Grading Clemson vs. Wake Forest

by - Correspondent -

QUARTERBACK- 166 yards rushing and two touchdowns, 157 yards passing
and a touchdown: Does it get much better? Woodrow Dantzler rated his performance
after the Wake Forest game as a "C" or a "D." We'll be a
little kinder.

Grade: A

RUNNING BACKS- Clemson has quickly developed a three-headed monster
at the tailback position with Travis Zachery, Bernard Rambert, and Keith Kelly.
The trio accounted for 212 yards on the ground on Saturday without even breaking
a collective sweat. Perhaps the only thing better than watching Rambert and
Kelly run is listening to their thick Lowcountry accents after the game.

Grade: A

RECEIVERS- With only ten completions to go around against Wake Forest,
the Tiger receivers never had much of a chance to break loose. Even with the
limited completions, Rod Gardner, Jackie Robinson, Justin Watts and company
did a masterful job blocking for Dantzler, Kelly, Rambert, and Zachery downfield.
Look for this group to have a better day catching the ball next weekend at Virginia.
Also, don't be surprised to see Zachery take more snaps at the slotback position
as the season progresses.

Grade: B+

OFFENSIVE LINE- And you thought these guys could only pass block. The
Clemson grunts did a masterful job of controlling the offensive line of scrimmage
on rushing plays throughout the afternoon, allowing Tiger runners to easily
break into the Wake Forest secondary on most occasions. These guys might not
be the biggest offensive line unit you will find but they play smart and they
are athletic, two factors that shouldn't be overlooked.

Grade: A

DEFENSIVE LINE- Even the absence of starters Terry Jolly and Jason Holloman
couldn't stop the Tiger defensive line from putting on their most impressive
performance since Tommy Bowden has been at Clemson. The Tigers made quick work
of Wake Forest blockers on most running plays and were effective at pressuring
CJ Leak when the Deacons dared to pass. Nick Eason and Freddie James appear
to be budding stars as Clemson continues to develop depth up front.

Grade: A

LINEBACKERS- In case you've missed it, the Clemson linebacking corps
has developed one nasty disposition. These guys are fast, aggressive, and dead-set
on knocking opposing ball carriers three-feet into the turf on every play. They're
a bit greedy as well; after the game, Keith Adams and Chad Carson each lamented
the fact that Wake Forest was able to score a touchdown late in the game.

Grade: A

SECONDARY- Robert Carswell broke Terry Kinard's record for career tackles
for a defensive back on Saturday while Brian Mance continued to show superstar
potential at the cornerback position. While this group has yet to be tested
it certainly appears that they have the potential to be the strongest secondary
unit that Clemson has seen in many years.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS- Without a doubt, this was the lone weak spot in the Tigers'
performance against Wake Forest. Clemson kickoff coverage was poor while punter
Jaime Somaini could only muster a 33.3-yard punting average on four attempts.
Aaron Hunt missed his first field goal as a Tiger on an afternoon that the Clemson
special teams would just as soon forget.

Grade: D-

COACHING- Reggie Herring's defense continued its dominating 2000 campaign
against Wake Forest, holding the Deacons to just 44 yards in the first half
and 159 for the game. Thus far, Tiger opponents have been unable to solve Clemson's
ultra-aggressive defensive package. Offensively, Rich Rodriguez and Tommy Bowden
did a masterful job adjusting to a Wake Forest defensive package that was hell-bent
on stopping he pass. The result: an absolutely grueling display of power football
and another convincing blowout.

GRADE: Offense A, Defense A+

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