September 18, 2009

Caroline's Tiger Pause - Sometimes it takes a loss...

I am so ready for our second home game of the year! Sometimes you learn more about a team in a loss than a win, and I think that happened last week against Georgia Tech. There is no give up in this team, they are going to fight until the end. It was such a pleasure, for what felt like the first time in a decade, to see a Clemson team make half time adjustments—and they were great adjustments. Particularly moving Hairston to face defensive end Derrick Morgan. It was also a pleasure to hear Dabo's post game press conference-it was inspiring and he took ACCOUNTABILITY. I think this really is a different team and I cannot wait to see them come out and take care of business against Boston College. The ACC Atlantic is still a wide open race and Clemson has every goal left to play for.

Boston College is a great team, but they are untested. Truly the only real position advantage they have over us is offensive line. As always their offensive line is big, physical, and smart. Luckily our defensive line is excellent. I also think this game is a real advantage for our defense simply because BC runs a traditional offense. Our defense has looked at times spectacular this year against two very different and unusual offenses. I am looking forward to what our defense is capable of against a “normal” offense.

I think this is the game, though, where our offense really comes together. I have seen a lot that I have liked over the past two games already, and I think that our offense is coming together more quickly than I anticipated. First of all, Kyle Parker really impressed me the other night. A freshman in his second game, his first conference game, and his first game in a hostile environment down 24 points and he nearly helps orchestrate a comeback. He played a terrific 2nd half of football and showed maturity beyond his years. Admittedly the season is early, but he is currently averaging 8.23 yards per pass. Keep in mind that Dantzler, Whitehurst, and Harper never averaged 8 yards per pass in a season. The offense as a whole is really showing big play-making ability. Last year we only had 53 plays of 20 yards or longer, and this year, through 2 games we already have 10. And I was really pleased with Napier's play calling in the 2nd half of the GT game. You have to admit it is nice to see us actually pass down field instead of 20 bubble screens a game. I also think the offensive line is playing better than I expected them to-it is still a work in progress , but if they can improve the right tackle position, I think we could be among the best 3 or 4 lines in the conference. Landon Walker has been elevated to the starter at that position and I am looking forward to seeing how he fares. And Spiller and Ford have been a true joy to watch this season and I am looking forward to watching them play tomorrow. Spiller and Ford are the #1 and # 3 active reception leaders in the conference right now-kind of shocking considering CJ is a running back, but very cool never the less. I also think you will see Ellington and Harper factor in a little more this game. And it will be important to establish our running game because the strength of Boston College's offense is their running game.

BC is coming into this game with a true 2-QB system. That is honestly not a great thing to have at this point in the football season. But both of their Quarterbacks have had solid starts to the year. Justin Tuggle is athletic and has a good arm and Dave Shinskie is the oldest QB in the conference. He is 25 and played Minor League Baseball until deciding to try going back to school to play QB. It helps to play behind an offensive line like BC has. BC is going to really try to establish the run in the this game because of the talent and depth they have at RB and it is going to be on our defense to man up and not allow that to happen. If our defense has a weakness right now it is against the run. However, playing an offense like Georgia Tech that is all run really skews the numbers. So I am looking forward to seeing our defense toughen up against the run tomorrow. BC is a really talented team, but they are going through a rebuilding year with a new coach. They lost some tremendous talent last year, and this game is in the Valley. Clemson has shown so far this year that they are tough and resilient. And they are going to defend our house. I think this game is a solid victory-at least 2 touchdowns. I am looking forward to watching Spiller and Ford add to their highlight reels tomorrow, I can't wait to see Parker in action after what he showed he is capable of against Tech, I have to give Richard Jackson a shout out for making the 1st 53 yard field goal since Nelson Welch, and I can not wait to see our whole defense play tomorrow, but particularly DeAndre McDaniel, is their any safety playing better than him right now? I think tomorrow's game will be exciting and it will be great to get our first home victory against BC since 1958! GO TIGERS!

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