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What to Look for--Miami

Things to Look for…Clemson at Miami




Clemson’s offensive line play.

This has been a wild card every game this season, and will probably be on the watch list for the balance of this season.  Last week against Wake, the offensive line protection was acceptable for the majority of the game.  There was an instance early in the contest where McClain and Freeman got beaten on a sack of Parker, and late in the game Cory Lambert looked foolish, allowing Will Korn to take a pretty tough hit.  Miami’s front four are arguably the most athletic that Clemson will play this year, so I will anticipate more help from the TE’s and backs to slow the onrush in passing situations.  In rushing situations Clemson gets not gotten push hat on hat all season, and I don’t expect a deviation from this trend against the ‘Canes.  What I do expect is a lot of zone blocking throughout.  We will continue to watch the Tigers’ combo-blocks and ability to get to the next level. 


Based on the previous six games, I do not expect to see a methodical rushing attack.  Clemson instead will most likely get their yardage on the ground by Spiller making cuts against the grain, picking up a block, and making a move in space.  Hopefully we will see the speedy Miami defense over-pursue and put themselves in poor position to make plays on the ball.  This will be the standard 2 yards, 1 yard, 1 yard, 15 yards, 1 yard, as CU's zone blocking strategy is feast or famine.


Clemson’s defensive line play/Steele’s level of aggression

Jacory Harris is one of those cats you must keep bottled up and under pressure to have any chance of success against Miami’s offense.  Harris has shown out on national TV a couple of times, specifically against Florida State and Georgia Tech to open the season (fortunately, these defenses have been revealed to be less than impressive on the season)  Consequently, it will be important for Clemson’s front four to get in the backfield and pressure Harris.

Central Florida showed last week that you can get sacks against the U, racking up 6 sacks by constantly blitzing and bringing extra folks all night.  I don’t think Clemson can afford to be as aggressive as last week against Wake, as Miami’s skill players are much more talented than WF’s personnel and forcing Clemson to respect the Cane offensive firepower.  Steele obviously knows this Miami squad can score quickly if given the opportunity.  I have already spent half the season praising the defensive line (particularly the Bamberg connection), and this group will really need to rise to the occasion this weekend.

 DaQuan Bowers has been given some of the play-calling duties for the pass rush.

Clemson’s play selection

Last week, Napier/Swinney did a good job finding weaknesses and exploiting them.  The game plan and game play was fluid, as Clemson found areas to exploit and kept on hammering home play action and draw plays while reaping the benefits of a huge run by Spiller and utilizing formations that employ two TE’s.  Clemson will need to avoid empty back/5 WR formations and give the offensive line some help via play action, TE/back chipping, or max protection schemes.  With Michael Palmer having the best hands on the team, I also expect to see a lot of him, even in 4 wide formations, as Palmer runs good routes and is a threat from the slot. 


Special teams play

If there is one area of this football game that Clemson has an obvious advantage, it is in the area of special teams.  I do not expect Miami will kick the ball to either Ford or Spiller, as these guys can and will score if you kick to them.  This should give the Tigers great field position.  Clemson cannot commit dumb errors and either give the ball to the opponent or put the offense in a hole.  Clemson will also need to do a little better job by the second level folks.  Wake was close to breaking off a few big gains on kickoffs last year.  Clemson will have enough trouble keeping Miami at bay and moving the ball, so the

Tigers must take advantage of this positive match up for the Tigers.


Quarterback play

Both teams have athletic and talented signal callers, with Miami and Harris having an extra year of experience that is evident when watching both teams.  Clemson, as stated above, cannot allow Harris to go uncontested on designed rollouts, bootlegs, and waggle sprints.  Bowers will need to maintain containment in these circumstances, as Miami will move Harris around if Clemson can apply pressure.  When/if CU is able to get penetration, look for the Miami coaches to move Harris around, as he has shown he can move and complete passes when he is outside of the pocket.

If anyone doubts Harris' ability to toss around the pigskin, watch these video highlights of him shredding up the 'Noles to open the season:


And GT (Dr. B will appreciate the decleater thrown on the punt return)



Kyle Parker showed signs of improvement last week, particularly by pulling the ball down at times and picking up nice gains with his legs.  KP is has a tendency to stare at his primary receiver and will need to avoid forcing the ball.  In short, we hope for Kyle to make good decisions and pick up sure yardage, specifically by tucking the football and running when possible

A trip to play the U would be nothing without some sort of  Tom-foolery. 

And if you wondered about the social scene, the crew breaks down a hot date on floor 7 here.