Saturday, 31 December 2011

Watkins says he is at 85%--Another Medical Staff Fail

So Watkins says the medical staff say he is fine but he feels he is at 85%.  Who are the quacks that we have working at Clemson. Its ridiculous. He feels pain when he pushes on a DB and you are saying he is fine?? Incompetence.

Wow. Sammy please go and see someone not associated with the Clemson medical staff, in fact if you are a player--don't listen exclusively to them, always get a second or third opinion from an outside doctor. S&C needs to be fixed but I don't like the idea of messing around with the health of our players. Now we find out that Sammy was only at 50% for the South Carolina game (probably why that td ball was dropped) and he didn't have the entire range of motion.  I am all for playing through some pain, etc. but not jeopardizing a players career or his long term health. This is just another example of what a clueless medical staff we have in place. When the Korn piece came out I was ticked and thought I overacted but when these stories continue to surface that demonstrate a blatant mismanagement of the health and well being of players I feel compelled to say something. This shouldn't be happening at Clemson. Its time to clean house...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

ACC Freakin Champs

I just peeled an orange, ate it and then threw the peel at a Gamecock. It felt soooo good.

Great job Tigers! Steele saves his job and I hope we continue to play this aggressive. Dabo looks like a genius. The program is in the right direction (Bellamy, my friend, we need you...get your head straight over the break and stay with the Clemson family). Boyd ran hard and like a man. Sammy was amazing and the defense honored the legend Chester McGlockton. Great effort.

1st BCS Bowl, 1st ACC Champs in 20 years and 1st Orange in 30 years.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Willy Korn Has My Respect: Fire The Medical Staff

Everyone needs to read this story on Willy Korn. For the first time I understand. He was not soft. The Clemson medical staff should be fired for this. This is criminal and cost us a great leader and QB.  Heads should roll--I'm sure none of this was supposed to come out and has been buried, its seriously negligent. It also continues my concern with the Strength and Conditioning program.

This article really made me glad Spence is gone. You don't want a kid to get a medical redshirt because you want your QB's spaced out by two years--what stupid ridiculous nonsense is that?? Now let me be clear, the piece of the fractured collarbone that ends up in the AC joint is tough to catch. I would like to hear more from the medical staff on this before rushing to judgement on the Furman injury. Was an MRI done on the shoulder or just collarbone X-rays. The fact that he was instructed to throw right away reflect poorly on everyone. Coaches, staff, absolutely everyone. Diagnosing a fracture as a 'bone bruise' is beyond incompetent. Please tell me X-rays were at least performed. So I don't blame them for the chip but I do want accountability for the misdiagnosis. With Harper performing well, I don't understand why he wasn't shut down when he obviously had less arm strength and something was wrong. He came to Clemson with great mechanics and arm strength--I remember watching the Byrnes games. When he was so up and down that year--someone needed to say something. Instead you have an asinine Spence and (and perhaps Batson but this is more on the coaches and medical staff here) saying he is doing great. I get the feeling Spence didn't care for Korn, but that doesn't surprise me because he is an idiot who wasted years of having CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford and James Davis running his garbage offense.

Second you have the GT injury which I do think manifests gross incompetence. After he is seriously injured in the game and can't throw on the sideline he is diagnosed again with a BONE BRUISE??!! How stupid can you be. You already missed the chip and fractured collarbone and now you just let him throw in practice for a couple of weeks before you find out he has a torn labrum?? Are you kidding me? He even played in a couple of games with the torn labrum in mop up duty. He could barely throw the ball 15 yards and we could all see it and no one thinks to do an MRI or have a real medical professional look at it. It ruined his mechanics, it ruined his shoulder. He had to go and lobby the medical staff because his dad told him to in order to have a second MRI done which magically shows a serious tear in the labrum. Knowing a little about this myself, if the tear is accurately described by the article as "the cartilage that keeps the ball at the end of arm bone in the shoulder blade's socket", then it is not only easy to spot but I think you would have to try hard to miss it!

And then they rushed him back for the Gator bowl after labrum surgery. At the time I thought it was crazy and it was not only crazy but selfish of the coaching staff too. I don't fault the coaching staff for anything else. Korn was promised he would play but his arm was nothing and when he went in you knew he couldn't throw it twenty yards downfield. It was like watching a worse Will Proctor. He had the worst throwing motion I have ever seen in a starting college football QB and that was kinda confirmed when Marshall didn't give him the starting nod. His arm and shoulder needed rest and time to heal. Glad he is doing well at North Greenville but I wish someone had the foresight to redshirt Willy so he could rest and regain his mechanics and arm strength. It is a tragic chapter in our recent Clemson history. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. (Ricky Sapp and Bowers knees?)

Fire the entire medical staff (I want a cleaning of house but would settle for some serious evaluations). And do it yesterday!

Dabo Versus Spurrier


Dabo made my week. Lets back that talk up with an ACC Championship and a good ol' fashioned coot bashing. It is a one hundred year old tradition after all.

For all the coots out there whining that Spurrier never even said this. Give me a break--first you know it sounds like the same man who threw a hissy fit at Ron Morris. Second when it is released through official USC media channels, like posted on your official Twitter account, and then picked up by national media like ESPN and CBSsports--if you do nothing to retract the statement then it might as well have been said by Spurrier. At the very least someone needs to apologize for the first false statement put out by your University. But that require some class--something Spurrier has never had and something USC never will.

Dabo said this on Thursday. If Spurrier was worried about the falsehood of the statement he had four and a half days to retract it. He didn't care to try, therefore Dabo is justified in responding. Did you take note, however, how Dabo qualified what he said with words like if this is true and I have a lot of respect for Coach Spurrier. Take note of that because it is your first lesson on class and civility. It is what being a southern gentleman is all about.

I don't even care if this is red meat to appease the Clemson faithful. We deserve some appeasing and when it comes at the expense of our hated rivals, it is always welcome. On the video it appears too off the cuff but if it is some motivational technique, then I like it even more. 

This is domination and THE University in the state of South Carolina always has been and always will be Clemson.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

In Honor of Chester McGlockton: What a True Clemson Defense Looks Like


In honor of the great # 91 Chester McGlockton, this is what a real Clemson Defense looks like. This should be mandatory viewing for all defensive players and coaches this week. Do you see the form on these tackles!! It is a thing of beauty. Major Harris was the top running QB and athlete of this day and we ate him alive. Don't tell me we can't do that here at Clemson!! Make it happen--Beat VTech!

God Bless #91, you are already missed! Go Tigers!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Out With the Old--In With the Nucleus

Over at Shakin the Southland Dr. B has a great post on getting to the root causes of Clemson's collapse. He says it much better than me but I already had this post so here it is. I basically was griping about Bateson and thinking that he has had enough time here at Clemson. Maybe he can get an admin job too...haha. (the title of the post is an old Simpsons quote by the way)

Is Bateson in any danger of losing his job? I ask because I really hope we get a change here. I want a complete re-tooling of our conditioning with support staff focused on diets, weight, eating healthy, etc. I think our strength program is outdated and teams like Bama, LSU, and now USC are way ahead of us.

USC changed its S&C coach three years ago which corresponds with our losing streak to them. Coincidence? Maybe but part of playing soft is the offseason conditioning. Too many players never gain the muscle they need or they turn into being too muscular (or something)and become slow like Goodman this year. Its problematic.

I'm also sick and tired of seeing players put on FAT during the season. Way too many examples and stories of guys admitting to it over the years. You can't rely on personal responsibility when you want to be a champion, you need to demand personal responsibility through accountability! Part of it is a dedication from the athlete but mostly it is not having a structure in place that regulates these things. That is reason enough for me to show Bateson the door.

In my last post I was venting and said Dabo meet the hot seat, blah. That kind of talk is counterproductive and I know it. But I maintain that beating USC is one of the main criteria for being the head coach at Clemson. He must not lose for a fourth straight year. That being said Dabo needs to continue to make the changes necessary to be a championship team. Last year he earned all of our respect by hiring Morris and Caldwell. This offseason (or even after the ACC Champs game) we need to make our team stronger and tougher--make the changes needed in the S&C program.

