Going up against UNC with Larry Fedora and Vic Koenning is always fun with Dabo as the head coach. Dabo gets along with most of the coaches in the profession and in the ACC but not so much with these two. Fedora has tried to take the ACC by storm with an offense as fast, if not faster, than ours and a helicopter he uses to fly into high schools of recruits. He is all kinds of arrogant and not the stoic confident kind or the childish but kind of funny (Spurrier) kind--he is just full of himself.
You may remember Koenning for being the Defensive Coordinator here at Clemson during the end of the Tommy Bowden tenure. He once called Dabo Swinney 'Goat Boy' because he didn't particularly care for Dabo's ability to evaluate talent. Remember we all think Dabo is a great recruiter but not the best evaluator of talent. Koenning used to hate all of the Alabama players Dabo would try to sell the staff on, a bunch of duds like Jeff Ogren, Drew Traylor, Clear brothers, Demont Buice, etc etc. Sure he landed Spiller but he also mined a bunch of coal (and has continued to do so with his brand of 5 heart nepotism). All of that is to say it is going to be personal and Dabo would like nothing more than to score a lot of points.
Agree with everything on Mr. Craft's UNC preview--I'll only add that I think UNC's LB's and front seven are pretty slow. LB's are really slow and should be susceptible to runs up the gut and a good dose of zone read plays. Defense should be ready for tempo since we practice against it. Hopefully we get a lot of quality reps along the D-line for the younger guys. They will try to get the ball out quick just like Georgia did but don't have the offensive line to run the ball on us.
On Death Threats
Initially I had written an entire tirade on Dabo and Clemson players talking about purported, alleged death threats from Clemson fans. I have condensed those thoughts into this paragraph because it really isn't that important overall. Dabo went on a radio show during the week and mentioned that center Ryan Norton had received death threats from Clemson fans. For someone who runs a tight ship and is calculated with how he interacts with the media, this just puzzles me. He has openly talked about the egging of Boyd's house (possibly coots and Halloween) and the booing of Cole (which was really at Dabo), essentially bad mouthing the Clemson fans (or the small % of bad apples). At the very least this just doesn't help our public image or recruiting and at the worst is another calculated move by Swinney to sanction and discipline Clemson fans (especially any who would hold a dissenting point of view on the team and its leaders).
I have seen a tweet from an account that was later deleted that could be construed as a death threat (to be clear I don't know if this is the tweet, no one knows but it fits the description). This was a young disgruntled fan who wasn't being malicious in any way but in a moment of irrational, passionate fandom said he could just kill Norton right now. Of course, there was no police investigation and a lot of huffing and puffing on Twitter on how bad this is but if that rises to the level of a death threat then STS and every other message board in America is guilty.
Dabo said Norton felt threatened and I am sympathetic to that. If he needed to do this to stick up for his guy and help the locker-room culture then so be it. However, if was a petty jab at the fanbase for something passionate fans say, without really meaning anything by it, then I'm not down. Enough said.
Looking at UNC's roster takes me back. I wanted Clemson to take UNC Junior Quinshad Davis (6'4 215) and Sophomore Bug Howard (6'4 200) because Davis was from our backyard at Gaffney and Howard has ideal height and athleticism. Davis has struggled so far this year but caught 10 TD's last year. Howard is still an athlete trying to become a WR. We decided to pass on Davis and told Howard to look elsewhere early in the process only to come crawling back and have him reject us. Dlineman Ethan Farmer is another player we pursued to no avail and we whiffed completely on Pearman targets RB Elijah Hood and LB Bentley Spain. This is the year Fedora's supposed to have everything in place, if they crumble this year it will be good for Clemson in recruiting NC.
The other guy I really thought the staff missed on is RB/WR TJ Logan. We slow played him and couldn't get back into it in the end. He averaged 6 yard per carry last year as a freshman with 4 TD's and 533 yards. Also catches the ball nicely.
This is shaping up to be a big weekend for Clemson recruiting in football and basketball. The headliner is Ray Ray McCloud who is coming to take his official visit. Yes, his ONE and only official visit. Josh Newberg is going to have some explainin' to do.
With regards to 2015 recruiting we still only have Albert Huggins squarely on the board. Today Michael Barnett flipped from FSU to Georgia. Georgia is still our main competition and we have been giving ground to the Dawgs for some time. They are his childhood favorite and he enjoyed the visit with family. Huggins knows Barnett really well though, friendly competition, and Georgia having 7 Dlineman committed won't help their case. They will still pursue but this should help Clemson. It is not some dealbreaker by any means but a nice chip for Clemson to play. Unfortunate that we even need chips at this point though (I also maintain that Huggins is a 3-tech and not a SDE ultimately).
Notable 2016 players
Sean Pollard, OL, Pinecrest, NC. Duke still leads but hopefully the night atmosphere of the Valley versus the high school track will move things in our favor. One of our top Oline targets.
Parker Boudreaux, OL, Orlando, FL. This guy is just a high 3* recruit but he has 49 total offers to date and is starting to get a lot of attention from bigger programs. He likes Clemson a lot and was quoted as hating to see FSU beat us. What is not to like? I need to see more film to make a serious evaluation though.
Nyles Pickney, DT, Seabrook, SC, Whale Branch. One of the top interior defensive lineman for 2016. A must get but all the regional powers are interested. He likes Clemson but this recruitment will probably go a long time. Top priority for the staff.
Tavien Feaster, RB, Spartanburg, SC. Yep, this is our future at RB. Size, speed, agility and decent hands. Total package if he can stay healthy. We have done a great job developing separation between ourselves and USCjr. Question now is can we hold off all the suitors.
Divine Diablo, WR, Winston-Salem (NC) Mount Tabor. A bit lower on our list right now. I think we have a few guys over him at the position but still a talent and wins the award for best name of the cycle already.
PG Ty Hudson, GA, is going to be coming on an official visit. Ole Miss is the main competition and possibly leaving but getting him on campus is big and Brad needs to sell this one.
F Luke Maye, NC, is the other big fish. Grew up a big fan of UNC where his dad played football. He is being slow played by UNC though. They have promised him the possibility of a slot (like walk-on and we will fit you in) and Maye thinks he is good enough to win a position. He very well may be but Clemson is the sure thing and a direct path to immediate playing time and development. Hard to give up on that dream but it is huge to get him in on the official.
Hopefully Brownell can turn it up here and lock down any of these guys--it would be huge for the program.
Lets smash UNC.