I originally typed a fairly scathing article yesterday evening regarding some of the crap we saw yesterday. It got toned back after a night's rest only because we strive to be fair here. I want to give the staff the benefit of multiple games before going batshit crazy due to what appears to be a toughness issue. I still expect Munson to single us out but we probably won't get a press conference lecture, at least not this week.
I am definitely not pleased with lots of things out of the Tigers yesterday, particularly the toughness of this football team. This type of attitude resonates from the head coach all the way down. For that reason, I'll maintain that our team is SOFT because Swinney facilitates this. You wouldn't expect such out of a man who played his college ball for a head coach who's tough as nails. Stallings learned from one tough SOB and the Sweatshirt should have learned from Bebes.
We looked soft up front on both sides of the ball. As we've said in the past, this is a product of strength & conditioning combined with a top-down commitment to being tougher than the other guy, then going out and whipping ass. There was none of this by our either the offensive or defensive line. Troy looked like they wanted it more up front and, had we not been more overall athletically gifted, the whole Clemson nation would be in complete meltdown mode this morning demanding heads roll. We are certainly not to that point yet, but fans should be concerned. Certainly the less experienced players (including Tajh Boyd) will mature. And, certainly, the big question will again be Clemson's play up front.
We will definitely let you know if we ever toughen up, start playing with fire in the belly, and dominate our opponent (especially up front). Else, Clemson will be viewed as a "finesse" squad that may or may not be able to respond to adversity but won't bring the war to its opponents in the trenches.
I thought the freshmen played well on offense and special teams yesterday. Watkins had a big day, leading the team with seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Bellamy had a big day on just three carries (81 yards including an impressive 75 yard touchdown scamper) and a nice opening kickoff return. I am always leery of putting too much pressure on players who are not ready but understand that in order to be successful this year we absolutely have to rely on players who weren't even at Clemson this time last year. I will be interested to sit down and tally the number of snaps taken by Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony in addition to other young defensive players.
Our tackling was abysmal in this first game. This has to improve for this team to be successful. As you know, nothing pisses us off quite like a missed tackle-well, nothing outside of a missed PAT.
I was disappointed with several aspects of secondary play, particularly in the first half. We know this group is relatively young but the mistakes were not limited to just them. Rashard Hall took a bad angle in the first quarter, which is something we don't expect from the veteran.
Chandler Catanzaro had a nice day kicking field goals, converting all three of his attempts. Each of these three-pointers was from approximately 45 yards out. This is extremely encouraging after the inconsistencies we saw last season. He did miss a PAT, which drives us absolutely nuts and is unacceptable.
I'll say that, after a very poor first half, Clemson did a nice job adjusting at half and executed much better on both sides of the ball in the 3rd and 4th quarters. We got into more of an offensive groove and tightened up on defense. Clemson was able to pull away in the game. This was a recurring theme for Auburn last season. I won't go further with this comparison, though, as we did not come close to approaching Morris' goal of 80+ plays per game (we had approximately 70 yesterday).
Scheme-wise, there were few surprises out of the Tigers. We were forced into a lot of nickel due to Troy's spread attack. Offensively, Morris seemed to "shorten up" his offense after half...probably because our offensive line wasn't playing particularly well.
I'll rewatch the film this week in preparation for Wofford on Saturday. I am sure more thoughts will emerge here...some good and some not so good. We'll probably reference the Troy game for a couple weeks because items from this contest are more relevant than feedback from Wofford. Additionally, we aren't necessarily ignoring Wofford but are more focused on things we anticipate seeing out of the Tigers against Auburn, FSU, and VTech.
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Anthony and Goodman Combine for a QB Sack
Dwayne Allen 54 Yard Touchdown Catch
Martavis Bryant 54 Yard Grab
Overall Game Highlights