September 10, 2009

Caroline's Tiger Pause - All in.. All purple..Preview of tonight's Clemson vs. GT game

284, 257, 280, 304, 274--these are the numbers that are going to determine the outcome of tonight's game. Those numbers are the weight of Georgia Tech's offensive line-the smallest in the ACC. And they have to go against our defensive line-a line that is the best in the ACC, in the tops of the nation, and 8 deep. Another number to look at is 3-as in 3 lost starters on Tech's Defensive Line. Clemson is going to control the line of scrimmage and they are going to win this game.
All of the talk and attention for this game will be on Spiller and Dwyer-many in the media are already pitching it as the two best running backs in nation going against one another. At the very least it seems highly likely that one of them is going to be the ACC Player of the year. And I think both will bring it tonight. I think Dwyer will have a good game, and I think CJ is going to have a really special game. I think this is the game where you really see CJ assert himself as both a feature back and a senior leader of this team. I also think that Harper and Ellington will have important minutes in this game, and that is a must. Clemson must assert the running game as the rest of the offense is still working the kinks out. A great running attack would take a tremendous amount of pressure off of Kyle Parker's shoulders. He is incredibly talented, but he is still a freshman playing his first big conference game and his first game in a hostile environment. The running game needs to be there.
Kevin Steele has been breaking down tape on Tech since February. And last week's game did not show Georgia Tech a thing. Dabo admitted that they purposefully played pretty vanilla as a team-they did not want to show anything unless they had to. He also admitted they have been practicing for GT all spring and summer. We are extremely prepared going into this game, but Georgia Tech still really does not know what we are going to look like, particularly defensively. We have a new coordinator and a new scheme, but we really did not show anything against Middle Tennessee because their offense is completely different from anyone else we will play all year. Last week we could only play one linebacker, this week Butkus award candidate Kavell Conner finally gets to step on the field and I think he is going to be nasty. I think the defense as a whole is going to be nasty, and they need to be. Our offense is still learning the ropes and the defense needs to set the tone. Also, Paul Johnson has said they will kick to Spiller and Ford, and we need to take advantage. Special teams needs to give the Tiger offense a short field to work with.
And make no mistake, Georgia Tech is a really good team. They are ranked for a reason. Tech has a great QB in Nesbitt; he has great feet and is not called upon to throw often but has a great arm when he does. Dwyer and Thomas are among the best in the conference at RB and WR. Dwyer is the reigning conference player of the year. And even though I do think Clemson will dominate the line of scrimmage Tech does have a really good offensive and defensive line. And you have to worry about their offensive line because they love to cut block and last year I even thought I saw a few chop blocks in our game though the ACC refs chose to ignore it. This can make our defensive stars knees pretty vulnerable-luckily we have been practicing for that too. I know everyone is picking Clemson to lose, but that is actually one of my favorite things about this game. Clemson always plays a little better with a chip on their shoulder. I actually have been saying since last year that this is one of the main games that I am not worried about. These players want to beat Tech, and bad. This has been a game circled on every player's calender.
And lastly, I do not drink the Paul Johnson kool aid. I just do not have the love affair that the media seems to have with him. I think that he is an excellent coach, but I am still skeptical if his triple option offensive scheme can really work year in and year out in big conference play. The reason it was so effective at Navy is the big teams they played every year were in the middle of conference play and could only devote so much time to an offense they would only see once from a team they should beat. LSU showed what can happen with a little preparation. And Georgia Tech's offensive numbers were not as strong as the previous year under Chan Gailey. I love the option, but you have to mix it up a bit.
The most dangerous part of his offense is it can lull a defense to sleep in the sense that after so many running plays in a row, the pass becomes a trick play. One you are not expecting. The Clemson secondary is going to have to be on high alert to not give up the big pass play. That is really how Georgia Tech beats you-that is how they beat us last year. I think everyone remembers the game winning TD in the waning minutes of last year's game-a 23 yarder from Nesbitt to Deamariyus Thomas. But I keep going back to the fact that we made major mistakes in last year's game (6 turnovers!), that CJ Spiller did not play in last year's game due to injury, and we were coming off of one of the most emotional times in any Clemson football team's history with the resignation of Bowden and the hiring of Swinney, and yet we still almost won that game. And the reason we almost won was through all of the mistakes we made in the game, all of the drama that led up to the game, we were still the better team. And we are the better team tonight. I think Dabo is all about winning the games we should win, and no matter what the media says we should win tonight.
In the last 13 games between Tech and Clemson, the winner has been decided by 5 points or less 10 times. I could see that happening and I would be thrilled with a 1 point win in double overtime. But I think Clemson wins by double digits-I think that Georgia Tech thinks that there is no way they can lose, I think Clemson dominates the line of scrimmage tonight, I think the defense as a whole is just too much, I think we are an angry team out to prove a point, and I think CJ Spiller wants to prove he should be ACC Player of the year! I can not wait for this game-Go Tigers!
Share on Facebook

1 comment :

Erin said...

We ARE the better team! Great article! I'm so excited!

Related Posts with Thumbnails