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The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014


  by - Staff Writer - Monday, June 30, 2014 1:22 PM
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Two stalwarts from last year's offensive line were Brandon Thomas and Tyler Shatley

The Clemson football program achieved a first last season, winning 11 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. That stat is a tad misleading because the NCAA went to a 12-game schedule in 2006, giving programs one extra chance at a win.

However, the back-to-back 11 seasons are significant in that Clemson has had 11 wins or more in a season just five times in the school’s history – the 1948 team under Frank Howard went 11-0 and won the Gator Bowl by beating Missouri; Charley Pell (10) and Danny FordDanny Ford
Former Head Coach
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(1) combined to win 11 games in 1978 as Clemson defeated Ohio St. in the Gator Bowl; Ford’s 1981 team went 12-0 and won the national championship; and Swinney has led the Tigers to consecutive 11-2 seasons and wins over LSU and Ohio St. in the bowl games.

Clemson didn’t register its first 10-win season until 1987 when Ford’s squad went 10-2, setting off a string of four consecutive 10-2 seasons. Three of those seasons were under Ford, and Ken Hatfield repeated the record in his first season in 1990. Overall, Clemson has had 10 seasons of 10 or more wins, and Swinney has three of those, winning 10 games during the ACC Championship season of 2011 and then 11 in 2012 and 2013.

Can the Tigers make it four consecutive seasons of 10 or 11 or even more wins in 2014? All good things must come to an end, and 2014 just may be that year that breaks the streak of consecutive double digit win season. Yes, the Tigers will have a great defensive line and have playmakers all over the field, but a front-loaded schedule and inexperience on offense could spell disaster.

Here are the reasons Clemson will have trouble making it three consecutive years of double digit wins.

*The big three. Clemson once again has Georgia, Florida St., and South Carolina on the schedule with the Bulldogs and Seminoles on the road during the first three weeks of the season. Georgia should be improved on defense with the addition of Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator; Florida State could possibly be better than they were a year ago when the Noles won the national championship; and South Carolina has just had Clemson’s number over the past few seasons, even when the Tigers have been the better team. To make it to 10 or 11 wins, Clemson will need to win at least one of these three and not slip up anywhere else during the season, which brings me to my next point….

*The schedule. Yes, Clemson still plays in the ACC, but with the rotation of ACC Coastal opponents and the addition of Louisville to the Atlantic division, the ACC portion of the Tigers schedule is a little more difficult in 2014. Clemson has a difficult three-game stretch to begin ACC play by traveling to Florida St., and then returning home for games with UNC and Louisville. Nobody really knows what we’re going to see out of the Tar Heels, but the offense should be better with Marquise Williams at the helm and running back Elijah Hood. Louisville is also a relatively unknown, but Bobby Petrino still knows how to coach offense and the Cardinals’ defense has added a lot of star power to its roster, accepting transfers from Georgia and the SEC. And, then there’s always the dreaded trip to Georgia Tech that always seems to bring out the worst in Clemson.

*The lack of a known playmaker. Over the last three seasons, Swinney and his staff have entered the season with at least one known offensive playmaker – whether it be Nuk Hopkins, Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Wide Receiver (2011 - 2013)
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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, Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
Running Back (2008 - 2012)
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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or Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
Quarterback (2009 - 2013)
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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– and for the first time the Tigers don’t know who will be that big-time playmaker. Clemson has talent at every position. The wide receivers have a plethora of guys who can make plays, starting with Charone PeakeCharone Peake
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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and Mike WilliamsMike Williams
So. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 205
Vance, SC

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. Running backs coach Tony ElliottTony Elliott
Assistant Coach / Running Backs
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has Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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, Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Jr. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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, Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
RS Fr. Running Back
#23 6-1, 205
Elberton, GA

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and D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Sr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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. Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
So. Tight End
#16 6-6, 235
Navarre, FL

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could be an All-American at tight end. But, who is going to step up and be the guy that makes the critical third-down catch to keep a drive alive? Who is going to be the guy that steps up in the endzone and makes the game-winning touchdown catch? We just don’t know. If it was third-and-short over the past few seasons, everybody in the stadium knew Tajh Boyd was keeping the ball. Who will be that guy?

*Clemson lost a lot of talent last year and while everyone focuses on the loss of Watkins, Boyd, McDowell and Bryant, they forget about one of the biggest losses off the 2013 squad – Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
Punter / Kicker (2009 - 2013)
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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. Catanzaro was 67-of-82 (81.7 percent) on field goals and 203-of-207 on extra points for 404 points in 53 games (52 starts) in his career making Clemson fans comfortable when he came on the field. He hit game-winning field goals against Wake Forest to clinch the ACC Atlantic title in 2011 and against LSU as time expired in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl. Ammon LakipAmmon Lakip
RS Jr. Kicker
#36 5-10, 185
Alpharetta, GA

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has been around the program for three years and will have the first opportunity to claim the starting kicker job. As a backup kicker, Lakip was 1-for-2 on field goals and 8-for-9 on extra points. Can he develop the consistency and confidence to hit big-time kicks on the road at Georgia and Florida St. during the first three weeks of the season?

