2010 Football Season Review

Editor's Note: Season Review posts are intended as summaries of the season for use as a single reference later, not exhaustive review posts.


2009 Season Review.

Our plan for the future with respect to football is to begin releasing position-by-position reviews and prospectus on the coaches that are no longer here first, and to wait until NSD to release reviews of the staff members who are still employed. We think it is best to evaluate the coaches based on their entire body of work, and this involves recruiting. The ones who are gone will not be affected and we doubt what we have to say will truly influence any recruits before signing day, so expect to see them in the next two weeks.

2010 Season Schedule & Results
Opponent Score Opp. Final Record
North Texas W  35-10 3-9 (7th Sun Belt)
Presbyterian W  58-21 2-9 (Last Big South)
@ Auburn L 27-24 (OT) 14-0 SEC & National Champions
Miami L 30-21 7-6 (2nd ACC Coastal)
@ UNC L 21-16 8-5 (3rd ACC Coastal)
Maryland W 31-7 9-4 (2nd ACC Atlantic)
Georgia Tech W 27-13 6-7 (4th ACC Coastal)
@ Boston College L 16-10 7-6 (4th ACC Atlantic)
N.C. State W 14-13 9-4 (3rd ACC Atlantic)
@ Florida State L 16-13 10-4 (ACC Atlantic Champ)
@ Wake Forest W 30-10 3-9 (Last ACC Atlantic)
South Carolina L 29-7 9-5 (SEC East Champ)
MCCB: South Florida       L 31-26 8-5 (5th Big East)
Final Record 6-7 95-73

Biggest Win: In terms of the opponent, NC State or Maryland. Fanbase cared more about Georgia Tech.

Worst Defeat: @ BC, @ Auburn

Record in Death Valley: 5-2

Final Ranking: None. FEI Rankings came in 25th. Sagarin Computer rankings 53rd.

Clemson 35 - North Texas 10, Game Film Review, Stats

Well before the season got underway, we speculated on what it would take for Clemson to really take another step forward this season, or a step backward, based on our perceived strengths/weaknesses of the personnel on the team:

  • 4 returning OL, with a solid backup returning at the missing LG position, and the best blocking FB in the ACC.
  • 2 quality RBs
  • No quality proven WRs
  • A young but talented QB

What do you do in such a situation? You run the ball and work on the passing game little by little until it becomes dependable. I also said this:

If Clemson goes out there against NT and PC in trips right/left and doubles shotgun all day, they wont be playing to their strengths and we wont win at Auburn.

I should've kept going and said that we wouldn't win for the rest of the season with such a theme on offense.

Well we did go with a lot of spread sets against North Texas, but it wasn't a poorly called game offensively. We threw the ball too much there but I can see working on the passing game against weak competition, and that was my thought at the time. The youngsters at WR played pretty well and the older guys did not, as shown by Xavier Dye quitting on balls not thrown at his sternum. 

Offensive line play was average, not exceptional but not bad either. RBs played their game well, both of them. Parker was inaccurate (foreshadowing) to start and made some bad decisions even though he finished with a respectable day.

The defensive play in this game is what worried us the most, especially with Clemson headed to Auburn in 2 weeks. With Auburn's rush-happy spread system under Gus Malzahn, the overpursuit and tackling level that took place against North Texas would've doomed us to a royal asskicking on the Plains had it continued. NT took advantage of numbers we put in the box and particularly bad gap control by our DLine. While Bowers really stood out, no one else played to the level they could've.

My opinion is that while Lance Dunbar is a quality RB for North Texas, our Defense should've shut down their passing game and should've been able to drop a 7th man in the box as a result to attack Dunbar. Their primary success in the air was against Marcus Gilchrist, who spent much of the game jumping around like a fool trying to inform the other 10 guys as to what their duty was based on the formation shown. While he had his eyes off the backfield, the offense snapped the ball and hit the slot receiver he was supposed to be all over. This issue crept up for him several more times during the season.

