By Trey McCurry.
New Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media today for the first time since being hired to replace Brad Scott. To borrow a phrase from another sport on campus, Caldwell “hit the ball out of the park” during his first public appearance at Clemson.
The first question Caldwell fielded was why come to Clemson and why now? “I have been out of this state for 25 years,” said the native of Pageland. “I recruited some here, but this is home to me. I went to school right down the road here at a pretty special place. I’ve caught a lot of fish in that lake (Hartwell) over there, looking over at this stadium and dreaming about what could happen. So what has happened is a good feeling for me.”
The why part of his answer showed why Caldwell was the highlight of the SEC Media Days last summer in Alabama. “And why, well I got fired. I was unemployed and looking for a job. One thing you will find out about me is don’t ask a question that you don’t want answered. I’m not afraid to answer and I’m not smart enough to lie to you. I’m going to tell you the way it is.”
Caldwell talked about how he enjoyed his first Christmas away from recruiting with his family when he received a call from longtime colleague and current Clemson Associate AD for Football Administration Woody McCorvey.
“Coach McCorvey called me one day just to say hello,” Caldwell said. “We were talking, but I could tell in his voice that something might be up, but I didn’t know. He didn’t let the cat out of the bag, but he asked me what my plans might be. I told him I was looking for a job. Then later I got the call and learned that Coach Scott had recommended me and that meant a lot to me.”
Caldwell talked about what all he will bring to Clemson. “I want to be the best offensive line coach in America. That is what I have always set out to do. What I hope to do is bring a love for the game, a love for people and a love for Clemson University. I’m going to sell this school. I told Coach Swinney I can’t promise a whole lot, but I’ll be loyal and I’ll work hard.”
Caldwell also talked about how he doesn’t have a lot of rules, but that he expects his players to have high character. “They have to have great character. I was a sorry student, the captain of the study hall for three years. I know all of the tricks, and they can’t pull anything over on me. I’ve never had a guy play for me for four years and not graduate. I’ve told them they have to be accountable and overcome their coaching. If they can do that, we will be pretty good. We are going to push them hard and go from there.”
Caldwell also spoke about the players he is inheriting and his offensive line philosophy. “I haven’t watched much film because I want to give everyone a fresh start. I’ve talked with Coach Scott and player-development assistant Bobby Hutchinson about the guys. I told those boys [linemen] yesterday when I met with them, that we are going to joke and cut up and have fun, but when it’s time to go to work, it’s time to flip the switch. And now it is time to flip the switch. I’m not going to coach effort and attitude. If I have to coach that, you’re going to live hard.