The other day I watched the video of the Power Hour for the redshirt frosh. Why is this something new? It boggles my mind how little investment we make in those redshirting. I am also amazed at how little historically (well the past 10 years) our players have benefited from the redshirt year. That has got to change as well.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Mr. Dabo Meet Mr. Hot Seat

Dabo you have lost to South Carolina three straight years. Even if we win the ACC and go to a BCS bowl against the Big East we will hear it all year long. Its not that we lost tonight--it is how we lost. This week and last week.

I didn't want to post this but I am not a happy Tiger. Tajh Boyd looks slow. As the announcer Blacklidge said--Boyd is not a runner. He was at the beginning of the season. He has gotten fat. Call a spade a spade. I watched a clip of last season where Jamie Harper didnt look like he fit in his uniform. Boyd was also overweight. The starting QB for Clemson University should not have conditioning issues. He could run the ball earlier in the year but he can't move in the pocket. He couldn't step up in the pocket and throw. Sure the O-Line was bad but Boyd was worse. Slow, fat, poor mechanics--throwing off the back foot, throwing high, wide, and to the other team. Where is the responsibility, accountability? Morris should be all over this but so should the entire support staff, primarily Bateson. Where are the weight checks, the diet checks--how does that happen during a season? This isn't close to the first time this kind of a thing has happened either, I mean Harper didn't even fit his uniform last year.

I saw really bad fundamentals. Hopkins needs to catch with 2 hands, he is so used to the spectacular he loses the fundamentals when it counts. That is on Scott. Hawkins forgot that he had arms on multiple plays. So many bad angles I couldn't count them. LB's think that blitzing means running into a blocker or slapping the qb on the back as you run by him. Quandon Christian I'm looking at you on the Shaw TD pass.

The hardest hit of the night was Jaron Brown on 54. I saw the rest of the defense playing patti-cake. Guys were mostly in position but don't know how to wrap up and play with leverage. It is really the LB's and Safeties. The LB play has been so poor since Steele got here that I am beginning to teeter into the retool the defense mindset. I can't believe it though because I love the defensive staff we have in place. It is largely the Linebackers and that is on Steele. I like Brooks, Hobby, and Coach Cheese but this is the worst defense I have seen at Clemson in ten years.

Lastly on the defense--don't tell me they are young. We have as starters 3 seniors and a junior on the D line and 2 Junior LB's in Nickel packages. Christian is a Soph and Anthony a Fresh. The secondary has 2 Junior Safeties and 1 Senior CB with the other a Fresh or Soph with another Soph in Nickel packages. That is not that young. Not enough depth is always everyone's problem and its the starters who are playing with pathetic fundamentals.

Hello meltdown and Hello another NINE WIN SEASON...Coach Morris--please right this ship...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Yeah I Jinxed It

I let out a gut wrenching scream when Tajh let go of the ball and it sailed smoothly into the GT players hands, Watkins standing wide open on the goal-line. That was the visceral manifestation of a lost national championship. It was the sound of a lost national championship. I've never made that sound before in my life--I'm sure neighbors contemplated calling the cops. Having had a couple of days to reflect, however, it also marks the first time in my adult life that I have ever had a 'real' conviction that Clemson could be national champions. In the moment its awful but at least you can honestly say that you felt like a national championship was within your grasp. It has been an amazing ride and hopefully we still make it to the Orange Bowl.

On the less cheery side that has to be one of the most frustrating games I have ever watched. How hard is it to stop a QB running behind a dive back. Is it mobile QB's and pitches now? The fumbles killed momentum. The fourth and 1 conversion by GT was deflating after starting with 3 and outs. On offense we had drops on hot routes, receivers getting jammed at the line, and players coming up short on third downs. Our LB play was atrocious and the secondary didn't help them out at all. Hill just flat out dropped a TD and got that other huge reception. PJ basically said that they were running away from Brandon Thompson--why not instruct him to simply blow up the center every play. Stick Lateek right behind him and let him run around crazy headhunting for the QB. It would have been better than watching Christian out of position and blocked consistently (he is not having the year I thought he would after that nice Int. against FSU) or Hawkins six yards away from the line of scrimmage and just waiting, asking, pleading for an O-Lineman to block him and take him out of the play.

I think we are scared or unable to deal with cut blocking. We don't know how to shed a block to save our lives and its not pretty. I know everyone is calling for Steele's head but our problem wasn't really schematic. What is on the heads of the defensive coaches are safeties taking ugly angles to the ball, and the poor fundamentals of our LB's (which is Steele's coaching position), oh and the ever-present poor tackling. The LB play needs to improve in the next year or I will start to question our defensive coaching but Steele and company still have my vote. I love Coach Brooks and Coach Cheese but am worried about our depth moving forward. All of these guys have been in the system awhile though so hopefully the ship can be righted for next season. (haha...did you hear that--righted from an 8-1 record!! You would have called me crazy if I said that before the season)

One thing to note though is that we are not a good road team so far. VT was awesome but you saw some nerves and Maryland was ridiculous. I think this is something to pay attention to when we roll into Columbia. Dabo looked really tense at the beginning of the game too, didn't seem like his usual confident self (to be expected when you go down to GT). We were really choking though--the return of Cat man knuckle kick, the Hopkins drop/Allen drops, the high Boyd throws, and making a marginal QB look like superman all felt like last season.  But still when Rashard Hall intercepted the pass and got it to the five yard line I felt like we could do it. Then the yell/banshee scream...

At least I don't have to be jealous of USC and Alshon Jeffrey. Watkins catches passes in-stride like no other receiver I have ever seen...He still is working on becoming other-worldly in jump balls (right now he is just superhuman) but he is an absolute treat to watch. I would watch him if I wasn't a Clemson fan. One day I will write an 'Ode to the National Championship Lost' but for now I will stop rambling.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Clemson Could Have Been National Champions

Yes, this is a post I have wanted to write (and have written many times in my head) immediately after the Auburn game. Like I have said before, as a Clemson fan and probably just a sports fan, its just what you do.  You project how your team is going to win the national championship and you do it up until the moment your team loses. If tomorrow we lose to GT then I want to be able to say that I enjoyed the ride while it lasted. Yes, I know--only think about the game in front of you. Beat GT and it will work itself out...but where is the fun in painstakingly agonizing over all the potential scenarios and knowing all of the teams that need to win and lose each week. I just can't miss out anymore.

So we all know the basics by now. Essentially there will be a 1-loss SEC team that is presumed to win out. OK St has the strongest poll numbers (the Big 12 is loved by the computers) and will play in the natl champs if they win out. Thanks to the stupid coaches poll Stanford will jump us if they go undefeated and we are supposed to jump Boise St. I'm also not going to entertain the idea that a one loss team can jump us. With our 2 team SEC OOC (out of conference) strength of schedule it is not happening.

So we would have an argument for staying ahead of Stanford if we both went undefeated but that was sabotaged by Miami. We could have played a ranked UNC and GT (if they had stayed undefeated probably for Gameday) but that didn't happen. Wake could be ranked if they win their games before us but then you risk losing to Wake and letting them play in the Conference Champs game. If you can stomach rooting for USuCk that will help our strength of schedule too. Its tough because you want USuCk, Florida and Georgia to all be somewhat down so you can win recruiting battles. Do you root for Georgia so USuCk can't win the East? If you do that then you are rooting for Boise's only quality win and boosting their SOS. Tough choices...

What you really want in order to ensure that all the one loss teams are kept at bay is for Virginia Tech to remain with one loss and be ranked in the top ten for the ACCChamps. If that happens there is no way we don't jump Boise. Auburn is another team to root for since the voters love to keep them in the top 25.

I'm going to go through each team and pick a few potential stumbling blocks. Just like Okla. losing to Texas Tech, every team is potentially vulnerable.

First is LSU. I see guys on the D like Sam Montgomery and Craig Loston and I wonder what if...They have the easiest road after Alabama. Only Arkansas at home and at the end of the season remains. That is a slight possibility but since it is at home its very tough. They play Western Kent and Ole Miss for the other games, so yeah...Maybe for this reason you cheer for Bama.

Bama. On the road at Miss St is a stretch but could be a let down game after the emotional LSU SuperBowl. The D is amazing but the offense is still a bit suspect if you can contain the run game. This is the reason why I like Auburn's chances at home at the end of the season. If Auburn can get their offense clicking it could happen. Again a stretch but not beyond the realm of possibility.

