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Clarence Shelmon - The Forgotten Coordinator

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Trumpet_Man, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2006

    Offensive coordinator happy he stayed put

    By Kevin Acee

    September 8, 2007

    Clarence Shelmon

    He has been the forgotten coordinator.

    Clarence Shelmon in January was promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator by then-coach Marty Schottenheimer.

    Then Schottenheimer was fired, and on Feb. 19, Norv Turner was hired as Chargers head coach. Turner retained Shelmon, who had an offer to be Cam Cameron's assistant head coach and running game coordinator in Miami.

    But Turner is the de facto offensive coordinator, the one who will call plays during games, the guy working closely with quarterback Philip Rivers, a head coach so much more intimately involved with game-planning and day-to-day running of the team than his predecessor.

    Also, there has been much made of the arrival of Ted Cottrell as the new defensive coordinator.
    Shelmon has his role, however, and it is not an uncommon one among NFL offensive coordinators. Nine other head coaches call offensive plays.

    “Everyone talks about the play-calling, but there are a lot of things that happen during the week,” Turner said. “All the organizational stuff, installation – that's why you have a coordinator . . . He's been in this offense for a long time. He's got a great feel for the run stuff . . . Getting us in and out, talking through the game-day adjustments.”

    Shelmon, who joined the Chargers before the 2002 season, is in his 17th season as an NFL assistant. The previous 16 were spent coaching running backs. He acknowledged it still feels strange walking from unit to unit during practice rather than focusing just on the backs.

    “You've been around those guys so long you get caught up with them,” he said. “But I'm starting to let go.”

    Shelmon on game days is the one who goes over photographs of the previous series as soon as Rivers comes off the field. They look at coverages and fronts and go over any missed checks. He then relays information to Turner. He also keeps Turner apprised of the number of rushing and pass plays they have run and in which situations.

    “The four preseason games were as good for us as any of the players,” Turner said of the coaches tuning their in-game procedures.

    In meetings during the week, Shelmon is part of the game-planning –much more than he was under Cameron. Turner is at the head of the table, but the offensive coaches have input as the staff members go over what they would like to do in certain situations, when to run, when to pass, strategy for different downs and distances.

    “He's very inclusive,” Shelmon said of Turner. “Ultimately, he makes the final decision, but we all sit there and come up with the game plan.”

    When he tabbed Shelmon, Schottenheimer was toying with the idea of calling plays himself. If not, Shelmon would have been, in his first try as a coordinator, the one directing what was last season the league's most prolific offense.

    “I'd rather be doing what I'm doing,” Shelmon said.

    He may well have been the next coming of Sid Gillman. But Shelmon knows what he has to offer at this point pales in comparison with Turner's expertise gleaned in 16 seasons calling plays as an NFL coordinator or head coach.

    “I'm not going to deny that,” Shelmon said. “The guy has been a proven play-caller and proven offensive coordinator. If you are new to the job, I think it helps you to sit in there and listen to all the minute details that make the difference.”

    Shelmon, who one day would like to call plays as a coordinator, said he tried at times in his career to position himself to be more prepared to do so. But in these months working under Turner he has learned more about the subtleties of coverages and reads and blocking than he did in all his years focused on running backs. He watches film with an eye on the big picture now.

    “There are a lot of other things that go into (offense) that are not common knowledge,” Shelmon said. “Being able to sit in there with Norv now, I'm getting to have a better grasp of the passing game. You know things, but there is so much more creativity.

    “That's why I stayed here,” Shelmon said. “I had a chance to go other places. Once I found out he was going to be here and he wanted me here, this was a win-win situation. If I can learn, why wouldn't I want to? That will help me.”
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

    Mar 5, 2006

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