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Where are we as a program and where are we headed (IMO)
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Where are we as a program and where are we headed (IMO)

emoji_events [28]
Dec 3, 2012, 10:55 PM

We are currently a good team in a bad conference. We could compete in any conference in the nation, including the mighty S.E.C., but I don't think we win 10 games this year outside of the ACC or the Big East. We had too many flaws that were exploited when we played teams with equivalent talent, but I think we are still around 8 or 9 wins this season, even in the S.E.C.

Where are we headed (I will do this by position group):

Defense:

Where are we:

DE - Our defensive ends were not as poor as people think. Our main issue is that we started 2 strong side defensive ends, and lacked a pass rushing end. Crawford and Goodman are almost clones of each other. They are both around 6'5 270. If you look at the leading sack leaders in college football you will see a trend. Granted Barr, Moore and Jones are all L.B.'s

Barr - UCLA - 6'4 - 235
Clowney - USCe - 6'6 - 255
Werner - F.S.U. - 6-4 - 255
Moore - A&M - 6'4 - 250
Jones - UGA - 6'3 - 241

Tall heavy ends are generally not pass rushers, this is why you saw a way undersized Beasley coming in a playing WSDE.

Where are we headed:

We are set at strong side defensive end, next years roster will feature:

Crawford: 6'5 - 270
Barnes: 6'4 - 275
Byers: 6'3 -275
S. Lawson - 6'4 - 270

The question is, who is going to play weak side defensive and get after the quarterback?

Beasley: 6'3 - 225 (needs to get up to 240)
Aiken: 6'2 - 255 (might be more of a strong side DE)
Rogers: 6'3 - 255
C. Lawson? - 6'2 - 255

This is going to be the biggest question mark of next season. Can Beasley get bigger, is Aiken explosive enough, can Rogers come in and make and impact, and maybe most importantly, can Clemson seal the deal with a true difference maker like Carl Lawson?

Where are we:

DT - This will be the deepest position on the football team next year. The only problem might be keeping everyone happy in terms of playing time. Our current D.T.'s look like this.

D.J. Reader - 6'3 - 335
Grady Jarret - 6'1 - 290
DeShawn Williams- 6'1 -285
Josh Watson - 6'4 285
Carlos Watkins - 6'3 - 300

This does not include Thomas or Dodd, who have not seen much of the field yet.

Where are we going:
Clemson has one solid D.T. signed up and ready to go in Pagano, and has a great shot at a true monster in Adams. Clemson will be set at D.T. for the foreseeable future, regardless if Adams signs, but if Clemson can secure his commitment, they may have the best and deepest stable of D.T.'s in the nation.

Pagano - 6'3 280
Adams? - 6'4 - 310

Where are we:

MLB - We attempted to stay with Anthony at MLB at the start of the season, but he couldn't get the job done. His skill set seems to favor playing OLB, and I'm wondering if doesn't move back outside next season. Spencer Shuey moved into the position mid season and was the surprise of the year. He had the size and strength to get off blocks, and when he tackled the someone, they generally stayed tackled.

Where are we headed:

Clemson has some options at MLB other than Anthony and Shuey currently on the roster. Tony Steward is the biggest question mark on the defense. Is he healthy, and if so, does he make a run at a starting postion next season, and if so, is it at MLB or OLB. I think Steward probably stays outside next season, because Shuey is entrenched at MLB after his stellar play this season. The former 5* player is running out of time to make the impact everyone expected. B.J. Goodson is also a possibility in the middle. He has the size, and reportedly has the talent, but is he going to be able to force his way onto the field.

OLB:

Where are we:

We are staring at a log jam of players OLB. Quandon Christian will be a returning starter, but his position is anything but secure. He has some talented players hot on his heals, and his play this season did not secure his spot moving forward. At the other OLB spot, Tig Willard had an impressive season, and really starting coming on at the end of the year. There is plenty of talent on the roster to replace Willard's production.

Where are we headed:

This is another huge question mark. I don't see Christian holding on to his starting spot. There are essentially 5 or possibly 6 players competing for 2 spots. Those players are:

Steward
Townsend
Anthony
Jones
Christian
Parker?