As you can see I am looking for a way that both SEC teams have one loss when the smoke clears. Maybe an East team puts up a fight?? It does strike me, however, that everyone automatically assumes that at least one SEC team will make it and when everyone is so certain about things, that is when something goes wrong. I guy can dream...

Ok St. This is the toughest schedule with Baylor, Kansas St, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Only Texas Tech is on the road but that is still quite the gambit. Not having a Champs game this year will be a big deal, however. The 30-29 squeaker against A&M looks bigger and bigger. The D is not very good but has its moments--much like Clemson and the offense is clicking. Blackmon is a weapon and the QB Wheedon is an older, solid player. I can almost convince myself that Ok St will do it this year but then I think that Gundy will somehow blow it in the end. In the past I think his teams have lacked a certain mental toughness to hang with the elites in the Big 12. Hopefully this isn't the year they get over the proverbial hump.

Boise St. Georgia is the big win but they have stinkers against UNLV and New Mexico coming up. The TCU game is a possible crater. Boise looked suspect against Air Force and the Horned Frogs looked improved against BYU. Patterson will have his team up and prepared for the game. San Diego St. is a super long shot.

Stanford. USC. Fight On Trojans. I think we don't know anything about this team yet. They have played absolutely no one. An overrated Wash and mediocre Wash st and the only mid tier teams. San Jose St? Colorado? Arizona pre-Stoops firing? Duke? This is the schedule that shoots them up to #3 in the Coaches Poll? Any excuse to brighten the Luck spotlight. Oregon and Notre Dame should be formidable and Cal and on the road at Ore St is still tricky. I fully expect them to lose once if not twice. ASU in the Pac-12 Champs could be tough with their front 7.

Playoff please!

K State will lose.

Friday, 21 October 2011

My Unsung Heroes

This post is for the unsung heroes who have really stepped up for the Tigers this year. These aren't players we thought would be good, these are guys who flew under the radar. As a disclaimer, there are a lot of players this year so add anyone to the list in comments if you want...

1. Phillip Price When Dabo said that Price would start I think everyone either groaned or saw it as purely a motivational tactic for Thomas. Thomas was supposed to take this slot after Hairston left for the NFL (he started this past week!), but he had an underwhelming Spring practice and didn't assert himself again in the Fall leading up to the opening game. He could also be added to the list, however, because he has stepped up when Smith and Cloy went down. Price deserves all the credit in the world. When you hear walk-on tight end turned starting tackle, it usually doesn't inspire much confidence. Price has just plain worked his way into this position and it is truly a great story. Last year he gained good weight and strength and this year has added more technique and flexibility to go along with his drive to be successful. This has helped him go up against some good DE's from FSU and VT and he still is raw and makes a few mistakes but I think you can count on Price overall. He is also tough and won't let little injuries keep him out, he just battles through which is refreshing.  Without Price, Tajh is running for his life. If Price can sustain his current level of play he may be the true MVP of the offense, certainly the offensive line. How many of us really believed that this Spring??

2. Tig Willard The improvement of the defense from game to game is directly connected to the improved confidence of the LB's. This week Tig told us that last year he could barely hold his arm above his head. I'm still shocked that he didn't shut it down. get the medical redshirt at the beginning of the year, and save himself the year along with not going through some excruciatingly painful months. That is some serious pain he played through. His play this year has help solidify some weaknesses in the d-line and secondary. The bottom line is he is making plays. He sheds blocks better this year and can tackle with two arms. Hawkins gets pushed out of position too easily and doesn't play with the same instincts that Tig has flashed. He is still a work in progress and has room to improve but he reminds me of a Kavell Conner (18 tackles for the Colts on MNF). I'm just hoping that Tig realizes his potential while here at Clemson. Anthony and Willard should make a very solid Nickel package going forward. We need it to be a championship team.

3. Nuk Hopkins I want to put Nuke on the list here because I want him to get as much press (since being on this blog means so much-ha) as Watkins and Allen. Allen has been stellar, making unreal catches he wasn't last year and making plays after the catch--even hurdling defensive players. He is also provides much needed leadership and I think we need a shirt and campaign to try to get Allen to stay next year. Watkins is the freshman splash and he deserves all the hype and cred he is getting. Hopkins, however, makes everything work. I feel like he is the lynchpin of the offense. He makes everyone around him better. He just doesn't drop passes (well almost never) and helps make up for some of Tajh's deficiencies. Without Hopkins defenses can cover Watkins and Allen. Brown has been a great surprise too so really it should be the entire receiving corps.

Another quick note--Adam Humphries is making me feel stupid. I am always one for being skeptical and never like hearing "trust the coaches" or anyone saying I can't have an opinion because I am not a coach. I think that the coaches have really started to gain my confidence in recruiting. I still think that Dabo makes mistakes in recruiting like the QB Morgan Roberts and maybe Seckinger, although I like his height, along with all the Alabama projects over the years. It especially hurts when we have a number crunch like we do now. Humphries has been solid and exceeded everyone's expectations. That's why when we signed Josh Brown with a 2* rating I'm not going to say anything. I can see how he could contribute and I'm learning to trust this staff.

Lastly I just wanted to say how much I hate Steward getting injured. I want him to succeed even more now because I think he is a great, humble person who is seriously being tested. I am really hoping he can come back from two horrible injuries and be able reach his potential. It would seem cruel if he never achieved his vast potential.

Last last note. Put Bellamy back for Kickoff Returns. Apparently the coaching staff think he doesn't have a future back there because he is too shifty. Well he is a freshman and needs some coaching but he has way more potential than Brown who is just too slow to break a kick. A return man needs speed, vision, ball security, and the instincts to pick a lane and go with it. Did I mention speed?? No one on the roster is far and away better than Bellamy so give him a chance and use that opportunity as a way to keep him somewhat happy. I'm not a fan of appeasing players if they whine but this caliber of player just needs opportunities. It in no way hurts the team and if you teach him to just run straight he can do it. Plus when he makes a move in the open field he doesn't lose that much speed. Hosley will tell you so...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Clemson's Light Shines


How many of us when the score was 17-35 didn't believe...

I am physically tired, physically drained. In retrospect it was a thrilling game that I strangely enjoyed but only in retrospect. What a rollercoaster. So I have to ask the question, what have we learned??

The Defense still can't handle a running QB or the zone read. This reminded me of 2009 against Maryland where we couldn't stop the slowest QB I have ever seen run the zone read. I am sure Edsall saw the film and that's why they went with Wilson. It is partly scheme but more a result of poor Linebacker play (MLB specifically) and poor containment. We have to get this figured out for GT and South Carolina and Conner Shaw. We play better against more pro-style QB's I think. Maryland just steam rolled the D with tempo which is what let us back into the game. Ultimately we gassed them in the fourth though.

We learned that Watkins is human with the punt muff and then we learned we were tricked and that he was just disguising his superhero status. Watkins won us the game today. We finally got the return game going. I would like to see Bellamy back there on kickoffs. I don't think Brown has the speed.

Boyd showed great poise again. He seems to have one hair pulling stupid moment a game. The pass to Werner, last week it was another throw of the ball when he was sacked, and this week it was a pick 6 right to the DB Chism, I believe. Boyd threw two passes that should have been intercepted in the beginning along with throwing high and looking horrible. He settled and put together a great game. Made some pretty throws at the end.

We are really missing Benton. Lots of short kicks and our coverage teams need some serious work. Lateek is one of the only bright spots--this is both kick and punt coverage. Way too many returns to the 30-40 yard line. Got to get that fixed.

We had been 2-3 against Maryland in the last 5 games. I am thrilled to walk away with the win. Lets hope this builds confidence and keeps any thoughts of overconfidence at bay. Lets hope we can keep our legs for North Carolina but we need to do better tackling.

More thoughts later...I'm off to bed. Sleeping the sleep of victor's! Go Tigers!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Best Anouncement Video Ever

A golf cart--that is just plain awesome! I love how many Tiger fans were there and how happy his mom is, that is special! Looks like we got a wonderful person and a wonderful football player. Carlos is one of the biggest needs for this recruiting class and will hopefully be in the 2-deep immediately. A big coup for the Tigers, couldn't be more excited! Good job Coach Brooks and Dabo. Welcome to the Tiger Family Mr. Watkins! We are looking forward to much more awesomeness to come!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ron Cherry Is All Business

I seriously started laughing out loud when I saw this. Wow...maybe Ron Cherry is a genius too...

