Saturday, 18 September 2010

Absolute Carnage

Hey Auburn--quit biting from Dabo's arsenal of motivation slogans. Dabo pretty much coined the phrase "ALL IN" and adding the word 'Family' doesn't make it yours. Also since I'm ticked, since when has the SEC become the receptacle for QB's with criminal records?? Everyone gets a second and third chance in the SEC and its about time somebody placed greater value on not having players arrested every other week (Florida, Georgia, USuCk).
For all you idiots who want to play nationally ranked opponents for every OOC game, here is another reason your stupid. If you play multiple Auburn-like games half your team will be injured or 'concussed' for the conference schedule. My goodness....

That was the toughest game we have played in many years. I mean that in multiple ways--we finally had some toughness and I thought when it was 2nd and 5 inside the 15 we were going to win. This is a tough loss. Guys finally were showing their stuff--Bowers was dominant at times, Jamie Harper made the entire nation's jaws collectively drop, and McDaniel and Maxwell were laying people out.

The game turned when Auburn (who was hitting with helmets first all night, even ripping off Ellington's helmet) hit KP in the back. He may never be the same...he gutted it out but looked in serious agony. I was really sad to see David Smith go down as well. You might even argue that the game turned when Brewer made a great interception and we ended up on the half inch line, resulting in great field position for Auburn and momentum swinging their way. Its hard to lose on what feels like a stolen game.

I want to take heart in a moral victory but right now I just feel bad for this team. Auburn was lucky to walk away with this one. Can you believe that hit on McCalebb by Maxwell??

Special teams cost us the game. Zimmerman was back to his 39 yard self and Cat man blew it(but its hard to blame the rookie kicker), only after our highly recruited long snapper blew it. I thought the return game was average and it showed how special Spiller and Ford were. Where was the flag on the hit of Gilchrist. I really felt like Auburn got away with a lot of uncalled personal fouls.

I liked Napier's play-calling for the most part. The drive before overtime with the slow developing end around was the only play I really scratched my head on. KP lost some of his mobility after the hit and we couldn't get it in the flat to the tight end and on some screens like we were before.

Our offensive line was pushing around an SEC defense!! I wish we would have just stuck to pounding the rock all game but still liked the gameplan. We faltered on the last drive of the first half on a bogus pass interference call against Gilchrist but were finally dominant for an entire half. The defense got a little tired but we hung in there and now I am going to go lie in bed staring blankly and thinking about why this always happens to Clemson. This feels even worse than that BC overtime loss, where we missed the XP after scoring a TD and lost the game bc of it.

It was really smart for Dabo to talk about adversity. I think in 2008 we were pretty much all hype getting spanked by Alabama but now I think we are starting to belong and I feel we can win the ACC now. This team showed a lot of guts and we should rally around them and support them no matter what...if you get a chance, go ahead and be that creepy guy who leaves a facebook post thanking and encouraging our guys...they deserve it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Auburn Predictions and Ramblings

So we are finally beginning the season. Gameday. First I love Brent Musburger--he loves Clemson and the Esso Club and coined the now infamous phrase the 25 most exciting seconds in ALL of college football. A bold statement by any announcer but Musburger exudes class. He also does his homework and is very competent.

I guess I should really start over--if we win, we are beginning the season(and should pass South Caroline). If we lose the season starts with ACC play. Ha.

Another thing--South Carolina has beaten Southern Miss and then a substandard Georgia team and we are crowning them Natl Champs. Its pathetic. Sure, give credit where it is due--you beat Georgia, pat yourself on the back but the ESPN/SEC bias gets nauseating when its talked about incessantly and the Cocks shoot up to #13?? Its insane. Then I start seeing pictures of Marcus Lattimore everywhere and even a blurb about him as a Heisman contender. Really media, are we that starved for content?? Georgia had a horrible run D last year--give me a break. Now they play Furman. Where is all the crying about the powderpuff schedule?? huh?

