Friday Email Bag

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Friday Email Bag

Each Friday I publish your comments and answer your questions. To submit a comment or questions, please email me at


What are your thoughts about Bobby Petrino's "sour grapes" shared in his press conference on yesterday about the Clemson loss?



I am not a fan of Petrino and think he is not one of the good guys in the sport. If the tide was turned and it happened to Clemson on the road, I would understand some being upset. However, I hate excuses, and it does seem like sour grapes. I would be more sympathetic if I liked Petrino. He can complain all he wants, but it won't change the outcome of the game. Maybe he is posturing for the playoff committee.


The season is half over and the one game at a time talk will be strong but it was clear last Friday that Dabo has decided that how you play does make a difference. Certainly it makes sense in early cupcake games to play young players and build some depth but now the time to show up is upon us and style counts. North Carolina State appears to be way better than Boston College and this week's game is a huge game in the effort to keep the streak going at home and to keep the playoff dream alive.

No question, Clemson controls its destiny and going 13-0 and winning the ACC gets a playoff spot. Could a one loss Clemson team make the playoffs, maybe, but based on the schedules around the nation, maybe not which makes every game so important. We know that either Bama or Texas A&M will have at least a loss and that either Ohio State or Michigan will have at least a loss and then Nebraska throws a big wrinkle in that Big 10 deal so who knows there. Whether Washington is the real deal remains to be seen. There are games to be played, but it would sure help the Clemson cause if Auburn and Louisville continue winning. We just saw Tennessee only drop a couple of spots after their tough loss, a 2 loss Mississippi team being ranked 12th and Louisville being ahead of Clemson in the FPI so I do not think Clemson wants to be in a position of being one of 4 or 5 teams with 1 loss at the end of the year. Let's just keep winning and make it about Clemson rather than risking the playoffs on the votes of the committee. It is most certainly not too early to be thinking about it because the other teams are.



I always talk about the long season and how upsets turn the season upside down. But you are right because it is about time to start considering the playoff scenarios. I still believe a one-loss Clemson team that wins the division and ACC title gets into the playoffs. It would be nice to win out and not have to worry about that. Another factor is the venue. I am hopeful Clemson can be the number-one seed and play in Atlanta and save us a trip back out to the desert.


It appears that Coach Dabo has taken a completely, and might I say ingenious, different way to work the no. 2s and 3s into games and to get them experience. Rather than get a big lead with the 1s and then let the 2s and 3s into the game, it seems that he works them into the game when the game is still in question. This way they get real experience rather than just mop up duty that is meaningless. This might be the reason the o-line has taken a little longer to gel but in the long run this creates depth and sets us up for a great run to the second half of the season and into the play-offs. Does this seem like his strategy to you? If this is true, why do we not see the 1 and 2 QB for a series or two in games like Ga Tech and BC when the game was in hand?

Also, I have not heard any update about about Xavier Kelly. Can you give us an update on him and other facing red shirts?

Thanks for all your great coverage of Tiger football.

Tiger Craig

Tiger Craig,

The strategy seems to be working. A loss would have changed my analysis, but the Tigers haven't suffered a loss. Quarterbacks are different. I think that position is too valuable to experiment and try to get experience. Maybe the backups could have played a little earlier in Boston, but there hasn't been a lot of opportunities so far.

I hear great things about Xavier Kelly. He would have played this yes if he wasn't hurt earlier and depth was needed. They are very excited about his potential. I think they like Zerrick Cooper too. He has traveled and is getting more experience of what it takes to lead a team. Nyles Pickney is a player they like a lot. He will play early next year. Shaq Smith will be a great one in time. I hear good things on Isaiah Simmons and Nolan Turner at safety.

Hi Mickey,

First off, I want to say that I'm a big fan of your blog. I read every Friday email bag and followed the blog religiously in the offseason after a trip to Arizona left me wanting more Clemson football. I had a few comments/questions that I've noticed this season.

First off is time of possession. I've noticed our defense has been gassed in the 4th quarter the last couple games and I didn't think it was due to a lack of conditioning so I did some research. In 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, we ranked in the top 40 in time of possession and averaged over 30 minutes per game on offense. This year we are 107th at 26:37 per game. Are we scoring quicker than usual on offense or are there more 3&outs than usual? I love the tempo offense but we've played with tempo for a while and still managed to control time of possession for the game but it appears it's getting away from us this year. It's worked so far (never thought I would have something to complain about at 6-0 with a top 3 win already in the year) but I can't help but think as we get further in the season losing the time of possession battle by multiple minutes each game is a winning formula.

Second is in regards to playing time. I love the fact that we rotate in freshman and sophomores and those that don't get to play as often as the starters in blowouts and I think it's a big part to our success in reloading instead having a down year in between good seasons.

However, we were only up 21-3 in the second quarter and we had our entire second string defensive line in the game this Friday. I'm a forever pessimist but one bad play or missed assignment and it's a 21-10 game on the road, which to me is a little too close for comfort if our offense were to stall for a drive and it also lets the crowd back in the game. I'd like to see us get a little bit of a bigger lead before we start playing the second stringers, especially on the road. I don't feel the coaching staff has a big enough killer instinct when it comes to putting opponents away. We've got a great record in the 3rd and 4th quarter with a lead the past couple years, but I haven't seen us really put the foot down on offense or on defense when we get a big lead, aside from the SC State game this year.

Aside from that, love the team and the direction of the program - defense is going to be scary good in 2 years and the offense will take a step back next year but we've got a lot of capable replacements coming in/already here at all positions, including QB.

Go Tigers!

NJ Student Tiger

NJ Student Tiger,

Thanks for the kind words. I hope you have a great experience here. The Louisville game is the only time I have seen the defense gassed. That was a weird game due to Clemson's quick strikes, Clemson's turnovers and Louisville's terrific offense. Personally, I say score as fast as you can and if the defense wants to rest the best way to do that is force three and outs.

They are playing a lot of players and doing it earlier in games. I don't have a big issue here. I think they have depth and there is not a lot of drop-off in talent at several positions. Also, they are keeping players fresh for this long season. However, you are right about the killer instinct. I would like to see us put away teams earlier.

I agree about the future of the defense. I think the 2017 defense will be as good as any in the country. The future just keeps getting brighter.


I really like the talent of Kelly Bryant. I am afraid he won't win the quarterback job with all the talent we have coming in at quarterback. Have you heard any of the coaches talk about possibly moving him to wide receiver. I think he could be great there. Maybe his best position.



The staff has not publicly discussed a position change. I think Bryant will get every opportunity this spring to win the starting quarterback job. If he doesn't win the job, I can see a role for him at quarterback as a change up in the running game. If that doesn't work out, wide receiver or somewhere on defense could also be a fit, but he will get every opportunity to win the QB job in the spring.

Hey Mickey,

I wanted to ask you about recruiting. I see that we currently have an top 15 recruiting class but who are the player left on the broad for the Tigers for 2017?? Also I know we are getting a lot of top players from different states but what's going on with a lot of the top instate talent? Thank you have a great day, Go Tigers!!



Scholarships are limited because the Tigers only have eight seniors. The only positions that are left are defensive end, linebacker, and safety. At defensive end the top two on the board are Malik Herring and Juarez Parks. At linebacker, the only guy they would over sign on is Drew Singleton. At safety, they will take one with Xavier McKinney, Markquese Bell, and C.J. Avery at the top of the list. This is a down year in the state of South Carolina, and the staff had other players higher on their board from out of state. Clemson is a national recruiting power now, and when there are down years in the state, Clemson can go almost anywhere in the nation to sign great players.

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