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Its about time I posted about this genius of a man. I'll post some of his other videos too--the one where he eats the Hokies turkey sandwich from their lunch pail is pretty classic. ClemsonTom is sure to become the stuff of legends. I'm glad he's on our side.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Concerns Moving Forward?

I am concerned that Dabo will look at Derek Dooley and copy his ugly light orange pants look. Eww...

1. The Health of Tajh Boyd

As we all know now, the MRI was negative and Tajh has a hip injury. Much better than a knee but still painful if it is dislocated. My concern is how he comes back because a hip flexor can really limit your mobility. We all remember how Parker went down with the ribs and wasn't the same QB. It would be a shame if Tajh didn't come back completely. It also means that Boyd won't be as much of a running threat, an area that he has been improving in.

2. Kickoffs

I want to see kicks inside the ten always. We gave BC too good of field position. Zimmerman did a better job and Lateek Townsend was all over the place on coverage. It was a good move to burn his redshirt. Cat-man kicked well today which was very good to see. We will need him more if Boyd is unable to return.

3. Interior Run Defense

Either our D got complacent and lazy or the middle of our D can't stop a run. I think it is more the later and I put the blame primarily on the MLB Corico Hawkins. Some pathetic tackling today and we could easily be beaten by a team that lines up and sticks it to us. The BC line isn't that good and they were running their fourth string RB and still took it to the middle of the line. This must change for GT. I think that players like Bowers, McDaniel, and Gilchrist made up for the horrible play we have had in the middle of the D. This will be exposed when we play GT, maybe against North Carolina.

4. Stupid Trick Plays

I hope we were just trying stuff out today because I absolutely hate to see dumb uses of trick plays. It smells to me of Dabo influence and they seem to take us out of our tempo or rhythm. They have also just plain not worked or resulted in big losses. I don't like ill advised fake fg's to the short side of the field. Double reverses almost never work. Run all the misdirection stuff you want--you can even do the little fake handoff but the RB throws need to go unless they have been drilled and the personnel can execute. At least we aren't putting a lineman up next to the WR like USuCk did today against one of the most pathetic Kentucky teams I have ever seen. I remember when we heavily recruited their current QB.

5. Keeping Everyone Happy

The Bellamy Facebook gaffe is a quick reminder of how quickly things can go south if players aren't getting what they want and let egos interfere with the team. And that is even when you are winning. I understand that Boyd is frustrated with PT but it was apparent that he is still kinda clueless after the false start penalty he had. He is such a talent that I hope this is just a matter of growing pains. I like the first half suspension though. You need a standard--no matter who the player is. Even if we lose we are still in the drivers seat for ACC Champs. No one wants to think about it but how the team responds if we lose will determine how the season ultimately ends.

Friday, 7 October 2011

My Tigernet Infamy

So I was pleased when I read good ol' Mickey Plyer's blog this morning to find that my post a couple of days ago had been copied and sent VERBATIM to Mickey as an email or something I guess?? Wow, too funny...You can read it here on T-Net or you can scroll down the page and read my actual post!!

Thanks 'Shannon' for sending it in, I guess. Certainly, thanks for reading. It would be weird if I was Shannon but my name is nowhere close to being Shannon. Maybe Mickey was so hard pressed for letters this week that he 'borrowed' it from this blog--haha. Anyway, that was a weird first for me. Mickey had some nice things to say at least. Yeah, so, umm..Go Tigers!

*One quick note. For those of you who still don't think Chad Morris is making the difference this year, remember that last year we found out that the Boston College players were bragging after the game about knowing exactly what the Clemson offensive plays were before we snapped the ball. That is not the snap count or an idea of the play--it was the actual play! Can you imagine what that would be like as a defensive player. That is unheard of and is a direct result of having formations that give away your plays. With all the scouting and preparation defensive coordinators perform, they are lucky to have a beat on ten percent of the plays in a game. I think that is probably way too high of a number. Anyway, that was when I knew that change needed to happen. Napier and Dabo didn't have a system that worked. It was ultimately too predictable and not mature enough for big time college football. Morris is the difference on offense and thus is the difference this season.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Good Stuff from the Sangin Cowboys

Their Hokie walk thing is pretty lame. I love how they say we took them out back behind the woodshed...this is probably the funniest piece of college football humor I have ever seen in relation to Virginia Tech. Ok, its the only thing I've ever seen but I like it! I actually really appreciated the fan/tailgating perspective. Cows and barns!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Chad Morris Must Stay

So what is the difference in this team compared to last years team some have asked. The difference in the team this year is simple and it is all Chad Morris. Dabo is not an offensive coordinator or a good enough offensive mind to design and call the plays like Morris. Dabo is a great team leader, recruiter, and motivator for the fan base. He also gives a mean interview...

The problem is that Dabo wears thin if you are not winning. When you are not winning your faults are on display and become severely enlarged. That is the microscope the head coach lives under. No one can replace Morris, if he leaves then it is like Brad Scott calling plays for RichRod. Eventually it just isn't up to par.  Who on the staff would you feel comfortable with duplicating Morris's performance up until this point. Pony up whatever money you can Clemson powers that be. Chad has a daughter starting at Daniel High School and he has said he will stay at least until she graduates. Lets make that kind gesture of a father to a daughter a reality.

If we still had Napier this year, what would be our record? Sure we have Watkins but we would have the same inconsistent play at WR where even Dwayne Allen is dropping passes and no one knows how to block. Boyd out of shape, with bad footwork, and no ownership of the team. A team without an identity. I give all the credit in the world to Dabo for making the call to switch to Chad Morris. (Napier is still a good coach, great recruiter, who just had no business being an offensive coordinator) Without him we become a very average team and no amount of speeches or chest bumps can replace attention to detail, true accountability, and an infectious work ethic that was previously lacking with this team.
We were on par in terms of toughness with Virginia Tech--an amazing feat for this team.

Somebody make a shirt with a slogan about how Chad Morris must stay. In Chad We Trust (probably too strong and questions dabo's leadership) or More Morris Please.  Yeah, I am struggling to come up with something. Help, please?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Life in the Fast Lane

Nothing was sweeter than seeing the Virginia Tech faithful exiting the stadium early.  We were wet and cold but felt absolutely great.  I got a fever, and the only cure is more Dabo...(actually it is just winning, and Chad Morris)

I have been known to wear orange tinted glasses and spontaneously declare that Clemson will win the National Championship and then even if Clemson has lost a game--try to scheme a way for us to sneak into a BCS bowl game.  Even last year up until the 55 yard FSU fg inexplicably sailed through the uprights I had faith.  After we beat Auburn I was thinking Natl Champs.  I'm a hopeless Clemson fan--its what I do! And I bet you do it too--whether you are a pumper or a whiner or a moonshiner or whatever.  At this point its time to just enjoy the winning, and declare that we are going to win a national championship this year--haha!!

Seriously though, I don't think Clemson should tolerate losing seasons and losing to the Cocks two years in a row.  The offense under the two-headed monster of Napier and Dabo was downright offensive.  Dabo is not a good end of half or game coach and favors some of 'his' players over those who should play.  Those are my main objections to his tenure but I certainly acknowledge that he can recruit, build a staff, and bring media attention to Clemson. The players love him (and he loves the players) and he seems like a good motivational speaker (although before FSU we were slow out of the gate and down at half-time each game).  So lets break this down a bit and get critical (but don't worry, we are going to win the natl championship)--coaching, offense, defense, and sp teams.

This year Dabo is doing a better job as a head coach. If Dabo stays out of the Morris offense then I have no problem with him as coach. We struggled with our tempo at Virginia Tech and I don't want to see the team pull up on the gas pedal until we are under the 3-4 minute mark.  We struggled with our tempo before the half which is something that surprised me.  We let too much time off the clock, I expect our hurry up offense to morph into super offense the way Auburn does regularly.  O-line has been steadily improving. Anyone who questioned the hiring of Caldwell as the coach after two games this season shouldn't offer up their opinions. Despite Mclets give them a lane to the qb (McLain, get it, yeah that was lame) the O-line looks improved.  Still can't run block extremely well but I'll take it. Morris is proving to not only be able to gameplan effectively but he makes quick in-game adjustments.  He is a pretty good play caller as well, considering how young of an offensive coordinator at the collegiate level he is. The plays are designed well and Morris demands excellence from his players.

