2013 Citadel @ Clemson -- Game Preview

Rob Kinnan-US PRESSWIRE

The Tigers host The Citadel this weekend in the home season finale. We'll examine the opponent and peripherals surrounding this contest.

General Game Information

Game Time 12 Noon EST
Stadium Memorial Stadium, Frank Howard Field (81,500)
Host City Clemson, SC
Television ESPN3
Play by Play Announcer Jim Barbar
Color Commentator John Bunting
Sideline Angela Mallen
Clemson Radio Clemson Tiger Sports Network (WCCP FM)
CU Play-By-Play Pete Yanity
CU Color Commentary Will Merritt
CU Sideline Reporting Patrick Sapp

General Teams' Information

Clemson The Citadel
2013 Record: 9-1, 7-1 ACC 5-6, 4-4 in Southern Conference
Rankings: 7 AP, 6 USA Today, 7 BCS NR AP, NR USA Today, NR BCS
Location: Clemson, SC Charleston, SC
Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia Blue and White
Enrollment: 20,768 2,272
Athletic Director: Dan Radakovich Larry W. Leckonby
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney, Alabama ‘93 Kevin Higgins, West Chester ‘77
Record at Current School: 49-22 (.690) 43-57 (9th season)
Career Record: 49-22 (.690) 99-82-1 (16th season)
Offensive Coordinator: The Chad Bob Bodine
Base Offense: Spread Up-tempo Triple Option
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Venables Denny Doornbos
Base Defense: 4-3 4-2-5
Athletic Website: www.clemsontigers.com www.Citadelsports.com

Head Coach

The Citadel is led by Emerson, NJ native Kevin Higgins. Higgins has been in Charleston since 2005. Prior to his arrival at Military College of South Carolina, Higgins coached for the Detroit Lions (2001-2004) and was the head man at Lehigh from '94 through the 2000 season. At Lehigh, the Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League Championship four times.

While The Citadel may be struggling this season, Higgins has been relatively successful down there. The Bulldogs had a big year last season defeating Division 1-AA powers Georgia Southern and App. State in back to back weeks en route to a seven win season and won Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors for Higgins. Last season and Higgins' 2007 season are the only two seasons since 1992 that The Citadel has won seven football games. Additionally, Coach Dabo Swinney spent this week speaking highly of Higgins--comparing him repeatedly to Jack Leggett. Higgins played safety at West Chester from 1975-77.

Citadel currently sits at 5-6 overall. This team, though, is carrying a three game winning streak into Death Valley. I'll also note, as Coach Dabo did earlier this week, five of the Bulldogs' six losses are by one touchdown or less.

Offense

The Citadel offense is led by Bob Bodine. Bodine is a '93 Tulane graduate. His coaching career began there as a GA following his playing days. He has stops at Georgia Southern Bethune-Cookman, Jackson State, and VMI before ending up at The Citadel in 2010.

The Citadel is a triple option football team so they don't hide the fact that they want to run the football. This is an odd opportunity as our Tigers get the opportunity to see the triple option out of a flexbone-type formation two weeks in a row. This base offense is similar to what we saw last week against Tech in formation and base plays. I believe The Citadel refers to their wingbacks as "slot-backs" and GT called theirs "A-Backs." Like last week, I won't bore you here by rehashing this information but will direct you to a stream that was put together to highlight these items. I'll also note that over the past couple seasons The Citadel has used the Gun formation. That being said, don't expect the Bulldogs to get pass-happy when they roll into Clemson on Saturday.

The offense is led by Senior Quarterback Ben Dupree. Dupree leads the team in both rushing and passing with nearly 940 net yards (5.5 ypc, 18 TDs) on the ground and 578 passing yards on the season (40/74, 1 INt, 3 TD). Junior backup QB Aaron Miller made appearances in 8 of 11 games this season and contributed over 400 yards through the air and 205 yards on the ground for the season. The Bulldogs' other major offensive threat is Darien Robinson. Robinson, the team's starting B-Back (or fullback as most would call the position)--has 921 yards and 7 TDs on the season. He also sports a nice 5.5 ypc average from the Dive.

Defense

Denny Doornbos is the defensive signal caller for the Bulldogs. Doornbos, a 1978 Western Michigan graduate, spent his early career bouncing around at Michigan, Kent State, Boston College, and Illinois before starting a long run at Army. Doornbos was a part of a successful run at Northern Illinois in the mid-'90's where he was, like his time at Army, eventually promoted to defensive coordinator. Denny is in his fourth season in Charleston.

His 4-2-5 base fits with the schemes that Clemson is used to seeing to defend against the HUNH offense The Chad employs. The defense is led by Junior Carl Robinson. Robinson enters the game with 60 solo and 92 total tackles on the season. Considering the inconsistent offensive line play we've seen this year, you are probably interested in DE Justin Oxendine and DT Derek Douglas. This duo leads this team in quarterback sacks with 7.5 between them. Anytime you play a base 4-2-5, you always want to identify the linchpin of the group--the hybrid fifth defensive back. Citadel--which uses the terminology "STAR" for this position--inserted Rah Muhammad in this role. We discussed South Carolina's 4-2-5 (and the role of the "STAR"--or "SPUR"--as they call it) here a while back.

Overall

This is Senior Day in The Valley. While The Citadel has pulled big upsets in the past 20-25 years (you'll likely recall them beating SCar in Columbia and their defeat at Arkansas that cost Jack Crowe his job there), that is unlikely here. Clemson was able to daftly handle Paul Johnson's offense last week. If Clemson's defensive tackles come to play as they did last Thursday, Citadel will not be able to execute the Dive/Belly which ultimately rains on their parade. As we mentioned earlier, though, they do have a couple guys including the QB who have nearly 1000 yards on the season. Obviously Clemson must play assignment football. Clemson did a pretty good job there on the dive and forcing the pitchman last week but did get lost at times on the lateral to the wing. The Bulldogs haven't racked up many yards from this position but will if Clemson doesn't play proper fundamental defense against the option.

The Clemson offense is the Clemson offense. The Tigers clearly have much more firepower than this week's opponent. That being said, The Chad should be able to do pretty much whatever he wants. Per usual, we are always watching the offensive line. This is the area we are always watching and one that is of concern. Clemson has lacked a lot of push for quite some time. Additionally, the play we've seen from the right tackle position has been poor all season. Hopefully there can be some grand evolution there prior to the trip to Columbia and moving into Bowl season.

Clemson has the opportunity to win 10 football games in a single season for the third consecutive season. This would be the first time since '88-'90. I fully expect this thing to be out of hand in the third quarter. This means that the seniors will get their just applause when the starters exit the game early. Clemson will want to avoid unnecessarily risking any players as SCar and a potential big bowl game await this group following the football game.

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