Clemson 59 - Presbyterian 21 - Game Film Review - Stats

C'mon, its Presbyterian. We shouldn't even be playing them, so putting up less than 500-0 is kinda disappointing.

Well we didn't put up 500, but there was plenty to be satisfied with on offense. We jumped pu 42-0 at halftime and after that you just tend to sit there and watch the game just to be watching it, because its Blessed Football sent from God, and don't get too excited about anything further.

Clemson's offensive line, RB play, and QB play were all good. Its Presbyterian. However we saw the experienced WRs not giving effort on blocks or trying to make plays, while the youngsters fought and played pretty hard.

Our D began substituting 3rd string players after the 1st quarter, so the starters wouldn't rack the stats up that they might have normally. Its good for the young guys to play this much, as that is really what builds depth for the squad, but I expected our backups to have more intensity in the 3rd and 4th quarters. They had little. PC succeeded with some trick plays to get their TDs, but the drives to get in scoring position were very disappointing to me.

In retrospect, I would like to see the Sack stats for DaQuan had he played for more than 1 quarter. He would've probably put up 4 or 5 sacks in this game.

Auburn 27 - Clemson 24 (OT) - Game Film Review - Stats

The game that we prepared for all offseason was a good one against the future National Champs. I did not watch every game Auburn played this year, but I think we took it to them as well as anyone else did.

We came out of the gate playing the exact offense I wanted to see: Power football.

And after that, we stood toe-to-toe with them and gave it our very best. We screened them constantly and they overpursued plays and took poor angles in tackling. Clemson jumped ahead big before the half. That was encouraging.

At the very end of the 1st half, after our Head Cheerleader pumped his fist, the defense took their foot off the throat of Auburn. A combination of mental mistakes and loss of gap control gave them a few big plays and they converted their drives into TDs through the end of the game.

The defense didn't play that bad in this game if you think about it. Everything was set up by coverage busts or someone not being where they were supposed to be. We probably played the best game of any opponent against Cam Newton, for 60 minutes, all season. He never did the things to us that he did against LSU or Alabama, but he still did enough to win it.

After Kyle Parker was nailed in the back with a head-first illegal late hit, he was never the same. He missed a wide open receiver in the endzone late in the 4th quarter and it went to Overtime, where our scholarship long-snapper, who only snaps balls for his scholarship, double-chucked the ball on the game-tying FG. The FG was overruled as a false start, and we missed the 2nd try, giving Auburn the game.

Clemson fans were all excited about the team despite the loss, and there were things to be happy about. Unfortunately at STS we don't talk about moral victories. Thats for TigerNet. We took heat for our postgame reactions/overreactions, and unfortunately we turned out to be 100% correct. Napier ditched the screens that worked in the first half. He didn't adjust to the slanting that Auburn was doing with their fronts, and the offensive staff left Andre Ellington on the bench while Auburn tied it up.

Jamie Harper earned the designation "The Skirt" for whiffing on blocks and not taking on tacklers in this game. The staff left him in while he was stinking it up as a runner (19 car 44 yds) running Power and Iso, and left Andre Ellington on the bench (22 car 140 yd on mostly zones) while Auburn clawed their way back into the game. This wasn't an occasion where the kid got a couple 30-40 yard gains and a few 3 yarders. Andre was ripping off 6-10 yards on every touch, and still sat on the bench.

After this game, the I-formation essentially gave way to the one-back zone run game, leaving our best blocking FB on the sideline or on the edge of the formation as an H-back. Unfortunately they didn't figure out that The Skirt was a Skirt until after the UNC game, and never figured out that the I-formation would still be the best way to run this offense based on the personnel.

We think that this game was the last game where Billy Napier was allowed to run his offense the way he wanted to (other than the bonehead reverse call, that was full Dabo). The offense we saw here was not seen much again for the rest of the season.

I think we'll always wonder how this season would've turned out had we won this particular game. Some games can turn your whole season upside down, and this one seems to have done so for Clemson, similar to Alabama 2 years prior. If Napier was allowed to run the offense he ran in 2009, without interference, for the rest of the year, we may have been in the ACCCG.

