TigerNet Talk: The Gator Bowl
Clemson and Nebraska come into the 2009 Gator Bowl riding high. Both teams had huge lulls during the mid season, but have come on strong down the stretch. Out of every bowl game slated to take place over the next few days, nothing seems to rival the head to head battle between Clemson's defense and Nebraska's offense. Clemson brings one of the nation's top pass defenses, while the Cornhuskers, yield a vaunted passing attack. It could make for an interesting afternoon in Jacksonville.
Given the stalemate which might occur, I expect this game will be won at the line of scrimmage. If the Clemson defensive line can pressure Joe Ganz into making bad reads, Clemson has an opportunity to score an impressive win to close the season. Ganz has been on fire this year, and in any other conference, he would be the talk of the region. In 15 career starts, Ganz has tossed the ball for over 4,700 yards and 38 touchdowns. Trust me, getting to him will be the key. If he can get out of the pocket and cause havoc with the play action pass, Tiger fans will have a long trip home on I-95.
However, I haven't seen enough evidence from the Big 12's bowl performance thus far to make me believe that Clemson can't get the job done. From an outsiders view, the mighty Big 12 seems a bit top heavy bolstering two heavyweights, Oklahoma and Texas. Even those two teams could become exploited and make heads turn around the country. In the past it has been the Big 10 that hasn't shown up in bowl games. This year, while still early, it looks like the Big 12 might be in the same boat.
In the end, it all boils down to execution on the field. One play at a time, Clemson has performed well for Coach Swinney. When everything seemed lost after the Wake Forest loss, in five short days, Dabo turned it around. Even in a loss to Georgia Tech, there was a new feeling about where this team could go. A preseason top ten program, once again felt like it had its feet underneath it. Some coaches have a special ability to change the attitude of their team. I think Julius from Remember the Titans, said it best, "Attitude reflects leadership."
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TigerNet Talk #65 (38 MB)