Mickey Plyler's Blog for April 26

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Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

There was a country music song a few years back asking, "Who was gonna fill their shoes?" The songwriter wanted to know who were the next Willie Nelsons and Johnny Cashes.

I have written, and talked about Anthony Waters and Gaines Adams, and their leadership skills. Perhaps, I put too much into the importance of leaders, but I have so much respect for the Tony Elliotts of Clemson football. I think you could make a list of the great leaders in Clemson football in the last 30 years and Jeff Davis (1981) would be at the top. Others that come to mind are Tony Elliott, Richard Moncrief, DeJuan Polk, Warren Forney, Levon Kirkland, Wesley McFadden, Raymond Priester, Nick Eason and Kyle Young.

So who will be the ones of the future? First on my list is Willy Korn.
He is a natural leader that will be there for his teammates. I would also suggest such candidates as Thomas Austin, Rendrick Taylor, Josh Miller, Ray Ray McElrathbey, James Davis, Michael Hamlin, Crezdon Butler, Jeremy Campbell and C.J. Spiller.

Few young people today have the character and drive of Thomas Austin. He gets it from his father, a former military leader. Austin will become a major part of this program over the next four years.

Taylor has a great work ethic in the classroom, weight room, and on the field. He also has the personality that kids will follow. Taylor makes an impression.

Josh Miller is one of the most respectful young people I have ever been around. McElrathbey has an infectious personality, and his teammates gravitate towards him. James Davis is a serious football player that leads by example. He also understands the game.

This program will continue to climb when Korn and Spiller put their presence on it. Korn is a fire-plug and an emotional leader. He is ultra-enthusiastic and a hyper competitor. He will work and work and work again. Leadership comes natural to some people, and Korn is one of those people.

Spiller is a gentleman and great kid. His teammates will like his unselfishness and his devotion to them. Spiller has a great work ethic and

has the kind of personality that people want to be around.

Is It Here Yet?

Next month college football preview magazines will hit the newsstands, and I

will spend my entire life savings on every single one of them. Until then I

thought I could give you some college football numbers that might get you through a Wednesday afternoon.

When analyzing stats you have to consider the data entered, and not just the

numbers themselves. When I look at stats from the ACC football season last year, I ask, "Were the defenses that good or the offenses that bad?" For

*Seven ACC teams ranked in the top 30 in scoring defense in 2005

*Seven ACC teams ranked in the top 25 in rushing defense in 2005

*Seven ACC teams ranked in the top 22 in total defense in 2005

I do think the ACC had some great defenses but then again they were not facing the Miamis and the FSUs of the 1980s.

Attendance Embarrassment

In 2005 Duke drew 104,915 fans for their six home games. That's a total of
104,915 for the season. Last year Michigan averaged 110,915 per game. Two other schools averaged more per game than Duke had all season total.
Tennessee averaged 107,593 fans while Ohio State drew 105, 017 per contest.

Penn State only averaged 104,859 or 56 fewer than the Blue Devils drew for the year.

Four Division I-AA teams averaged more than Duke last season.

1. Montana 22,479

2. Delaware 22,177

3. Yale 21,667

4. Southern 19,888

When Delaware, Yale, and Southern outdraw you, then you might need to think about making some huge changes.

Returning Starters

Clemson returns 18 starters for 2006, second only to Wake Forest (19) in the ACC. The Tigers have nine returning starters on offense, which leads the league. Those nine starters have combined for 135 starts, which also leads the ACC.

Clemson has seven returning starters on defense with only Wake Forest (10) and Maryland (8) having more defenders returning.

The Tigers 18 starters have combined for 277 starts, which is third in the league behind Wake Forest (282) and Georgia Tech (279).

Here is a chart for returning starters:

Team	Offense	Total Starts	Defense	Total Starts	ST	Total Starts
Total	Total
BC	6	110	6	85	2	48	14	243
CL	9	135	7	87	2	55	18	277
Duke	4	25	7	110	1	6	12	141
FSU	5	74	4	56	1	13	10	143
GT	8	132	6	123	1	24	15	279
MD	7	58	8	98	2	46	17	202
MIA	5	70	6	104	2	61	13	235
UNC	5	86	7	94	2	53	14	233
NCSU	5	74	6	74	1	23	12	171
VA	6	69	6	63	1	15	13	147
VT	5	72	5	75	2	39	12	186
WF	8	134	10	137	1	11	19	282

Non-Sports Take

*I know its not as good as it used to be but The Sopranos is still the best thing on television.,

*If you have not yet, rent the movie "Walk the Line"

*I filled up my car on Friday and it came to $67.41. That's not fun.

Also, please visit our sponsors, Mr. Knickerbockers and George Coleman Ford. It is their patronage that keeps the blog free. We are adding more sponsors for this month as well. If you are interested in great advertising opportunities on the blog contact me @ mickey.plyler@tigernet.com

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