Miami 30 - Clemson 21 - Game Film Review - stats

This one was, in part, a hangover game.

Kyle Parker was not the same QB at the end of that Auburn game. He was barely able to move with his back stiffening up. However, they told us he was perfectly fine and performed well enough in practice to play here. He really wasn't. Clemson turned the ball over and Miami capitalized on our mistakes.

On the 2nd drive Miami ran the ball straight down the field on us, and on an earlier run play on the previous drive, DeAndre McDaniel got a helmet to the chin, knocking his front teeth in. He should've been benched immediately for his own safety, but he wasn't. When you get hit in the mouth like that, you get tentative about hitting people, and for the rest of the half DMac was tentative, and Miami hit Leonard Hankerson over and over and over because of it. The first two Miami TDs were on botched coverages by DMac, and on the 3rd Miami TD he was the deep help (but it was Maye's responsibility).

Mark Whipple did his best to lose it by letting that moron Jacory Harris read a Safety, but they had jumped out enough on us that it didn't matter. This in part thanks to Dabo thinking his offense should score just before halftime instead of kneeling on the ball. The resulting turnover led to another Miami TD.

We couldn't muster enough offense out of the 3/4-wide shotgun with The Skirt running the ball to do much, especially with the ubiquitous drops and pisspoor WR blocking from everyone.

This is what we said in the Film Review

Bryce McNeal and Nuke Hopkins should be on the field right NOW. I've long pushed for them to start Jaron Brown as you all know. Might as well go with the rookies when the veterans dont know what to do. Talent always wins when you give it experience. We must find a downfield threat to take the top off the defense, or opponents will always squeeze Allen.

And I don't even think the experience or blocking argument applies to Hopkins too much. This kid can flat out play some football. He may not know everything, but he can catch and he will hit you. Just tell him what route to run.

For the running game, Jamie Harper should not get half the carries that Ellington does. I said it last week and again he gets more carries, and does nothing. Now I see more Clemson fans are realizing that he deserves less; shame it'll take the staff a month to realize it. Its almost like they think they are saving AE for something, but when your toughest opponents come 3-in-a-row, what are you saving him for? Rest him later, run him now.

GoatBoy isn't that smart apparently, and the same things happened against UNC.

UNC 21 - Clemson 16 - Game Film Review - stats

The defense did their job for most of this game. Everyone complains that we made Johnny White look like he was All-ACC, but until the very last drive of the game we held him in check. Take away the last drive and he had 21 carries for 63 yards, and he was usually the last option as a checkdown in the passing game, meaning we had everyone covered downfield well. At the end you could see the fire had gone completely out of the team and the defense, and they ran all over us.

But our offense actually got worse. There are no words that can accurately describe how inept our offensive staff was in preparation for this game against a one-armed UNC defense. UNC was missing half their secondary, one All-star OLB, and half their DLine, and we couldn't do anything against them.

Clemson threw the ball 39 times, mostly from the Gun, with a healthy Harper and Ellington, who was the leading rusher in the ACC at the time I believe. Harper still got half the carries in the game when it was clear (again) that Andre should get over 30.

Andre Powell had several words to say after the game based on our reactions to his choices in personnel usage, completely changing his tune from the week prior.

Then how about the 24-14 pass-to-run ratio in the first half?

Powell: "A lot of that is based on self-scout. We have some tendencies in some areas we're trying to break. And I thought we threw the ball pretty well when you take into account we had maybe five or six drops and a couple of balls we threw away. We didn't have any sacks. So you try to be more balanced. Obviously it's no big secret that our tight ends and running backs have been the bulk of the offense. And we feel like in order to go forward we need to spread the ball around a little more, so we've made a conscious effort to do that."

No scout in his right mind would tell Clemson to throw that much with the lack of proven WRs. If his comments didn't prove that he should've been fired, I don't know what will.

