Dabo knew last year's Tigers could be special; what does 2012 hold?


by - Senior Writer -
Dabo knew last year's Tigers could be special; what does 2012 hold?

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers were barely a week into their fall practice last August when head coach Dabo Swinney Dabo Swinney

Head Coach

View Full Profile sat on his golf cart following a Tuesday practice and gave what would turn out to be a fairly accurate prediction for the 2011 season.

We were talking about how the team – despite being just a week into preparations for the 2011 seasons – had the look of a team that could make some noise during the season but how there was also room for a lot of growth.

Swinney sat back and smiled, and he said something that stuck with me for the rest of the season.

“If teams are going to get us, they better get us this year,” he said. “We ain’t gonna be easily got this year, because we have a lot of young talent. But if you gonna get us, get us now because there is a whole lot of young talent coming along and the future is very bright.”

Of course, the Tigers went on to win the ACC Atlantic Division and eventually the ACC Championship despite being “got” along the way in losses to Georgia Tech, South Carolina, N.C. State and West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

In looking ahead, many Clemson fans say that 2013 will be the Tigers’ year to really make another run at an ACC Championship and a possible national championship. One of the questions concerning 2012 is reminiscent of the questions heading into 2008 – how will the offensive line perform?

That question alone has many wondering if the Tigers will take a step back in 2011 (don’t they always in even-numbered years?) before jumping back into the fray in 2013.

The truth is, none of us know how the 2012 season is going to play out. Too many variables and too many factors and there is too much time for things to happen before the start of the season.

But in looking at this team over the spring, there are two things that are evidently and abundantly clear – this team has talent to burn, and Dabo Swinney has a coaching staff in place that inspires confidence that coaching won't be an issue next fall.

In other words: if you didn’t get ‘em last year, time might be running out.

The Tigers have an All-ACC performer returning in quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd

RS So. Quarterback

#10 6-1, 225

Hampton, VA

View Full Profile , who needs to build off of his first eight games from last season. There is a stable of running back talent that might be the best in the conference. The group of wide receivers, led by Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins

Fr. Wide Receiver

#2 6-1, 200

Fort Myers, FL

View Full Profile and Nuk Hopkins, is among the best in the country. Tight end won't be an issue, either, despite the loss of Dwayne AllenDwayne Allen

RS Jr. Tight End

#83 6-3, 255

Fayetteville, NC

View Full Profile to the NFL.

Two questions defensively heading into the spring were the defensive tackle and linebacker spots, but some of those concerns were allayed as the spring progressed and both groups seemed to have taken a step forward. There is talent at the tackle spot, just a lack of experience. The linebackers are tackling better, and there is also a wealth of talent at that position.

If Tony StewardTony Steward

Fr. Linebacker

#7 6-1, 245

Hastings, FL

View Full Profile comes back healthy, the Tigers would have Steward, Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony

Fr. Linebacker

#12 6-3, 235

Polkton, NC

View Full Profile , Corico HawkinsCorico Hawkins

Jr. Linebacker

#42 5-11, 230

Milledgeville, GA

View Full Profile , Tig Willard, Justin ParkerJustin Parker

So. Linebacker

#8 6-1, 225

Port Royal, SC

View Full Profile , Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey

RS So. Linebacker

#33 6-3, 250

Charlotte, NC

View Full Profile , Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian

RS So. Linebacker

#34 6-2, 220

Lake View, SC

View Full Profile , Lateek TownsendLateek Townsend

Fr. Linebacker

#20 6-2, 215

Bennettsville, SC

View Full Profile and B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson

RS Fr. Linebacker

#44 6-1, 235

Timmonsville, SC

View Full Profile to choose from. Next year the Tigers add players such as Dorian O’Daniel and Ben Boulware, so this position is loaded.

