|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:21 PM||
It seems like every week in the fall I feel like the next football game is the biggest game of the year. In basketball, I rarely get that feeling. On the hardwood you play so many games and if you lose on Sunday you have a chance to rebound as early as Tuesday.
However, I think tonight's Clemson-Georgia Tech game is big for both teams. The Yellow Jackets are coming off of their first win the conference and are looking for momentum. Clemson is looking to get to .500 in the league.
Often times I feel bad for Brad BrownellBrad Brownell
View Full Profile and his staff as they attempt to build this program. They were not left with a lot of talent in the underclassman and recruiting has been difficult at times for Brownell. Injuries hit two potential starters this off-season and now the flu has taken its toll on the team's best player, Devin Booker.
Listening to Brownell the last two days gives me the feeling that more players will have to contribute tonight. Booker is still feeling some of the effects of his flu bug. Milton Jennings responded with career high 28 points and 14 rebounds in Sunday's win over Virginia Tech but he played all forty minutes. Brownell said last night that he can't remember playing a guy for 40 minutes and he feels Jennings will need much deserved time on the bench getting rest tonight.
Therefore it is imperative for the Tigers to get the other players involved in the offense tonight. We have seen glimpses of Demarcus Harrison gaining confidence at times. We have seen K.J. McDaniel develop more than just an offensive rebound at times. We have noticed Rod Hall or Adonis Filer show offensive promise in small stretches. However none of the above have been consistent on the offensive end.
Tonight Harrison or McDaniel or Filer of Hall or Roper may have to play a bigger role on the offensive end. If the Tigers can pull one out tonight then they have a chance to get to 5-4 with a win at Boston College.
It is important to get to 5-4 in the league in the first half because I believe the second half league schedule gets a little tougher. The good news is that most of the better teams in the second half schedule visit Littlejohn. The better news is that Brownell and his staff are good developers of talent and his teams usually play better in the second half of a season.
I had meetings yesterday and missed the media day for Clemson baseball but I did talk to several that went. To a man, every one I talked to mentioned how much bigger and stronger this team looked.
On The Roy Philpot Show yesterday Roy interviewed coaches and players for all three hours and every one mentioned the strength and condition being a bigger factor in this past off-season.
I have a high standard for Clemson baseball and have probably been overly critical in recent years. One of my complaints has been the athleticism of the players. I have complained about the size, speed and overall athletic ability that has been lacking in recent campaigns. It appears Clemson recruiting coordinator Bradley LeCroy has addressed many concerns. I know the incoming freshman class is highly rated but it is difficult to count on freshmen at this level. I will be interested to see how much this class contributes early.
LeCroy said that perhaps the biggest difference in this team is the depth. He said every position has depth and the competition is making every position better.
It will be interesting to see how much the make up of this team has changed from last year. This group has a chance to start fresh and the new attitudes seemed to start in the weight room over the summer. Usually college baseball players go off and play in summer leagues like the famous Cape Cod league but for the first time most of the members of the team came to summer school for the second session instead. This allowed the team to workout and train together and the staff says it has payed dividends. Several players have added 10 to 15 pounds of muscle and increased their speed.
The season opener is two weeks from Friday against William and Mary but it sounded like this group is ready to get started today.
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