Going 0-3 in these games was the worst-case scenario for this season. I never felt, with Parker coming back, that it would be this bad. We would've been 2-3 here with Boyd starting the first 5 games.

Clemson 31 - Maryland 7 - Game Review - Stats

This was, again, an extremely sloppy effort from the Tiger offense. Clemson was fortunate to generate points and momentum on special teams and limit Maryland to seven points on the afternoon.

The final score was in no way indicative of the play of the Clemson offense. Clemson scored on a 42 yard field goal, a kickoff return for a TD (Ellington), a good drive (13 plays, 80 yards capped by a 1 yard Harper plunge), a short—21 yard—drive (set up by a 41 yard Jaron Brown punt return), and a Xavier Brewer interception return for a touchdown. Clemson’s offensive woes arose from a commitment to pass the football, which the Tigers did poorly. Kyle Parker had a tough afternoon, finishing 7 of 20 for 106 yards and no touchdowns. He missed a couple downfield passes that would have been huge gains and did not get through his progressions well. KP was not helped by inconsistent play from his receivers either though.

Clemson’s running game was virtually nonexistent (44 carries, 94 yards—2.1 ypc) due to a poor effort up front and persistently running the ball out of the gun, without Chad Diehl leading the effort. We expected a better effort from the Clemson OL, but were greeted with poor technique and no push. Maryland's Defense is well-coached and coordinated, but they do not have good talent nor speed. The only (slight) positive in this area was the staff giving Ellington more carries than Harper, finally. It only took them starting out 2-3 to learn what we saw in the middle of the Auburn game.

Clemson’s defense had a respectable outing against the Terps. The defensive line played well, limiting the Terps to 44 yards on 21 carries which forced Maryland to put the game in their FR QB’s hands. Additionally, Da’Quan Bowers had a big game, recording three sacks. The Tigers forced three interceptions and were able to return one for a touchdown.

Maryland had three legitimate drives: one ended in a touchdown, another in a missed field goal, and the third on a failed 4th down conversion inside the Clemson 30. The Tiger D gave up over 300 yards through the air to freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien, a large portion of which was gained by TE Mark Furstenberg (98 yards on 5 catches) on substandard underneath Clemson linebacker coverage, but at least 2 were on really great catches. Mismatches with CU’s linebacking corps in flat and hook area coverage was an issue for CU over the course of the season.

The heroes of the day were the return squads, who scored on a kick return and set up an offensive TD following a nice punt return. Dawson Zimmerman averaged nearly 39 yards per punt, Clemson did a fine job in kick coverage, and converted its only field goal attempt.

Clemson 27 - Georgia Tech 13 -  Game Film Review Statistics

This game was determined in the trenches. Clemson’s offensive and defensive lines dominated both sides of the football at the point of attack all afternoon.

Clemson showed early they could blow GT off the LOS by just lining up and running the ball. Andre Ellington gashed the Tech defense and could have run for 200 yards had his number been called a couple more times. Jamie Harper fared well averaging over 5 ypc against the Jackets. Instead of simply pounding Ellington & Harper (hell even McDowell could've had 100 yards if we ran the ball), Clemson was determined to spread the field and throw the ball out of the gun. Kyle Parker was 17 of 27 on the afternoon and averaged 6.2 y/att but still showed inaccuracy and was unable to properly lead receivers downfield (or on a few screen passes, for that matter). We got a good outing from Nuke Hopkins (4 catches for 50 yards) and were impressed with his effort, including a tremendous grab down the sidelines. Sans Nuke, Clemson’s the only standout play by a receiver was a 17 yard completion to Jaron Brown. I should note Jamie Harper had a couple clutch catches and Ellington had a touchdown catch.

