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Monday, December 1, 2008
Swinney expected to be named Clemson coach

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Dabo Swinney could be announced as Clemson's next head coach as soon as today, multiple sources told ESPN on Sunday.

 
 Rex Brown/Getty Images
 Dabo Swinney is 4-2 since taking over for Tommy Bowden.

It's too early to tell whether this is the right move.

All eyes will be on Terry Don Phillips on this one, not necessarily Dabo Swinney. This is Phillips' hire, and it needs to be his signature hire. He could have gone outside and gotten a much more experienced coach. Somebody like Bobby Johnson, or Jim Grobe. Heck, he could have even gotten somebody with prior experience as a coordinator, something Swinney never was before taking over for Tommy Bowden.

Clearly, though, he sees something in Swinney that gives him confidence.

Considering what Swinney has done, he should.

Swinney took over a program in absolute shambles. From preseason No. 9 to coachless in midseason and headed for disaster. He made the necessary changes, which at the time seemed rash, and they have proven to be the right moves. The offense is more effective without former offensive coordinator Rob Spence, but the offensive line also has something to do with that.

This team was 1-3 in the ACC after Swinney's first game as interim head coach, which was a 21-17 home loss to Georgia Tech. I was there for that. Aside from the pregame pagentry and Tiger Walk, it seemed as if little had changed besides the face of the program.

Swinney proved otherwise with his 27-21 road win over Boston College the following week. Since taking over for Bowden, Swinney has gone 4-2 and made the Tigers bowl eligible. That seemed impossible a month ago. And he had to beat rival South Carolina to do it.

So right now, he looks like a good choice for the job. It was a choice Phillips said would be "easy" if everything worked out the way he thought it would. It's like running a play out of the shotgun, though, on third-and-1 when you have James Davis on your roster -- it only looks good if it works, and when it doesn't, it's not the quarterback who takes the heat.

It's the man who called the play.