Reviewing Clemson ST/TE Coach Danny Pearman

Kevin C. Cox

Danny Pearman is a coach who doesn't get as much run here at STS as some of the other assistants because he coaches a niche. Pearman is the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator for the Tigers. We often lump the tight ends in with the receivers because they are frequently flexed, or with the offensive linemen when they are lined up near tackle. Most of the discussion here to date, then, revolves around his time on the recruiting trail and the performance of the special teams.

Pearman, as most know, is a Clemson alumnus. Danny played ball in Death Valley under the legendary Danny Ford from '85 through the 1987 season. You'll likely note that the '86 and '87 teams won the ACC and rolled in their respective bowl games. Following his playing days, DP stayed on at Clemson as a graduate assistant and attained an MBA through this process. Pearman spent the early/mid-‘90's at Alabama. There he was on a national championship winning staff and coached with Dabo Swinney-contributing to their lines and special teams. He left for VPI prior to the '98 season then had stints at UNC, Duke, and Maryland in successive years before joining the Clemson staff in '09. At each of those stops, his focus was offensive tackles, tight ends, and/or special teams. Pearman began his tenure here coaching the tackles and tight ends-as Dabo appeared to realize that Mr. Scott needed help getting production out of the offensive line. Following Brad Scott's retirement (OL/inside lineman coach), Caldwell's hiring, and Andre Powell's firing (Special Teams coordinator), Pearman's duties shifted to the tight ends and coordinating special teams.

We'll discuss the major areas of interest for Pearman-Recruiting, Tight Ends, and Special Teams.

Recruiting

Pearman's recruiting record at Clemson has been less than stellar. In fact, we here at STS have referred to his recruiting effort here as a liability and have discussed giving his mid-Atlantic region to another member of the staff due to shortcomings here--especially the fertile Charlotte area. We think that should've been given to Harbison and/or Brooks, who are/were from Shelby and Kings Mtn, NC. It is expected that he will still recruit Charlotte with Reed's addition. You'll notice in the chart below, DP is credited with many prep signees as he is the main interface with Hargrave. He did help with Tajh Boyd but I'll also note that Swinney and Napier were all over Tajh prior to Pearman's arrival--all three should get credit for closing with him late. Pearman is credited with Maverick Morris in this year's class-however I'll point out that we believe that Chad Morris had an equal if not greater influence in that pull. The most impressive work I've seen is the recruitment of Germone Hopper. All being said, we simply must be more productive in Charlotte NC. This is the main deficiency in our recruiting territory allocation on the staff.

NAME

Position

Hometown

High School

Ht/Wt/40

Rivals Rating

Assigned Recruiter(s)

Class

Maverick Morris

OL

Douglas, GA

Coffee County

6'5"/290

3 stars

Danny Pearman, Chad Morris

2013

Isaiah Battle

OL

Fork Union, VA

Fork Union Military Academy

6'7"/265

4 stars

Andre Powell, Danny Pearman

2012

Kevin Dodd

DT

Chatham, VA

Hargrave Military Academy

6'5"/277

4 stars

Andre Powell, Jeff Scott, Danny Pearman

2012

Germone Hopper

WR

Charlotte, NC

Phillip O Berry Acad Of Tech

6'0"/165/4.5

4 stars

Danny Pearman

2012

Bradley Pinion

K

Concord, NC

Northwest Cabarrus

6'5"/220

3 stars

Dan Brooks, Danny Pearman

2012

Isaiah Battle

OL

St George, VA

Blue Ridge

6'7"/260/4.9

3 stars

Danny Pearman

2011

Jerome Maybank

DT

Pawley's Island, SC

Waccamaw

6'4"/335/NA

2 stars

Danny Pearman

2011

Morgan Roberts

QB

Charlotte, NC

Country Day

6'4"/208/4.7

3 stars

Danny Pearman

2011

Colton Walls

LB

Charlotte, NC

Latin

6'1"/215/NA

2 stars

Danny Pearman

2011

Josh Watson

DT

Chatham, VA

Hargrave Military Academy

6'3"/285/NA

4 stars

Danny Pearman

2010

Tajh Boyd

QB

Hampton, VA

Phoebus

6'1"/208/4.7

4 stars

Danny Pearman, Billy Napier

2009

Tight Ends

Looking back, it is tough to have too many qualms regarding the tight end position over the past four years. We've had All-ACC players every year. We had two NFL quality players there (Michael Palmer and Dwayne Allen) and have used the TE as a passing weapon more recently than in any period of Clemson football that I can readily recall. In fact, one could easily argue that, regardless of the offensive coordinator, this group has been the most consistent over the years catching passes and were the most reliable in the pre-Morris era. Brandon Ford developed nicely and, while not a Palmer or Allen, was a great asset to our team last season and made more than a couple clutch grabs in the '12 campaign.