Steele essentially had his defense pitch a shutout in Blacksburg.  The defense is a work in progress but if they can continue to improve then this can be a championship team. You can depend on Steele to make great half-time adjustments consistently, as well. Usually he has players in the right spots to be successful but this year there has been some sloppy fundamentals.  We have always missed a bunch of tackles but this year it seems worse. Maybe it was wet and slippery jerseys but Wilson made us look silly many times (although he is a great running back). Overall the defensive coaching, apart from the tackling, has been consistent and solid.

Boyd is so far ahead of where I thought he would be. He has really impressed me as a leader and I will admit that I wasn't sure he had it in him. We learned this week that Morris was also not sure after Spring ball if Tajh had it in him. Credit goes to good coaching and to a player willing to be coached. My only major beef right now is that sometimes Boyd misses on easy passes. He needs to work on his screen throws, which means better footwork. I thought he ran very well at Lane and didn't try to force it too much. He showed he can manage the game. He was a bit off in the rain and cold. He had balls that were too high where his receivers bailed him out like the amazing DA play where he leaped over the DB.

Ellington is running effectively but I am waiting for him to breakout a bit more. Please, Bellamy, learn some play book. You keep teasing us with these few amazing runs. I'm hoping Howard can come back strongly as well. I'm also hoping Dwayne Allen sticks around for a senior year. Can you believe this is the same guy who dropped all those balls last year? Still can improve in blocking, along with Brandon Ford but he has been absolutely amazing. Hopefully Peake can get some more experience, along with Bryant. Hopkins is the unsung hero of the group and Jaron Brown has been light years from his former self. Jaron has turned two or three throws from interceptions to receptions and has been a great effort guy. We now have 5 receivers in this freshman class. Humphries should have red-shirted. Along the O-line we need depth, especially looking towards next year.

D-line is playing well. We know the starters have been good but I have been happy with the play of Shatley and K. Brown in the past couple of games. I am a big fan of Stephone Anthony and think this defense will only be better as Corico Hawkins gets fewer snaps. Hawkins has been a valuable player these past couple of years but this season has exposed his inability to shed blocks and make big tackles. Anthony needs to learn how to line-up the defense and he will be the playmaker we are so desperate to have in the middle of this defense. Willard has also been steadily improving. This is the main reason for Steward seeing so little time. I hope we can get him more involved and that his knee continues to hold up.

I like not redshirting Lateek Townsend. He is an energy player and a specimen physically. If he is happy playing special teams and occasionally rushing the passer then it is better than having him walk. We all new that the Steele defense would be tough for any of the young LB's to fully grasp but a happy Lateek is much better than no Lateek. I think he genuinely wants to help the team. We certainly need the help on special teams coverage units.

The secondary is perhaps the main work in progress. Can the young DB's make an impact and hold up? Losing Breeland is no good for this team so lets hope he can fully recover from the concussion. Robinson needs to elevate his game. Brewer has played well and Coty is a bit up and down. Hall is missing a step but played well against VTech. Meeks might have gotten slightly injured at the end of the game but Dabo said he was fine. We have no depth at safety with just Smith and Lewis as back-ups. Jenkins is a guy that needs game experience.

I am hoping we can blow out BC so our young guys get some playing time.

Special Teams
Zimmerman is a great punter and hopefully can fully recover this week. He seemed to have a few tentative kicks in Lane. I'm still surprised that Catman kick was good. I hate missed ex points. I still remember when Jad Dean missed the exp that cost us the BC game and ultimately a shot at the acc champs game. That all needs to be fixed. I say Catman do the kickoffs. Keeps the kicker somewhat warm. Lets do anything at this point. Sad to see Benton get hurt--one of our best special teams tacklers. Coverage units still need some work.

BC is a revenge game so I think we get up for it. Maryland doesn't have Fat Ralph who was probably the best schemer against us. Then UNC at home and a GTech team I didn't think could be this good. Get by Tanner Price and no Russell Wilson and we go to cootlumbia for a chance at it all. ACC Champs game will inevitably be a rematch, pick your Tech poison. Then its natl champs time. I think our computer poll numbers and sos will put us over the top. The national championship is within our grasp. hahah!

Go Tigers!          

Friday, 30 September 2011

Beamer Balling

I still have nightmares of playing Virginia Tech in 2006, 2007.  It soured me on the all white road uni's and made my disdain for all purple Grimace colors very high.  I have the most respect for VTech as a program in the ACC.  I don't know how they lose to no name teams every year but that fact only has me more worried about this game.

I have been absolutely giddy after the FSU game and haven't been able to do anything other than consume all Clemson info but there has been this unspoken dread as VTech has approached. Post-FSU I was cautiously optimistic but now just cautious.  VT blew up our 2006 and 2007 seasons--we fell apart after these games and I don't want that to happen this year.  I have always had this game as a big L since its been on the schedule. I thought we would beat Auburn and FSU (just bc of Death Valley) but lose to VT because it is one the road at Lane Stadium. It makes it worse that it is a night game. The problem is that we know so little about VTech this year.  I don't know if VT knows exactly what they have.

As Auburn found out--early game play is not exactly representative of overall talent levels.  We were holding back against Wofford so how much has VTech been holding back?

How injured are some of the VT players?  How bad is that Logan Thomas (VT QB) non-throwing shoulder?  He appeared to jam it so bad that he could only hand off with one arm at the end of the game last week.  Initially I thought we were going to have the greatest QB injury luck of all-time.  The reason this matters is because if the shoulder is really bad then VT is less likely to run much zone read and designed QB runs.  Thomas is not elusive but Clemson sucks against running QB's (remember when Maryland's dirt slow QB ran all over us in 2009? Any Dalton TCU?), and it doesn't take much talent to make that happen.  Thomas has the 6' 6" frame and is a decent straight line runner. Something to watch.

Speaking of running VT has #4 Wilson and #2 Oglesby who are both plus runners.  They aren't exactly bruising punishing runners but Wilson, in particular, has a good burst.  They can get to the edge and run up the gut.  We haven't been particularly good at stopping either. I don't think FSU is any barometer for claiming we have improved our running D. FSU hasn't been able to run on us for years and Jimbo simply abandoned it last week.

VT receivers have been decent but it remains to be seen how good they will be against elevated competition.  We also don't know which will be playing due to injuries but none are world beaters. However, FSU carved up our inconsistent secondary.  We have some young talent and supposedly veteran CB's but too many instances of soft coverage against average talent.  With Hall missing a step and Meeks being sub-par in pass coverage we are always going to be somewhat vulnerable to the play action bomb.

On defense they are solid but haven't put all the pieces together yet.  There second strings suck but they won't play much at all in the Clemson game.  The question becomes whether or not we can wear down that first team D.  Also Boyd has to be more careful and accurate with the ball.  There were three-four passes that easily could have been picked off by FSU.  One where Dwayne Allen bailed him out, the tipped ball, a Brown catch and the first pass of the game.

Something that I wanted to post on after the FSU game was how the Tajh to Werner connection was scary.  After it happened I felt like I was watching a Bowden/Swinney team.  You know, the uber talented team that was weak mentally and prone to making stupid, give the game away errors.  I found myself sliding into a defeatist Clemson fan attitude of--well here it comes, I knew this would happen, we suck mentality.  The next drive where Boyd was rattled was tough to watch but I was impressed with how he pulled it together.  I think that this is Morris's influence.

Hosley is the man and VT will not drop int's so Boyd must be sharp. They will also send pressure that our O-Line hasn't been great at picking up.  Last week it was partly Morris's scheme that helped with protection--misdirection and getting the ball out early.  Lets hope that continues.  The O-Line played well compared to what we thought we had after Wofford.  I think Thomas has played pretty well.  When Smith gets more healthy I would like to hear talk of him pushing McLain for playing time or for his starting job.

This sounds so cliche but this game will come down to turnovers and special teams.  Last time we played VT scored on a punt return, kick return, and a pick 6.  The defense played ok in that game but we spotted them 21 points.  We can't do that in this game.  Beamer ball is talked about too much but they do try to consistently score off of special teams and turnovers.  Our coverage and kick units all struggled this past week.  We need Crapanzaro to show that he has improved and be able to kick on the road.  The sample size is small so far this year to call for a change but he has missed too many xp's and fg's already in his career for my liking. The FSU kicker is amazing and all I want is someone who is perfect on xp's and from within the 40 hits 90-95% of the kicks.  My standards have become that low.  VT has struggled at punter and have an unproven kicker. They are good at blocking punts though.

