As we are all aware, OL Wilson Norris was injured yesterday and will undergo surgery to repair his torn ACL. This is very bad news for a group that lacks quality depth and is in dire need of improvement up front. All accounts I have seen are not overly optimistic that all the questions around this group will be answered by the first week in September. We will be keenly watching how the OL unfolds and how the loss of Norris affects this team.
Apparently there was a competition held at the kicker position, and senior Richard Jackson has emerged as the man here. While we were impressed with some of the long-distance kicks converted by Jackson early last season, he will need to prove that he is consistent inside of 40 yards. And by all means, if we cannot improve our PAT conversion rate this year this website may implode. Consistency in the kicking game probably would have meant another victory last season and reduced the blood pressure readings of this site's contributors by a few points.
After another tough loss last night to Coastal Carolina, the Tigers host Boston College this weekend. I am sure that you will get more on this one from the good Dr. For the sake of his health and sanity, we are hoping the Tigers can do a better job fielding this weekend. I for one am tired of seeing 3-5 errors a game. This needs to be corrected if Clemson is to challenge in the ACC or during the NCAA tourney.
More quality takes after the jump.
The NCAA is getting a little out of control with its tournament selection. There have been several items on the docket, but it looks more and more likely that we will see 96 teams in your bracket next March. This takes a little of the luster out of simply making the tournament and will probably bring some of the old-timers out to criticize the the overall quality of the tourney. It also devalues the regular season even more for the larger schools and turns this thing into and all-invited AAU tournament. If there is a positive, it would be seeing some of the smaller schools beat up on crappy yet larger and better known programs.
With the first major of the year right around the corner, we will be keenly watching former Tiger and defending US Open champ Lucas Glover as well as current Clemson star Ben Martin, who will be making his first appearance at Augusta National next week. Martin's Tiger teamates get an Augusta tune up this weekend, playing in the Augusta State Invitational at Forest Hills. Ben will not participate due to his preparation for the Masters tournament the following week. In other Tiger golf notes, you all probably noticed the up and down play of former Tiger D.J. Trahan last week at the Palmer Invitational. Trahan injured his back fishing and suffered spasms and a (possible) torn muscle due to the injury. We all hope to see him get over this setback and back into the swing of things over the course of the next few weeks.
One final pre-tourney shoutout for my main man (and the Tour's pimpest player/real American Bad Ass) Freddy. Couples still has the smoothest swing in the game over 25 years into his pro career. After a blistering start to his inaugural season on the Champions Tour, Couples travels is in Houston this week then will obviously be in Augusta next week. Fred has a crew, a very rowdy crew, who wants nothing more than to see the 50 year old make yet another run at his second green jacket. Here is a good preview of what we want to see out of Boom Boom next week:
My take on it is simple: if you aren't deemed one of the best 64-65 teams, you really have no business in a tournament to begin with. I guess you could make a case for some smaller schools who are not regularly on TV or in the media, so I will listen to that argument (although may disagree because the mighty ACC cannot even get their tournament on TV in some parts of SC). All in all, I really don't care and don't think that the addition of 40 or so teams that were not good enough to make the tourney in the first place get beaten down in early rounds. Maybe this will get rid of the stupid play-in game, so some good could come out of it. If the field is expanded, we definitely expect at least one victory out of the Tigers in '11. Look for the NCAA to expand to somewhere around 850 teams in the next 10 years to assure that no one is left out.
And then there is this...Cleveland Browns' DL Shaun Rogers apparently did not read the TSA list of acceptable items that can be carried during commercial flights, opting to store a loaded heater in his carry-on bag. Maybe Rogers was more concerned about fitting his shave kit and toothpaste in the Ziploc bag or getting that last quarter out of his pocket before the metal detector and just forgot. Or maybe this cat did not see a loaded gun amongst the chainsaw, aerosol cans, torches, and grenades displayed in the Plexiglas container displaying prohibited items. In any case, WTF is an NFL player doing packing heat on a commercial flight and why did he think he could just run that bad boy through the screener?
In a final bit that I have been hesitant to post, I would like to give a shout out to my main man Shawn Michaels. While I do not follow the sport of wrestling as vigorously as I once did, I have to admit I shed a small tear after hearing that HBK will retire following his defeat to the Undertaker. As it is pretty well known, HBK is second only to 'Naich on my list of wrastlin' BAMF's, and has taken Ric's spot on the handle pic at various times. From his mullet-sporting AWA/NWA days as a member of the Midnight Rockers through ladder matches and the formation of Degeneration X, Michaels has entertained and enthralled fans. I will say it is truly the end of an era...and to anyone who doesn't respect HBK, I got two words for you...