Sunday, 30 August 2009

Booker and the Stress Fracture

To piggyback on the latest Sporting Gnomes post--isn't it interesting how basketball news is lighting up the Clemson blogosphere on the eve of the football season?

Anyways, the news about Booker has me a little more worried than what I'm reading in other quarters. First, unlike Oglesby, there's no replacing Booker's output. Second, while a low grade stress fracture in the foot should heal relatively quickly, they also tend to linger if not properly treated. Treatment basically consists of Tylenol and staying off the foot until no pain is felt. Here's a nice write-up of a 10-year study done at the University of Minnesota. The study outlines a general strategy for getting the foot back to full strength after a stress fracture. I think there's one key quote in the article relating to the strategy:

..."if you have a patient who you believe is intelligent enough to understand the negative consequences of noncompliance, then I think you could use this."

I'm sure Booker is "intelligent enough", but he's also an extreme competitor who won't likely take to the removal of several weeks from his training regimen. Let's hope he sees the long-term benefits of accumulating a little rest now...

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Justin Parker Come On Down

Justin Parker may be the best linebacker in the state of South Carolina and it looks like Clifton Geathers recent arrest just put us in the lead for his services. Lets hope no Tigers do anything remotely that stupid anymore. Recuiting is changing--no longer could a school try to bury that story and keep it from a recruits mom, and with texting, emal. facebook, etc. players, coaches, journalists, reruiting sites, and fans--everyone can share in the year long process.

So anyone want to start the Justin Parker should come to Clemson facebook page? If the rules are gray, then all bets are off. Maybe someone should just go add him as a friend....

Anyway, Justin if you're reading this--Clemson has always wanted a coveted linebacker. Clemson is good people so come and join the family.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Another question of the day?

So the first one worked so well thought we would try it again...Today I want to know who is the player that no one is particularly talking about (no CJ or KP) that will make a big contribution this year? I cant even recall anyone last yr, maybe DeAndre...slim pickings though. My vote is for Dwayne Allen. I think KP is smart enough to use the TE and Napier will be looking for a way around relying on the WR's especially if Jacoby's hammy never fully heals or gets tweaked again. Someone put that muscle grouping on a prayer roll and quick!!

I was thinking Dalton Freeman might start somewhere in the season and Kevin Alexander could have a monster year. Oh and Zimmerman could really elevate our kicking game--who do you got??

If you havent already, check out the O-line debate over at ClemPson. Great quotes by Pearman. Dr B and company have some of the best Clemson content on the web, essential reading if you dont already...

Friday, 21 August 2009

Question of the Day?

So if the Oline is not much better than last year and the WR drop the ball--KP struggles cant find his confidence(or gets injured), Korn doesnt fair much better, or just doesnt have the arm strength or mechanics--do you think Swinney and company will burn the Redshirt on Boyd, perhaps midseason, if he is completely healed and looking even better than before?? Would that be a smart move? Do you not do it even if you need to--do you go with Wade??

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Deep Thoughts

I wanted to throw my opinion in the ring in regards to naming Kyle Parker the starting QB. I think that Napier forced the issue and had Dabo make the call earlier than anticipated and here is why. Parker has been ahead of Korn, no surprise, since Spring--not significantly but he has a stronger arm and more zip on his passes, more big play potential perhaps. Korn has improved and has looked a lot better from the spring--so why go with Parker so early when we kept hearing forever how it was going to come down to gameday without a starter being named.

The reason, I suspect, is the WR play. Napier may not be experienced and it remains to be seen if he can cut it as a major Offensive Coordinator but this is the first good move, a really smart move he is making. That is encouraging. He has targeted the WR unit as the biggest question mark and so he is already adjusting to maximize the potential output of the offense. That is what good OC's do. He must have evaluated the situation and said he would profit more from having one QB taking the reps to build that familiarity with the WR's. They are dropping balls they shouldnt drop--I hope that is because they arent used to having a QB who really throws the ball and they just need to adjust to a 'major league' arm. (sorry couldnt resist)

I also suspect that this is one of the reasons that the TE is going to be used more this year--proven commodities who can catch the ball. Allen is a beast who has the athletic ability to be a weapon, so I dont think throwing it to him more in a game than Ashe, Brown, Jones, Dye is a bad move(despite what T-net might say). So the good news is Napier is proving to be smart--make KP the starter, help the WR as much as possible and start game planning away from relying on the WR. Physical running game and RB as legit WR targets. I think this had little to do with Korn or Parker really distancing himself and more to do with bad WR play. I would like to see Jacoby gets some reps and someone prove himself--shame Clear went down, looked like he was putting it together.

Cant believe football is almost here...Now is the point in the year where I get a big jug of water--throw in a bag of sugar, dump in like five packets of the good stuff and start chugging the Kool-Aid. This year its Dabo flavored...

Go Tigers! Win an ACC Championship just bc Tommy Bowden isnt here!!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Dwyer Gone

Its official. Chris Dwyer, unfortunately not GT's Jonathan Dwyer (wouldn't that be a pleasant headline with the looming Thursday night game?) (yes, its close enough to say "looming", because, well...hurry up and start already football season).

This stings a bit for next year's baseball squad, I was hoping Dwyer would be back. Although his numbers weren't spectacular (a lot of people are going to be thrown by that 4.92 ERA), as far as potential goes he was probably the best pitcher on the staff. Performance-wise, his numbers aren't too difficult to replace, but replacing that kind of upside will be difficult for 2010. I had really hoped the Royals (of all teams, particularly) wouldn't be willing to shell out the money and he'd back in a Tiger uniform. Best of luck to Dwyer, though, and congratulations on landing the biggest signing bonus for a fourth round player in MLB draft history.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Potential Pitfalls??