We need to get up early so we can force VT to pass more than they would like.  If we can stop the run then we can win this game.  If not we are going to be relying on our offense to again put up big numbers on the best defense we will face the rest of the year. UNC and the Cocks in a close second and third.

This is the game that pushes you toward greatness.  A 5-0 team that has beaten three ranked opponents is big time.  No one will be able to say, well you played them injured or x team wasn't as good.  5-0 is 5-0 and two top 15 wins is big time college football.  Also remember to tell anyone that Clemson had the toughest schedule in the nation going into the first game.  Looking at the currently undefeated teams only LSU has an arguably tougher schedule.  Most teams now play 4 cupcake OOC games.  So if we win will be in the top ten, maybe ranked as high as seventh in the country.  Then it would be about having no letdowns and taking care of GT and UNC (at home). 

The question is how far can Boyd, through the Morris offense, carry us and how much can the defense improve. I will be interested to see how the extra linebacker playing in the 4-3 rather than the nickel will help our run D.  I think one of the keys to the rest of the season is how good Anthony and Steward turn out to be.  If one of them emerges as a dominant Mike or Will then the defense will be improve drastically.

Here is to shaking the Lane Stadium Hokie demons of the past!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Fat Boy to Phat Boy

There are a ton of things I want to post about and I am seeing the world in all shades of orange.  I must post about the Macho Man Dabo soon.  You got to believe, you got greatness in you, Oh yeeeah...Dabo Flair on national television.  Waaahooo...I have to shake my head and laugh at what an embarrassment that truly is, I mean act like you've been there before, but I was just as jacked up about winning.  Maybe we need a cheerleader who hoots and hollars.

Anyway, I had to quickly comment on Tajh Boyd.  In the few times I have written since checking out of writing about Clemson I have been very critical of Tajh.  He was pretty much amazing on Saturday.  I just read a piece where Dwayne Allen, who also played spectacularly Saturday, said last year Boyd weighed over 240 pounds.  As an aside Chad Morris has got some strategery to him--Allen was being saved in the first two games.  The gameplan went through Allen, Watkins, and Nuk in the air.  A lesser offensive coordinator like Spence wouldn't have been flexible enough to integrate Allen into his system.  Chad Morris may save Clemson football single handed.

So Boyd weighed over 240 with Jamie Harper.  Who was held accountable for that?  Sure the player needs to be, and that shows a lack of dedication and commitment from Boyd but seriously.  I guy gains twenty-thirty pounds and starts getting called Fat Boy by teammates and no one on the coaching staff picks up on it or does anything?  That is a change in uniform size!  This has to be partially on Bateson and Napier but is really a larger problem of not cultivating a culture of responsibility from players, coaches, staff and administrators.  Back-ups and scout team players are being groomed to be players and I think red-shirts are often wasted at Clemson.  Players get fatter, don't learn the offense or defense well enough and become complacent.  Is this the kind of thing a Woody McCorvey type of staff member should be on the look-out for and not let happen? 

Boyd wasn't ready to be QB in the Spring because he was too heavy.  That hurt his footwork which throws off or changes mechanics.  That was why I kind of laughed at the dual-threat talk--I thought he was more a fullback than a QB.  I still would like him to drop another ten pounds to add a bit more speed but if its muscle now you can't argue with a little bit of durability.  If Boyd gets injured we are in serious trouble.  At least our back-up doesn't look like an eighth grader who weighs 170 pounds.  If I'm EJ Manuel I am pissed off at Jimbo.

Boyd was great! I didn't think he had that in him.  The only bad things were that he forced it a couple of times but when you have receivers with the hands of Nuke and Watkins you can afford to do that. Allen made some amazing grabs as well, so much different from the guy who dropped some easy balls last year. That TD catch was a pleasure to watch. We really picked up the blitzing better and Boyd had plenty of time.  Auburn didn't do all that much up front because of their own youth so we will probably take some more lumps here, but it was night and day compared to Wofford.  Boyd ran well on some broken plays and showed a positive confidence and Leadership! that I didn't know he had in him. We can't get overconfident but if I had to pick between a lack of confidence with no way to ever find said confidence and overconfidence, its not that bad a problem to have.  I am now firmly on the Boyd 'Phat Boy' Bandwagon.  Yes I just went there with the 'Ph'.

We need Boyd to stay healthy and in-shape, the latter not being a problem with drillmaster Chad Morris at the helm.  I love his attitude of telling his offensive team that they may not like him but they will be better for it (which must be some kind of reference to how Dabo must need that kind of reciprocal love or something, I don't know).  I just hope Dabo doesn't start 'coaching' again.  Anytime he makes a call, of any kind, it ends with something poorly executed (like the fake), or everyone yelling at each other.  I thought Bowden was a bad end game coach but Dabo must be worse--his record in close games certainly is.  I am hoping that Morris will be in total control of the offense all of the time and am not too worried about the end game because we already are constantly in a hurry-up offense.  Why does Dabo scribble things down??  That is why the invention of tape recorders was a big deal.  I think my high school had a group of 'stats girls' who did that job.

Hey its a new paragraph, how about another random tangent--how scary good were Meyer and Speilman breaking down game footage.  I was scared that that opposing defensive coordinators would use what they were saying.  That was the gold standard for breaking down footage in real-time.  I felt like a football guru just by listening to them.  But I thought Speilman got one thing wrong--he said in the fourth that he would slow the game down.  I think he was dead wrong.  That is how you let a team back into the game.  The offense is designed to wear down the defense so that they can take it to you in the fourth and add those points to the scoreboard.  If you slow it down, they catch their breath and you are two possessions away from defeat.  Best to have your foot on the gas until the three or four minute mark--which is what Morris did beautifully.
Its been ten years since we had a competent offensive mind who could make in-game adjustments.  FSU looks vulnerable and the game may hinge on the health of EJ Manuel's shoulder. Or it may hinge on the Clemson offense running down the throat of the FSU defense, while Chad Morris simultaneously stomps that same throat with the back heel of his Texas boot.  Yes, you heard it here first--our offense is turning into beast mode this Saturday, Woohoo!  Woohoo! (Ric Flair sounds) Then Dabo Hogan rips his breakaway shirt, brother.  He is one part preacher, another part pro wrestler but 100% salesman cheerleader coach.  Go Dabo! Go Tigers!

PS. The Pac-10 used to suck and still does but they potentially get Oklahoma and Texas and we get Pitt and Syracuse??  You know BC isn't exactly working out for us right? Oh and Barker, you genius, thanks for voting for the 20 million dollar exit fee...Which Big East teams are in the top 25--the ones we didn't pick to join the ACC. 


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Orange Marshmallows

Yeah I thought I was pretty much done posting.  I thought my time for rants and raves would be up.  I was going to post in the Spring about how bad we looked but Morris beat me to the punch.  I was going to post in the fall about my doubts about Tajh as a runner, leader, and hard enough worker but he seemed to have an excellent fall camp. 

I thought that Troy was a good team and that the first half jitters could be accounted to first game, freshman stuff.  Yesterday has got me back in vomit mode.  I was laughing watching the game yesterday.  I was laughing at how soft we have become and I remembered that I used to laugh like this about the cluckers...

It wasn't until I heard Dabo in his post-game comments that I went from lethargic and depressed to upset and motivated to actually blog.  Yes, I want to be that vocal 5% duck, clucking about what is wrong with our head cheerleader when he acts incompetent and what is wrong with our program (his media talk today was less upbeat than what he said post-game, however, so I will give him that).  Once we win at least an ACC Championship I have every right to wail and moan as loud as I want.  Especially when South Carolina is dominating us...(yeah I hate writing it but you need to 'man up' and admit when you are inferior) 

We have the recruiting talent, we have an overall good coaching staff now, we have a loyal fan base...

Here are my main concerns going forward.