Clemson’s inability to utilize Dwayne Allen in the passing game was frustrating and continued through the balance of the season. Allen clearly outmatched his opponent all season and was not used. The only opponent that we noticed using bracket coverage on Allen was Miami. No one on the schedule has the necessary player to cover a guy with his size and speed combination. He can outrun linebackers and outphysical smaller defensive backs. For whatever reason he wasn't forming a connection with Kyle and wasn't getting open or giving EFFORT on the field. His effort level seemed to decrease further and further in the season.

The Tigers were prepared for the Yellow Jacket option attack, utilizing an array of defensive looks, personnel adjustments, and some relatively unorthodox techniques (compared to the usual tactic we employ). Clemson employed a variety of fronts, frequently had the DE’s in a two point stance, and lined up Andre Branch at the WILL linebacker position. The Tigers were also aided by Paul Johnson’s insistence to try to pass the ball with Nesbitt, especially at a few critical points in the first half that killed any momentum Tech built up. That still makes us scratch our head. Overall, though, you have to give the defensive staff credit. While Tech was below par up front, Steele and crew made adjustments to defend Johnson’s flex offense and limited GT’s success on the dive play, the midline, and outside veer plays.

This was a popular win for the Clemson faithful—especially after the recent lack of success for the CU football program against its Coastal Division rival. Georgia Tech was decidedly weaker as a whole this season, especially up front. We were encouraged by Clemson’s defensive improvement against Paul Johnson’s offense and the adjustments that were made to limit Tech to 13 points. Offensively, Clemson still lacked a true identity. We were really hoping that Napier/Swinney were just trying to get Parker into a rhythm and were not serious about playing against our strengths and away from the things that worked and, unfortunately, that was not correct. Clemson did not improve offensively after this football game.

Boston College 16 - Clemson 10 - Game Film Review Statistics

This loss was a bitter, bitter pill to swallow and was the turning point (attitude-wise) for the Clemson faithful. Clemson’s offense was nothing short of pathetic in Chestnut Hill. Kyle Parker had another poor outing, making fundamental mistakes and poor decisions (particularly when moving outside the pocket) that resulted in ZERO offensive touchdowns and two interceptions—the first occurring at the BC 9 yard line in the 4th quarter.

Clemson’s OL did not play any better. Up front the Tigers either refused to properly move their feet to flat out miss blocks, brother-in-law’ed defenders, or got pushed around. BC's DT's looked like All-Americans all day. BC got consistent pass rush with THREE rushers. We definitely got no push here which was disturbing. The playcalling again was suspect, with Clemson telegraphing its run/pass plays through formations and dedicated itself to try to become a spread passing team. The final blow to this offense was effectively a season-ending injury to Andre Ellington in the 4th quarter.

Clemson’s defense played well enough to win, returning an interception for a touchdown (Rashard Hall for 52 yards), limiting BC to just over 300 yards, forcing six punts, and giving up 16 total points (7 off of a muffed kickoff). We were a little disenchanted with the Clemson defense at the first half’s end, as they got demolished by the BC front line, but Steele fixed this at halftime and we essentially shut them down cold.  You can't put the loss on this group.

Special teams play was abysmal. Chandler Catanzaro missed two field goals (44 and 36 yards) in the six point loss. Jamie Harper fumbled a kickoff. Boston College was able to put it in the end zone immediately following Harper’s gaffe. This game was the final straw for this offense. It became obvious that Swinney/Napier combination could not successfully coexist further at Clemson and set the stage for the offensive struggle in the last quarter of the 2010 season.

After the game Swinney called those folks who were "All Done" part of a "crazy 5%" of the fanbase.

"95 percent of the Clemson fans, they're some of the best people you'd ever meet. They're just great people. Then there are 5 percent who are - Lord have mercy - they're crazy. That 5 percent and it doesn't matter if it's Clemson or wherever, they expect more than they're willing to give. There are certain people that expect the team to show up every week and win every game and as soon as something doesn't go that way, they turn and run and cry and fire this guy and fire this player and all that kind of stuff. But that is a small percentage of the Clemson fans. Sometimes you have to coach your players on that.

