEMSON IF YOU WANT TO BE AN NFL LINEMAN. They won't get you there. Facts are facts. Hey, Bowden's been at it for almost 10 years at that's what he has to show for it?

Koenning - "If you’re a great receiver, you don’t want to go there,"

Facts - BeBe Thomas, Georgia Tech's primary wide receiver, is 2nd in the ACC in receiving yards per game at 71.8. Clemson's leading receiver is Jacoby Ford, at 50.7 yards / game. BeBe Thomas is an NFL prospect and has every chance to go league. Playing in this offense for the next 3 years won't impact that reality. Trust me.

Clemson has one wide receiver in the NFL, so it's not like they're banging the NFL door down sending guy after guy to the league. Georgia Tech has two wide receivers in the NFL.

Koenning: "If you’re a great quarterback, you don’t want to go there."

The facts are that if you're a drop-back QB only, we don't want you. That's just the way it is. If you don't have some get-up-and-go in your legs, then don't apply here. Charlie Whitehurst - not interested. Cullen Harper - no thanks, we'll pass. Willy Korn - probably not.

If you're a great dual-threat QB, then we can talk. You'll thrive in this offense. If you're a talented, dual-threat high school QB who wants to play QB at the collegiate level, but most schools want you at safety or wide receiver, then give us a call. You have a better chance of being an impact QB at the collegiate level at Georgia Tech than at most other schools.

Another point - Georgia Tech leads the ACC in passing efficiency and is 23rd in the nation in that statistic. Clemson is 59th in the nation in passing efficiency. We may not throw it as many times as the passing schools, but when we do, it ain't dink-and-dunk people. If you want to learn the fine art of the bubble screen, by all means go to Clemson or Miami. If you want to pass the ball downfield, and do it successfully for a lot of yards, check us out.

Last week Georgia Tech won on a 79 yard pass play
The week before Georgia Tech put the Duke game away on an 88 yard pass play and had one receiver go over 230 yards on the day.

Don't believe the hype

Sometimes it's what you don't say that's most important. Note that he didn't say anything about running backs. There's a reason for that. This system is a running back's dream. If you're a big bruising fullback type, you'll actually get carries in this system. If you're a small, quick but lightweight "scat-back" you'll actually get significant carries in this system. If you're a hybrid with power and speed, then your name is Jonathan Dwyer and you'll lead the ACC in rushing year after year after year, and you'll be a first round draft pick in about 2 years.

This offense is a running back's dream, and if you're a good back, you'll showcase your skills and get your shot at the NFL. If you're an undersized but quick guy, you won't be getting much of a shot at the collegiate level. Ask Maurice Wells as Ohio State. He would have tore it up at the A-Back position.

Look, if you are a good football player, you're going to get your shot at the NFL. It doesn't matter that much what team you play for or what position you play or what system you play. You think that Southern Cal, Texas, Ohio State and Miami are the only schools that send guys to the league? How about Central Arkansas, Cal Poly, Cal-State Bakersfield, Central Michigan, Coastal Carolina, Cornell, Akron (who has almost as many NFL players as Clemson), App State, Bethune-Cookman, Brown, Buffalo, Army, Dartmouth, Delaware, Duke (yes), Eastern Michigan, Furman, Hampton, Harvard, Harding, Hawaii, Hofstra, Howard, Houston, Idaho, Idaho State, Jackson St, James Madison, Kent St, Louisiana Tech, Maine, Marshall, McNeese St, Monmouth, Montana, Morgan St, Morris Brown, Mt.Union, UNLV, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Mexico St, North Dakota, North Texas, Portland St, Princeton, Rice, Richmond, Robert Morris, Sam Houston St, Samford, S.E.Missouri St, Temple, Toledo, Troy St, Tulane, Tuskegee, Weber St, Wyoming............................ they all have guys in the NFL right now and there are loads more schools.

........... shall I go on?

If you're a good player, the NFL is going to find you. Also, guess what - just because you play in a "conventional" offense means nothing in terms of your development towards the NFL.

There's a caveat to "if you're good they'll find you". The reality is that the vast, vast, vast majority of you will never play in the NFL. The vast majority of you better be concerned #1 with getting a good education at a great school. One in six Georgia Tech alumni are millionaires. I'm quite sure Clemson can't say that. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a Georgia Tech education.

I kid my Clemson friends and tell them "I would have gone to Clemson but I already had a high school diploma"..................... I kid.

Here's the thing - if you're a recruit who cares more about catching 100 balls a season and getting 1000 yards than about winning football games, then guess what - we're not that interested. Team comes first. If you're a wide receiver in our system, you'll have to block or you won't catch any balls. If that's a problem, then perfect. Don't come here. It's a great weeding out process.

Having said all that, I have to be honest - I don't really care that much that we send busloads of kids to the NFL. We will if they're good, but I don't care that much. I care that my school, the Georgia Institute of Technology, wins football games. I care that Georgia Tech builds exciting teams with great kids, builds their character, gives them an education and makes them better people.

I understand that sending kids to the NFL makes your school more attractive to recruits. I get that, so I do want to see it happen. It's just not my priority.

Georgia Tech has 21 kids in the NFL right now. Clemson has 13. 'Nuff said.

Let's not forget - Koenning is a dead-man walking. He's on his way out at Clemson. Of course he didn't start being a weasel this week. Again, he's been that guy all along. I just want to remind recruits that Vic is on his way out, which is as much reason to jump ship as any other.

I don't wish Clemson bad-luck or lost recruits, but this kind of stuff is annoying.