After what happened last year with all the expectations that came crashing down, I have spent a lot of this offseason contemplating what could be the top potential positional deficiencies that we may not be seeing right now. Last year it was O-Line but also the QB play and the inability of the D-Line to get any sacks. So what could it be this year and how could it be improved before the start of the season.

1. Back-up Tackles--This is the most obvious and has been discussed at length that our starting O-Line cant get injured. I think we now have a serviceable line, meaning it wont outright loose us any games but its going to be up and down with few dominant performances when healthy. When you go from the starters to the back-ups we go from serviceable to awful. Grant and Lambert have had disappointing careers and with Jay out with surgery the coaches are stretching for anything. Brandon Thomas as a true freshman is getting a look and now the coaches are exploring David Smith as a potential back-up as well. I scratch my head bc we havent been recruiting too poorly on the O-Line lately--Dalton Freeman is giving some depth but David Smith, Wilson Norris(remember when he was 'coming on' and had that tenacious mean streak??), Page, Medlin(medical), along with others havent yet panned out. Basically one more injury and we are toast--the depth isnt there and that will hurt when some of these guys need a breather and are worn down.

2. WR--This is another obvious position so I wont go into great detail but Jacoby Ford has a hammy that he has re-aggravated, meaning its a recurring injury and one that could easily be tweaked again--doesnt inspire a ton of confidence for a receiver whose hallmark is incredible speed. Behind him is a cast of potential--Dye, Jones, Clear, Brown, etc. are all unproven. I still groan when I think of the dropped passes to Ashe last year, while McNeal should be headed for a redshirt. Early indications are positive but still unproven.

3. FS--Digging a little deeper is this safety spot that we all thought Gilchrist would man but Sadat Chambers is still the man to beat. That inspires zero confidence in me, Sadat has always been a tools guy who cant mentally put it all together. Marcus is a phenom and is being trained to man all the back-up positions and play in nickel packages--not a bad deal since he will see a lot of time on the field and provide needed depth but we are left with Chambers and a bunch of youth for the FS spot.

4. Kickers--None of the kickers on the squad have seen significant playing time and none have had any measure of consistency to their games. Kickers are head cases so even if you have an excellent Jad Dean one yr it doesnt necessarily translate automatically. It would be a shame if this becomes the Tigers achilles heel but punting seems to be going well but I'm afraid the fg's and extra points might be an adventure again.

5. Offensive Coaches--From the games we saw last year this is an area of concern for me. Its not so much scheme(anything will be better than Spence) but the experience to know how to make in-game adjustments. We havent seen this in a long time at Clemson. Spence was one of the most stubborn OC's I have ever seen and once opposing ACC defenses figured it out, he seemed to never have the counterpunch we needed. I like that we are upping the tempo and seem to understand that Spiller should see the ball as much as is possible but I have a level of trust in the Defensive staff to know how to adjust the gameplan that the Offensive coaches may be lacking. Also I'm worried about our end game coaching, clock management, and time-out use. I always thought Bowden was a fool in those situations and the Nebraska game wasnt much better. That comes with experience so we are going to take some lumps down the road.

I dont think the QB play will be a huge problem with two guys that the coaching staff can go to. Boyd seems like he could even play and be successful. D-Line and Linebackers should be better with the blitz packages as well as the coaching of Steele and Brooks. ST's coverage and blocking improved last year and the TE will be used more by Napier. One last cause for concern is the CB's. I know they are supposed to be the best in the ACC but it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the man and increased blitzing. Hopefully that will help utilize their talents more fully, we have some good back-ups there as well with Maxwell and Gilchrist.

At any rate we wont know until the season starts, just passing the time before gameday!!

Bad News For Clemson and ACC

Well you never like to see a kid get hurt but the injury to RB Darren Evans of Virginia Tech is not only bad for the ACC but its bad for Clemson as well. Let me explain...VT is not on Clemson's schedule this year but does play NC State, Maryland, and BC from the Atlantic division. You may not think its that big a deal but when the division has been decided by one or two games it makes a difference. While none of those teams are FSU, it doesnt help our chances to have a weaker VT. This year we want a strong NC, Duke, and VT--every little bit helps.

Also the ACC really cant afford to be blown out again by Alabama. I am so sick of hearing how bad we were last year but another blow-out and the ACC goes down another notch and that cant be good for lucrative TV dreams. The ACC needs a momentum year badly where 'big mo' is finally returned. All is not lost however bc the back-up RBs are supposed to be pretty good, we shall see...

Monday, 10 August 2009

Well This Really Hurts

With the O-Line being the most glaring and obvious weakness last year and potentially this year as well, our chance to have a reliable back-up at the left or right tackle position who could have probably started at some point in the season is gone for the season. JK Jay--one of the prize recruit of last years thin class is going to have surgery this Wed. on his back. This is a tough pill to swallow and with Barry Humphries deciding to be a baby and transfer to SC State, the hits just keep on coming. Like I've said before, anytime the names Jamarcus Grant and Cory Lambert are mentioned as anywhere close to starters--we have a problem. If Hairston goes down at left tackle then you can kiss the ACC Champs goodbye. I'll post more later on this O-Line but its got to be a tough day for JK Jay, hope the surgery goes well for you. For those of you who dont know him, JK is about the nicest guy you will ever meet.

Hopefully the O-Line can still put it together but as we get thinner, things are looking less optimistic for that elusive improvement we so desperately need.
A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.