The receiving stats for these guys since the '09 season totaled up to the following:


REC

YDS

AVG

LONG

TD

2009

55

621

11

26

8

2010

45

465

10

47

4

2011

65

782

12

54

10

2012

54

608

11

69

11

I don't recall too much poor blocking out of this group over the years. Maybe it is because we flex the TE more or use him in more of a wing/h-back role and I've just not noticed deficiencies since Allen's first year or so following Palmer as the starter. He lacked effort at the POA, not strength. The perimeter blocking all around has improved since Morris' arrival and these guys have done fine there. I recall excellent effort and results from Palmer, solid results from Allen's last year, and really don't have complaints about Ford's blocking there either, though he still tends to block like a former WR. With what I perceive as a shaky crew returning here next season, we'll see if Pearman can toughen up Seckinger and Cooper. Cooper is a line TE and more focused on blocking and shorter routes, while Seck is a flex TE and will be more of a receiver. I will say that the lack of want that Sam Cooper showed giving up an interception against Duke did really piss me off. Clearly Pearman will need to light a fire under his ass because that lack of want is unacceptable. Hopefully we'll be able to mold a Jay Jay McCullough into a tight end to carry us through the '15 season.

Special Teams

It is safe to say that there are many holes in this department. In defense of Pearman, he is not the only coach responsible for special teams items but is the coordinator and is, along with Swinney, responsible to assure the Tigers are sufficient kicking and receiving the football. This area of the game is largely marginalized when discussing the game but is a very important part of the game. Deficiencies here can deflate a lot of good things done by the offense or defense.

I'll begin with the good-our field goal team has been outstanding the past couple seasons. Catman got into a groove going into the '11 season and carried that momentum through the 2012 season. Dude was absolutely nails and made a bunch of us who questioned Dabo's assessment back in 2010 look silly. Spencer Benton's bomb against Ball State was a thing of beauty as well. We did have a couple miscues on PATs this season, which really pisses us off. The most obvious one-and the one that very well could have cost us the game-was against LSU in the Peach Bowl. Inability to convert PATs is unacceptable and inexplicable as a team should always be able to rattle home the gift point.

The bad involves punts and returns. We ranked in the lower portion of D 1-A in terms of punting average, kickoff return average and punt return average. While I am not completely disappointed with the job performed punting the ball, there is definite room for improvement-if we can find a punter, that is. The kickoff return average has no explanation due to the explosive players we have on this football team. You can rationalize this by saying that teams are adjusting their strategies to avoid kicking to our playmakers or are making the cognizant decision to give up yards through higher, shorter punts to negate this threat. I guess I can rationalize that one but still do not think this is the whole story. With the explosiveness we have on the field at any given point, I really would have expected more.

The ugly is all kick coverage. This was piss poor all season and, one could argue, the catalyst that spurred Florida State's second half rally that ultimately cost us the ACC Championship. We cannot comprehend how to run lanes properly. It is not that freaking hard people. Line up, run your damn lane and stay in your lane. Don't get cute cause getting cute gets you out of position and ultimately gives up huge returns. Our coverage was so pathetic last season that I regularly caught myself begging for a punt or even a kickoff to go out of bounds for fear of the consequences.

Overall

We have seen progress at the tight end position over the past four years and will be the first to admit that now the TE is a critical cog in the Clemson offensive machine. It is, however, difficult to overlook the below average recruiting results and the complete shitstorm that is Clemson kick coverage. The former is my big issue as Dabo/Jeff Scott could create a strategy to put a stronger recruiter in the mid-Atlantic area and the potential goldmine next door in Charlotte. However, you cannot have just a full time TE coach-particularly if he cannot recruit. Because of this fact and Pearman's history coaching special teams at other places, either we have to have improvement in this area or we have to reassess our staffing strategy.

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