The folks at SBNation have challenged us to begin our bowl coverage with a quick primer on the game and how our coaching strategy will affect the game's outcome. We will use this article as a "kickoff" for bowl season and CU's attempt to capture another Orange Bowl trophy. Clearly, we'll be discussing this matchup in detail in anticipation of the game in a couple weeks.
Clemson will be participating in the 2012 Orange Bowl against Big East foe West Virginia. Clemson's success will largely revolve around the Tigers ability to slow down Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense, as the Mountaineer defense doesn't exactly strike fear in our Tigers / Chad Morris / Dabo Swinney. Overall, WVU backdoored its way into this game via a fortunate series of events late in the season. Even so, the Mountaineers are a very capable bunch and will beat Clemson if the Tigers take this contest lightly and/or show the same efforts we saw in our losses this season.
Coach Swinney will need to be careful getting this team ready to play. While Swinney and crew did achieve the 10 win mark this season, our Tigers looked terrible after getting off to a fast 8-0 start. Swinney will need to set the tone for December practices being cautious not to allow the highs to get too high or the lows to bring the team down too low. This is critical especially after a long layoff. Teams often open bowl games rusty and sluggish or so excited that they make dumb mistakes early.
A gentleman who will certainly keep this offense focused is offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Morris was rewarded by Clemson for his excellent work this season to the tune of $1.3 million. He won't be sitting on his rear. Morris is a very driven coach who is focused on the next game, the next goal, and ultimately finishing the job.
Kevin Steele will again see his unit challenged. It is imperative that all members of this defense step their game up. West Virginia is very capable of putting points up quickly and we'll need to neutralize QB Geno Smith and his stable of receivers if Clemson is to win its 11th game of the year. Fortunately for Steele, WVU is not overly impressive rushing the football so hopefully this defense can assure they are one dimensional and focus on the aerial assault the Mountaineers are sure to throw at this defense.
Overall, we look forward to Clemson's first Orange Bowl trip in thirty years and first BCS appearance overall. We look for Clemson to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of them. Clemson has an opportunity to win a BCS game, break the 11 win mark, and show out as the feature game during the middle of BCS week.
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