Category Archives: Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

“I can’t just say, ‘Hey, man, here’s a Bible…’”

This may be the most Clemson thing ever.

Last season, Dabo Swinney, the head football coach at Clemson University, gathered his team on the practice field one day for an important announcement. “Someone is about to turn their life over to Christ,” he said.

DeAndre Hopkins, a star wide receiver, stepped forward. A livestock trough had been placed near the 50-yard line and filled with water. Mr. Hopkins, still wearing his uniform and pads, climbed in. As several dozen teammates and coaches looked on, he was baptized.

A livestock trough?  Was the lake booked?

(h/t)

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Thursday brunch buffet

A little nosh for you…

  • Kevin Sumlin says TAMU’s spring football game is worthless for his team.
  • Here’s a look at who’s in the mix to start at quarterback in Clemson’s opener against Georgia.
  • John Infante suggests that Mark Cuban take on AAU ball instead of the NCAA.
  • Greg McGarity, on piped-in music at Sanford Stadium:  “…we have an opportunity to do certain things that will get our crowd excited in a proactive manner, rather than in a reactive manner.”  I have no idea what that means.
  • Michael Elkon has an intriguing look at how the unionization effort by the Northwestern players might impact college football transfer rules.
  • Nick Saban says he’s powerless to remove an injured player on the field playing a HUNH offense (”So you can’t do anything. You’ve got to call timeout to get a guy out. And if you tell a guy to get down, that’s really against the rules, and they boo him out of the park.”).  Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances, emphasized that an injury timeout already exists.  Good to see everyone’s on the same page.
  • With Gary Pinkel’s latest raise, nine SEC head coaches make more than $3 million per year.
  • Athlon ranks the 10 best SEC quarterbacks of the BCS era.

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Clemson picks up the pieces.

If you can get past her standard ACC puffery, Heather Dinich gives you some ideas about how well the Tigers will be able to fill in the gaps resulting from the four-player suspension for the Georgia game.

The bad news for us is that while Corey Crawford is the biggest name on the will-not-play list, Clemson returns every starter on its defensive line and has six returning lettermen at defensive end and six at defensive tackle.

The good thing is that Clemson’s offensive line was in no great shakes experience-wise before the news broke.

With all the questions facing Clemson this offseason — including finding a new starting quarterback and replacing its leading rusher and top two receivers from 2013 — coach Dabo Swinney said his biggest concern heading into the start of spring practices on Wednesday is offensive tackle, where Shaq Anthony, one of the four suspended players, had three starts last season and was a candidate to be a full-time starter this fall.

“That’s the biggest concern on offense,” Swinney said. “… That’s the area of need. That’s the biggest need in our recruiting class for next year is tackle. We’re going to go out and sign at least three legit, great tackles because that’s where we need to get better. We’ve got to find some answers at tackle.”

Instead, they just lost one for the opener.

Let’s hope Pruitt can use that as a stepping stone to repeat the success he had last year defending Clemson’s offense.

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Mark Richt has lost control of Clemson team rules.

“They didn’t rob a bank,” Swinney said, “but they broke a team rule.”

“They” being four Clemson players suspended for the opener against Georgia, including starting defensive end Corey Crawford.

Hmmm… maybe this is going to turn out to be Mark Richt’s year after all.

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Dabo jabo

I guess you could say Swinney sees Spurrier’s “state championship” snark and raises him one.

As snappy comebacks go, that ain’t half bad.

**********************************************************************

UPDATE:  Spurrier being Spurrier.

So who gets the win here?  The OBC for the tally, or Dabo for making Spurrier react in the first place?

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A little Dabo’ll do ‘ya.

Oy, dude.

Swinney said Tuesday after watching film of the 51-14 trouncing, he believes if the teams played 10 times, “We’d probably win five, they’d probably win five.”

Swinney says he isn’t taking away from the Seminoles’ dominating performance.

Right.  Sure.  Just the five other mythical times out of the next nine games they’ll never play against each other this season.

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Thursday morning buffet

Time to nosh.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big Ten Football, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, ESPN Is The Devil, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Johnny Football Mania, The Evil Genius

Game day thoughts, Georgia-Clemson edition

When the conventional wisdom about a game is so consistent across the board (Steele has it Georgia by one), the contrarian in me wants so badly to predict something different, but honesty compels me to agree with Bill Connelly.

This is the most exciting matchup of week 1. Both teams are athletic on defense and ridiculous on offense, and both teams’ weaknesses will be exploited by opponent strengths. The projections and spread each favor Georgia slightly, but this one’s close enough that counting turnovers and big plays will probably tell you who won.

