Just kidding… anyway, here’s Athlon’s spring practice preview for the Tigers.
A couple of noteworthy items from it:
- In addition to returning the entire starting eleven on defense, Clemson also returns four out of five starters on the o-line. The one new spot, though, will be at left tackle. Hopefully, the newbie will more than have his hands full dealing with Adam Anderson.
- It sounds like Brent Venables had a similar problem to Dan Lanning last season. “However, the Clemson defense allowed more big plays last fall than they have in years past. This was especially the case in the passing game where, despite playing fewer games due to COVID-19, their 21 plays allowed of more than 30 yards were the most since giving up 22 in 2012.” Maybe the opener comes down to which pass defense does a better job defending big plays.
If you’re curious about whom Georgia’s defense will be facing in the season opener, here’s a look at how Clemson will attempt to fill the shoes of its four biggest offensive producers from 2020.
They’re pretty effing big shoes, too.
Collectively, Lawrence, Etienne, Rodgers and Powell accounted for 82 percent of Clemson’s yardage in 2020 and 48 of the team’s 64 offensive touchdowns.
Reading between the lines, it may be that replacing Etienne may be the Tigers’ biggest challenge. Uiagalelei will be fine. (He’s also 6-5, 250 pounds, which makes me wonder how easy it’ll be for Georgia’s pass rush to take him down.) Getting Justyn Ross back at receiver is huge. He will be a challenge for whoever Georgia’s next cornerbacks are.
But running back is a question. The good news for Clemson is there are plenty of bodies to choose from. The good news for Georgia is none of them are Etienne.
Game changer for Georgia’s opener.
Dabo Swinney is adding a former head coach to his staff.
Former Duke head coach Ted Roof, who spent last season as Vanderbilt’s defensive coordinator, is joining Swinney’s staff at Clemson. The Clemson Insider has confirmed Roof will join Swinney’s staff as analyst. He is expected to be approved, along with other coaching items on the football staff, at Thursday’s Board of Trustees Compensation Committee meeting.
I’m pretty sure Venables already knows how to blitz, so I don’t know what else Ted brings to the table, other than a familiarity with losing to the Dawgs. Maybe Dabo’s trying to manage expectations.
So, how badly did Clemson want that opener against the Dawgs? This badly ($$).
Typically, when Clemson does its scheduling, it has a set of priorities it aims to accommodate. The first is to have seven home games per year, which is usually nonnegotiable.
I’m glad the Tigers swallowed that priority in the interest of scheduling an entertaining start to the season. Although I imagine the spoonful of a $5 million to $7 million payday helped make the medicine go down easier.
By the way, if you need a morning chuckle, check out this hot take on the game, from a Clemson fan’s perspective. It’s too stupid to even make for good bulletin board material.
First, Justyn Ross announces he’s coming back for the 2021 season, and now this.
The weird thing is going to be reading the preseason analysis of Georgia’s offense vs. Clemson’s defense as strength against strength.
Well, shit. The job for Georgia’s secondary in next season’s opener just got tougher.
Clemson standout wide receiver Justyn Ross, who missed the 2020 season with a spinal condition, will return to the team in 2021, he announced Thursday night on Twitter.
Ross in June underwent surgery for a congenital fusion in his spine. He suffered what was thought to be a shoulder injury during spring practice in March, but X-rays revealed that two vertebrae in his spine were fused.
Aside from a few good journalists at the top of the magazine, Sports Illustrated is a shadow of its former self, unfortunately. Ownership/management has followed the path forged initially by Bleacher Report of letting a lot of amateurs pretend they’re journalists on the cheap and flooding its online site with quantity as a substitute for quality.
One of the few good things about that is it does present an increased opportunity for straight out comedy. Like this, for example.
Clemson will beat Georgia like a drum in the opener: Georgia may have bigger issues than facing the Tigers in the opening game, as it appears some recruiting shenanigans have been afoot in Athens (shocking, I know). And it appears that after the NCAA drops the hammer on the Tennessee Vols, who should be allowed to cheat, pay recruits or anything else they can think of to at least become relevant again, they have their eyes set on Georgia.
This distraction, combined with the fact that the Tigers are simply the better team—even with the loss of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne—on the offensive side of the ball than the Bulldogs…
The author, according to his bio, is “the 2017 South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year”, which, I suppose is either a reflection of the entity that made the award or the state of South Carolina sports journalism.
In any event, you have been put on notice that Clemmins ain’t skeered. Or something.
I gotta say while Dabo getting his comeuppance was my favorite thing watching last night’s Sugar Bowl…
… my second favorite was pondering the Venn diagram of people complaining that Ohio State shouldn’t be allowed in the CFP because of its shortened schedule with the people insisting that an expanded playoff wouldn’t water down the regular season.
College football is the best.
You know, between Dabo using a meaningless vote in a meaningless Coaches Poll to throw shade at Ohio State and now Ryan Day throwing shade right back at Clemson over its reputation for stealing signs, I’m beginning to think the Sugar Bowl has some real potential for a serious case of the chippies.
Every time Dabo Swinney opens his mouth, an angel pulls his hair out.