So lets talk Auburn before I throw up even more in my mouth. Auburn is one of the cooler programs in the SEC--good people, they hate Alabama and Georgia. They have unreal expectations (just like us!) and fired Tuberville and got Chizik who was hired over Gill Turner. Seems like its been working out pretty good so far. They got some limo's for recruiting. Challenged the UT Wildboys for the biggest recruiting stunts and hauled in a good class. Even got a top RB in Dyer.

First Auburn has Cam Newton who is just ginormous. It really is Daquan Bowers at QB. He has a rocket arm but hasn't been tested in terms of accuracy but led his Jr College to the Jr College Champs so its not his first rodeo. I guess I'm saying that this guy isn't just a hyped athlete who hasn't learned to play QB. Runs like a gazelle mixed with a freight train, if that helps.

Since we made Chris Turner of Maryland look like an athlete last year--pretty much any QB can run on us. We have also historically sucked against misdirection. We all like the same gap assignment--what can I say...

So for RB they have Dyer (protypical back) and McCalebb (explosive guy) who aren't proven as everydown backs yet but have the talent. Our LB's are beat up with Maye coming off injury and Tig hurting his elbow so I have no confidence there(I am actually really disappointed with the LB play thus far--thought Corico would take that proverbial 'next step') and our D-Line can sometimes disappear in big games. We need our safeties to step up and CB's not to blow coverage.

So Auburn will score points but we need to create turnovers on defense. We need to have a Miami game where we give up yards and points but we also make some big plays that give us a chance.

On Offense we know what we get out of KP and hopefully what we get out of our RB's. We need no turnovers and we need the Offensive Line to be able to get some push at the point of attack. They have a veteran defensive group with top notch LB's who are All-SEC, no glaring weaknesses. But they have given up a lot of points in the past and DC Ted Roof won't be doing all that much blitzing. We have a chance to put up points but if WR's don't catch balls it will be a long day. I am interested to see what Napier has in store--his progression as a play caller is perhaps the most important thing of all.

I keep hearing how Clemson has the advantage in special teams and I have to scratch my head. Auburn has a preseason Groza candidate and we have a freshman kicker. Sure he can make XP's and made a 47 yarder (all great things, don't get me wrong) but the Cat Man is going on the road to a hostile environment with plenty of pressure. It is just another animal altogether. Their punter averages 40 yards a kick, ours does too minus one 70 yarder. Gilchrist has been solid fielding kicks but hasn't proven that he has the top end speed to take it to the house.

If I take the orange colored glasses that are glued to my head off for a minute I say Auburn by 4. But since that won't happen I am going Clemson 28 Auburn 27.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Blue Hose at the Half

Thats what I like to see. WR's stepping up, Tajh Boyd looked good--no, great. I would like to see Kyle Parker get some more reps in and try to establish some timing. KP also took a scary shot--want to protect a little better. Some brief highlights--Barnes (a scout team player) was running hard. Clear made a spectacular grab. Dwayne Allen was a beast and Jaron Brown showed some more open field moves. Gilchrist was solid in the return game.

Goodman is superhuman on special teams causing that fumble...

I want to score at least 72. ACC getting embarrassed right now. FSU hype--they beat Samford and people want to crown them. Clemson is the defending Atlantic champs and don't forget it.

Friday, 10 September 2010

On Defense

I have been thinking a lot about the dynamics of our defense post-NT. I thought at the beginning of the season that LB wouldn't be the most glaring weakness on the team. I thought WR would be the problem and then questionable Special Teams play(I am still shocked from that 78 yrd punt). After the first couple of series for the offense the WR's looked somewhat better and if Cat is perfect from the 40 yrd line in, like Dabo says, and Zim punts beyond 39 yards then its the LB's that are the dead weight once again this year.

