The big question this morning is the status of starting safety Rashard Hall. Hall, a rising leader of the defense and a player Kevin Steele called the smartest player on that side of the ball, went down in Saturday's game against Troy. Dabo addressed the injury in today's press conference. It certainly doesn't sound good, and it always makes me a little nervous on how a player like Hall will recover, especially with the not so great track record the medical staff has had the past few seasons.
It's really kind of a strange deal. He probably could play this week. He feels pretty good. He doesn't have any swelling, but what they're going to do is fit him for a high-tech, special brace that relieves some pressure from the area that's bothering him. We'll see if we can hold him this week and see how that goes. If it responds well, next time he plays and he's comfortable with the brace, hopefully he'll be fine. If not, he may need some surgery at some point. He's our biggest concern right now. The strange thing is that he feels good. It's not something we need to get worse.
The Troy game was marked by a tale of two football halves. The offense was slow and inefficient in the first half. In the second half it appeared as if the early kinks had been ironed out and Tajh finally settled down and took command of the offense. Swinney addressed Tajh's first half performance:
He didn't play well. He had some basic execution things. We had some other guys who didn't play well. We had a few miscues where it was one guy. Tajh just wasn't quite himself in that first half.
Those that watched Steele's defense this past weekend most likely saw an early glimpse of what kind of talent Stephone Anthony is going to be in a Clemson uniform. It seems like forever since Clemson has put a dominating linebacker corps on the field, and Anthony at this early stage certainly looks like a guy that future offensive coordinators will have to scheme around. It sure would be nice to have a weapon at that spot to relieve some of the depth problems along the DL and now potentially at safety. It's going to take some time before he has the system down where he isn't thinking and is just playing, but it's hard not to get excited about what he will bring to the table.
He's special. He's special. Kevin will probably tell you the same thing. He is a very instinctive, talented freshman. He's got the whole package. To see the way he played Saturday was impressive. He just played that wheel route like he's been playing the last four years. He probably could have had the interception. On the sack, he went from point A to point B like a rocket. I just think he is a special guy. I've seen that in practice but you want to see it in a game. Defensively, we're a pretty complex system, especially where he's playing.
The Chad was not particularly happy with the early offensive blunders, especially the lack of any sort of execution on third down. While this offense is going to score points and run a ton of plays, it's going to put a lot of pressure on a young defense if Clemson can't sustain drives like the case was in the first half.
We just weren't doing some basic things we had been doing. And then third down. If you're 0-for-8 on third down, if you just hit three of them, that's nine more plays you get from a conversion standpoint. I was disappointed with that we were doing tempo-wise and execution.
Like most people, Dabo doesn't seem to be a fan of the wild new uniforms sported by Maryland last night in their opening game against Miami. While I didn't particularly care for the bright color schemes the Terps unveiled last night, I understand the players love them, and it certainly seemed to work, because it resulted in a win in a game that probably should have not have been as close as it was. I'm not so sure I would be in favor of a drastic uniform change, but I just want to win, plain and simple. If that means mixing it up every once in a while to get the players to actually go out and hit a team in the mouth like we haven't seen in forever, then I say go for it.
I don't think that would fly in Clemson. I had to turn my TV down. It was kind of bright. I saw the second half. I thought both of those teams looked good and played really hard. From a uniform standpoint, it was kind of hard to watch.
In his presser today, Dabo also touched on playing a large number of freshmen, preparing for Wofford, and whether he thought the Clemson play calling in the first half was vanilla or not.
Much more ahead from STS as we put the final touches on Week 1. That's all for now from 35,000 feet somewhere over the Rockies. Got to love technology right?