|Monday, September 12, 2016 9:38 AM- -|
National championships are not won in September, but they can be lost. If there is one good thing about the first two games of the season, it's the idea that Clemson has not lost the national title. However, as I mentioned in August, maybe we need to stop talking national title and start talking about executing each day.
Through two games this doesn't look like the second-ranked team in the country, and the pollsters were right to drop Clemson. Through two games, this doesn't look like Wide Receiver U. Through two games this doesn't look like a Heisman quarterback. Through two games this doesn't look like a record-setting running back. Through two games this doesn't look like the nation's number one offensive line. Through two games this doesn't look like the nation's best tight end. Through two games this doesn't look like one of the best offenses in college football.
Saturday was one strange drive after another. Every time the Tigers offense came out for the next drive, I kept thinking this was going to be the one where the offense gets going. Then, over and over again, the Tigers disappointed.
Give Troy credit. For the second straight week, a former Clemson defensive coordinator frustrated the Tiger offense.
I have more questions than answers at this point of the season. Where is this dominating offensive line? Is it time to think about personnel changes up front?
Clemson can't run the ball. In fact, the Tigers abandoned the run against Troy. I know the plan was to play a bunch of people, but Wayne Gallman had nine carries? The guy that broke the school record for rushing yards had 35 yards rushing against Troy.
Deshaun Watson may have entered the Auburn game a little banged up. He didn't wear the knee brace in fall camp but wore it in Auburn. Against Troy it was not on, so my gut tells me he tweeted it a little before Auburn and was fine this past week. In either case, Watson has not looked like himself. Maybe the plan is not to run him as much, and I can understand that. Why run him unless he is needed? However, Clemson won the last two games by less than a touchdown. Was it not needed?
In the passing game, Watson has been pressured and victimized by more drops than we could have imagined, but he also underthrew a bunch of balls on the out routes and overthrew the deep ball often. Like many of his teammates, Watson has not looked like what we expected so far this season.
This wide receiver group has dropped at least five touchdown passes so far this season. Deon Cain could have had two Saturday. Trevion Thompson dropped yet another ball. You know it's bad when Hunter Renfrow dropped a ball. This is not the WRU we expected.
The defense did have some bright spots like Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, and Cordrea Tankersley. The linebacker corps did have three picks, but like last week, the defense gave up scores late and couldn't close out the game.
And we all saw Ray Ray a McCloud inexplicably drop the ball before his touchdown return. The real story here is McCloud had a nice game other than that, but as the saying goes, "Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
Maybe this team is not that good. Maybe we have a bunch of rock stars who read their press clippings all summer. Maybe this team will turn out to look more like the !984 Tigers instead of the 1981 Tigers. But my guts says this team was not focused, and we will see better execution soon.
This team has a lot of work to do, and so does this staff. A win is a win, and it's always better than a loss, but if some glaring weaknesses are not fixed soon, those losses will be here soon enough.
In the movie "No Country For Old Men" an old sheriff and his young deputy come up on this crime scene of a bunch of dead bodies and the the young deputy says, "we got us a mess here huh Sherrif?" The veteran lawman replied, "If it's not, this will do until the mess gets here."
Clemson's offense is a mess so far. Let's hope the big mess isn't lurking down the road.
The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency
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