Where do you really start? I'll try not to regurgitate the post-game rant but, unfortunately, you'll have to endure most of the themes drawn last night from the failure at State.
What we saw yesterday was akin to Tom Bowden's tenure in Clemson. There is absolutely no excuse for such a performance particularly when there is so much to gain with a win in Raleigh. Let's review what this team could have accomplished with a win yesterday. Clemson had a chance to secure its 10th win of the season. CU hasn't had a 10 win season since 1990. Clemson was #7 in the BCS and had an outside-while very unlikely, still an outside-shot of sneaking into the MNC game if a large combination of events fell its way. Clemson could have gone undefeated in division play and carried some momentum into next week's football contest down in Columbia. With all this on the line, this is what you get out of the Sweatshirt in his post-game presser:
"Really, poor job of coaching, poor job playing, everything involved and there's no excuse. They wanted more than we did and it's that simple."
These folks had better get their heads out of their asses soon else SCar and VTech will beat their brains in just like NCST. If Dabo wants the respect of a region, the conference, and the nation this is not the way to do it. Getting rolled by a 5-5 team that was 2-4 in conference prior to this contest is unacceptable. This team was not focused, looked confused, and didn't seem to care about this game and it showed.
Dabo's other comments were equally disturbing:
"We looked like an immature team out there tonight. I'm really embarrassed."
Whose fault and responsibility is it to get this team ready to play each week? That's right, Dabs, it's the head ball coach. Why is this team immature? Last I checked, we started one freshman on offense (Adam Humphries) and one on defense (Stephone Anthony I believe was on the field to open play). This means every other starter has been in the Clemson program for at least 1.80 seasons. AND THEY ARE STILL IMMATURE? That sounds like a philosophical issue that starts at the top. They are immature, Sweatshirt, because you don't implement the necessary discipline and practice regimen to work the immaturity out of this team. I suppose the head man will explain away the poor fundamentals we display as a function of immaturity as well? As the old saying goes, "You play the way you practice." Clearly this team needs to revise its practice strategy.
The post-game rant beat the offensive line up almost as bad as the NCST defensive line last night, and they definitely deserve the criticism. Injuries or not, this play was simply unacceptable. The piss poor play up front is the reason this game got ugly. Taylor, Ingram, and Clowney will eat these guys alive, especially if we see the effort put forth in Raleigh. It was no surprise that Clemson got zero push yesterday but I didn't expect to see our Tigers get flat out embarrassed off of speed rushes, bull rushes, and basic inside attempts to get up the field. I am sure Tajh Boyd is particularly happy with his line now as the Wolfpack teed off on him all night.
So, where do we go from here? You cannot turn a soft team into a tough one over Thanksgiving week, so we'll pray that Clemson can get things going with their skills players and maybe took this assbeating to heart. We hope this somehow lights a fire under some folks to fix the obvious outstanding items. We'll also hope that freshman Sammy Watkins can come in and provide the spark needed to move the ball. Ellis Johnson will surely employ a strategy similar as Tech and State employed. This involves getting pressure from the front five then playing zone behind this. If we cannot stop their pass rush, Clemson is done-particularly because run blocking is effectively nonexistent. If Clemson gives Boyd adequate protection, he has to make good decisions with the football.
Defensively, I am not sure why we are 11 games into this season and still look confused all around. The secondary spent every presnap yelling at each other and didn't appear prepared for the play. Additionally, tackling technique was poor...I just cannot get over the fact that we do not wrap up. It is disgusting to watch defenders try to throw a shoulder into the ball carrier. These guys are out of control and give up tons of extra yards due to this poor technique.
Yes Carolina is a beatable team but if the Clemson team that showed up yesterday shows up in the Mecca they will get earholed. We'll get deeper into strategy and what we think of the Gamecocks as the week progresses. Hopefully this offense keeps Melvin Ingram from scoring twice and avoids making Conner Shaw look like Joe Montana circa 1988.
Outside of the Clemson football arena and onto the national scene, the past week's football was ridiculous with Oregon, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State all losing. This essentially makes next week's LSU/Arkansas game incredibly important as the winner will likely play Bammer for the MNC. On the Eastern side of the SEC, Georgia squeaks into the SECCG despite not having the best record in its division. I am really not sure how this is possible. I think that divisions should be decided by interdivision play only. It is a rip-off that UGa skated through a cake schedule while Florida and Tennessee got drilled by the schedule makers. UF played LSU and Alabama in the west. Tennessee played Bama, LSU, and Arky. Both Florida and UT got drilled in each of these games. Georgia on the other hand played Ole Miss, Miss St., and Auburn from the other side. Here is the kicker-each of these games counts the same in terms of crowning a division champ. South Carolina had to play Arkansas (and got embarrassed like the others) but that game essentially cost them their division despite their perfect record in the East and a win over Georgia.
I don't necessarily care about the SEC (it doesn't matter because either UGA or USC would get rolled in Atlanta in two weeks) but think that other conferences-Swofford are you listening?-should reevaluate how division champions are crowned and give more importance to games played against common opponents. This is a big issue with the emergence of superconferences and is one reason I am a proponent of 16-18 team leagues that put a premium on interdivision football games.
This weekend should be another great one for college football fans, with big and important games all over the place. Beginning Thursday, the platter is set for three solid days to give thanks for all the items we are fortunate to enjoy, eating all the turkey and dressing one can stand, and being enthralled in a football overdose. As always, we'll ramp up for our contest and continue to keep an eye on what's going on across the nation and, specifically, how it could affect the bowl schedule.