We need this Preb. game, we need the creampuff. We need the defense to learn the calls and be able to adjust to reading the offensive formations. Too often players were pointing and confused pre-snap, not getting adequately set and directing others. We need to build depth--its beyond me why Quandon Christian played 8 plays. Unless we are going to be playing Nickel (2 LB's) and Dime(1 LB) all stinking year, every play, this makes no sense. He looked better than most of the guys out there in his limited time, which included 3 tackles.

The main problems I was seeing included poor tackling (nothing new for Clemson, especially those weak arm tackles) but also bad angles being taken to ball carriers. The safeties McDaniel and Hall had some horrendous moments/whiffs as a result of taking poor lines to the ball. Corners played average and gave away too much to inferior WR's.

D-Line saw its two starters hobbled, Chavis with an ankle sprain and Jenkins hurt his knee--it was swelling after the game. I am actually worried about it and hope it's not serious. Bowers thought his knee was nothing but it limited him most of last year. I do like that the back-ups will see substantial playing time because we will be thin next year at D tackle. Shatley and Moore looked good during their playing time last week.

So I've been thinking that our problems stopping the run are less about talent and more about scheme. Playing Nickel and Dime means you have less beef in the box and fewer players close to the line. Steele doesnt want a LB matched up against a WR in a 4-Wide set--he just won't do it. I'm sure he also thinks that getting Brewer, Gilchrist, or Sensabaugh as the 5th DB puts more talent on the field and he is probably right. The problem I think we are having right now though, is that this defensive alignment puts too much pressure on Tig and Hawk. They have very little room for error and are often outnumbered at the point of attack by the offense.

Now when I saw Hawkins literally jump past the QB Tune and blow a QB sack I rolled my eyes and worried that I had judged too much from his impressive Kent. bowl performance. I like Tig and Hawk--they look the part and will take their lumps because of inexperience but the tackling, technique--everything was poor to average the last game. Maybe they just need some help and should stick to the 4-3. I really want to see Steele use Shuey(who I think can be another solid player for us) and Christian at least a third of the game. They deserve the chance to show us what they got.

This season literally hinges on our ability to shut down the zone read. Auburn will use it, Maryland, GT, USC to name a few...if we have to gameplan around taking away that single play then I think we should do it. Against running QB's play the 4-3 and take your chances with the LB on a WR--its the reason you trust your stellar Safeties!! Play Nickel and Dime to your heart's content against QB's that can really burn you.

Stop Cam Newton running and you win the game. At the very least I want to see some crazy blitzing come Auburn.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

At the Half: N. Texas

I have been reserving judgement on this team and refraining from pre-season babble because I wanted to see the team with my own eyes.
My fear after losing Spiller and Ford was three-fold. Field position, explosiveness(big plays), and speed especially as receivers. Gilchrist has done well thus far and we have had some big plays from Ellington and Clear on a blown coverage. Harper has played tough. So we looked better towards the half and hopefully some of KP's rust has come off. We have been pathetic on third down conversions and sustaining any kind of drive. The O-line has been decent but not dominant and the WR's aren't separating or running crisp routes. It was good to see Nuke though. Allen needs to be more involved.
Defense can kiss that rushing defense goal goodbye Hawkins if this half is indicative of how our defense will handle draw plays and running QB's. The D-line is still having trouble with contain, LB's out of position and bad tackling and angles from McDaniel and Hall on a couple of big plays. We are getting penetration and pressuring the QB but looked like we were in slow motion on some plays.
Special Teams
Zimmerman has the punt of his career! After averaging what seems like a constant 39 yrd punt he goes for 78!! I like it. Kickoff coverage has been a little shaky.

Overall I think North Texas was tough to gameplan for with the new OC, who is doing a good job of mixing it up. Dunbar is legit so I will be happy with a 2 touchdown win that doesn't ever feel close. For all of you who wanted to play a 'real' team I'm glad you aren't in charge of the schedule--Clemson would have gotten smoked with that first half performance against a top 15 team.
A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.