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Final thoughts on the Georgia game


  by - Senior Writer - Monday, September 1, 2014 7:01 AM
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Respect.

Respect is something that’s hard to earn and easy to lose. For an ACC program trying to push its way into national consciousness and prove it belongs with the big boys of the Southeastern Conference and with ACC foe Florida St., respect isn’t something that comes easy when all of the talk and platitudes are thrown in the direction of others.

It’s also hard to earn that respect when you get embarrassed on the national stage.

A friend of mine sent me a message this week, and said he was sick and tired of other programs getting respect, especially when Clemson had bowl wins over LSU and Ohio St. to lean on over the past couple of seasons. It was his hope that a win over Georgia in Athens would restore some of the luster to the program, piggybacking on the win over Ohio St. in the Orange Bowl.

All of that went out the window in listless third and fourth quarters in Sanford Stadium on a steamy night in Georgia, respect ebbing and flowing away with each Georgia run and every failed third down conversion by a Clemson offense that spent the entire second half inside of its own twenty.

The unfortunate thing for Clemson fans and for the Clemson program as a whole is that bowl games don’t tell the whole story. They are good for gaining momentum heading into the final recruiting stretch and feeling good about yourself heading into the offseason, but real respect is won and earned during the battles waged during the regular season, when one win might mean the difference between a chance at a division title or a chance at playing in one of the big games at the end of the regular season.

In that regard, Clemson has not passed muster. The Tigers have a 1-7 record against their rivals – FSU and South Carolina – since the beginning of the 2010 season.

Making it even worse is the fact that when Clemson loses, it sometimes loses in spectacular fashion.

Since the beginning of the 2011 season, the Tigers have lost nine games. All nine of those games have resulted in double digit losses, and in seven of those contests Clemson’s highly-regarded offense has failed to produce the kind of time-killing drives that keep games close. Turnovers and quick three-and-outs have put the onus on Clemson’s defense, and the game quickly deteriorates into the kind head-scratching contests that leave fans sick at their stomachs.

But it isn’t all on the offense. There have been the failures of the defense to stop South Carolina on third down, to stop almost any running quarterback, and there have been special teams miscues aplenty.

Double-digit losses

Aug. 30, 2014 -Georgia 45, Clemson 21
Nov. 30, 2013 – South Carolina 31, Clemson 17
Oct. 19, 2013 – Florida St. 51, Clemson 14
Nov. 24, 2012 – South Carolina 27, Clemson 17
Sept. 22, 2012 – Florida St. 49, Clemson 37
Jan. 4, 2012 – West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
Nov. 26, 2011 – South Carolina 34, Clemson 13
Nov. 19, 2011 – N.C. State 37, Clemson 13

If you’re keeping score at home, that works out to an average score of 41.67 to 20.22. Yep, that cringeworthy stat works out to 375 points for the bad guys, 182 for the good guys over nine contests. That’s not just losing, that’s losing on a grand scale. Yes, the numbers are skewed by the debacle in the Orange Bowl, but they all count. Florida St. has averaged 50 points per game over the last two seasons, and South Carolina has scored 31, 27 and 34 in their last three wins.

What causes this kind of implosion when it matters most? Talent? Heart? Mental toughness? Something has to be amiss somewhere, and with a road game at Florida St. in a few weeks and a challenging home stretch that includes North Carolina and Louisville, a road date at Georgia Tech and the season-ending finale against South Carolina, the Tigers have to find a way to get over the hump at some point.

This team has shown heart and mental toughness during big games – the win over Georgia last season, the win over LSU, the hold against Ohio St. in the most recent Orange Bowl and more than a few ACC games over the last few seasons.

But when it goes sideways in a loss, it goes sideways quick.

Admit it, losing by a 31-27 score or 27-23 would have been easier to take Sunday morning than seeing that 45-21 number? You can say you went into the opponent’s stadium (Clemson is 11-13 in true road games under Swinney since 2009) and came out feeling respectable. For 50 minutes or so of Saturday’s game, the Tigers went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs, but once again, the wheels came off.

