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Its almost time....

Napier Press Conference highlights:
-The Installation of the offense is done (actually most of this is done in about 2 weeks, and then they work on details and rep plays), and the call sheet (scripted plays) will be done tonight for MTSU. Napier is not the only one scripting the plan, the whole offensive staff is contributing, along with Swinney. This should certainly speed up the tempo of the offense, and give them confidence that they are dictating to the D, rather than reacting. You should see LOTS of formations, purposefully so, to show how they will react to certain formations and packages, then the coaches react off of that information the rest of the game.
-"A light has come on for Cory Lambert at RT" but he adds that Pearman has to keep his foot in his ass.
-MTSU plays good coverage (note we alluded to their experienced secondary) and tackled pretty well last season.
-He'd take the first 7 guys on the OL right now, after that, he's not so confident.
-Brandon Clear has advanced a bit in the last week, with Dye out (hammy). He believes its more a confidence thing than his skills that are lacking.

The rest is just coachspeak garbage.

Steele had a little more to say during his meeting with reporters that interested me.

Q. Could you talk about the difficulty of getting to Middle Tennessee's quarterback?

Steele. "They're taking the snap at about 6, 6 ½ yards, drifting to 10 or 11, sometimes 12 yards deep and getting it out of his hands. So there's a little more time there than what you think. But there's so much distance. I mean, it's an 11-yard sprint for the front four.

"The change in the offense to Tony's system is not that drastic. They had 12 games last year and gave up 15 sacks. Then Troy (where Franklin was before Auburn) gave up 18 sacks in 12 or 13 games. You've got to affect them, but it's hard to get them on the ground."

Q. Does Franklin use the quarterback as more of a running threat than Middle Tennessee has?

Steele. "That's really kind of new in his system. In the Kentucky days with (Hal) Mumme and (Mike) Leach, that was not a factor with the quarterback running. I think what's going on at Florida has kind of filtered into that system. There's the zone-read and the orbit option, where they motion the wide receiver in and create the split-back veer or sometimes even the wishbone concept with the pitchman. We have to look at all those, because really there's not a lot of tape on that at Troy. And then at Auburn, it was a two-headed monster. (Brandon) Cox didn't run any time, and (Kodi) Burns did. And the new guy who played at Auburn the early part of last season was not a runner.

Expect liberal substitution on the front due to that amount of sprinting, and more Robber with Maye playing Spy on the QB. When asked about Franklin's struggles at Auburn last year he mentioned the real reason why...."its sometimes tainted by higher powers."

As Dinich writes below and I expand on a little there and previously in reference to GT's option, Alexander will not play much SAM this week. Clemson will be in mostly a Nickel package, similar to what we ran last year in look (but more versatile in blitzing). I am thinking of a post on defending the spread, hopefully I'll get it out this week.

Q. Could you reflect on the decision to move Kevin Alexander to SAM linebacker?

Steele. "Obviously he's a big man, and he's very powerful and strong. That's really negated this week because the SAM linebacker is probably not going to be on the field at any time this game, unless they start putting two-back sets out there with a tight end. At this point in time, we'd probably pay them to do that."

-Himself, Brooks, and Rumph will be on the sideline. Harbison will be in the press box. He doesnt see it as a potential issue, since he and Harbison both worked for Dom Capers and Saban in the past.
-Some work was done in Camp on the first 6 opponents, similar to Saban and Capers' systems.

Links and news
-Ron Morris writes about his Clemson predictions.

Clemson is talented enough to defeat Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest, Miami, Coastal Carolina and Virginia. The only likely loss is at Georgia Tech, with toss-up games against TCU, Florida State, N.C. State and South Carolina.

Let's say Clemson wins one of the toss-up games, leaving the Tigers with an 8-4 regular-season record and an Atlantic Division championship. Then Clemson will find its match in the ACC title game, losing to BCS-bound Virginia Tech.

Clemson will head to the Chick-fil-A Bowl for the third time in the past seven seasons. No matter the outcome against Arkansas in Atlanta, the Tigers will have proven they are a championship-caliber club.

I think Ron has it all wrong, as usual. TCU is a toss-up? In any other year I might say yes, but if we can't score on a defense that lost most of what they had, considering its early in the season (I wouldnt want them in November), then the rest of those Ws he predicts are going in the toilet.

And the Cluckers? Gimme a damn break.

-Then his Clucker-article of the week, on Spurriers rise to fame at the hands of NC State.

-Martavis Bryant, the first verbal for next year's class, is now a soft commitment. He says theres a 90% chance he'll come to Clemson, but he wants to take his visits and look at whats around. Friday night his T.L. Hanna team will play Daniel, and he should match up with DeAndre Hopkins a little. I might make it to see T.L. Hanna play Gaffney in a couple weeks.

-I thought this article on SCsportssource was pretty good, on the idea that football is religious on the South.

-The genius Heather Dinich talks about Kevin Alexander's role in some defensive packages, which is not quite a platoon with Scotty Cooper as some might believe.

When the Tigers' defense lines up in their nickel and dime packages, Alexander will be used as a defensive end, the position he's played most of his career at Clemson. But when they're in regular calls, Alexander will morph into another bandit end that's used exactly like a strongside linebacker. The new responsibilities Alexander had to learn were only about 20 percent more than he was used to, Steele said. The bandit end is an outside linebacker/defensive end depending on the call.

Prior to Steele's arrival, Clemson's defense had been heavily a nickel package defense, using five defensive backs and two linebackers. Because of that, the linebackers were good athletes, but didn't have much size. In some of Steele's calls, he said he needs a strongside linebacker to "create a telephone post on the end of the line of scrimmage."

"Obviously a 220-pound telephone post is not quite as effective as a 265-pound telephone post," Steele said. "If the tight end blocks down and you've got to take a pulling guard on, obviously he's a pretty massive fellow running in there."

While this quote might make you think its going to be only Cooper in Nickel/Dime packages, as a MAC/MONEY backer (the two LBs in most Nickel/Dime schemes are renamed Mac(MIKE) and MONEY($) usually) with Brandon Maye, it is not going to be Alexander in at SAM in most pass-definite situations even with 3 LBs in the game, he's just not used to playing coverage yet.

It also gives you a hint that we won't line up in a true 4-3 everytime, note the mention of "hybrid end/OLB"...this means we will see 3-4 looks from the front, this is an NFL-like multiple scheme.

-Brad Scott said Cloy tended to wear down during the course of a game last season, so Freeman, who pushed for the starting job the first two weeks of preseason camp, should see regular playing time.

"Cloy doesn't have the ability to play 60 snaps. He gets washed out a little bit so therefore I need to get Freeman in there a little bit," Scott said. "I'm going to definitely rotate centers."

-Top 10 ACC games to see, via ESPN.

6. Florida State at Clemson, Nov. 7: The talent and speed on the field in this game will be impressive, as will the matchup between FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and Clemson first-year defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. This game will feature two frontrunners for the Atlantic Division.
10. Clemson at NC State, Nov. 14: Both programs should be in contention for the Atlantic Division this season, and this game could push one ahead of the other. At this point in the season, Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker should be playing like a veteran, and it could be a great matchup of quarterbacks with Russell Wilson.

I really think the GT/CU game should be on here instead of either FSU or NCSU. This game will show us how good we are, and how polished the 'Bone is running in Atlanta.

-Trevor Booker has a low-grade stress fracture and a contusion, but should be just fine, if he doesnt aggravate or make it worse, for the season opener.

-Geathers gets a "modified" one-game suspension at Sakerlina, imagine that.