*The offensive line. Yep. This group scares me. Over the last few seasons, the Tigers have had players like Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Center (2008 - 2012)
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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and Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
Offensive Line (2009 - 2013)
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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anchoring the line, and they were All-ACC caliber players. Who is that stud lineman this season? Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Jr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
Brooklyn, NY

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has the talent, but needs to prove it on the field. And an offensive line needs consistency, but Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
RS Jr. Offensive Tackle
#76 6-3, 265
Williamston, SC

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and David BeasleyDavid Beasley
RS Sr. Offensive Guard
#68 6-4, 315
Columbus, GA

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– two players who will play a key roles this season – are out against Georgia. Will line coach Robbie CaldwellRobbie Caldwell
Assistant Coach / Offensive Line
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have to mix-and-match to find the five best all season? If so, it could be a long season on the line.

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Subject (Replies: 82) Author
New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
TigerNet News®
I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
AllTimeClemson
If this team is inexperienced then lord help us in 2015
truetiger1998
Re: If this team is inexperienced then lord help us in 2015
slumdog
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
cupton®
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
slumdog
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
FEEL
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
slumdog
Slumdog has common sense
JohnFBell®
The problem is that you are correct EXCEPT
AThomas®
Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
kbtiger®
Re: Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
TigerAidan
Re: Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
manafold
Re: Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
BKendall36
Re: Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
kingmcelrath88®
Re: Not sure how you can say we were the better team in recent .
slumdog
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
lightningkidd1
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
slumdog
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
manafold
Re: I feel a lot of people are about to call Nikki a "coot" for
BKendall36
Anchor, Norton. Jr-Sr-Jr-Sr-Jr likely starters
truetiger1998
Re: Anchor, Norton. Jr-Sr-Jr-Sr-Jr likely starters
winloseortie
Re: Anchor, Norton. Jr-Sr-Jr-Sr-Jr likely starters
slumdog
What about #32?
orangeblood10
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
theclash
agree Sammy hurts there is no way to slide it, as it would
truetiger1998
Re: agree Sammy hurts there is no way to slide it, as it would
theclash
Re: agree Sammy hurts there is no way to slide it, as it would
tbennett117
Agree 100% Bennett!***
colemanfan
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
CRobb®
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
hinds1962®
need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
pheebo
I hope Stoudt proves us wrong but I agree with pheebo on
rubtherock6317
Re: need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
tbennett117
Re: need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
slumdog
Re: need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
ancientorange
Re: need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
slumdog
Re: need to be careful what you wish for with stoudt......
hinds1962®
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
G PAW
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
slumdog
Your point about Boyd and 3 & shorts is a good one...
ClemfanWV
Re: Your point about Boyd and 3 & shorts is a good one...
1988NC
Re: Your point about Boyd and 3 & shorts is a good one...
Splode
Nitpicking, but we have 3 straight double digit win seasons
BigAl31®
I think we will be better at the QB position this year
orangeblood10
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
theclash
in 1997, the Tennessee Vols lost three 1st round NFL picks
scooter
Excellent point
MackDaddy®
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
Streaking Tiger
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
6317tigerrunfree
Where did you ever read that Procter had an accurate arm?
orangeblood10
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
slumdog
Unlikely
sbrooks®
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
slumdog
Re: I think we will be better at the QB position this year
cubobby80
An extra game against a 1-AA team makes 11 wins
Neal in NC
The wording in these titles are borderline absurd. This
CU''90
We don't need a break against Georgia. It is already a given
SOLOS®
Re: We don't need a break against Georgia. It is already a given
superdawg51
Re: We don't need a break against Georgia. It is already a given
slumdog
Re: We don't need a break against Georgia. It is already a given
BKendall36
Are you kidding? This is top notch journalism
THS Athlete 50®
It would be okay if it said "will" we win 11 games/my
CU''90
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
TigerFanClint
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
deroberts®
Grant is not negative
THS Athlete 50®
Re: Grant is not negative
deroberts®
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
slumdog
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
spillermaniac
How do you know he "he handles the pressure and nerves of
Mike1189
Kicker, O-Line, RB
ancientorange
Re: Kicker, O-Line, RB
slumdog
I think we lose one of the 3 tough games and it's not USuCk.
The hillbilly beater®
Re: I think we lose one of the 3 tough games and it's not USuCk.
backwoods deerhunter
Re: I think we lose one of the 3 tough games and it's not USuCk.
slumdog
Re: I think we lose one of the 3 tough games and it's not USuCk.
backwoods deerhunter
Re: I think we lose one of the 3 tough games and it's not USuCk.
slumdog
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
ChestyPuller0311®
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
Corderiette
This story would've of been a lot funnier if I clicked on it
Tall_Tiger_Two
Re: This story would've of been a lot funnier if I clicked on it
cubobby80
Re: New Story: The reasons why Clemson won't reach 11 wins again in 2014
kingmcelrath88®
Deer Nikki,
ClemsonTiger1988®

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