TigerNet Talk #72: Changing the Tide

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When Clemson travels to Bobby Dodd Stadium for Thursday night’s game, the Tigers will be forced to reflect on their last visit to Atlanta, a 34-10 loss to Alabama. Clemson never recovered from an opening tilt that was supposed to prepare them for an ACC Championship run. The disappointment from last year still lingers in Death Valley. A championship season slipped away just after the coin toss in the first game of the year.

However, this time around the Tigers head to Atlanta with a win under their belts. Not only is this game a chance for redemption from last year, but it will also be Coach Swinney’s first revenge game. Georgia Tech handed Swinney and the Tigers a 21-17 loss last season in the week following Coach Bowden’s departure. Thursday night, Clemson can erase the bad memories of last season from the minds of Tiger fans everywhere. A victory in Atlanta would put Clemson is a good situation very early in the ACC season.

In the eyes of the national media, these two teams are clearly separated. Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson’s Triple Option offense come in ranked #15 and are looking for an ACC title run of their own. Clemson on the other hand, has limited expectations nationally, a stark contrast from last season. No one is talking about the Tigers, but that could change if the Clemson’s defense can control Tech’s vaunted rushing attack.

After looking at these two teams on paper, they seem quite similar. I don’t know that either team has a distinct advantage. Both teams feature high profile running backs that can change the game with one play. Under the lights on Thursday night, both Jonathan Dwyer and C.J. Spiller are sure to be electric. The defenses are aggressive and will look to put pressure on the quarterbacks in hopes of forcing mistakes.

The one area where I think Clemson can excel is special teams. It’s clear that Andre Powell has his unit focused and Paul Johnson claims he will ‘kick it and cover it’. If the explosive Tiger return tandem of C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford can get loose it might just be the difference Clemson needs to spring an upset.

Follow the tigers throughout the season on TigerNet Talk. Each week, Lawton Swann will review the previous weekend's game and preview Clemson's next opponent.

This season I am going to try and expand TigerNet Talk's coverage to include more former Clemson athletes. I hope you will also follow our twitter feed to get all the latest Clemson sports news. Twitter is a great way to get the information you want to your computer or even your mobile phone. http://twitter.com/clemsonpodcasts

If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. I also hope you will tune in each week to Clemson Hotline, on a network of stations across South Carolina. Clemson Hotline can be heard live Monday nights on WOLT-FM @ http://www.wolt-fm.com/wolt.m3u I look forward to hearing from you all throughout the season.

Go Tigers!


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