It is time for Steward, Anthony, Parker and Townsend to make their moves, because they are no longer young. Are they going to be players with potential who never put it together or are they going to make their mark at Clemson. Can Kellen Jones come in and take a spot away? It will be interesting, but there will be no shortage of options. I'm wondering if the talented incoming freshmen (Boulware and O'Daniel) take a redshirt next season.

CB:

Where are we:

Who really knows, we were injured all season, and it was hard for anyone to establish themselves. Clemson was bad, and I mean real bad at the CB position this season. Xavier Brewer probably acquitted himself the best, and Gary Peters had an occasional moment, but in general, this position caused Clemson to lose 2 games this season.

Where are we headed:

Again, who knows. Everyone returns except for Brewer, so there will be some depth, but how talented is that depth. Martin Jenkins will be back, after missing all season due to injury, and he should help. Breeland has shown potential, but can he stay healthy. Robinson looked lost, then he looked a little better, and then he broke his leg. Davis played some in mop up duty, but only moved his way up the depth chart when the entire secondary went down. Peters played some, made a few plays, didn't make a few plays, and wasn't consistent enough to be impressive. One possibility is signing highly rated DB Alexander and having him actually pan out. Another possibility is a guy like Jadar Johnson coming in and making a move. I have no idea how this shakes out, there are options, but are there any good options?

Safety:

Where are we:
We have 2 senior safeties who were underwhelming at best. Hall and Meeks have been loyal players for Clemson, but they never made the move to impact players, and that hurt Clemson this year. We needed 2 senior players to help erase some CB errors, and instead, we had senior safeties who committed just as many errors, and I don't even want to mention tackling because it is depressing. I respect the hard work and dedication they gave to Clemson, but I will not miss them next season.

Where are we headed:
Travis Blanks will be a starter at one safety next season, and he will be a major upgrade. He might even make receivers think twice about catching footballs next season. The other safety position is a big question, but couldn't be much worse than this year. Does Davis finally outgrow CB and move to FS. Does Smith have a solid offseason and make his move. Does a Freshman like Tankersly or Kearse come in and claim their spot from game 1? However it ends, I like our options next year more than our options this year.

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very good...


Dec 3, 2012, 11:02 PM

I think a year under Venables helps

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I just hope we can find 3 CB's next season


Dec 3, 2012, 11:03 PM

This year it felt like we had -2.

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ppl apparently forget how bad the B10 is this year


Dec 3, 2012, 11:39 PM

a 7-5 team just beat their best team, formerly #12 in the country, by nearly 50. Clemson probably would've been undefeated had they played in the B10. I'm not sure that anybody but Oregon beats Clemson in the PAC-12, but Oklahoma and KState might've beaten Clemson in the B12.

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Don't forget O.S.U. was undefeated


Dec 3, 2012, 11:43 PM

Also P.S.U. was decent, probably would have been the 3rd best team in the ACC.

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Penn State lost to Virginia ...

[1]
Dec 4, 2012, 12:54 AM

... they weren't good.

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They lost to UVA in the second game


Dec 4, 2012, 1:04 AM

The whole program was still devastated. They beat better teams than both F.S.U. and Clemson.

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Re: Where are we as a program and where are we headed (IMO)


Dec 3, 2012, 11:43 PM

Good stuff. I think Anthony takes Tig's spot, and Steward ultimately moves inside if he can beat out Shuey.

We run so much nickel that it's going to be hard to keep the LBs happy.

Agree that Beasley needs to get up in weight.

Davis needs to step up in the secondary next year. As big as he is, I could realistically see him at FS and Blanks at SS. I just don't see a 6'3' CB having the fluidity to move well enough in space.

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Davis was a highly ranked Safety coming into Clemson


Dec 3, 2012, 11:46 PM

I always thought it was strange that he was listed as a CB. I could see him playing F.S., but can he tackle? I saw way too many missed tackles and slap tackles from our F.S. this season. Clemson needs someone who makes the opponents think twice about throwing it over the middle.

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Re: Davis was a highly ranked Safety coming into Clemson


Dec 3, 2012, 11:47 PM

Agreed. I'd like to think Blanks can fill that enforcer spot, because he showed some tenacity this year. But you never know how someone is going to respond to playing a new position, although I think Blanks is certainly capable.

