Muddy The Waters
|Monday, August 25, 2014, 7:03 AM- -|
Muddy The Waters
When I was a kid I would get so excited for the start of football season each year. The opener would come and I would just about jump out of my skin looking forward to seeing the Tigers for the first time. I had read the press guide cover to cover. I had heard about how great we were going to be. I expected Clemson to come out and look like the Pittsburgh Steelers from the opening snap.
There was only one problem. It was the opener.
I seems like most years most teams are still trying to find themselves. Games will be filled with illegal procedure penalties, off sides movement, motion penalties, missed tackles and dropped passes. At the end of the first game we always have to remind ourselves that this is just the opener and improvement is coming.
Fortunately in most of those years Clemson was playing Western Carolina or Rice or Directional U. This year Clemson does not have that luxury. In fact, this is the third straight season Clemson opens with an SEC opponent. We also know that Clemson is 2-0 in those openers the last two seasons.
Like many of you, I am guilty of revisionist history. I always try to remember the good times being so much better than they are. If we are honest with ourselves, we will remember the Clemson-Georgia epic battles of the past actually being turnover battles.
In 1981, the Dawgs had NINE turnovers in their 13-3 loss at Death Valley.
Most of those historic battles were not as bad as the 1981 affair, but mistakes were the difference many of the years. Clemson turned it over deep in Georgia territory in 1980 to lose. It was a blocked punt that was the difference in 1982. Clemson blew a 20-6 halftime lead due to turnovers in Athens in 1984. Everyone remembers Treadwell's field goal in 1986, but how many remember Georgia's big fumble before that drive?
We have seen fumble recoveries in the end zone, bad snaps on field goal attempts, fumbled snaps and dropped balls play huge roles in Clemson-Georgia battles of the past.
This season should be no different. Both teams have so many new faces in critical places that I expect mistakes to be the key.
Mistakes are funny things though. When you turn it over, you remember it as you made a mistake. However, you the other team turns it over, you have forced a turnover.
Mistakes in wins are marked up to early season issues. Mistakes in losses are a statement about your players, coaches and program.
So this Saturday should be like most openers. The difference in winning and losing should be determined by mistakes and the way we view them will be based on if we are the winners or losers.
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