Grading the Tigers vs. Maryland
Travis Zachery had a career high 151 yards on 29 carries against Maryland.
QUARTERBACK- Woodrow Dantzler was efficient throwing the ball (10-19,
186 yards, one interception) and effective on the ground (17 carries for 97
yards and two touchdowns). While it wasn't Dantzler's most memorable performance
of the season, the Orangeburg junior certainly did nothing to hurt his Heisman
chances in front of a national television audience.
RUNNING BACKS- Travis Zachery isn't Clemson's fastest running back, nor
is he the most athletic. He is, however, a workhorse whose consistently solid
play has the Tiger running game sitting pretty after seven games. Zachery's
career-high 151 yards on a surprising 29 carries against Maryland again showed
that while he may be short on flair, the elusive junior certainly isn't short
RECEIVERS- After a slow start in 2000, Rod Gardner has roared to life
in the Tigers' last two games. Against the Terrapins, the 6-3 senior was nothing
short of spectacular, hauling in five passes for an impressive 148 yards. Jackie
Robinson may have had only one catch for 13 yards against Maryland, but he again
showed the ability to take a lick and come down with the ball. While it might
not appear in the post-game statistics, the Clemson receivers continued to be
particularly effective in their downfield blocking.
OFFENSIVE LINE- One thing became particularly clear as Saturday's game
progressed: the Tigers were going to run the ball and Maryland wasn't going
to do much to stop them. The undersized and surprisingly dominant Clemson line
continues to own the line of scrimmage as the season progresses and pave the
way for the Tigers' offensive success.
DEFENSIVE LINE- After allowing Maryland's Lamont Jordan to explode for
177 yards last year in College Park, the Tiger defensive line had one clear
objective heading into Saturday's game: don't let him do it again. For the most
part, they were successful, limiting Jordan to only 71 yards on 15 carries.
Unfortunately, Clemson struggled to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
For the Tigers to remain undefeated, the defensive line will have to greatly
improve its pass rushing effort.
LINBACKERS- Keith Adam's streak of games with a tackle for loss doesn't
appear to be in danger of ending anytime soon. Unofficially, Adams recorded
one stop behind the Terrapin line to go with seven total tackles while Chad
Carson led the team with nine tackles and two tackles for loss, including a
SECONDARY- Alex Ardley's school record-tying three interceptions against
Maryland were certainly critical, but the glaring truth is that the Clemson
secondary cannot continue to give up the big play. Both Maryland and North Carolina
State were able to burn the Tiger defensive backs on long passing plays, and,
with Florida State looming, the potential for disaster is increasing.
SPECIAL TEAMS- Who says that PAT's aren't exciting?
COACHING- For the third-straight week, opponents have dared the Tigers
to beat them with the run. For the third-straight week, Clemson responded to
with an in your face, smashmouth attack that would make Frank Howard proud.
Defensively, it bodes well for the Tigers that opposing offenses haven't been
able to put together sustained drives on a consistent basis. Regardless, the
big play is rapidly becoming the defense's Achilles' heel. Could it be time
for Reggie Herring to call off the dogs a bit?
Grades: Offense- B+, Defense- C+