At some point, the wheels have to stop coming off.

Other observations

*Where were the tight ends? We heard during fall camp that Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-5, 251
Navarre, FL

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was a matchup nightmare, and that Stanton SeckingerStanton Seckinger
RS Jr. Tight End
#81 6-4, 241
Isle of Palms, SC

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and Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
RS So. Tight End
#89 6-3, 248
Fort Mill, SC

View Full Profile
had made huge strides. The tight ends were going to be a weapon. Saturday, that group had two catches for no yards, and it’s hard to remember if a tight end was even a target. Once the defense got the Clemson offense on its heels late, they started bringing the house, and I thought a way to combat that would be to send the tight ends or receivers on quick slants and quick patterns that can cause the defense to hesitate a second. We never saw it. The slant isn’t a huge part of what Morris tries to do, but it might have helped Saturday.

*Special teams. Georgia head coach Mark Richt wasn’t afraid to use Todd Gurley – arguably the nation’s best player – on special teams, and he provided the kind of spark that can change momentum. Meanwhile, another kick return in a big game cost Clemson. On punt return, Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Sr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 193
Spartanburg, SC

View Full Profile
is steady, but Richt used freshman Sony Michel, and he looked like he was always a step away from taking one to the house. It makes a difference having that kind of threat back there.

*Youth. Richt wasn’t afraid to use some of his talented freshmen at big moments – Isaiah McKenzie got his touches, as did Michel. Another freshman running back, Nick Chubb, ran over the Clemson defense late. In all, Georgia played seven true freshmen in the contest, including tight end Jeb Blazevich. Meanwhile, Clemson barely used Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 209
Loganville, GA

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and Adam ChoiceAdam Choice
Fr. Running Back
#26 5-10, 211
Thomasville, GA

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was a no-show. Artavis ScottArtavis Scott
Fr. Wide Receiver
#3 5-11, 190
Oldsmar, FL

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had a catch, and Demarre KittDemarre Kitt
Fr. Wide Receiver
#8 6-1, 183
Tyrone, GA

View Full Profile
was open on one pattern. Would it have been better to see what the freshmen could do? Perhaps Richt felt comfortable doing that considering they were at home. However, if the freshmen are as talented as we’ve heard, they need to play.

