TigerNet Talk: Appreciate the Wins

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It's going to be nice to see the Tigers play under the lights this weekend. Football season is always great, but with the time change a few weeks ago there will be a chill in the air and the lights will be on by the time the 4th quarter rolls around.

Last season at this point I was disappointed because we let a magical run end at Georgia Tech. I heard Mack Brown say the other day that the one thing he regrets about his 2009 team, that went 12-0 into the national title game, was that after losing he realized he didn't appreciate the wins during that season. He never took the time to enjoy them, not one. I don't know if I really appreciated what we accomplished last year.

It is amazing to me now how much different this season feels compared to last year sitting at 8-1. Perhaps some of that comes from the knowledge that I have of how last year ended. Or maybe it's the fact that unlike last year we seem to be getting better and more confident each week. This year's team seems to be improving in all areas as we close the season. We always hope for progress as the year goes by and this season we are seeing it.

You could chalk some of the improvement up to the level of competition, but for Clemson to have a shot at the longest home winning streak at Death Valley says something about how the core of this team has grown. There has been a change in the mentality of these players in Death Valley since Coach Swinney took over the program.

Add to that, the offensive improvements in a year and a half under Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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and in Death Valley, this team is pretty scary. The offense has evolved from one that lacked efficiency in the red zone to one of the best in America. We have game changing players at the skill positions with an offensive coordinator who is willing to rip out an opponents heart. The Tigers are currently in the top ten in three major offensive categories. They are 9th in total offense, 10th in passing offense, and 7th in scoring, averaging close to 43 points per game.

I must also mention the improvement that we have seen on the defensive side of the ball. There were obvious issues early in the season, but Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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has been able to correct some of those issues. Things aren't perfect, but the Clemson defense has played much better the past three weekends and some leaders are emerging. The defensive front is causing some havoc, and that plus better tackling has been the key to the improvement.

Clemson has to be excited about having eight wins with three home games remaining. The ability to get to 11 wins at home in the regular season is a special feat. That mark has only been achieved three times in school history- 1981, 1978, and 1948. Those teams are some of the most revered in Tiger history.

There is a lot of football left to reach that eleven win mark, but it's attainable with three weeks left. Add to that a welcomed home environment for the final three games and we should see a rawkus crowd and a confident group of Tigers take the field. I'm ready for Death Valley under the lights and I'm going to appreciate it.

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