Clemson 14 - NC State 13 - Game Film Review -Stats

Neither one of these teams deserved to win. NC State played just as awfully as we did in the 1st half. Each squad would get field position or march downfield following a big turnover, and then couldn't put it in the endzone because of another turnover.

Still, you have to give credit to our defense for handling a potent passing offense, one of few in the ACC. After the 1st quarter we completely ripped their OL apart so bad that they gave up the running game with Mustafa Greene and became one-dimensional. Why NCSU never lets Russell Wilson run against us is still beyond me. Every time he scrambles or runs the zone read, he gets yardage.

Our own OL looked like crap too for the 2nd consecutive week. NC State's defense is strong at LB, not DL, and again a weaker undersized and undertalented Line outplayed our own. Now with Ellington out, we expected McDowell to shoulder some of the load in the run game, but it was pretty much all Skirt and he doesnt deserve blame for his performance with the blocking he didn't get.

This was a pitiful game and painful for any football fan to watch, but it was a win and NCSU did put up a good record for the season.

FSU 16 - Clemson 13 - Game Film Review - Stats

Playcalling in the red zone beat us here. We got away from our pass-Shotgun and run-under center tendencies but when the ball got inside FSU territory our playcallers went brain dead. Add to that a turnover on the goal line at the start of the 4th quarter and a missed FG earlier, and you get the recipe for another close Tiger loss.

We racked up 391 yards of offense in Tallahassee and got inside the FSU 40 on all but one drive and could score only 13 points. The OL played their best game of the year, as did Jamie Harper. Many drives were carried by Jamie. Despite the success on the ground, for some strange reason we decided to throw the ball 44 times in this one.

Clemson's D again played well enough to win. FSU's only consistent success came off the QB Trap and Speed Option with E.J. Manuel. Their scores were set up by one big pass play and then just grinding out tough yards. Their best drive of the game on offense was at the very end, and mostly off the Speed Option.

In the aftermath of this playcalling debacle, there was quite a bit of sentiment to run Swinney off immediately.

Clemson 30 Wake Forest 10 - Game Film Review - Stats

After Jim Grobe watched the film of our previous two games, his strategy appeared to be to just chew clock and wait for Dabo/Napier to shoot themselves. For a little while it worked, and then our athletic advantage took over. Still, it was largely just a snoozer.

Parker had a pretty sharp day passing and our WRs actually caught balls, but Clemson should've been ahead far more than 13-0 at the half. Clemson's OL was pitiful for half this game, again whipped badly by an undersized and undertalented opponent. Again, an opponent got steady pass rush with THREE down linemen. When we started running the ball in the 2nd much better, I actually gave more credit to Jamie Harper.

Clemson's D was untouchable. Our DL ate up WF again, just like last year. 49 yards total allowed in the 1st half. 205 total allowed.

South Carolina 29 - Clemson 7 - Game Film Review - Stats

The Tigers jumped ahead quickly on a bomb to Nuke, but that was it from the offense. We tried to run, and our OL never got push. We try to pass and Kyle rolls right to throw it away or throws a dumb pick. Never did we consistently show any downfield pass patterns: it was all hitches/comebacks.

Marcus Lattimore set the SEC on fire all season, but Steele came into this game with the approach that they would have to beat us on Garcia's arm. We shut down Lattimore all day with better gap discipline and tackling that few of SC's opponents had shown, despite being in mostly Nickel and Dime package all night. Brandon Maye played very well against the run for once, and Brandon Thompson raped SC's linemen from the 1st quarter onwards.

Unfortunately we don't have any cover corner capable of covering Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery's long catches really made the difference in the game. Lattimore would pound sand twice in a row, then Garcia would avoid a sack to find Jeffery standing alone somewhere most of the time. Once they were up far enough, The Fightin Spurriers went vanilla and really didn't seem to be trying too hard. They started worrying about Auburn, and we saw how that turned out for them.