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Subject (Replies: 113) Author
New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
TigerNet News®
Totally agree on everything, esp the Tight ends......
Iwantthe80sback
Re: Totally agree on everything, esp the Tight ends......
smuurph84
We were up 10 in the 4th in Tallahassee two years ago. Then
tiger_swimmer®
we were up 14 & 10 in the 3rd, they took a 4 point lead into
deadsolidperfect®
yep, sorry. 7 mins left in the 3rd, then the wheels came off***
tiger_swimmer®
good convo t_swim, no need to apologize...***
deadsolidperfect®
EXCELLENT, David! Does this game remind anyone of 2012
designtiger®
Need to remove Adam for punt returns..
OneChristianGuy
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Doubleb78
I had told my dad( who does not follow closely but watches
Iwantthe80sback
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Twon2012
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
bingo1
any update on the "new wrinkle"? i think it was malzahn's
deadsolidperfect®
The common denominator in those nine losses
Ram
Jekyll and Hyde is losing to Duke and Wake Forest, not Top
Scott_Rhymer®
agree scott, but there's something not right about that
deadsolidperfect®
Jekyll and Hyde also applies to
Ram
the tale of 2 halves...
deadsolidperfect®
Re: Jekyll and Hyde is losing to Duke and Wake Forest, not Top
pawz61
Re: Jekyll and Hyde is losing to Duke and Wake Forest, not Top
pawz61
I disagree. We go toe to toe with Ohio State, Georgia, LSU
tigerdrummer®
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
RockyHoward
And he works for Dabo
Ram
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
slumdog
Was Batson on leave against GA last year or
Tiger5
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
cutiger1984
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
pawz61
Hope Swinney retires at Clemson which will mean that
Tiger5
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
pawz61
Re: The common denominator in those nine losses
sanwt
You tell em coot***
tigerking79®
You saw exactly what everybody else saw, and it is
Smiling Tiger®
Re: You saw exactly what everybody else saw, and it is
slumdog
Re: You saw exactly what everybody else saw, and it is
CreoleTiger
Forgot 'thin.'
ClemsonPoker489®
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Prowling_28
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
aintnoclmson®
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
92TigerJohn
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
TigerAidan
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
sgary25
It appears we 'get lucky' when we beat a good team...
STERLING®
I think this article in of u t best articles David***
nick0104®
Just saying.....
Prime T. Tiger
Re: Just saying.....
turfman
Re: Just saying.....
ruatiger®
They torched us on perimeter w/ toss-sweep. Same as last yr.***
Razzmatazz
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Sleeptom66
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
CDef
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Ga Tyger
Very True Stats BUT
etigeratl
"At some point, the wheels have to stop coming off."
CDef
Now everybody go thumbs down Hood
GunTotnTigr®
excellent read Mr. Hood
boricuatiger
Re: excellent read Mr. Hood
slumdog
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
clemsonbret
very good commentary***
jackorange®
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
41rcook
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
baldfan4life
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
slumdog
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
slumdog
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
GDub
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
aintnoclmson®
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
41rcook
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
slumdog
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
macveen
You are sooooo right.
cutig80
COOT!!! COOT!!! YOU'RE A COOT!!! GET OFF THE BOARD COOT!!!
I4CUTigers
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
tiger james
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
tkhuff1
You forgot Oct. 29 2011 Georgia Tech 31 Clemson 17
camdentiger09
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
GaTigerAlum
The difference is coaching
clearwater
Re: The difference is coaching
slumdog
The difference is coaching
clearwater
The difference is coaching
clearwater
Re: The difference is coaching
GaTigerAlum
Re: The difference is coaching
rwwjr
Re: The difference is coaching
Spartan78
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
ProudTigerMom
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
tigerpaw68®
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
I bleed orange
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
tigtag1
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Tigerchick00®
Yes, I agree. Great article***
tigerpaw68®
This article is classless and worthless.
TJ1
Re: This article is classless and worthless.
ur_drunk_uncle
Re: This article is classless and worthless.
slumdog
Re: This article is classless and worthless.
TJ1
I'll be the first to say the Morris can be stubborn in his play calling
Lilnaitch
Re: I'll be the first to say the Morris can be stubborn in his play calling
FORESTTIGER
They will be, but you have to sign OL talent every year.
85grad
Re: I'll be the first to say the Morris can be stubborn in his play calling
slumdog
The only thing classless is your response...
Tall_Tiger_Two
Re: The only thing classless is your response...
TJ1
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
powerman®
One step at a time, Davie.
ClemsonTiger1988®
Re: One step at a time, Davie.
slumdog
David- Thanx for risking yer press access 4 honest critique!
Razzmatazz
Lack of depth often causes late-game blowouts.
Razzmatazz
Re: Lack of depth often causes late-game blowouts.
slumdog
Sadly, UGA could have scored 3-7 more pts in closing minute.***
Razzmatazz
FSU isn't a rivalry game***
tigerking79®
Should just change your name to Skyisfalling Hood...
tigerking79®
Re: Should just change your name to Skyisfalling Hood...
baldfan4life
Re: Should just change your name to Skyisfalling Hood...
slumdog
Just a pattern on his part to freakout over every single...
tigerking79®
Re: Just a pattern on his part to freakout over every single...
marklee
A very fair, truthful, & factual assessment It may be scary
CUTIGR69®
Personally, I find is Blog disturbing...
sinastax
We used to work the middle of the field more when we had
TigersAndCubs
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
tigerdiscgolfer63
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Luckydog006
Re: New Story: Final thoughts on the Georgia game
Bluedog51

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