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 I think our strength program is outdated and teams like Bama, LSU, and now USC are way ahead of us.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.
A blog about all Clemson Tiger University sports--football, basketball, baseball, along with the occasional South Carolina coot bashing.