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


by - Senior Writer -
    |

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

Rate this Story:
15 votes

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

Sammy Watkins believes the Earth is flat

Pigskin Prophet: Basketball school and bandwagon edition

Clemson DL ranked in McShay's Top 32 prospects

Swinney responds to Kirk Herbstreit on Clemson's playoff chances

Former Clemson OL Hairston out for season

Steve Spurrier says Clemson should be ranked No. 1 ahead of Alabama

Rudolph out for the season, Swinney looks for freshmen to step up

Clemson offers 2018 Auburn WR commit

WATCH: Swinney talks injuries, more after Wednesday practice
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Updates
Daily Digest