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


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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 SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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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

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, 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

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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

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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

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comes back healthy, the Tigers would have Steward, Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
Fr. Linebacker
#12 6-3, 235
Polkton, NC

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, Corico HawkinsCorico Hawkins
Jr. Linebacker
#42 5-11, 230
Milledgeville, GA

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, Tig Willard, Justin ParkerJustin Parker
So. Linebacker
#8 6-1, 225
Port Royal, SC

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, Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS So. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 250
Charlotte, NC

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, Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian
RS So. Linebacker
#34 6-2, 220
Lake View, SC

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, Lateek TownsendLateek Townsend
Fr. Linebacker
#20 6-2, 215
Bennettsville, SC

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and B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson
RS Fr. Linebacker
#44 6-1, 235
Timmonsville, SC

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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

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, DeShawn WilliamsDeShawn Williams
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-1, 290
Central, SC

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, Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS Fr. Defensive End
#6 6-4, 270
Jacksonville, FL

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, Tra ThomasTra Thomas
RS Fr. Defensive Tackle
#95 6-0, 290
Wadesboro, NC

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and Josh WatsonJosh Watson
RS Fr. Defensive Tackle
#91 6-4, 290
Wilmington, DE

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have proved more than capable this spring. Malliciah GoodmanMalliciah Goodman
Jr. Defensive End
#97 6-4, 280
Florence, SC

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and Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
Fr. Defensive End
#93 6-5, 280
Columbus, GA

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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

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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

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, Rashard HallRashard Hall
Gr. Safety
#31 6-1, 210
St. Augustine, FL

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and Jonathan MeeksJonathan Meeks
Jr. Safety
#5 6-1, 210
Rock Hill, SC

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sprinkled in among talented younger players like Darius RobinsonDarius Robinson
So. Defensive Back
#21 5-11, 170
College Park, GA

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, Bashaud BreelandBashaud Breeland
RS Fr. Defensive Back
#17 6-0, 185
Allendale, SC

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, Martin JenkinsMartin Jenkins
So. Defensive Back
#14 5-9, 175
Roswell, GA

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, Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
# 6-1, 180
Tallahassee, FL

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and Cortez DavisCortez Davis
RS Fr. Defensive Back
#2 6-3, 200
Daytona Beach, FL

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.

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

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, and freshman Bradley PinionBradley Pinion
Fr. Punter / Kicker
# 6-6, 220
Concord, NC

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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

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each had good springs at the tackle spots, and center Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

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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

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is a physical player at right guard, and Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#67 6-5, 335
Chester, SC

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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

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& 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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