Dabo Swinney managed to lose consecutive games to the Cluckers for the first time since the early '70s. Within a week, we started hearing rumblings of Terry Don Phillips being axed, which would pave the way for a new AD to remove Swinney after 2011. President Barker conducted a review of the Athletic Department and going into a Board meeting, all word indicated that Phillips would be fired at the conclusion of the meeting. This didn't happen.

At the meeting Barker presented his case, and TDP argued his way around it. Exactly what happened or was said is unknown, but we believe that the BOT has crucial evidence of what goes on behind the scenes at Clemson that has never been made public. We speculate, based on information from our own sources, that Barker looked bad to the Board during this meeting and that he was fingered as the true reason why the AD has been unsuccessful. This is the only conclusion that makes sense to us, given that the Athletic programs have largely declined since TDP was brought on board by Barker.

We also believe the BOT changed the athletic administration oversight and essentially gave Swinney an ultimatum. He could sink or swim with his current staff, or they'd loosen the purse strings that Barker wouldn't and he could have what he wanted when he was hired. Since that critical BOT meeting, a new facilities initiative has been announced and the football staff has been shuffled and new staffers are paid VERY well. I expect big raises for the other staff members to come after NSD. We believe now that Barker is out of the AD loop, or at least less so than before. Phillips is reporting to the BOT directly, and specifically an Oversight Committee made up of Wilkins, Smith, and McCarter (there may be more, we do not know).

Still, the lack of reaction and the public endorsement of Phillips by the Board of Trustees lays the blame on their own heads in our eyes. Half of them already share blame for doing nothing to prevent this issue, and some remain who endorsed the firing of Coach Ford and stabbing him in the back in 1999, especially that asshole chicken lover Bill Amick.  Clemson fans didn't like it that no one had to pay for such a bad season, so they didn't pay for any bowl tickets. I myself decided to give up my 10 year IPTAY membership as a result.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida 31 Clemson 26 - Game Film Review - Stats

The bowl no one thought we really deserved. 6-6 when you were a losing team for years before is one thing, but the worst season in years is nothing to get excited about, and nobody showed up in Charlotte for it.

The team came out really flat in this one. While our first offensive drive was encouraging, nothing  else happened that was encouraging until Tajh Boyd got into the flow of the game in the 4th quarter. Had Parker not broken his ribs at the end of the 1st half, there is no guarantee that Tajh would've even gotten those snaps.

SF had less talent and less speed overall than the Tigers. That was clearly evident. However, they actually looked like they were coached and appeared to give a damn about winning this game. Skip Holtz is a good coach with a good staff and they will succeed at SF.

Despite the lack of talent, their DL ate up our OL all day. They had consistent penetration and stopped the Skirt long enough for Dabo to go into panic mode and just pass over and over. While SF deserves credit for outplaying our front, I do believe that if Clemson had made a commitment to really pounding the football against them, that it would've succeeded.

The most disappointing part of the game for me was our defensive performance. SF came into this game with as bad an offense, statistically, as our own. Clemson's D was put in some bad positions again by our woeful offense but  we rarely broke up a pass in coverage against WRs who were no more talented than our own. We did not get enough pressure on the QB. There was just no fire or emotion on the defense this day.

Summarizing Thoughts

We really don't want to get too deep into any position here, as we will provide a position by position breakdown in future posts.  Here we would like to give a general overview of our perspective on the team and situation as a whole.

6-7.

6-7 is unacceptable at Clemson University. 2 consecutive losses to SC is unacceptable. Dabo Swinney managed to coach Top 25 talent right out of the Top 40. He was given 4 returners and 2 solid backups off the OLine. He had a stout blocking FB and 2 RBs. He had a talented QB who went 9-5 in his first year as a starter and one of the best Defensive Lines ever to play at Clemson. He brought back two All-American Safeties.

He took all that and ran it right into the ground.

It took him going 2-3 to figure out that Andre Ellington was the better RB and deserved more carries. It took him going 2-3 to figure out that Xavier Dye and Terrance Ashe are nowhere near as talented, nor do they play as hard, as some of the younger WRs. He repeatedly gave chances and preference to his own recruits to the detriment of the team. He allowed a RS Soph QB to quit on the team on the field and disrespect him on the sidelines.