1. We are soft.  The last time we hit really hard was the game against Auburn last year.  Since then it has been all orange marshmallows all the time.  After the first half against Troy some players were quoted as saying, oh no here we go again.  The Clemson mentality is weak.  Auburn feels like they can win no matter what--you can see it in their demeanor and how they act and perform.  Clemson doesn't really believe in itself. 

I don't honestly know if it is Batson or not hitting enough in practice but this has been a problem for at least ten years now.  Caldwell is the right coach but the players aren't responding as of now. Morris is saying the things I want to hear so we all can collectively hold our breath. 

2. The less Dabo coaching the better.  The fake punts and kicks and garbage were Dabo's calls.  He seriously can't help sticking his finger in and trying to change something.  He was scared on Saturday, dressed up to play army man, and I think it starts to rub off on a team.  I am not a Dabo hater per se, but the man needs to remember his strengths are not the whole coaching thing.  I'm always worried about his end game coaching for example.

3. Kicking game.  I have never had faith in Cat man (as opposed to Catwoman) as a legit kicker.  I will believe it when I see it.  I am willing to give him a chance since Benton is a waste of a scholarship as far as I am concerned (although he does tackle as well as our defense) and Lakip is the same untested freshman.  Zimmerman is the best punter since Chris Gardocki, and if you don't know that name you should look it up.

4. Tackling.  We have problems wrapping up. Its funny that we like to hit more than we like to tackle, but the hitting isn't sustained for four quarters.

5. Secondary.  Yes, I think this is more worrisome than the D-Line. With Hall out I am more worried about the busted assignments and blown coverages.  Breeland isn't turning any heads and I have little faith in Brewer and Sensabaugh as elite shutdown corners.  They can play zone but on an island I get worried.  Auburn is going to expose some of these flaws and we will be caught not covering someone wide open.  Gus Malz has his QB Trotter performing very well and far ahead where I thought he would be coming into the third game.

6. MacLain and the O-Line.  If we can't create some openings for Ellington then its going to be a long season.  He needs creases not holes and we can't do it for him.  MacLain has been pathetic, no way around it and that interior line must be solid for us to have a chance.  Can we go for a fourth down against the D-line of Auburn or South Carolina?  Have we even converted a third and short yet?? Again, at least Morris is aware and visibly upset about this.  These lines have grown up lazy because they had CJ and elite RB's that made up for their inability to blow people off the line. This is tied to point number one and unless changed will result in three straight losses.

7. Tajh.  I am not sold on Mr. Boyd yet.  I really hope he proves me wrong.  He is still inaccurate with some throws (throws to Hopkins in the flat) and throws it to the other team a couple of times. What I am really worried about is his ability to read defenses and pick up blitz's.  It is primarily the responsibility of the QB.  That comes with time but Auburn and especially FSU will eat him and the oline alive.  The defense just can't deliver wins for us this year.  Also what happens if he gets hurt? Could we win a game with Cole Stoudt?

This list is too long so I will digress into some bullet points and more random thoughts.

I hope you have been saving Mike Bellamy.  Even if you ran him for the same four plays to different sides I would be happy.  He is that quick that I doubt it would matter.  Ten touches a game please.  Even if he looks at you funny when you say the word protection he should be in there.  Also don't remove him from the return game.  He is faster than Watkins.  Watkins was good in the return game but I think Bellamy will be better.

I would like to see Hawkins lose his starting job to Anthony.  Hawkins plays tentatively and too far from action.  Watch a play against Wofford and you will see how slow he is to react.  He is not a bad player but this defense needs a game changer in the middle and I am hoping it is Anthony.

Anyone saying wait till next year is stupid--we have no Oline next year.  This is the year, its always the year.  If not, you sound like a delirious chicken.  Remember that... 

We have lost some serious in-state recruiting battles along the trenches and overall.  Clowney, Cann, Gilmore, Holloman, Lattimore, and the biggest recruit that has turned USC around--Alshon Jeffrey (who was taken from Southern Cal).  Now we didn't have a chance with most of these but it just shows the talent is there in our backyard to win natl championships.  Watching the coots is getting depressing.  They finally look like winners.

Watkins will be and already is special and Hopkins has amazing hands.  We will score points this season.

Ellington has looked gassed to me these first couple games.  He is not used to being the lone workhorse but it is great to see him used properly.  I think he is still trying to find that elite gear he had last year and I hope it comes this saturday.  Stone hands Hot Rod is not the answer at back-up.  Time for Bellamy and Howard. 

How many other schools miss as many xp's as we do?

Our D-line will be ok if no one gets injured.  Goodman and Crawford, Brown and Branch are all above average.  Thompson is elite when he wants to be and Moore is good.  Shatley showed me something this week and we need some other guys to step up.  We have time before GT and the need to play assignment football.  Disappointed in guys like Josh Watson and Barnes. 

Well I feel better already.  Yes I am being negative but its better than being a homer.  I just want to quit being embarrassed when I watch my tigers.  We fans invest a lot and we deserve some winning every twenty years...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Making Sense of Selection Sunday

The highlights:
  • 5 teams with 14 losses get in(only 6 teams with 14 losses let in from 1985-2010)
  • Colorado and Virginia Tech snubbed
  • UAB and VCU in the tournament
  • Georgia a 10 seed??
  • ACC is the most disrespected of the major conferences
I think that about covers it. There were 30 at-larges for power conferences and 7 for mid-majors. At first I was really upset that Clemson was in the play-in game and as the 12 seed. But then I realized we were probably the last team in. Which means that if Dayton or possibly even UTEP win their conferences then we are on the chopping block. How did USC in the pathetic Pac 10 jump us??

That means that the ACC got a 1 seed, a 2 seed, a 10 seed and a play-in. Practically 3 teams were put in. We made it in because we beat BC and VT in the head to head or we would have been out. Had we not beaten BC we would have been out. We need to win the ACC/Big Ten challenge and quit losing by one game so that we can wag that in people's faces--7 teams for the Big Ten?? Two of them with 14!!!!!!!!!!!! losses. Wow. Getting to the semi's in the ACC meant nothing this year. You do remember that the reigning national champs came from our conference right??

Here is my rational behind the snubs. The committee used the extra seeds as a chance to reward mid majors. That is partly why the push was made for expansion and so they were set on delivering. It would have been 32 majors and 5 mid-majors. However, if you are going to put Kansas State as a 5 seed and then not include a team that beat them 3 times then you are being stupid or stubborn. Now I am not saying Colorado doesn't have its flaws but VCU lost 6 Colonial division games and UAB was ousted from its conference tourney by East Carolina.

The committee had a mission and they fulfilled it. The last major takeaway is for anyone who wants to expand anything. Whenever you have a cut-line and whenever someone is left out there will be controversy and moaning and groaning. Its inherent to selection. This is the stupid argument made in football. If we only have an 8 team play-off then teams will be left out--well duh. And if you have a 64 team tourney then people will complain and a 68 and even a 96. (In football it is better to give eight teams a chance over just two, however)

Don't think that expansion somehow solves these kinds of problems. Go back to a 64 team tourney. How fair is it to play in Dayton and then fly to the next spot for the first game?? I thought we were having all the silly 16 seeds play each other so that first round game against the 1 seed might mean something. Oh well, Clemson will play UAB and have to break the press--something we don't do horribly well. At least this way we can win one game in the tourney!

West Virginia here we come!! (11 Big East teams...ugh)

Friday, 11 March 2011

Let's Dance

Oh yeah. Who thought that at the beginning of the season we would be in the semis of the ACC tourney, playing our best basketball and pretty much a lock for the NCAA tourney. Now the only question is whether or not we get the Bye game. (I really hate the play-in 12 seed game, so dumb especially for everyone who loves to fill out brackets--at least this expansion should shut up further expansion talk for awhile) (Sorry, have to continue rant--what would 96 teams mean?? South Carolina would be on the bubble, teams at or below .500 would be in consideration, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how stupid the NCAA can be, Jim Sweatervest and THE Ohio State rule breakers deserve some serious punishment. You know that the NCAA let them off easy and had a wink/nod situation where they allowed Pryor to play in that BCS game. Now they better come down hard)

So we won. When Stitt is on we can match-up against some of the best teams in the country. I am so impressed with how he has matured as a player in the past month. Well not emotionally but as a player. He hits threes, drives to the basket with authority, finishes plays, has become an elite defender, rebounds well for a guard, has that fire and leadership this team needed. I am so glad Trapani is gone. He is a match-up nightmare for us.

