David Harry: Grading The Tigers vs. USC

by - Correspondent -

Quarterback- Woodrow Dantzler counteracted an average passing performance with 102 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Unfortunately for the Tigers, two of Dantzler’s worst throws resulted in Gamecock interceptions that thwarted scoring opportunities in the first half.
Grade: D

Running Backs- Travis Zachery and Bernard Rambert combined for only ten carries for 45 yards in surprisingly light duty. However, Zachery was effective as a receiver with a team-leading five catches for 40 yards.
Grade: C-

Receivers- Clemson’s young receiving corps struggled with a handful of drops. Regardless, the freshman trio of Airese Currie, Derrick Hamilton, and Roscoe Crosby did manage to haul down a number of nice balls, the most notable being Currie’s 54-yard TD pass in the first quarter and Hamilton’s 11-yards scoring grab midway through the fourth.
Grade: C

Offensive line- Clemson looked to be in control in the trenches early on as the Tigers were able to muster a number of impressive drive throughout the first half. In limited second half opportunities, the offensive line continued to provide Dantzler with adequate pass protection despite the team struggling to find a consistent running attack.
Grade: C+

Defensive line- After a respectable first-half performance, Clemson’s defensive line was worn down by the Gamecock’s power rushing attack in the second half. Quite simply, the Tigers were unable to make a number of critical defensive stops against the run late in the game.
Grade: C

Linebackers- Poor tackling plagued the Tiger linebacking corps for much of the day, with Gamecock runners and receivers often bouncing off Clemson tacklers for a number of big plays.
Grade: C-

Secondary- Thanks to Lou Holtz’ run-based game plan, the weekly toasting of the Clemson secondary was kept at a minimum. Regardless, the Tigers were victimized on two long passes and flagged for interference on another two.
Grade: D+

Special Teams- Over the past few weeks, the Tiger special teams have been particularly solid in comparison to their offensive and defensive counterparts. Derrick Hamilton has quickly become a breakaway threat on kickoff returns while Clemson continues to enjoy excellent punt and kickoff coverage.
Grade: B

Coaching- Offensively, the Tigers have become stagnant and relatively predictable. Clemson struggled once again to maintain sustained drives, as witnessed by a first half that saw the offense outplay the Gamecock defense overall yet come away with only nine points. Whether it be because of the Tigers’ trademark no-huddle offense or a seemingly limited offensive playbook, it has become apparent over the course of the season that the element of surprise has been lost from the “Indy 500” offense. It would also appear that Tommy Bowden and the offensive coaching staff have been unwilling or unable to adjust.

Defensively, the Tigers were again respectable against the run for the early portion of the afternoon. The second half saw the Gamecocks take charge at the line of scrimmage and Clemson simply didn’t have the manpower to respond. Regardless, the Tigers still struggled to against the pass and- perhaps more importantly- the team continued to be plagued by poor tackling. Clearly, this again boils down to a glaring number of fundamental lapses on the defensive side of the ball.

Grades: Offense- F Defense: C-

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