QUARTERBACKS- Woodrow Dantzler plummeted back to earth against North Carolina after two monumental performances in the Tigers’ past two outings. While Dantzler and backup Willie Simmons were both victimized by a bevy of dropped balls, Dantzler’s passing accuracy left much to be desired. Quite simply, the Tar Heels took away the run and Dantzler wasn’t able to get the job done through the air.
RUNNING BACKS- Without much room to operate, Travis Zachery and Bernard Rambert amassed an anemic 20 yards on 11 carries as the Clemson rushing attack was roundly stifled by the North Carolina defense.
RECEIVERS- This writer conservatively estimates Clemson receivers dropped eight passes against the Tar Heels. Enough said.
OFFENSIVE LINE- Led by Julius Peppers, the Tar Heels manhandled the Tigers at the line of scrimmage for most of the afternoon.
DEFENSIVE LINE- The young Tiger defensive line was beaten by an even younger Tar Heel offensive line.
LINEBACKERS- Thanks to the Tigers’ hyperactive blitzing tendencies, the Clemson linebackers were consistently out of position to make plays for most of the afternoon. In rare cases where the linebackers were able to make plays, Tar Heels runners were often able to shed would-be tacklers.
DEFENSIVE BACKS- Busted assignments and flat-out poor coverage skills combined with half-hearted tackling again added up to disaster for the Tiger secondary. In short, the Tigers helped a relatively docile Tar Heel passing attack appear lethal.
SPECIAL TEAMS- This season, Wynn Kopp has displayed an uncanny ability to unleash his longest punts of the season at the absolute worst times, usually resulting in touchbacks for opposing teams. On the positive side of the special teams ledger, the game ball goes to Aaron Hunt for his 48-yard field goal; a magical moment, indeed.
Dantzler was held to 43 yds rushing. |
COACHING- Offensively, the Tigers seemed to be lost for much of the afternoon. Credit Tar Heel coach John Bunting and his staff for throwing Clemson off-balance with a variety of looks that the Tigers clearly weren’t expecting. Regardless, the Tigers’ inability to adjust to the North Carolina defense as the game progressed did not reflect well on Brad Scott and the rest of the offensive coaches.
Ten years ago, who would have imagined seeing a Clemson defense as positively inept as this year’s unit? On Saturday, the Tigers made a decent North Carolina offense look like the St. Louis Rams, with Clemson being equally helpless against both the run and the pass. Call it the “megablitz,” “superblitz,” or “apocablitz,” the fact is that the current scheme for the Tigers is as predictable as it is ineffective. Clearly, before Clemson can take the next step up the college football ladder, something must change on the defensive side of the ball. Tommy Bowden has said he wants opponents to once more fear playing in Death Valley. Until the Tiger defense again has teeth, this simply will not happen.
Grades: Offense- F Defense- F