I feel slightly more confident in Georgia this year, but I’ll feel more confident in the Dawgs once that secondary gels. But give me Georgia by 1, I guess. For now.

Both teams are going to move the ball.  But I see Georgia, behind that running game, getting in the end zone one more time than Clemson does, which will be just enough to offset the Tigers having more total scoring drives on the night. My call:  Georgia 35, Clemson 34.

Use this as today’s game day comment thread and have at it.

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Thoughts about Clemson-Georgia

So, how much weight should we put on Clemson’s showing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl?  I’m skeptical of assigning too much to a good bowl showing – Louisville, I’m looking at you – but there’s no denying that the Tigers have taken a great deal of momentum from their win over LSU into tomorrow’s game.

I watched the game and I took two substantive things from it.  First, Chad Morris knows what he’s doing.  Clemson only averaged 4.45 yards per play against LSU, its worst mark of the season, but Morris called 100 plays and that paid off, both in accumulating total yardage and, perhaps more importantly, in wearing down the LSU defense.  You’d have to think that fatigue played a part in Clemson’s epic fourth quarter comeback.  It’s something Grantham has to stay aware of, no doubt.  (Although Georgia’s defense held up much better against the other team I saw wear down LSU’s defense last season, Florida.)

Second, I don’t know how you come away from that game without being impressed with Tajh Boyd’s toughness.  Sacked five times and running the ball another 24 (Clemson had a total of 50 runs), he got pounded all night by a ferocious LSU defense and lived to tell the tale.  He’s not going to wither against the Georgia D, no matter how well that front six or seven play.

That’s on one side.  For Georgia, the biggest thing I keep coming back to is the huge advantage the Dawgs enjoy in the running game.  The question is how Bobo deploys it.  I’ve seen a lot of JUST RUN THE DAMNED BALL talk this week and understand where that’s coming from, but I don’t think it’s wise to ignore where Clemson’s defense is most weak.  And that’s the secondary.  This is a game made for Bobo’s favorite thing in the universe, balance.  Use the running game to keep the defensive backs and linebackers honest so that Murray can pick them apart with ease.  Georgia’s offensive balance and efficiency should be Clemson’s biggest nightmare.

I like the way Seth Emerson put it earlier this week.  Georgia looks to convert 75% of its drives into scores; for Clemson, it’s more like 60%.  The Tigers will look to make up the shortfall by running more plays.  It’ll be up to Grantham to spoil their math, likely with the turnover game.

Clemson reminds me of a more talented Ole Miss team.  If you remember last year’s meeting, the Rebel Black Bears made a game of it in the first half by being very aggressive with their defensive line play and linebackers.  I expect to see a similar effort in the Clemson defensive game plan, hoping to plug the run game and disrupt Murray’s timing with frequent blitzing.  How well that works is hard to say.  I expect Georgia’s offensive line play has improved from the Ole Miss game.  But Clemson has a lot more firepower on offense, more overall depth and more experience in the secondary than Mississippi did.

And don’t get me started on how nervous I am about special teams play.

Bottom line, I expect what most do, a relatively high scoring affair that should be pretty close.  I’ll save my game prediction for tomorrow, but in the meantime, let me know what you think.

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A brief rebuttal to Andrea Adelson

I know she likely wasn’t being serious with her Boyd-Murray comparison yesterday, so I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds here, but it’s worth noting that Clemson and Georgia faced three common opponents last year – Auburn, Georgia Tech and South Carolina.  Both quarterbacks finished 2-1 and both had their worst games of the year against the Gamecocks, although Boyd didn’t implode nearly as spectacularly as Murray did.

But if you look at their passing stats against the other two teams, there’s no comparison.  Murray’s passer rating against Auburn was more than sixty points higher than Boyd’s; his passer rating against Tech was more than seventy points higher.  (I’m happy to stipulate that Boyd’s a bigger threat with his feet than Murray is, because Boyd doesn’t have the luxury of contracting that part of the offense out to Gurley and Marshall.)

What am I getting at here?  Neither defense we’ll see Saturday night is likely to be confused with last year’s South Carolina pass defense.  For that matter, Clemson finished lower in pass defense in 2012 than Auburn and Georgia Tech did.  (Tech and Clemson were pretty similar defensively in F+, by the way.  Auburn’s another story.)  So if we’re going to compare two stellar quarterbacks going up against pass defenses that aren’t so stellar, what do you think may be a better indication of how they do tomorrow night, last year’s work under similar circumstances, or Boyd’s ACC preseason player of the year award?

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