TigerNet Talk: Back to Work


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As Clemson opens up the second half of the season all eyes will be focused on the Tiger defense and their play in the final half of the season. The Tigers have once again flaunted an offense worthy of high praise from the national media. Unfortunately, on the other side of the ball, things haven't been as pleasant. Outside of a few possessions the Clemson defense has been a tremendous weakness.

It's easy to find fault in all areas of the defense thus far, but the lack of pressure up front has intensified the issues Clemson has had in the secondary. The one thing that makes me feel better as we kick off the second half of the year is that this Virginia Tech team might be the perfect match-up to get Clemson defense some much needed confidence.

The Hokies have not been an offensive juggernaut. Plus, coming into this game they lose their only returning offensive line starter, in center Andrew Miller. That is a huge blow to their team and their leadership on the line. Over the past year the Hokies have also lost one of the best wide receiver tandems in school history and multi-talented running back David Wilson.

Those losses play right into the hands of Clemson's defense and what should be an electric noon crowd on Military Appreciation Day. Electric and noon crowd may sound like an oxymoron, but a chance to kick start the second half of the season after a bye, with a win against Virginia Tech, and extend our home winning streak to eleven games has to get you going just a little. I'd be fired up if we had to play them at nine in the morning.

As for the offense, Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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has proven to be a wizard at times. Although some continue to question the "cutesy" play calls that have been called from time to time, I like to think that Morris' goal is to put every option in play. His scheme gets teams out of sync and when Clemson avoids turnovers the pace can be a death sentence for defenses late in games.

I think we saw Morris take advantage of one of the best defensive minds in the business in Bud Foster last season. I expect to see that again this year. Virginia Tech returns a wealth of starters, but this group has under-performed and doesn't seem to have the game changers that we have seen in the past.

Clemson's offense has also become more multiple because of Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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being out. Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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has been able to build trust with a number of other guys and having Watkins back will only make things easier.

Add to that what DeAndre HopkinsDeAndre Hopkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#6 6-2, 205
Central, SC

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has accomplished thus far and things may start to open back up for Watkins as defenses have to decided where to put their attention. In turn, Morris' offense becomes even more lethal and big plays are around every corner.

When you combine the circumstances surrounding these two teams on both sides of the ball, I think Clemson has huge advantages all over the field. The one area of concern I always have against the Hokies is special teams play. Last season, Clemson avoided any big mistakes in the kicking or kick return game. If Clemson can keep that third dimension under wraps, I like the Tigers odds of extending their Death Valley winning streak to eleven games.

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