After a 6-7 season you must generate your own momentum going to the next year. Since the end of the ssason we have a new facilities initiative announced that will include a new IPF, WEZ Phase III, and likely a new Training Table nutrition program. It was revealed that Dabo contacted Morris before the bowl game, and since then he was hired and 3 offensive assistants are gone. All 3 of those are guys that should've been replaced. Two of the new assistants include guys we have pushed for repeatedly. This and a Top 10 recruiting class has generated some excitement within the fanbase.

What we want to see is not window dressing or placation of the fans, we want results. We don't want to hear our Head Coach telling the fans that "we don't give enough" to the program when the program has barely given us anything for 20 years. No Head Coach should call his fans out for their behaviour towards him, but doing so when you have no clout and haven't won anything is, quite frankly, stupid.

Dabo Swinney may think he has 2 more years to solidify his job, but another losing season will result in another housecleaning, and we will call for his head if that happens. I don't care if the Administration promised him 4, he doesnt get 4 from us. I stated when Dabo got the job that I would give him 3 full seasons to convince me that he deserves my further support. The reason why I will only give 3 full seasons is because a new coach from outside the program does not know what he has on the roster and will want to implement totally new systems on the team. Dabo recruited them, Dabo was there in their evaluation, and Dabo offered many of them. He knew what he had and said it wouldn't take him 3 years to turn this program around. All they said we needed was "an oil change".

Well an oil change takes me 30 minutes, not 3.5 years. If Dabo doesnt turn this program around in 1 year he deserves to go. If he wins and wins big, I'll support him for life. if he doesn't, I'll hold his feet to the fire forever.

2009 Clemson NCAA Offensive Ranks
Rushing Offense 170.36 40th Nationally 3
Passing Offense 192.00 88 7
Pass Efficiency 127.09 67 8
Total Offense 362.36 74 8
Scoring Offense 31.14 28 3
Sacks allowed 1.36 pg/19 total  31 2
Overall turnover margin           .43 28 3rd

 

2009 Clemson NCAA Defensive Ranks
Rushing Defense 151.50 67th Nationally 7th ACC
Pass Efficiency 110.88 21st 3rd
Pass Defense 162.79 7th 1st
Scoring Defense 20.43ppg 25th 4th
Total Defense 314 20th 3rd

Other 2009 NCAA Defensive Categories
Sacks per game               2.57 27th Nationally 2nd ACC
Sacks 36 13th 1st
Tackles for Loss 7.29pg/102 total  12th/8th 2nd
Interceptions 21 5th 1st

 

2009 Special Teams NCAA Rankings
Punt Returns                          7th Nationally 2nd ACC
Kickoff Returns 24th

1st

 

2010 Clemson NCAA Offensive Rankings
Rushing Offense            139.0 ypg 79th Nationally 7th  ACC
Passing Offense 195.62 78th 9th
Pass Efficiency 115.3 100th 9th
Total Offense 334.62 88th 10th
Scoring Offense 24.0 86th 10th
Sacks Allowed 1.38 pg 26th 3rd
Turnover Margin -.23 69th 8th

 

2010 NCAA Defensive Rankings
Rushing Defense 128.46ypg 28th  Nationally 5th ACC
Passing Efficiency Defense 116.24 27th 5th
Pass Defense 191.85 22nd 2nd
Scoring Defense 18.77ppg 13th 1st
Total Defense 320.31 19th 2nd
Other NCAA Defensive Rankings
Sacks Per Game 2.38pg 32nd Nationally  5th ACC
Total Sacks 31 T-28th 4th
Tackles for Loss 7.38pg 10th 3rd
Interceptions 15 34th 6th

 

Special Teams rankings
Punt Returns 29th Nationally 3rd ACC
Kickoff Returns 39th 2nd

All NCAA Rankings

FEI Rankings

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