At tackle, players such as Grady JarrettGrady Jarrett

Fr. Defensive Tackle

#50 6-0, 290

Conyers, GA

View Full Profile , DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams

Fr. Defensive Tackle

#99 6-1, 290

Central, SC

View Full Profile , Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes

RS Fr. Defensive End

#6 6-4, 270

Jacksonville, FL

View Full Profile , Tra ThomasTra Thomas

RS Fr. Defensive Tackle

#95 6-0, 290

Wadesboro, NC

View Full Profile and Josh WatsonJosh Watson

RS Fr. Defensive Tackle

#91 6-4, 290

Wilmington, DE

View Full Profile have proved more than capable this spring. Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman

Jr. Defensive End

#97 6-4, 280

Florence, SC

View Full Profile and Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford

Fr. Defensive End

#93 6-5, 280

Columbus, GA

View Full Profile are a talented tandem at defensive end, and the Tigers will add a player in the fall in Carlos WatkinsCarlos Watkins

Fr. Defensive Line

# 6-4, 285

Forest City, NC

View Full Profile who could easily push for playing time along the line.

The secondary has seasoned veterans like Xavier BrewerXavier Brewer

RS Jr. Defensive Back

#29 5-11, 190

Jacksonville, FL

View Full Profile , Rashard HallRashard Hall

Gr. Safety

#31 6-1, 210

St. Augustine, FL

View Full Profile and Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks

Jr. Safety

#5 6-1, 210

Rock Hill, SC

View Full Profile sprinkled in among talented younger players like Darius RobinsonDarius Robinson

So. Defensive Back

#21 5-11, 170

College Park, GA

View Full Profile , Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland

RS Fr. Defensive Back

#17 6-0, 185

Allendale, SC

View Full Profile , Martin JenkinsMartin Jenkins

So. Defensive Back

#14 5-9, 175

Roswell, GA

View Full Profile , Travis BlanksTravis Blanks

Fr. Defensive Back

# 6-1, 180

Tallahassee, FL

View Full Profile and Cortez DavisCortez Davis

RS Fr. Defensive Back

#2 6-3, 200

Daytona Beach, FL

View Full Profile .

If the tackling issues and the confusion issues have been fixed – and early returns say they have - this defense looks poised for a turnaround season in 2012.

The kicking game appears to be more than solid with Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro

RS So. Punter / Kicker

#39 6-2, 200

Greenville, SC

View Full Profile , and freshman Bradley PinionBradley Pinion

Fr. Punter / Kicker

# 6-6, 220

Concord, NC

View Full Profile will push for a starting spot all August. His booming leg was in full view for everyone to see on Saturday.

Indeed, it might come down to the offensive line and how well this unit comes together not only before the opener against Auburn but as the season progresses. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris says he feels like he has seven linemen he can win with now, but eight or nine would be better.

Giff Timothy and Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas

RS So. Offensive Line

#63 6-3, 300

Spartanburg, SC

View Full Profile each had good springs at the tackle spots, and center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman

RS Jr. Offensive Line

#55 6-5, 285

Pelion, SC

View Full Profile will be considered among the nation’s best at his position this season. Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley

RS So. Offensive Line

#43 6-3, 295

Icard, NC

View Full Profile is a physical player at right guard, and Kalon DavisKalon Davis

RS Fr. Offensive Line

#67 6-5, 335

Chester, SC

View Full Profile got better as the spring progressed.

ESPN college football analyst David Pollack visited a Clemson practice just before the end of spring practice, and he came away impressed with the wealth of talent that Swinney has accumulated.

“Clemson will win another ACC Title this year or next,” Pollack tweeted. “Serious, serious young talent. Love Dabo's energy & passion. Clemson's receivers DeAndre HopkinsDeAndre Hopkins

So. Wide Receiver

#6 6-1, 200

Central, SC

View Full Profile & Sammy Watkins will easily be one of the best 1,2 punches in College Football.”

Get ‘em now, because time is quickly running out for opposing teams.

