TigerNet Talk #75: Rush to Judgement
Each week I try to come up with some level of prose that you all will feel is acceptable to read as Clemson Tiger fans. I am, by no means, a writer. I can barely punctuate a sentence correctly. The English scholars here could shred my writing to pieces at will. Even during the best of times for Clemson football, writing for TigerNet Talk is difficult for me. I am envious of those who write for a living, I couldn't do it, but I continue to try. I like to have some writing with each release of TigerNet Talk, if time permits. As many of you know, I am a now a father and the time I used to have, is now missing. Having a three month old at home, has limited my time to write. Some of you probably wish it would limit my time to talk as well. I am still hoping to find my missing time again one day, but most of you have informed me that it will never come back. So I hope you will forgive me if from time to time, I choose not to write an accompanying piece.
In the mean time, our Tigers face the most important game of the year. They must stay undefeated against our side of the conference, or face an uphill battle to the ACC Championship game again. As we all know, that hill has been insurmountable in recent years, and I see no reason that it would change if the Tigers drop one at College Park. Clemson's offense has relied too heavily on C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford thus far. You can bet Maryland will try to take those two away this weekend, hoping to bog down this Clemson offense. If they can do that, it leaves Kyle Parker and a slew of unproven, inexperienced wide receivers to make the difference on the road. In that scenario, I don't like our chances against, what has been, a porous Terrapin defense.
All that said, without taking anything away from our defensive coaching staff. Kevin Steele and company have been great to watch. I think Coach Steele has been much harder on himself and the players about giving up touchdowns, than the fans have been. Steele didn't sit through hours of bend and eventually break defense for the past ten years. I expect you did, and if so, you shouldn't dislike what you have seen from his D. They attack from the get go and are without a doubt one of the best in the conference.
It's the offensive staff and the under utilization of a consistent rushing attack that worries me this week. It seems that we have gotten away from the run too quickly this season. Coach Napier must get the most out of the weapons we have. Personally, I would like to see us run the wildcat formation more frequently. I am not an offensive guru and I would probably fail miserably, but I watch plenty of other teams get the ball to their play-makers in open space. Putting Spiller, Ford, and Ellington on the field at the same time would help create confusion for the defenses. We don't have an identity on offense, let's create one now.
In my opinion, it has to start with an effective ground attack so that Kyle Parker can get comfortable. I thought I read the stat sheet wrong after the TCU game. Zero carries for Andre Ellington? Zero? He's not C.J. Spiller, but that can't happen anymore. He has shown that he deserves to run the ball, and I would get both he and Spiller in the backfield together. If teams are going to key on Spiller, make them pay for it. We can't send Parker or Willy Korn out there and expect them to light it up without proving that we can, and will run the ball. The receivers are still learning and they will improve throughout the year, but I don't expect us to win our division if we continue to get away from the run.
Listen to TigerNet Talk and see if the Xbox 360 can stay undefeated this year: 4-0
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.
Direct Download (right-click, save-as)
TigerNet Talk #75 (34 MB)