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Tuesday Mailblog: Midseason coaching changes

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Dustin, in Concord, N.C., writes: Heather, 1st off love your blog, even being a Clemson fan and in the middle of a horrible season(What might have been?)I have enjoyed reading your work!! My question is what is the status of Clemson's coaching hunt? I mean i haven't heard anything over the last 2 weeks. Shouldn't we get this ball rolling like UNC did 2 years ago giving them advantage to start looking early? Thanks, Dustin GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!

Heather Dinich: Thanks for reading, Dustin. Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips has done nothing but support Dabo Swinney, but he has also said he wants to name the next coach within 10 days after the end of the regular season. While I haven't talked to Terry Don lately about the search, you'd have to be naive to think it hasn't started in some form or another. They have to gaugue interest in the job. I talked to defensive coordinator Vic Koenning today about his defense and he casually mentioned it's a good group of young guys for whoever comes in next. Not exactly unwavering confidence that this staff expects to stick around. And if anybody keeps it real, it's Vic.


Steve, in Seattle, writes: As a Clemson alum living in Seattle, I've been reading up a lot on the coach changes for both Clemson and Washington. Both have decided to announce coaching changes mid season but each coach has responded differently. Tyrone Willingham will finish the year with UW while Bowden stepped down immediately. What are your thoughts on this and what assumptions should I make on the character of these coaches? My thoughts are Tyrone has put the program first making sure he finishes the year, while Bowden seems to have to problems walking away from his players.

Heather Dinich: First, let me say I have spoken with Tyrone Willingham before and have respect for him. I also respect Tommy Bowden, but you make an interesting point. It's hard to forget the image of James Davis crying after he heard the news. To me, both scenarios are less on the coaches and more on how the ADs handled it. If I'm an AD, I don't call my struggling coach into my office midseason UNLESS I'm going to fire him. Coaches know what their jobs are. They don't need a reminder of the program's goals. And if I DON'T want a coaching change midseason, then I don't fire my coach!


Heath, in Clemson, S.C., writes: First off I wanted to let you know that I think you do good job in your coverage on the ACC. Second, Do you think Clemson would benefit more by getting a proven coach or a unproven cordinator like a Will Muschamp or keeping Dabo?

Heather Dinich: First, thank you. Second, I think Clemson needs to get the best coach available. There are plenty of good coordinators like Muschamp and VT's Bud Foster who would make excellent head coaches. But if you can get a proven winner, why not? I think Swinney is in a bit in over his head, although he says he's not. I couldn't imagine calling plays AND being the head coach having never been a coordinator before. Then again, I'm more a Mike Leach-type coach.


Todd, in Raleigh, N.C., writes: Heather, Where's the love for Russell Wilson? I know the ACC isn't chock full o' great QBs, but he now leads the league in passing efficiency and has a 10:1 TD:INT ratio. I think that's pretty good for a RS-Frosh! I know we haven't torn the league up by any means, but we're closer every week. I feel confident in saying RW might be the league's top QB next season and lead the Pack into a great bowl game. What do you think?

Heather Dinich: Todd, I absolutely agree that Wilson has been impressive this season. No game better illustrates that than the East Carolina game. If he -- and everyone else -- would have stayed healthy, it probably would have been a much better season. I could definitely see him being one of the better QBs in the league next year. Then again, who knows what Mike Glennon's role will be.


Don, in Bethesda, MD, writes: Heather, There are now 10 ACC teams with winning records needing 2 wins at the most to become bowl eligible. The ACC has 9 bowl agreements this year. If all 10 become eligible, do you think there will be any bowl openings for the 10th team? If so, does the ACC have enough national attraction to get that last bowl bid? As a Duke alum, I am ready to follow my team to Boise, San Francisco, or any other bowl. I think the Blue Devils would look great playing on the blue turf at Boise.

Heather Dinich: First, I think it's highly unlikely there will be 10 bowl-eligible teams. Heck, the fact there are 10 teams with winning records right now is unusual. If there are, they'll try and find another bowl. As for the Smurf Turf, this is the last year for the ACC's partnership with Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. So if you want to see your Dukies there, now is the time to do it.


Mike, in Coral Gables, Fla, writes: Heather, could you breakdown exactly what has to happen for the Miami Hurricanes to makes the ACC Championship Game? I am still a little unsure of how division record affects this.

Heather Dinich: First, they pretty much HAVE to win this weekend. Everyone needs to look at their team's conference record first. Then you look within the conference record and see who your team beat head-to-head in the division. For example, North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech are all 2-2. The Hokies have an advantage over the other two because they don't have any losses to Coastal Division opponents yet. But if Miami finishes with a better conference record than Virginia Tech, then it won't matter.


And finally, a message from Buddy, in Atlanta: Hi Heather, Can you think of another college team other than North Carolina that gets it's name spelled wrong so often as the Tar Heels ? You quoted Brian in Vegas as saying "I am longtime huge Tarheels fan." I don't ever see the Crimsontide,Wareagles or Bluedevils spelled as one word, any thoughts ? Any help you can give me in letting fans know that the Tar Heels are two words would be appreciated. Needless to say this is a pet peeve of mine. With basketball season getting ready to start there will be lots of comments made about the Heels. Thanks. Buddy

Heather Dinich: yourewelcome.