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Subject (Replies: 60) Author
spacer Front Page Story: Dabo knew last year's Tigers could be special; what does 2012 hold?
B-Meist®
spacer What did the great prognosticator forsee in Spring 2010?***
OberTiger
spacer I wish Sept 1st would get here already!***
OhEightLee
spacer Don't you DARE jinx us, David!
David78®
spacer Re: Don't you DARE jinx us, David!
davidhood®
spacer I'm holding you personally responsible if we suffer a
David78®
spacer Re: Front Page Story: Dabo knew last year's Tigers could be special; what does 2012 hold?
fowlervick®
spacer Re: Front Page Story: Dabo knew last year's Tigers could be special; what does 2012 hold?
CUgrad2011®
spacer How about a win against south carolina.***
surroundedtiger
spacer You'll get 100% agreement on that one. We simply
David78®
spacer Re: You'll get 100% agreement on that one. We simply
Ridge Creek
spacer Why?
ClemsonPoker489®
spacer Because he
Ridge Creek
spacer Do you remember the last time we gave a contract extension?***
tiggerz04®
spacer Re: Because he
sgt tiger®
spacer The danger with making predictions is
Ridge Creek
spacer To be fair no one we play this year shuld be more talented
Drobins
spacer FSU would disagree.
Neilly
spacer FSU has no offense
Drobins
spacer Re: FSU has no offense
Neilly
spacer You left out "where games are won"
tiggerz04®
spacer Re: You left out "where games are won"
Neilly
spacer Kind of. We don't "lose" anyone, they're technically already
tiggerz04®
spacer Re: Kind of. We don't "lose" anyone, they're technically already
Neilly
spacer Then why do you reply to them?
Drobins
spacer "...You Better Get us Early..." ??????
SeattleTiger
spacer I think you misread the article. "Get us early" as in
JTigerz
spacer Someone didn't read the article!!!***
tiggerz04®
spacer Replying to my own post... Sorry,
SeattleTiger
spacer Calling a season "special" when it had 5 losses, with 3 of
deleted
spacer You obviously haven't competed for much...
TigerTown
spacer That's why I pull for ACC teams.
Ridge Creek
spacer Its great to win the ACC, but you folks are acting like we
deleted
spacer 42 scholarship freshmen, and still won the conference
JTigerz
spacer BS everyone has the same number of players.***
deleted
spacer Every team had 42 freshmen?
tiggerz04®
spacer Don' be stupid. Every team has 85 schollies and brings
deleted
spacer Re: Don' be stupid. Every team has 85 schollies and brings
tiggerz04®
spacer Re: Don' be stupid. Every team has 85 schollies and brings
clemtiger820
spacer Even if they did have "50 freshmen per year," Wake doesn't
JTigerz
spacer What are you smoking? 3 major upsets? who?***
deleted
spacer Re: What are you smoking? 3 major upsets? who?***
CUgrad2011®
spacer At least our rings are for winning something....
RevDodd®
spacer Re: Calling a season "special" when it had 5 losses, with 3 of
solidorange716
spacer First of all we only lost 4 games.
Drobins
spacer Yes 4 not 5, my bad, but it was not a very good year, there
deleted
spacer If it was overrated more teams would do it
Drobins
spacer I'm with you.
ClemsonPoker489®
spacer If our reputation is in the ####### then how did we pull in
tiggerz04®
spacer Thats great but only lasts for so long. Kids aren't stupid
deleted
spacer Re: Thats great but only lasts for so long. Kids aren't stupid
tiger49
spacer Re: Thats great but only lasts for so long. Kids aren't stupid
tiggerz04®
spacer Auburn lost everyone, FSU was not and has not been good
deleted
spacer Also we won 10 games and won the AC yet still didn't
deleted
spacer Re: Also we won 10 games and won the AC yet still didn't
dough29555®
spacer Darn well better be a win over the coots.***
cutigersJD
spacer Seriously? Did I just read that?
SteelTiger1
spacer Re: Also we won 10 games and won the AC yet still didn't
SSN-Tiger®
spacer Special? I guess 70-33 was especially humiliating.***
dannyfan1981
spacer Troll***
Drobins
spacer How did 56-17 feel?***
deleted
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