Tigers Find Plenty of Positives in FSU Loss


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<font class=caption>JJ McKelvey had 5 catches for 117 yards to lead the Tigers.</a>
JJ McKelvey had 5 catches for 117 yards to lead the Tigers.

CLEMSON - A few days removed from Thursday's loss at Florida State, Clemson
head coach Tommy Bowden went looking for positives. He found plenty.


True, the special teams fiasco that led to 31 FSU points has to garner much
of the coaching staff's attention this week. But Bowden pulled out a pair of
old football cliches to prove a point.


"We've got to correct the negative, yes," he said. "But - and I don't know
who said it - you can't let a loss beat you twice. We've got seven more
games, and (Virginia next Saturday) is game one of a seven-game schedule."


Most of Bowden's search for good things began and ended with his offense.


After being outscored by an average of 42-2 in its previous five trips to
Tallahassee, including a whopping touchdown comparison of 27-1 in the
Seminoles' favor, the Tigers moved virtually at will against Bobby Bowden's
defense in the first half.


The 14 points scored in the first quarter eclipsed Clemson's total output for
the previous five-year span, and quarterback Willie Simmons shredded the
Florida State secondary for 221 yards and two touchdowns during the same time
frame. Clemson finished with 341 of its 441 total yards in the half.


"Averaging seven-and-a-half yards per play against a pretty good team is a
positive," Bowden said. We moved the ball well, consistently. We had 350
yards offense in the first half alone. There's a lot of positives to go on.


"Our skill (positions) had been shut down against them for three years. We
hadn't made any plays. We made plays right and left - throws catches and
runs."


All of which is well and good.


But Bowden - and everyone else, for that matter - knows none of the
impressive offense numbers matter if Clemson's special teams continue to be
anything but special.


"Kickoff coverage, we've got to study personnel real, real hard," he said.
"(Punter) Wynn Kopp, that's twice in two big games he's (dropped a snap).
We've got to address that. I'm trying to redshirt Cole Chason, but when
you've got a senior who's been through a lot of wars dropping snaps, you've
got to do something."


Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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