We got to talk to some folks who have been attending practices and went to the scrimmage last weekend and along with reading some of the quotes from the staff, we can get a good feel for how things are going in camp so far. Nothing shocking came out, but the general feeling is that this offense can be scary good this year, so much so that they really feel no one on the schedule can stop us, as long as Tajh Boyd stays healthy. The Chad has upped his pace mark to 90 plays per game. I believe that if someone steps in to catch Nuk's passes that we could be a 40+ ppg offense over the season.
A major question is what would happen to Clemson's season if Tajh goes down. We know he ran the ball 12-15 times per game, and at least half of them were designed keepers based on the film reviews. We had no bigger RB to take that punishment in short yardage, so Tajh was almost like our own Tebow last year. The Chad has told some folks that he had little choice in short yardage situations, since AE was never 100% and the threat of option held defenses in check longer with Boyd keeping. The sense I got early in camp was that Tyshon Dye may be that short yardage threat, but apparently Morris wants to redshirt both him and Gallman now that Brooks' light has come on, along with the improvement of C.J. Davidson. Davidson has caught enough attention that he could get some carries, giving us a 4th back.
At the moment, I don't feel like its going to last this way, and I bet Dabo plays Dye anyway. I will say its a big positive that Brooks has been able to move the ball inside, which is why they took him in the first place. They have always felt that with enough S&C work that he could be another 225lb Darren McFadden-type of runner.
Yesterday we found out that WR signee Kyrin Priester would not be allowed entry this fall. If I recall correctly, he was advised to retake a course this summer and didn't, and now the Clearinghouse has ruled him academically ineligible. He'll attend Fork Union and enroll this January. He is the only signee who did not qualify, but also the one most likely to play coming from HS. The scholarship roster has been updated. Its unfortunate because we're already razor thin at WR and frankly one injury away from having to play Daniel Rodriguez or Matt Porter full-time. Mike Williams has lit it up some in practice and he now has to play no matter what.
With Jordan Leggett out, I see no way that Clemson uses the TE appreciably against UGA. As I felt before his injury, we're not going to use the TE as much to start this season simply because no one is ready at the spot to play as a blocker and a receiver. If Cooper was available it may be different, but I haven't heard of anyone able to do both, and if he can't block he's just a slower, bulkier WR. Seckinger and McCullough haven't had rave reviews so far, to the press or what we've heard, and Darrell Smith is more of a full-time blocker. I'm hoping that we see a tackle-over formation with Eric Mac Lain, possibly to do the same things we did with Cooper against Boston College.
I'll put money down that we run this exact play with Mac Lain at least once for a score this year.
Morris will likely stick with what we reported before, 3-4 WR sets to put more speed on the field and keeping at least 1 RB in to block until he's comfortable with asking someone to do it at TE.
Along the OL, there is a confidence that this is definitely the best since 2006's version, and possibly one of the best in much longer than that, even the 1980s teams. I won't go that far, but there is the likelihood that we could play up to 9 guys regularly along the front. I was disappointed to hear though that Battle is not going to win the starting job, and that no one is heavily pushing Gifford Timothy at RT. Joe Gore is still swimming mentally and Battle simply hasn't grasped the opportunity. Both are going to play, Battle moreso, but neither will start anytime soon unless theres an injury. Shaq Anthony needs get himself committed to football and stay out of the dog house.
There has been much less raving about the defense. The secondary is not ready for primetime. If we play well in the back 4 against UGA I'll be shocked. The back 7 as a whole may be adequate, but no one is ready opposite Breeland at one CB spot. Alexander is slowly coming back from the groin injury suffered at the start of practice, and I bet he wins the starting spot as soon as he's able to go full speed and tackle in practice. We're going to play a lot of freshmen back here: Kearse and Mac are definites, but Johnson and Wiggins are also likely. I'm a little disappointed that I havent heard of Tankersley pushing Smith more.
The word from camp is that Tony Steward is full-go and that he and Anthony are showing out. The only thing that will hold him back is knowledge of the defense. Steward had the best HS film that I've ever seen for a LB. Ben Boulware is also very likely to play, at least on ST. I've heard comparatively little about Kellen Jones, but generally the reviews of the LBs have been good.
- College Gameday will be set on Bowman Field again. I had hoped they could put it somewhere so we could see the WEZ in the background, but there isn't anywhere to put the set.
- Clemson is planning to build another football office facility next to the IPF, and move the coaches out of the WEZ. DRad wants to move the AD into the WEZ and out of McFadden. Initially I thought this was a bad idea, since football is the face of the program, but apparently the staff supports it because they're currently shuttling back and forth across Perimeter. Dabo wants to add a better museum enforcing the ability to get to the NFL from CU, and just have something that catches attention better than what we have. This building will encompass everything.
- The training table cafeteria in the WEZ will be redone (yes, this soon), but I'm not sure how extensively. Locker rooms may get redone (were last done in 2008) again as well.
- A new basketball arena is essentially the plan. It'll be across from the Esso Club. Theres too much momentum going in this direction to say that Littlejohn is going to remain our basketball home. Every indicator points to the BOT approving the construction.