The Clawson Cutoff


Dave Clawson was a very good hire for Wake Forest.

The very entertaining Johnny Carson Show used to have a regular feature back in the day called “Carnac the Magnificent” where it gave the answer to the question first.

On another bit, the Art Fern one, he would give directions to a fake store, he would say, “Go to the Slauson Cutoff.”

Temple’s “Slauson Cutoff” is really a Clawson Cutoff, because the one advantage Wake Forest will have over Temple (3:30, Tuesday) is the continuity of coaching and that begins and ends with Dave Clawson, the head coach of the Demon Deacons.

On paper, that is not a good matchup for the Owls.

Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer called for the Owls to hire Clawson over Matt Rhule in 2012 and, while it looks like he was wrong, that’s only to people who think Rhule was the only person in the world who could have steered Temple football in the right direction.


A tweet from Mike Jensen four years ago.

I also think Clawson could have done the same thing and, in reality, he has done a terrific job at Wake Forest. I’m in the minority of Temple fans who think there are a handful of really great coaches out there who Temple  could have hired who would have done the same thing for the school Matt Rhule did.

Maybe better. Certainly better than starting 2-10 and 6-6.

That’s OK, because we will never really know.

All we do know now is that Clawson, really, is the only thing standing between Temple and a school-record 11 wins.

Most objective college football observers know that Temple has significantly better on-field talent than Wake Forest. If you take the coaches away and have the kids play a pickup game, Temple probably wins this one something like 41-13.

Putting the coaches that we know of in there and this becomes a significantly closer game.

All we know about Foley is that he is a good guy who followed a highly successful Clawson Era by going 7-15 at Fordham as a head coach and getting fired. So far, in the lead up to this game, Foley has been saying all of the right things about being a “competitive guy” and concentrating on the game, but we cannot know for sure until the final gun sounds on Tuesday. Clawson, unlike Foley, is a proven head coach.

This is one game where we will find how much coaching impacts a college football game. The formula for a Temple win equals the better kids plus a Foley who learned something a year ago against Toledo is superior to a Clawson who has worse kids but a better head on his shoulders.

That’s the thought here and the hope.

Unfortunately, it won’t be anywhere near 41-13 but a helluva lot closer to 21-13 and that is my call for the Owls because coaching means about 20 points in a college football game. This is not baseball, where a manager only impacts about 10 of 162 games a season.

Football is the most important sport when it comes to coaching.  We will find out how important, oh, about 6:30 on Tuesday.

Monday: Game Preview



9 thoughts on “The Clawson Cutoff

  1. I suspect if Clawson had been hired in 2012 and had a level of success similar to Rhule we would probably be in the same situation today, bringing in a new coaching staff.

  2. At the risk of staying the obvious we managed to lose to a coach less MAC team in last years bowl. Let’s hope talent carries the day.

  3. Clawson’s overall coaching record is 102 wins and 103 losses.Nick Saban he is not. Temple’s coordinators will call the game and yes Foley will make some key decisions.I just don’t think Wake will do much offensively to win this game. They will need turnovers and a bad day/sloppy track.

  4. So we’ve gone from “please don’t leave Matt Rhule,” to “a bunch of guys could have done what Rhule did here despite it never happening here before.” I think that’s poor form, IMHO.

    • Let’s go a little easy on the “never happening here before” comment. What Hardin and to a lesser extent Arians did was just as remarkable (maybe moreso) considering it came against better schedules and they never were in a league they had a chance to win in … plus, the 1979 team still has done something even this team probably will not do (they need at least 5 favorites to fall in bowl games and even then it is not guaranteed)–finish well inside the top 20 … as for the other part of the comment, it is incredibly naive to think Matt Rhule was the ONLY person who could have taken Temple to the AAC title. He’s just a man. He’s not God. He’s not Vince Lombardi. There are a LOT of great coaches out there. Not poor form at all.

  5. Clawson would have had a better year if Tommy Elrod wasn’t such a traitor.

    • Really, you think some guy telling the other team they worked on this during the weak made a difference? Wake won only 6 games because their offense flat out stinks. The qb threw 9 tds all season. I don’t know if it’s coaching, lack of talent or both.

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