Mickey Plyler's Blog for April 10th

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Anyone still want to move Rendrick Taylor to defense?

This is the Taylor I knew was in there but I did not know it would come out this early.

When some kept asking about his moving to defense I thought it was a bad idea. I thought he had the personality for offense the first time I talked to him. He is the perfect example of why we should not judge the book by its cover. Here was Taylor with his long dread locks. He was 6-1 and 225 and cut like a body builder. He even came from a part of the state that I consider a rough part of our great state. It was not until I talked to Taylor that I noticed he was different than most had judged him. He was soft-spoken and very well mannered. Taylor was a bright kid who knew how to communicate his thoughts.

If you remember he committed to Clemson very early in the process. There were some that thought he would change his mind and sign with South Carolina. I never thought that however. I thought Taylor was an honest kid and I believed him when he told he was solid to Clemson. Some kids play the recruiting game and sometimes kids can be tricked but Taylor was different.

I thought he could play defense but his natural personality was suited for offense. On top of that he caught the ball very well.

If Taylor continues to improve at this pace he will have a chance to be a special player in Tigertown. He has a great attitude and an even better work ethic. In my opinion he could have a major impact in this program if he stays healthy. Taylor has improved in many ways since he first came to college. He runs better routes. He catches the ball better with better concentration. He is faster and can make defenders miss. He was already a great blocker but he has even improved in that area.

The next step in his development is his role in the offense. The Tigers have more weapons than in years past, but Taylor will be a big part of the game plan each week because he is a very difficult match up for defenses. He is stronger than most corners and fasters than most safeties and linebackers.


Consider the options Rob Spence will have at his disposal next season and in the coming years. The running game will be featured behind the best offensive lines the program has had in years. James Davis, Reggie Merriweather, Demerick Chancellor and C.J. Spiller provide the program with four big-time performers. Chansi Stuckey is terrific in the open field.

Aaron Kelly is a big play guy through the air and now Taylor has emerged.

Will Proctor, Tyler Grisham, Thomas Hunter and several others add more weapons and more options. Imagine putting together a game plan trying to stop this offense.

To Red-Shirt or Not

I get questions asking why the staff did not red-shirt players like Taylor or Josh Miller last year. Actually playing these guys is part of the reason the staff is so excited about them now. Neither had played their respective positions a lot during their high school seasons. Miller was more of a tailback and Taylor played several positions. Both needed the coaching they got last season. Red-shirted freshmen spend that first year with the scout team and do not get the coaching that the starters and second-teamers do.

Both of these guys benefited from the attention of David Blackwell and Dabo Swinney during each practice and now both will be counted on earlier.

Mr. Dependable?

There is little doubt about C.J. Gaddis’ athletic ability. That has never been questioned. On Saturday he made some of the biggest plays in the spring game. Gaddis can be a great one and on most plays he shows that. My concern is can he still be a solid, dependable player on every play. If a corner takes a play off it could be six for the opponent. I am less concerned about Gaddis’ ability to make the big play and more concerned about his ability to make the routine ones every down.

Concerns From Across the South

I scanned newspaper stories and message boards from spring games across the South from over the past two weeks. One thing I noticed was fans and sportswriters concerned about the lack of offensive production. I

think there are several reasons for the lack of offensive fireworks.

First, the defense has played against the same offense for 14 practices and knows what is coming many times before the ball is snapped. Also the offense lacks continuity when players are divided into two teams. Often times there are no big returns in the kicking game because of the format, so field position is not a big help to the offense. Lastly, some coaches do not play 15-minute quarters (Clemson played 12 minute quarters).

The Future Meets The Future

Did you see C.J. Spiller and Willy Korn together on the sidelines Saturday?
I couldn’t help but to think about this tandem in 2007.

Basketball Conference?

Eight of the top 20 teams in last week’s Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll were ACC squads.

The Tigers have 10 regular season weekends with ACC teams with UNC being the team that Clemson does not play. After next weekend’s trip to Georgia Tech, the Tigers will be half way finished with their conference season. The Maryland series this past weekend was the only non-ranked ACC opponent in Clemson’s first four ACC weekends. In the second half the Tigers face Boston College, Duke and Virginia Tech. The only ranked conference foes the Tigers will face in the second half are Wake Forest and a crucial match up with FSU.

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