|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:39 AM||
The Clemson staff has a much taller task this week in preparing the team for perhaps its final trip to College Park. Last week there were no issues of attention to meetings or emotions. This week the Tigers are coming off of a potentially devastating loss and the opponent is not atop the national polls. Therefore, it would be natural to have a hangover and fall victim to a let down on the road this Saturday.
The real answers will not come until the Tigers take the field Saturday at 3:30, but two observers I talked to that were at both Monday and Tuesday's practice said the team's attitude was very good. Earlier in the week the players were not hanging their heads and stepping on their bottom lips. But again, the real answers will not be seen until Saturday.
One of the major story lines for this weekend's game has to be Maryland's major injuries. The injury bug has once again struck in College Park. We know that starting wide receivers Stephon Diggs and Deon Long are gone for the season. Today we will find out about the availability of both starting cornerbacks Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson, starting running back Brandon Ross and starting linebackers L.A. Goree and Matt Robinson.
However, Clemson is a banged up football team as well. Clemson now has ten percent of the scholarship players out. Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
View Full Profile, Patrick DeStefanoPatrick DeStefano
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#71 6-5, 275
View Full Profile, Kellen JonesKellen Jones
RS So. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
View Full Profile, Mackenzie Alexander, Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
Fr. Running Back
#23 6-1, 205
View Full Profile and, most likely, Kevin DoddKevin Dodd
So. Defensive Tackle
#98 6-4, 280
View Full Profile and Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins
So. Defensive Tackle
#94 6-3, 300
View Full Profile are out for the season. Garry PetersGarry Peters
RS Jr. Cornerback
#26 6-0, 195
View Full Profile is out for the next few weeks and DeShaun Williams is questionable this week.
I don't care what level of football you play, not having nine players available to you has to hurt.
Like many road trips I think the first quarter will be important Saturday. Earlier in the season Clemson did not take advantage of opportunities in the first quarter in Raleigh and the Tigers let NC State hang around. The Carter-Finley Stadium crowd hung around a little and got into the game and it got a little closer than some would have liked.
Against Syracuse, the Tigers came out and sent the Orange a message. This early lead helped put the game out of hand early and helped defuse a potentially rough crowd in the Carrier Dome.
I don't expect a big atmosphere Saturday if the Tigers can start fast. Maryland is bruised and battered physically and emotionally. A fast Clemson start would be demoralizing to the Terps and their fan base.
Clemson can still win without a fast start Saturday but the fourth quarter would be a heck of a lot easier with a dominating first half. The perfect storm is to not let Maryland have any reason to believe in the upset.
The Final Trip
This is perhaps the final time Clemson will play football in College Park. I have mixed emotions about perhaps my final trip there. On one hand, College Park is a dump and I won't miss getting told what to do with myself and my mother. I won't miss the sign language some fans use there either.
I will miss the DC and Baltimore parts of the trip. I have usually split time between the two cities. The first time I went to Baltimore I thought it was a dump but they have improved the city. The food is worth the trip.
I love sight-seeing in DC though. A few weeks ago it looked like many of the attractions would be closed but that won't be the case now.
In the end, I won't miss the Terps. I always felt it was a northern campus and I felt I had little in common with Maryland people. I always felt like Maryland was a Big East type of school but I guess I was wrong, and it is actually a Big Ten school.
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#98 6-2, 310
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