The key to this team is that players have developed roles. I feel like everyone knows more or less where they fit into the scheme, so players play within the system and themselves. I don't see ill advised drives from Tanner Smith--I see him hustling, playing good D, passing the ball well and knocking down the occasional outside shot. Jerai knows he can knock down a mid-range jumper. The ball goes inside-out more often than ever before.

The team is gaining confidence in itself at the right time. This season has been a huge success and I think this is the time as fans that we sit back and enjoy. I know we want to win championships but it is not very often that we can say that our basketball team has overachieved. Jay Bilas should eat a big pile of crow(he had us dead last). TDP did something right (although he tried to do something wrong before stumbling into the right decision) and I think Brownell is fantastic. Lets hope we can win a few recruiting battles from this but for now I am all smiles.

If we lose to UNC, it won't matter. All I want is a first round victory in the big dance and my wishlist for this season is fulfilled. Thank you seniors! Go Tigers!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Brad BrownLEE?? Does it

Note to ESPN--the man is a major college coach and potentially the ACC Coach of the Year. Lets get his name right. Brad Brownell...Brad Brown(like the color) ell(like the french word she elle), at least Mike Patrick apologized to the student body. Then it gets repeated on Sportscenter.

The orange blazer was in full effect as the team played some very good team basketball. How refreshing is it that our team is, for once, finishing strong! The team had some rough patches where we turned the ball over a ton but overall we passed the ball better than I have seen in like six years. This team is playing a walk-on Zavier and Narcisse for long periods of time--and winning. Who would have said that at the beginning of the season. I thought we had the talent this year to go 20-10 and 8-8 in the league, potentially make the tourney. Those were my best case numbers and after that rough patch where we lost three straight I was prepared for the worst. I just didn't see how after the loss of Johnson and Donte Hill this team could coalesce around Brownell's system.

Then the defense picked up. I think Tanner's injury gave some players quality minutes that ultimately helped the team. Stitt has been a fiery leader and Grant developed that outside shot. Now we still have our flaws. Grant has been shutdown. Booker and Milt have talent but are hit or miss in some games. Lack of depth.

Good thing we have Brownell. We have cut down on turnovers, learned how to pass the ball, and can actually run some offense. We consistently rotate well and play very good defense. And no we don't use a gimmick defense that can be scorched by good teams. Tanner Smith plays within himself. Narcisse provides defensive length. Bobo can even have a role. Anderson is utilized for his defensive pressure. Brownell magnifies the ability of each of his players.

A word on the tourney. Lunardi had us as the last team in before the VT win. Today bubble competitors Richmond, Alabama, Michigan(who beat us), Colorado, Butler(hopefully wins tourney), Missouri St(really hope they win tourney), Illinois, Memphis and UAB.

Those who lost are Baylor, Colorado St, Washington(now 20-10), Washington St, Marquette, Michigan St. and Georgia, Nebraska, Wichita St, Dayton and Drexel.

The Alabama win really hurts us as well as the Michigan win and possibly the Colorado win. It will be hard to keep Alabama out now and Georgia still has a good resume. Michigan is on the edge but the committee is likely to still favor a big name team like Michigan St (not to mention mid major darlings Butler and Gonzaga) and Michigan has the head to head win against us.

What we have going in our favor is the fact that the ACC will not be a three big league. That means that the fourth big would have to go to either BC or VT ahead of us and we have the head to head match-ups against them. Certainly, that is comforting.

The other thing no one is talking about is how the committee will approach the extra 4 teams. We have no precedent and so it is all guess work. They could just extend the cut line from 64 to 68 which would be in our favor but they also might be more inclined to give them to mid majors, so as to appear impartial and not turning these picks into more of the same. We shall see.

I think in a match-up against BC in the 4/5 game we need that win to be in the tourney. How lame are the 12 seed games?? Way to try to ruin something good NCAA--96 teams--really??

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Brad Brownell Era: Musings and Ramblings

After beating Miami today and smartly calling for the foul with three seconds left I am left to ponder on the Brad Brownell era thus far. Let me start by saying that I really hope we find a way to squeeze into the tourney. I think Brownell, in a strange way, deserves it. Now I am certainly wearing those orange tinted sunglasses and after the NC State loss it is still far away but I want Brownell to keep the momentum of the program.

I want fans to remain engaged. When we hit that three game skid, you could feel the fan-base's collective legs wobble. But Brownell stuck to his gameplan and has made this team look decent. We really do play great half court defense. Seriously, I don't think we remember how poor we were in the half court anything. Our offense was ridiculous and our defense was not pretty at all. I went back and watched some of last years footage and without Trevor Booker we wouldn't have won half of those games. I still would have liked to see a bit more press this year but we certainly would have regressed as a team if Purnell had stayed.

Now looking ahead I am not sure what you do without Grant and Stitt. I have always liked Grant as a player and thought Purnell didn't spend enough time trying to develop him. He has a sweet 20 footer that just keeps getting better and better. The man has some post moves and blocks shots at an amazing rate. Stitt is our only real penetrating threat and will be missed next year.

However, I point this out because Brownell can develop talent. Bobo will play 15 minutes a game next year, I am convinced. Tanner Smith is playing more within himself and the turnovers have finally been cut down. We can even pass the ball into the post!! Milton has started to rebound and hopefully has turned the corner.

We have a chance against Duke--not a good one but a chance nonetheless. We still suck on the road but we do play some good D--you have to admit. Going into the season I thought our downfall would be defending the three with our sub 6' 2 guards. Hello long armed Mr. Narcisse off the bench. The point is that Brownell is not afraid to play the hand he has been dealt and play it with confidence. He has, at times, turned a crummy two pair into a winning hand. With all the defections and even an injury to a starter, Brownell has done an admirable coaching job.

I want him to get more quality pieces. I want our recruiting to not cripple his ability to keep us in the tourney hunt each year. The best part about this year is thanks to the additional three teams, we can still hope. We beat Duke and we are squarely on the bubble. If we go 9-7 in the ACC and 20-10 overall, we need to win two (probably three) games in the tourney and cross those fingers.

Can't wait to take it to Wake. And thank our lucky stars that our hire didn't put us back 3-4 years. Rick Stansbury anyone?? No takers?? Really?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Get on the 'All In' Dabo Peace Train

Tony Steward to Clemson. Now this is a recruiting class gentlemen. My goodness hearing Urban talk about Spiller, this is a good day...Best LB class in Clemson history.

My wife just said "Can't wait to see the signs. Tony the Tiger, He's Grrrreat!!!"

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lateek Townsend=Awesome

Now that we have a solid LB, I have personally deemed this class a success. I am glad Dabo got his man Morris and Hobby is certainly a great coach. But I still give Dabo one year to right the ship. Anyway, welcome to the Clemson family Lateek. Glad you said what you wanted, give the kid his thirty seconds...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


Let that sink in for all you Dabo lovers out there...

I'm too fed up to even write anything...(well maybe one or two sentences)

Look Dabo dug his own grave--he made the call to promote Billy to OC when he would have been perfectly happy as QB coach and recruiting coordinator. You may call this a waste of bandwith but Dabo decided to keep Powell on although he wasn't much of a recruiter or coach. Special teams will look great with CJ and Jacoby--I'm sorry. He has created the instability that now threatens this great recruiting class that still doesn't have a great LB!! I love the WR talent but I won't think of this class as a success without a top notch LB.

Now with these two firings the writing is on the wall for the good coaches that now is the time to get out of Dodge. It doesn't seem like the staff especially enjoys their relationship to the head man right now. Rumph is gone and I will personally miss him. Great family and really budding as a recruiter.

I've always said Dabo should get three years. I thought it could work when he was hired and knew there would be bumps in the road. I didn't think our offense wouldn't be able to cross the 50 yard line against South Carolina. I didn't think we would have a losing season. Tajh Boyd could be good but he needs a ton of more coaching. I'm glad Dabo is making these changes now but an experienced coach, a good coach wouldn't have put himself in this situation to begin with. Maybe I am too sympathetic to the plight of Billy Napier but without a 9 or 10 win season next year I want Dabo gone.

Happy Holidays Tiger faithful! (and questioning authority doesn't mean you lack faith, it means you have the desire to dig further in order to truly believe)

A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.