In Clemson news, we are just a matter of weeks from the start of the football season. Clearly, you all know where we at STS think we stand this year...fireworks on offense and question marks on the other side of the field. As everyone knows, that is about where Georgiafan stands looking at his/her team. Lots of questions will still be in the air in a couple weeks after the Tigers rub the rock and run down the hill.
Speaking of the Rock...homeboy's Pops and another fellow got pulled into this fiasco for-allegedly-running interference and other such crap. This is playing out like a bad episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, except fucking with one of the greatest traditions in all of football is a bit different than catching the Duke boys in a speed trap, Daisy tricking Enos via short shorts and a homemade pie, only to see the Duke boys back after it after Boss Hogg enlists a group of thugs that somehow kidnap LuLu and have Roscoe strip down to nothing but his drawers (Flash was ok, if you were wondering). I don't know these jokers who allegedly ruined one of Clemson's greatest treasures and I will not judge them here-there is little reason to rant and rave, cuss and scream because I am sure each of you out there has done it in response to this act of vandalism. I will say that simply based on geography, I will likely never have interface with these guys-either out in general public or through business ventures. If they are guilty, they will get their due...
On the football field, Dr. B gave us a pretty good overview of Clemson's practice thus far...If you haven't read it, do it. Otherwise, we are razor thin at WR, appear to have a pretty good offensive line, are deeper than most thought we'd be at running back, need improvement in the TE-and likely won't depend on the people in this position early, and are finally seeing our highly touted linebackers show out. The defensive backfield at this point is a complete cluster you know what. We'd be surprised if this thing comes close to being fixed prior to the Georgia game. I got nothing more to report and believe this is generally how most feel about this team heading into the second half of August. My independent opinion (with little deviation from the info above) can be seen in the paragraph below.
If you can't tell, I have a confident/nervous feeling towards this football season. I'll start by giving Swinney a shout out and tons of praise for getting Chad Morris in the South Carolina Upstate. The Chase is, well, The Chad, but Dabo took the time to do the research and brought the man from Tulsa to Clemson. That's that. I still have no clue how poorly our secondary will be this season. We didn't exactly return excellence and have tons of injuries to compound the issue. When the football is thrown down the field against us this year, I recommend covering your eyes and praying. Fortunately, though, the guys in front of them look pretty good so far. Word is that Anthony and Steward both have had great performances. We saw improvement up front over the course of last season and now we will finally see the fruits of their struggles the past year...we really threw guys into the fire and by the end of last season we saw results...we are banking on a continuation to get us going this year.
On the Georgia front, we began informally discussing their football team last week and I'll continue that dialogue today. From my initial research and memory from the past couple years, Georgia should be retooling/reloading their defense. We should consider ourselves lucky to play them early in the season, as I believe that this group will be vastly improved by season's end. Georgia must replace twelve defenders who have started at one point in their career. This includes three players who chose to leave school early following last season to go play in the League.
Georgia will utilize a 3-4 base front. This was implemented by defensive coordinator Todd Grantham when he came to UGa from the NFL. I'll go ahead and note the work that Grantham has done at Georgia has been impressive. Even though on paper their defense hasn't been overpowering or necessarily considered elite, Grantham had to overcome many years of Willie Martinez. We all knew it would take a couple years and a lot effort to reverse the effects of Martinez. Now the challenge for TG will be to get his guys experience.
When you combine the struggles that we expect out of Clemson's defensive backfield with the inexperience that Georgia brings to the table as an entire defensive unit, this could be one of the highest scoring contests in Death Valley history. Right now the Over/Under is 68 and UGA is a 1.5 point favorite (opened at 69 and Clemson a 2 point favorite). Clearly the experts expect a whole lot of scoring as well.
I'll switch gears for a second and point to an interesting article about Dwayne Allen. In this article, Allen is very candid about his attitude throughout his Clemson career as well as his evolution into a better team player. That piece can be found here and gives a very real indication of his progression as a person more so than a player.
If you guys are like me (and you live in South Carolina), you have been thwarted by efforts to head to the golf course and have, instead, been watching the Solheim Cup all weekend. These ladies are damn good and very fun to watch. Their swings are more compact than the men and they definitely are as, if not more, exciting to watch than their male couterparts. The decision on 15 Friday was ridiculous. (A) It took 30 minutes to finally figure it out. (B) As stated after the round, the young lady should not have been able to drop behind the established entry point (sans the two club drop) (C) the official put a laser on the pin...to figure the distance on both sides of the hazard-which is acceptable-then announced the distance. That is unacceptable. Granted, these are professionals so they know distances, but the use of a rangefinder is illegal, thus the rules official had no right to tell anyone the distance. He only needed the distance to confirm the drop location-not announce it to the world. Anyway, the lady golfers are damn good so if you haven't watched one of their tournaments (or, in this case, their version of the Ryder Cup), do it. The results for the American team have been dismal. You cannot simply blame one poor ruling for these people being down 10-1/2 to 5-1/2 going into the individual match portion today. The USA needs an absolute miracle to keep the Europeans from winning their first Cup on American soil in the history of this event.
So far as the folks on the Golf Channel being unpatriotic, they have simply called it as it is. The Americans are getting rolled at the Solheim Cup and it would take a miracle for the US to come back and win this thing. Europe has been simply dominant. The Americans, I will admit, do have a better celebratory item (John Cena's you can't see me hand motion). To win this thing, these ladies may want to step up the celebratory moves, possibly to this level.
Also, do yourself a favor, a lot of those ladies still have simple swings (though many of them are now getting to the point the men have gotten just to ensure length)...find a simple swing and emulate it on the golf course. I guarantee it will provide improved ball striking. (I know, I know, that's what she said).
The men are up in Greensboro at the Wyndham Championship. John Huh and Patrick Reed lead the field in the final tournament prior to the Fed-Ex Cup tournaments. The big item that stuck out to me was Charles Howell III's disqualification for use of non-conforming equipment. At some point on the range prior to Friday's round, a cap fell off his driver (I believe the cap covered a weight port). This, per TaylorMade, would not affect the performance of the club. Nevertheless, the powers that be deemed the club non-conforming and, having played with a non-conforming club, was disqualified from the event. For those curious, had the cap fallen off during his round on Friday he would have been allowed to finish his round with this club with no penalty but would need to fix it prior to the start of round three.
The NASCAR circuit is up at Michigan today. After this afternoon, the boys go to Bristol then Atlanta then Richmond then the Chase begins. Interestingly, Austin Dillon will fill in for Tony Stewart today. Dillon is the grandson of legendary Richard Childress and has been riding in RCR's #3 in the Truck and Busch Series races the past couple years. Stewart, as you all know, was injured several weeks ago in a non-Winston Cup event on a Monday night. He broke his leg/several bones in his leg and is out indefinitely. Feel free to discuss athletes participating in dangerous activities outside of their respective sports.
Finally, it is never too early to start preparing for football season. If you are planning on heading up to Tigertown in a couple weeks, let us know what you do to prepare for tailgating. Hopefully, readers out there will create a tailgating checklist and use information gained from others to better prepare/implement tailgating ideas this season. Also, if anyone is interested in college fantasy football, P.Spence'12 placed a FanPost and is organizing one. The link to that post is below (or you can find it on the right hand side of the main page).