5 Keys to Victory
1) No Hangover – The players and coaches have said the right things this week to quiet the talk of a Miami hangover. It is still somewhat of a concern. In my opinion, it is not as much of a concern from just Miami. This football team has played three grueling games to start the year. Nobody plays 11 games perfect, and it is a concern that the close games could begin to wear on Clemson. Thus far, Clemson has thrived in close situations.
Review: No one is going to come out and say there was a hangover, nor should they. This is not the type team that will look to make excuses. It was evident that this was not the same team from the first three games. In the first three games, Clemson had a natural enthusiasm, but on Saturday, it appeared the players were forcing themselves to get up. The bad news is now the team has played four games to the wire and beyond, and they travel to Wake Forest this coming weekend.
2) Stop the run – Head coach Tommy Bowden has not spent all week talking about Boston College’s offensive line for nothing. They are big and talented. Boston College can overpower you, but if there is a criticism to be found, it is that they are a little stiff up front. This is the area other teams have been able to take advantage of and slow them down. Clemson has good speed on the defensive line and could use a variety of stunts to get in the backfield.
Review: The defense was unable to stop the run, especially on first down. Too frequently, Boston College would pick up six or seven yards on first down. The yardage on first down was a big reason, why Clemson was unable to stop the Eagles on third down. This led to Boston College running 90 plays to the Tigers 57.
3) Cash In – Boston College is a team that likes to limit the positions of their opponent. Last week, the Eagles ran 90 plays and FSU only had 57 plays. When Clemson has an opportunity to score, it is important they cash in. The Eagles do not make a lot of mistakes, but when you make a mistake against them, it costs you. Clemson has made improvements in the red zone since the Texas A&M game, and they will need to find the end zone on Saturday.
Review: The Tigers did not squander any scoring opportunities on Saturday. They scored every time they were in the red zone. However, in overtime, the Tigers only posted a field goal, which was the difference in the game. The biggest problem was the Tigers did not create enough opportunities to score. Conservative play-calling played right into the hands of BC.
4) Defensive Backups – It is going to be 95 degrees on Saturday. Defensively, Clemson rotates pretty frequently any game. This Saturday the rotation will increase some more. There will be second team and possibly third team guys that are asked to make a play in a big situation. Both teams face the same situation and Clemson has the edge in depth. A player like Dorrell Scott or Cortney Vincent, who has played sparingly or not all, will be thrust into action on Saturday.
Reveiew: The defense held up well. They did give up some yards on the ground, but they held Boston College scoreless for the final 40 minutes of regulation. The reserves were put to the test, as freshman corner Haydrian Lewis was tested deep on his first play. Lewis had good coverage and the pass sailed out of bounds. Dorell Scott also saw his first action of the season. There are issues on defense that need to be worked out, but when this defense holds an opponent scoreless the final 40 minutes in Death Valley, Clemson should win the game.
5) DEATH VALLEY - It was an amazing atmosphere against Miami last weekend. The atmosphere against Miami was simply special. Clemson will not be able to duplicate that atmosphere to the same level again. Again, it is a noon kickoff and for the first game of “Fall” it will be 95 degrees, and those two factors hurt the crowd. With all of that said, there is no reason the crowd will not up for this game. Boston College is not as attractive as Miami, but that may not matter this year. It is a reoccurring theme that people say this team is fun to pull for. The standing ovation as the players left field against Miami let me know the crowd would be ready for Boston College.
Review: The crowd showed up on Saturday. It was not the same atmosphere from Miami, but no one expected it to be. It was an announced sellout and the crowd did its part to pick this team up. Crowds are great, but as was evident on Saturday, players make plays not fans.