August is flying by and college football is just a couple weeks away. In Clemson, things are coming together for this team and we are getting a clearer picture of where this team will be on opening night in Atlanta. Today is fan app day, so if you are dying for some autographs, want to meet the players, or just want to walk around the stadium, today is your chance.
First off, Shaq Lawson was ruled ineligible due to one class not being accepted by the NCAA. This crap has been going on all summer and I am confused how the NCAA could take so long to make such a decision. We all thought it was a given that the class would be accepted but you know how the NCAA rolls...slowly. They also seem to ask themselves, "What decision makes the most sense" then, naturally, responds with an action exactly opposite of that decision. Anyway, Lawson will spend this semester at Hargrave then come back to Clemson in January with Tankersley.
Martin Jenkins looks like he may redshirt due to injury. You know what we say here at STS, use the redshirts wisely. If a player is (A) worth keeping around and (B) likely won't get a reasonable amount of snaps in an upcoming season due to competition, lack of development, and/or injury, go ahead and redshirt the guy so that he can better contribute in future years. I think I heard one of the coaches refer to this as "stealing a year." I like that term and hope that Coach Dabo and crew do more evaluating with this option on the table. If Jenkins does redshirt, he will be the second player (Justin Parker) to travel this path in '12.
Gifford Timothy had his knee scoped a week or so ago and will likely not be starting at right tackle when the Tigers take the field against Auburn. Timothy began jugging/running this past week and hopefully be available as a reserve in the season opener.
I had some scathing remarks last week regarding the idea of shifting your starting center to tackle and moving a freshman into the starting center role. Fortunately, the coaches have chosen a more reasonable path forward. Instead, the Tigers will likely rely on Freshmen Joe Gore and/or Shaq Anthony, though Swinney refuses to completely rule out Dalton Freeman playing at the tackle position. Moving Freeman would essentially mean five new starters along the line. It would juggle an experienced guy out of an important spot...Clemson's offense revolves around A-gap to A-gap running concepts, meaning the center is a critical component of the offense.
If Freeman is moved to tackle, freshman Ryan Norton will snap the football. Norton has impressed the staff this camp...so much so that Norton has been taking snaps with the first unit at the guard position. Make no mistake about it, the staff eventually wants him as the center but see him as a current potential upgrade to Kalon Davis'/David Beasley's inconsistent performance throughout camp. I personally prefer Freeman to stay at center and Norton to be the guy they move around to plug potential holes this season before he is the full time center next year.
We are all excited to see the receivers take the field this season. Guys like Charone Peake and Martavis Bryant have long been on our radar and have been praised by the staff heading into '12. Both will get opportunities early. Bryant is the speedster and I want to see him streaking down the sidelines and make the big plays. Peake was tremendously hyped coming out of high school. I expect to see much escalated production this season. I've said the past couple weeks that this receiving corps, particularly these two combined with Nuk, have enough fire power to make up for Sammy's early season absence. Hopkins has made great strides in his first football-centered offseason and I expect that if Tajh has time to throw Hopkins will have a ridiculous season in '12. He is just too good and, with more preparation, should be aimed for a monster season.
We've discussed the #2 Quarterback spot at times here, and we will likely discuss different aspects of this role moving forward. However, one thing I don't think we'll have to discuss is who the backup will be heading into the season...Cole Stoudt. The staff still has given nothing concrete regarding Chad Kelly's 2012 season plans. We hope that the redshirts unless there is compelling evidence that The Chad has to package him into a group of plays that will directly impact the win/loss category. The only other reason to pull the redshirt here is injury.
As for the #1, what's the over under on weight gain this season? Most oddsmakers would probably put it at 20...pounds that is. I believe that puts the moneyline somewhere around -240. I believe I would parlay the over with a moneyline -140 on 4 UGa players who will get arrested yet miss no action.
Speaking of UGa, your boy Jim Donnan is running a Ponzi scheme. First off, who the hell is giving Jim Donnan a boatload of their hard earned cheddar for "investment purposes" anyway (unless that investment is a running back or--in the tradition of Georgia football--a Trans Am for a running back)? Second, how in the hell does a former college football coach believe he can run such a scheme and get away with it? Dude, this ain't Jackie Sherrill your are trying to outfox...it is the SEC...and this isn't the SEC that Vince Dooley can sweet talk you through, these are the guys who hammer much more sophisticated crooks than you. I guess if your old bosses pulled some strings to get the greatest football player in college football history, you get cocky enough to steal $80 million. I just hope he gets exactly what he deserves for such theft.
We mentioned the AP released its preseason Top 25 poll yesterday. As stated yesterday, I think that it is somewhat ridiculous to release this poll prior to the season. Further, I think it is a poor decision to release these types of polls before the month of September has passed. Early releases of the polls give teams that were good last year or anticipated to be good this season an advantage over the others. Teams rarely move down the poll unless they lose, so teams that start out with higher rankings and play poorly yet win will be rewarded better than teams that start out ranked with a low ranking but play lights out. For many teams, such a situation could inhibit the latter teams.
Golf...well, the majors completed last week with Rory lapping the field down in Kiawah last weekend. This week another famous name is on top of the leader board-Sergio Garcia. I suspect most folks will put the golf on the backburner-at least until the start of the FedEx Cup-as soon as college football tees in up next Thursday night. I won't lie, I am right there with you. One item that I was watching was John Daly's quest for the Cup-probably not a bad idea for a website or reality TV show. After missing the cut this week, I don't think he has a shot. Hopefully JD can carry this momentum through the winter and into next year as I would love nothing more than to see the Lion back on Tour full time rocking it out across the country.
Preseason football seems to be more unbearable this season than I remember in previous years. The Raiders/Cowboys game last week invoked vomiting. It is rough when the announcers are pulling for a team not to score do avoid extending such a bad football game. The Jets were equally tough to watch yesterday. Hopefully these guys are just getting their acts together and the quality will improve. The issue is probably on my end. I am Jonesing for football so bad that I immediately turn to any station featuring the game--regardless of the situation (preseason, basic drills, whatever).
Oh, and the obligatory malt liquor video you need to kick of the week.