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Nice breakdown bro! I will preface,,,"God Bless Him",..


Dec 3, 2012, 11:48 PM

BUT...M. Goodman's lack of production and improvement is puzzling?? Sometimes I wonder if we truly know how to develop(nurture) player progression.? Either way...I wish him the best, and the DE position..IMO, by default- will improve, as will safety. If not, we're in serious trouble. GO TIGERS! RR

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Re: Nice breakdown bro! I will preface,,,"God Bless Him",..


Dec 3, 2012, 11:50 PM

We've normally done a good job with our ends. Not sure why Goodman couldn't become dominant.

That whole group of 5th year seniors troubled me. Because they looked promising a few years ago.

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People wanted Goodman to be something he wasn't


Dec 3, 2012, 11:51 PM

He is a good foil to a dominate pass rusher. He does his job, hold up against the run, and is generally solid. It wouldn't surprise me if he plays the same role in the N.F.L.

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Interesting take? I hope you're right for his sake.***


Dec 4, 2012, 6:49 PM



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Good job one thing though


Dec 3, 2012, 11:55 PM

I think D. O'Daniel plays in some way next year on kickoff? Maybe safe a starter on D a 50yrd sprint before they go on D. Just an idea.

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Re: Good job one thing though


Dec 3, 2012, 11:55 PM

Huh?

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We have enough LB's to run down the field without O'Daniel


Dec 3, 2012, 11:57 PM

Plus, we should be kicking the ball in the endzone anyway, so there is no real point.

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Re: Where are we as a program and where are we headed (IMO)

[1]
Dec 4, 2012, 8:22 AM

I think Jones ends up at middle linebacker, and you completely left out Geohaghan at safety.

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null


Jones would be a small MLB


Dec 4, 2012, 12:35 PM

Also, I didn't see where Geohaghan was still in the recruiting mix. If he is, then he is certainly another option.

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Re: Jones would be a small MLB


Dec 4, 2012, 12:44 PM

Geohaghan is on the team. He's a redshirt freshman.

Here's a video on Jones.

http://www.orangeandwhite.com/videos/detail/jones-on-clemson-transfer-his-game/

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null


My fault on Geohaghan


Dec 4, 2012, 1:50 PM

I was confusing him with Tankersly. He will certainly be in the safety mix, and might have the inside track for one of the safety spots. He is another 4* prospect who might be able to immediately improve the defensive backfield.

Also Jones might play on the inside, but I'm not sure if I see him unseating Shuey. I think he has a better shot at seeing the field on the outside.

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I'm actually gonna keep this info for future reference. Very


Dec 4, 2012, 8:48 AM

informative and good perspective.

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how offense can help defense stay off field more!


Dec 4, 2012, 8:51 AM

I hope and expect offensive coaches saw the handwriting on the wall - more ball control vs. fast defenses with more play/action, running (at fast edge rushers esp.),
occasional long pass - ask any coach successful against Usuc and Saban - his words for success against uga in second half!

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Good Read.....looking forward to the one for the O***


Dec 4, 2012, 8:54 AM



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Put Clemson in UGA's schedule and you have your 10 wins


Dec 4, 2012, 12:59 PM

in the SEC

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We might want to look at a 3-4 scheme next year


Dec 4, 2012, 1:45 PM

If we do land Adams, which I'm feeling good about, then we have all the peices needed to be a good 3-4 defense. You have to have that one dominate NG that demands a double team (Adams) and then you need a solid SDE to help him out (We've got those numbers in spades) WDE is going to have to come out of Beasly, Aiken, and hopefully C.Lawson.

We are very very deep at LB as you've stated and we need to get that talent on the field. Jones, Shuey, Steward, Anthony, Townsend, Parker are all high energy guys that can make a difference.

The back four is anyone's guess. Breeland will hold done one spot if he stays healthy, he's the most athletic CB we've got. Jenkins is very reliable and Peter and Robinson are at least serviceable. Not worried about the CB position that much.

Safety is a crap shoot. Aside from Blanks, who hasn't gotten that many snaps at the position, the other spot is anyone's guess. Will it be Davis? Will it be some of the young guys coming in? I really have no clue and this is the one area of concern I have next year for our D.

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