For the first time since 2000, Clemson is 5-0 and will be ranked in the Top 10 this week. They've beated 3 ranked squads in a row, and both defending divisional winners in the conference. If Clemson takes care of its business, they'll position themselves for a good bowl game or possibly the conference championship. You're allowed to take a sip of the Kool-Aid. As long as Dabo recruits and lets Chad Morris and Steele do their thing, he can win here.
But not too much, we have to prove that we won't fall on our faces and we still have tough conference games ahead. BC gives us fits and Georgia Tech is rolling right now, plus UNC still has really good players. Don't anoint anyone just yet. We won't here until we see an ACC Title in the trophycase. We're just happy that we can say we went into a dogfight and played poorly, yet still came away with a W against a good team that will somehow find a way to win 9 or 10 games despite their OC.
This game went almost as I had hoped except for a stretch early on when we couldn't stop the run and couldn't capitalize on their mistakes. Clemson's defense did not tackle well overall in space, and we did not play well on special teams, but VT's offense lacks direction and their ST was (for once) not so great. The D got the stops when we needed them, including a couple huge ones in our territory. The coverage was airtight from our guys, as we said in the preview that we really did not fear VT's receivers. They're just sound, not flashy. They needed some flashy to capitalize on our mistakes and didn't get it done.
However, I did not see a good gameplan from Mike O'Cain. Frankly I'm not surprised at that fact since he couldn't figure out Duke in 2004, but I'd figure he could see how poorly we were tackling in the open field and would get Wilson the ball in space. Wilson was their only hope of moving the ball, and Logan Thomas didn't get much chance to show his skills even when Andre Branch wasn't planting his ass in the turf. Did they attack us downfield more than once or twice? We were even without Breeland (concussion on the first hit) for the whole game and they really didn't pick on anyone in the secondary with a defined strategy.
The freshmen LBs did get in there, Anthony in particular a good bit. Steward got in there late in the game, meaning theres no way he would get a medical RS this far into the season. Now they have to play him. Anthony made a couple nice tackles that I saw and his play in space is getting better. Look for him to play quite a bit more next week.
I'm proud of the offense and Tajh Boyd for fighting out a W here against a very good defense without big days from Nuk or Sammy or AE. We still have to work on running the ball inside. If we had, this game would've been over in the 3rd. Tajh did not have his best day but we didn't expect him to up there, thankfully he settled down and did not try to force balls into coverage. They would've ended up picked against this defense, and the 1 pick he did throw was a good play by the defender. His throws to the sideline are still sailing high, which looks to be a footwork issue combined with some adrenaline. In the first half, VT was doing an extremely good job of pattern matching us underneath, and were playing mostly C4. In the film review we'll make note of exactly what they were doing, but it appeared to be very physical bracket coverage on Watkins wherever he went. You can expect future opponents to try the same from now on.
As I said last week, Dwayne Allen is nearly indefensible when he tries, and you saw again today that VT has no answer to match up on him. C4's weakness is in the flats, and thats where we hit it with him. Dwayne was really the biggest weapon today, and Jaron Brown fought for some balls that were needled into tight windows. Everyone else did just enough to win, which is fine by me against a Foster defense.