Most of what I am saying dovetails off of what Peter_G wrote this morning. There has been considerable talk in the comments recently about the collective weak stomachs of the Clemson fan base. Some of us still feel like we are on upset alert every single week and want to point out how we could potentially lose. Well put me in that category. I still can't shake Tommy Bowden, the 2010 collapses to GT & NC State (plus WF comeback), or the GT and NC State games of last year. Now I don't think we are going to lose but I think it will be closer than it should be. I think Florida State got caught looking ahead to Maryland and let BC hang around until late in the game.
I do think this team is different and the defense is improving but we are far from a polished product or somehow immune to an ACC upset.
This team is also susceptible to buying into their own hype and feeling like they have arrived (the coaching staff is also dealing with a lot of unknowns this year as well--entirely new staffs with State, Syracuse, BC and defensive scheme at FSU, GT). I know the Cuse folks thought we were very 'butthurted' with all the name calling but the coaching staff seized on that as a way to focus our guys in on Syracuse. Tajh was certainly dialed in and focused (I don't endorse this as a constant motivational technique but it served its purpose this past week against Cuse).
So what about Boston College?? This game is at home and Boston College doesn't have the overall talent like Peter_G said, just like Wake, but they have enough to put a scare into us. Remember that our pass defense was made to look ridiculous last year by Rettig and company. Andre Williams is leading the nation in rushing?? He ran for 148 yards against the vaunted FSU defense. This will be a good test for our front seven in preparation for FSU (who embarrassed us late in the game last year by running it down our throats).
Receivers, everybody talks about No. 83, he killed us last year. He had almost 200 yards on us. He should be very confident playing against Clemson. Their running back is the heart and soul of what they do. He leads the nation in rushing. He is a very, very good player and is as tough a guy as we'll play.
This is a veteran BC squad on offense that returns nine starters from last year. Rettig is really underrated and will probably be a fringe NFL player when it is all said and done. He has been prone to throwing untimely interceptions but he has the arm and has progressed further with the new coaching staff. I see him making better reads and managing the game more effectively. BC has the potential to slow the game down on us as they pound it on the ground and throw some play action, which has been the recipe for disaster for the games we have lost. Our young safeties (especially since Blanks will likely sit or play sparingly) will need to stay disciplined on the back end. If we can stop the run like we did against Georgia then we should be alright. On defense they are bringing a lot more pressure (so is FSU), which is something you haven't seen schematically from the Eagles in a long time. Welcome to the post-Spaz era (although the LB's are still tackling machines).
Swinney said this about injuries:
Travis looked good yesterday and today. I'm starting to be more hopeful about him. He ran great straight ahead. We'll have him do some cutting and planting. Ben is still a little sore. We don't know yet with him. Martin just had surgery, but I expect him to be ready to go. It's just a matter of swelling from the surgery. If that goes down, he'll be fine. Carlos is still out. The biggest thing with him is that structurally he's fine. But he picked up a massive bruise on both legs. They're trying to drain all that blood out of there so that it improves his mobility. He's still not ready to stick his hand in the ground yet, but he's making progress.
He also added that Spencer Shuey has been dealing with a turf toe problem similar to what CJ Spiller had to deal with which is never good. Shuey has really become a quality, if not dominant player at times and made me forget about how good a player Tig Willard was for us last year.
It's kind of like what Spiller had. In fact it's exactly what Spiller had. He's sore and it gets better through the year. He has been a little limited the last couple of weeks. He's been ready to go by game time.
I will give the media credit this week for asking an awesome question--they asked about Clowney in a roundabout way.
Ever had a player tell you before the game that he wasn't going to play?
What would you say if a player came to you and made the executive decision to not play?
Swinney: I hope that never happens. I'm usually pretty in tune with the injury report. I'll take the next question (everyone laughing in the room and Swinney smiling).
Great follow-up question (I believe it was Cris Ard who asked it). Anything that might get under Spurrier's skin I am a big fan of--the whole Clowney thing is such an embarrassment. But you know that Clowney will get up for the game against Clemson at home. You have to hand it to Spurrier (or the weak sauce SEC schedules), they keep on winning.
Enjoyed hearing this about Grady Jarrett from Swinney:
Probably biggest improvement in the defensive line is that people now know some of their names. I did a radio show with Eddie George and he travels around and he's talking about Tajh Boyd. I asked him if he could name one defensive linemen. He couldn't. Not one guy. On our entire defense. Nobody knew who they are. Now they do. That's the first time anybody talks about Grady. Everybody knows Vic (Beasley) now. He's got nicknames. They are a blue collar bunch that is very unselfish. They take a lot of pride in what they do. But Grady is the heart and soul of their defense. Relentless in his preparation. Relentless in his effort. He made a play in the game the other night, and we stopped the tape, the quarterback got loose and scrambled, Grady got cut, flies around and throws his body to make this tackle. That's Grady Jarrett. He's that way everyday. Plays with a chip on his shoulder. He's really become a great leader for us.
Grady is quickly becoming one of my favorite players. Vic 'Beastly' deserves all the hype he is getting and Coach Hobby has done an excellent job of starting to develop these guys (Crawford has been playing much better as well--as an owner of a holy '93' jersey, this makes me very pleased). Jarrett doesn't have the measurables of other guys but he pushes the entire defensive front to play hard and the other players feed off of his example.
BC should be a good barometer to measure where we are as a program--are we a bit banged up and caught looking ahead or do we physically impose our will on BC.
One final point, Venables was asked about the impact of Coach Reed and he agreed that Reed has made a huge impact. It is amazing to me just how bad of a coach Cheese really was for these players (granted we had a lot of injuries last year). We need the secondary to continue to progress in time for FSU--that will be one of the key match-ups. Amidon (#83) will tell us how far they have come.
BCS Silly Talk
Since I am not a player or a coach, I can totally look ahead though (ha!). 17 teams remain unbeaten but the majority of those teams will end up playing each other. Oregon, UCLA, Stanford from the Pac-12, Ohio St. & Michigan, FSU and Clemson, Louisville and Houston-what?, etc. The first BCS standings officially come out on October 20th, the day after playing FSU on Gameday at 8pm (barring a loss to BC--no way Herbie flies across the country at Stanford). Our computer numbers are strong with the win over Georgia (except for pathetic Sagarin's ELO Chess which has us at #11 but the win over FSU would change that) and we could debut at #2 overall--Palm's projections have us at #2 right now but that is without Pac-12 teams getting into the meat of their schedules.