After seeing the bulk of posts on TNet about CSS' colossal screwup of the game, I'm glad I went. I was going to have film to look at and review but since they F'd up so bad, I guess not.
Its tough to make any kind of conclusion about the spring game, because they are only showing you very basic schemes and really aren't digging in the playbook at all. All one can do is take a general impression and look at individual players to see if they've improved. But most people just get too excited about anything instead of really looking at the football being played, since they are playing against themselves you have to think about it.
Normal fan: Wow Ellington showed out today, he's going to be great. He looked really good on a couple runs.
Coach: Did he make the right read? Did he hit the hole the play was designed for? Did _______ botch the tackle to get him down? Did the DL/LB there fall out of his gap?
Since its your DL there that might've missed that tackle, you can't get too excited about Ellington (or whomever) really being so great, because it may mean that your DL sucks. Thats the problem in evaluating the spring game. The score is meaningless, as are most of the stats.
That said, I did have a few thoughts about the players in the game.
The 5 techniques (DEs) looked pretty good, but I was disappointed in how Bowers performed. I thought at the beginning of the game, the Ends were a little slow in their first step and werent using their hands well, but as the game progressed it looked good, particularly Branch. The DTs looked good as well in their pad level and first steps; Chavis stood out there.
The secondary gave nothing, the reason why the passing stats were so weak for Boyd today was not entirely on the defense, but the DBs were on most guys like glue. I saw only a couple botched coverages on some plays where someone took the wrong man (miscounting) and a few times where the underneath coverage didnt get enough depth in their drops, but I was pleased all around with them.
The linebackers actually looked good to me, after the press we've had about filling in those spots made me expect worse in game conditions, I was pleasantly surprised. There were times, like last year, where they attacked the wrong gaps and took a few bad angles, but Corico Hawkins will be just fine, as will Jonathan Willard. Christian looked OK when he was in there.
What I enjoyed seeing was the readjustment of the fronts we showed, whenever the offense went in motion. We did not do quite as much of that last year as I thought we would. We will this year, which will only make them more difficult to score on. I saw mostly Nickel and only a little 4-3 Under front, with at least 4-6 (distinctly) different fronts in total that I made note of. There was 3-4/Double Eagle, so overall Steele mixed things up for our OL quite a bit.
Our defense will be fine next year, 1-2 in the conference barring injury.
On offense thats not the case, and this is where evaluating becomes harder without rewatching it. Parker looks just fine, but I still think he needs to work on his accuracy, especially on touch throws. Tajh is not where Parker was at the spring game last year, however. All this we heard about him tearing up the D on the scout team should be forgotten, because if he had to step in today he wouldn't be ready. He's got further to go than Parker did, but you do see the raw ability.
Both have cannons, both need accuracy work, both threw balls that they shouldnt but that was moreso on Boyd than Kyle. I will say that if Parker goes to MLB, at least Boyd would get all the 1st team snaps in fall. Parker still had to split a lot of snaps with Korn last August. In this event, Boyd could end up further along than Parker was for MTSU, so don't have a meltdown.
Parker on leaving
"I have no idea. The biggest thing right now is seeing what happens. There's still a whole lot up in the air. I'm just going to go out and just enjoy being here. I love being at Clemson. I love playing."
The OL: bleh, need to watch the game again to make any statements. I was not enthused but didn't expect to be when they go up against our DL. I did not notice more than one blown assignment by McClain but I'd have to watch it again to say. This year will come down to the OL's performance, like we already knew. Cloy will be back giving us 6 guys to play with.
At RB we'll be just fine, nothing to worry about but the guys blocking for them. TE Dwayne Allen, as Dabo said in his postgame presser, has the ability to start in the NFL if he wants it. His blocking didn't blow me away, but he runs his routes very well and his hands were good today.
As for the WRs, its difficult to say. The ball will definitely go to Allen, and then be spread around. It looked like McNeal was the guy getting open (in the tiny holes the D left him) and there was an effort to get him the ball. Jaron Brown looked great on one play and in Neverland the next. I saw one pass (which was a tad behind him) hit his hands and he couldn't catch it. Dye did the same thing on one that hit his chest but his route running was OK that I saw. The only thing I would take away from this one is that McNeal will eventually be as good as we were told, and that Marquan Jones still hasn't appeared. Some of these guys may just need confidence and going against our secondary is not the place to get that.
Richard Jackson should start as our punter from day one. The only thing Zimmerman has is hangtime. The stats show only a 6 yard difference in averages, but Jackon really impressed me.