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Getting to know Clarence Shelmon; Retrospective

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    <img src="http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/7914/shelmonrb3.jpg" title="Clarence Shelmon" alt="Clarence Shelmon" align="right" height="200" width="237" />This was one of the most rewarding jobs of research into the Chargers current coaching staff that I had done so far. Coach Shelmon is the unknown man on the Chargers staff. Everyone has heard of Norv Turner, Ted Cottrell, and even Ron Rivera. But not a lot of fans know that much about Clarence Shelmon, the Chargers new Offensive Coordinator.

    Of course some fans will argue that he is Offensive Coordinator in name only. You might just be correct, for we have all heard that Norv Turner intends to call the plays, and will have a very big part in the running of, and coaching of the Offensive unit.

    I don't think that will be a problem though, two sets of eyes are more familiar with one another than I first thought. Clarence tool over as the Rams running backs coach in 1991, the year following Norv's departure from the Rams coaching staff to join the Dallas Cowboys as Offensive Coordinator. Norv was the Receivers coach on the Rams from 1985-1990. Clarence Shelmon then went to the Dallas Cowboys in 1998, who were still using a variation of Norv's offense he had instilled five seasons before.

    So while the two had not been on the same staff Clarence did have an opportunity to get to know a little of Norvs offensive mind set. Clarence has been regarded as one of the games premier running backs coaches, having worked with Emmitt Smith, Chris Warren and LaDanian Tomlinson. This is his first time as an Offensive Coordinator, but he has seen some of the best at play, and been witness to history. Clarence has coached 10 Pro Bowl rushers in 16 seasons coaching running backs. Including LT, who has made it for the second year in a row. Tomlinson earned all four of his Pro Bowl selections while playing for Shelmon, and was joined by Lorenzo Neal, who is another of Clarence's wards on the Chargers.

    Clarence has a unique running drill where the back runs to three different cones with a football attached to a giant bungee cord.

    Clarence was being considered for the same position in Miami under Cam Cameron over the past summer, but decided to stay in San Diego. The Dolphins loss is our gain!

    <strong>Coaching Experience:</strong>

    1975 - 76 - Graduate Assistant, University of Houston
    1978 – 80 - Running Backs and Tight Ends, Army
    1981 - 83 - Running Backs, Indiana University
    1984 - 86 - Running Backs, University of Arizona
    1987 – 88 - Running Backs, University of Southern California
    1989 – 90 - Running Game Coordinator, University of Southern California
    1991 - Running Backs, Los Angeles Rams
    1992 – 97 - Running Backs, Seattle Seahawks
    1998 - 01 - Running Backs, Dallas Cowboys
    2002 - 06 - Running Backs, San Diego Chargers
    2007 - Offensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers

    <strong>How ‘bout that Cowboy:</strong>
    We have all seen historic runs by the greatest Cowboy Emmitt Smith, his run into history where he met Daryl Johnson in the end zone was televised over and over, deservedly so. Well, Clarence was there for many of the carries that lead Emmitt to that time and place. Clarence spent four seasons (1998-2001) in the role of the running backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

    He had the privelige of working with the NFL's all time leading rusher and soon to be first ballot hall of famer, Emmitt Smith Emmitt played in Pro Bowls following the 1998 and ‘99 seasons when Clarence was his tutor. Under Clarence's tutelage, Smith racked up 4,953 yards and in 2002 became the NFL's all-time leading rusher, moving past the legendary Walter Payton. Smith rushed for 1,000 yards or more in each of his four seasons under Clarence.

    It is hard to say how important Clarence was to the continued growth and success of Emmett Smith, but it is clear that LaDanian has prospered two fold by his wisdom. First LT learned from Emmitt how to take care of his body, and how to avoid unnecessary big hits. That is information that Emmitt got not only from learning though playing, but also from his experienced coach. Then LT got the wisdom from Clarence himself.

    <strong>Soaring with the Seahawks:</strong>
    Clarence joined the Seahawks in 1992 as their running backs coach. A position he held until 1997. During that time, his Seahawks finished among the NFL's top five in rushing four out of the six seasons. Clarence coached running back Chris Warren, the Seahawks' all-time leading rusher, who become a four-time 1,000-yard rusher (1992-95) and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl under Clarence's tutelage.

    <strong>Bolting into history:</strong>
    Clarence Shelmon's last season with the Chargers gave him a side line view to history. His star pupil and future first ballot Hall of Famer, LaDainian Tomlinson, earned the Offensive Player of the Year, and was named the League's Most Valuable Player. LT won the NFL's rushing title with 1,815 yards and set NFL records for rushing touchdowns with 28, total touchdowns with 31 and points in a season scoreing a mind boggling 186 points. LT also managed under Clarence's watch to rack up 2,323 total yards from scrimmage, the sixth-most in a season in NFL history. Wow!

    Clarence Shelmon took the Chargers running game to new heights, and possibly set the standard that all Running Backs Coaches will be judged by in the future. For five seasons with Clarence as the Running Backs Coach, the Chargers rushed for at least 2,000 yards, which includes a team-record 2,578-yard season in 2006. Also for five years in a row that the Chargers running game 2,000-yard mark, the longest streak in team history and tied with the Denver Broncos for the longest active streak in the league.

    <strong>In conclusion; why Clarence will be good for the Bolts:</strong>
    If you do not read this above and understand why Clarence is good for the Chargers there is not a lot more I can say. But consider this, couple a teacher who knows the running game the way Clarence does, with a pass oriented mind like that of Norv Turner and look out! We stand to possibly have the best offensive attack this season, the running game should only get better, while our passing game could also greatly improve. Many teams use the pass to set up the run, it is my opinion that this season the Chargers will be using the run to set up the pass. Not just a dink and dunk pass, but the deep ball as Norv and Clarence have their unit going for the jugular on every play.

    An old saying states ‘If the right don't get you, the left one will." Well Norv and Clarenc will be our offensive right and left, and I think we will leave other teams bloody as we combine two of the best offensive coaches in the league today!

    <strong>Parting Note:</strong>
    In 1999 Shelmon and his wife, Nancy, created a foundation in memory of Clarence's mother, Ruby Shelmon. The foundation annually helps fund the college education of two high school seniors from his hometown.

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