I am appreciative of how difficult it is to get to Omaha, so I guess you start by saying that (obviously) it is nice to make it there. The dominos set up well for Clemson. We got what turned out to be an extremely favorable draw at Auburn then benefited from Georgia Tech getting KO'ed and bringing the Supers to BTF. From there, on to Nebraska where we were only one away.
I will admit it, this one was difficult. Completely choking away a chance to play for a National Championship was ridiculous. While Clemson did make it further than most of us thought they would (after watching this team implode half-way through the regular season), our performance in the last two games of the year was a gem that would embarrass Greg Norman.
In addition to Leggett being unable to manage his staff at critical moments this year AND the worst fielding baseball team I have ever seen, we came out against the Cocks (typical Omaha play) tight and unable to hit when it counted the most. Clemson was in need of one freaking win against a team it won the regular season series against and absolutely humiliated in the series finale at their place. If that memory doesn't stay with me for life, I am sure one of the many errors committed by Brad Miller "the baseball spiller" over the course of the season surely will. I will probably wait a little longer to get into a deeper look into my thoughts and opinions of the season but will tell you that Clemson ruined many golden opportunities with basic fundamental and tactical deficiencies.
We are approximately one month away from practice "officially" resuming for the Tigers. If you did not notice, this is kind of a big deal. I am so damn tired of hearing cockfan tell me how bad this team will be without Spiller, it is ridiculous. Thus, I can't wait to get this one started and see where we really stand. I have said it before and I will say it again Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper are a pretty dang good running back duo. Yes, I know Clemson lost C. J. Spiller but I am not concerned as much about losing him in the backfield as I am not seeing him return kicks and catch the ball down the sideline. Ellington is fast hitting the hole then exploding through it. Harper has gotten praise from the coaching staff and should contribute more out of the backfield this year.
I am not expecting much new out of Clemson this year offensively. Unless lots of people step up (and Kyle Parker is back in town, which we highly doubt will happen), this season will parallel last. An inexperienced QB with crap for receivers. Once again, I fully expect the TE (Dwayne Allen) to be the most dependable and best target out of all eligible receivers.
The real wild card here is the offensive line. We did show some improvement here last season but Clemson's usual lack of depth up front turns any injury into a potential disaster. We are also hoping that Mason Cloy fully recovers and the line can hold it together for a complete season following the nasty injury he suffered in Tampa.
There really is not much reason to get into preliminary discussions on the defensive side of the ball. We should be in great shape in the defensive backfield despite replacing both starting corners. The safety position will be jam up. We should be deep and talented enough up front (despite the loss of Ricky Sapp and Jamie Cumbie) to hold our own with any team we play. This leaves the linebackers, whom we heard a few mixed stories about this spring. Their play is critical for this defense to transform from good/really good to outstanding/excellent and Kevin Steele has proven that he can put together an outstanding group of backers at other places.
Special teams is feels like a crap shoot. We will obviously see a drop off in our return game, which will negate a lot of the good field position we enjoyed from the Spiller/Ford returns enjoyed in '09. Surely Clemson will improve kicking extra points, as last year's effort was nothing less than pathetic.
Who is sick and tired of turning on ESPN and mistaking it for a Discovery Channel special on bee-keeping? Well I sure as hell am and will breath a huge sigh of relief when these guys quit kicking the checkered ball around network television and on the WWL in sports. It wouldn't be that bad (I could ignore it) except soccerfan constantly reminds me that "ITS THE WORLD CUP!" "GREATEST SPORTING EVENT IN THE WORLD!". If it is so damn great, why are you the only one acting a fool about a contest between Uganda and North Korea? Need I remind you that the sport is so popular here that Iran rolled the US up a few years ago? (yes, getting rolled up in a sporting event by a desert-dwelling country is a bad thing) Getting beaten by Iran in a sporting event definitely IS grounds to shut down the program. Then again, getting sent home by Ghana twice justifies for shutting this thing down. If there is a positive, at least we don't have to have this discussion for four more years until (insert random name of third world country here) embarrasses our "futbol" team again.
Otherwise...enjoy the rest of the summer as we look forward to fooball season and run articles about anything and everything for about a month or so. The Braves are still kicking, the Open is right around the corner, we'll be ramping up the excitement for college football as the month moves forward.