Tigers Look To Avoid Breakdowns Against UVa


by - Correspondent -
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Clemson's offense is beginning to run at full
capacity, while its defense continues to lead the Atlantic Coast
Conference and is No. 12 in the nation.


Yet those facts, even combined with Virginia's penchant for giving up
huge chunks of yardage on defense, don't mean much if Tommy Bowden's team
can't solve its mystifying special teams problem. Even No. 1 Miami, who
appears to
be head and shoulders above every other team in the NCAA, would have a
hard
time overcoming 31 points allowed/set up by its special teams.


But that's precisely what the Tigers were forced to attempt in the
48-31 loss to Florida State last time out. To go through such madness again today
(Noon, ESPN2) would not bode well for Clemson's hopes of staying in the race
for the
ACC title.


"Our breakdowns have come in our two biggest games," Bowden said. "The
problems
have been on kickoff coverage and dropped snaps by the punter. The
fumble on
the punt and kickoff against FSU did not happen in the Georgia game. It
was
the first turnover for both of those guys (Derrick Hamilton and Jackie
Robinson), and hopefully it will not
happen again for the rest of the year.


"The turnovers just did not come at an opportunistic time."


If Clemson can avoid a repeat of the FSU debacle, then it can turn its
full
attention to stopping the suddenly high-powered passing of Virginia
quarterback Matt Schaub.


Schaub, in and out of the lineup at the beginning of the season, has
found
himself of late and, in doing so, has proceeded to tear apart opposing
secondaries. Schaub, on a pace to throw for over 3,000 yards and 30
touchdowns, fires a scoring pass every 10.5 attempts and currently
leads the
ACC (No. 4 nationally) in passing.


He has thrown 15 touchdown passes over his last five games, giving
Clemson's
secondary something to worry about.


"You have to give him some different looks in the secondary," Bowden
said.
"You also have to put some pressure on him. That combination will be
the key.
He's really in the zone right now as far as throwing is concerned. His
receivers are doing well and they have a good plan. So we're going to
have to
do something to confuse him."


Bowden's other major concern is his own rushing offense.


No Tiger back has cracked the 100-yard mark this season, though Yusef
Kelly
did average 95 yards per game in his three starts in place of senior
Bernard
Rambert. But with the Cavaliers' giving up 231 yards per game on the
ground,
Bowden feels this is the time for his running backs to have that
breakout
game.


"We are going into our sixth game now, and we need to have a 100-yard
rusher," he said. "In order to do that, somebody has to break a long
run. The
guy from Georgia Tech broke a long run, the guy from Florida State
broke a
long one, and the guy from Georgia had over 100 yards.


"So we need to get ours. We have to find some way to get somebody to
break
one for extra yardage."

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