I just want to start by saying that I am just as pissed as you all are. We can all point to the reasons that the scoreboard said 23-3 after the Clemson game Saturday night, and I could rehash many of them. First, I want to focus on a couple of positives, and then I want to fire some howitzers.
This space has been reserved for talking about individual performances on the field, and I will get to that. But I would be doing myself a disservice by not addressing what seem to be persistent issues with this team.
The play calling on Saturday night was a travesty. We were once again witness to a complete schooling on offense.
I'm fully aware that Logan left much to be desired, but the staff isn't getting him in positions to succeed -- which Clemson seems to do well. Sure, Logan was off on the slant to Boykin that resulted in a pick (albeit a non disastrous one), but that's no reason to shy away from it for the next 30 minutes. There's no intermediate passing game. They're sending three guys out there, two of them are running routes 20 yards down the field. Clemson could have stood still and they would have been covered. What is he supposed to do with the football?
And where are the designed runs for Logan? Early in the game, we had Clemson in a 2nd and 18, and the play call was a designed draw for Boyd, who took it 14 yards, setting up a third and short. While we probably would not have converted a 3rd and 4, we would have at least had a chance. And if it's 3rd and 1, Logan should be going for the dive 100 out of 100 times. I don't even want a fake dive pass. Dives every time. There's your Cam Newton comparison.
The chilled air, rain and wind whipping around Lane Stadium made Saturday's slap across the face sting that much more. It was a sobering wake up call. It was the same as it ever was. That game should have been remembered for the tremendous defensive performance orchestrated by Bud Foster. Freshman sensation Sammy Watkins was a non-factor, Tajh Boyd didn't distinguish himself. In their previous four games Clemson gobbled up yards with ease, Saturday night they had to claw for everything they got. Clemson wanted to run 80 plays, they had to settle for 67. Instead, I'll continue to try to answer the "what ifs" floating around my head.
What if David Wilson hadn't fumbled? What if Nosal hadn't jumped on 3rd and goal? What if Logan's shoulder was one hundred percent, would he have ran more, would we have called more running plays for him, would he have been more accurate? What if Eddie didn't blow his coverage, would it have taken some of the pressure off of the offense? What if Demler could've pinned Clemson deep? What if the offensive line played their last 30 minutes as well as their first 30? What if the offense's game plan was as airtight as the defense's?
My full poll is after the jump. As always I'm going to rely on y'all to keep me in check so leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary. This week's poll is especially messy.
- Clemson - Beat back-to-back-to-back ranked teams and you're deserving of a top 5 ranking.
- Nebraska - This informative EDSBS the Magazine article sums things up quite nicely.
- Illinois - The fighting Zookers are 5-0, which really is an accomplishment in itself. Who knows how good they really are though. Their next test comes in two weeks against Ohio State.
- Kansas State - Bill Snyder's head in a jar is doing one hell of a job coaching this year.
- South Carolina - Garcia! Slam that beer.
- Arizona State - Quietly making noise in the Pac-12. I like a team that's battle tested and can bounce back from a loss.
- Virginia Tech - There's no offensive identity, and the special teams are a disaster. Bud Foster's tenacious defense is the only thing of merit, and the only reason why they're in this poll.
The Key Play: Week 5
Editor's Note: This. --Joe
I did my best to ensure that I wasn't only observing locally. I was seated in the east-side of North endzone. Immediately around me the following held true, and to the best of my ability, looking around further I saw more and more of the same.
Which of the following behaviors best describe fans in the North Endzone:
1. Cheering for the team on most defensive plays
2. Muttering about poor decision-making and playing
3. Staring blankly at the field
4. Complaining that they were too sober
5. Worrying about running out of airplane bottles
If you answered everything except #1, you would be correct.
The live blog will start at 5:45, Box and Adam are running the show as the rest of the team will be in Lane (sorry guys). Before kickoff make sure you check out:
- the mascot mock, and all the coke jokes
- Kevin's preview
- a look at Clemson's spread offense
- what our opponent thinks
- and this
The console is after the jump.
Who: #11/10 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0, 0-0 ACC) @ #13/15 Clemson Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC)
Time: 6:05 PM
TV Coverage: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Ed Cunningham, Quint Kessenich)
Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA (66,233 – Grass)
Series History: Clemson leads 17-12-1
- Last Meeting (2007): Virginia Tech 41, Clemson 23
- Virginia Tech has won five straight games over Clemson dating back to 1998
- During those five games, the Hokies have won by an average score of 35-12
- Clemson has not won in Blacksburg since 1989
- When ranked higher, the Hokies are a perfect 3-0 against the Tigers
For college football teams last impressions are the ones that matter most. These are notes, observations and food for thought on our opponents' last game.
Clemson headed into an ACC Atlantic Division showdown with Florida State last weekend. The Tigers beat the Noles handily in Death Valley 35-30, a game they only trailed one time, 0-3. It wasn't my intention to, but I paid much more attention to the Clemson offense and its personnel. It was a fun offense to watch, although if it gets humming on Saturday, it will be better described by me as aggravating.
-- Only a few plays had quarterback Tajh Boyd lined up underneath the center, the rest were out of the shotgun or pistol. There were a lot of moving parts, motion before the snap and play fakes afterwards. To keep a fast tempo, and to meet their goal of 80+ snaps a game, Clemson called plays at the line of scrimmage.
A modern wing look, we'll see that formation a lot on Saturday night.
Chili is the co-creator of the now-defunct Danny Ford Is God and Block-C blogs and continues to pine about blogging though he himself chose to end his own site. He is a Clemson grad, architect, and stand-up comedian living in Shanghai. For insight into the brittle psyche of a Clemson fan, and good laughs follow him at @DannyFordIsGod.
1. With only a third of the season over Tajh Boyd already has 15 touchdowns under his belt. He's got a big arm, is extremely accurate and can carry the ball on both designed and improvised plays. OK, I am done doling out praise. What are some of the things Boyd does bad, or are there some situations where he has the ball in his hands and you're on the edge of your seat?
Boyd is still young and relatively inexperienced. Last week Boyd had a bonehead play where as he was falling to the ground well behind the LOS, instead of taking the down for a big loss of yards he sort of half flicked the ball up in the air like an errant booger only to have it gobbled up for a pick-six by an FSU defensive lineman.
He still occasionally floats the ball out there to double coverage or in situations where he shouldn't. I always thought he had great promise as a QB, and still does, but we should also remember that Clemson's young receivers, especially Sammy Watkins, are pretty disgusting and could make any QB look better.
You mentioned Boyd's scrambling ability and, while he's more mobile than some of our past QBs, he still has a ways to go to make that a really viable part of the offense. Also, my man needs to learn to slide. He prefers to sort of flop to the ground and take a big pop from a d-lineman. No. Stop. Bad Tajh.
2. Two years ago Clemson won the ACC Atlantic, last season the Tigers finished 6-7. This year, at 4-0, the Clemson has already knocked off the defending national champions and the ACC favorites. What are some reasons for the turnaround and who are some of the lesser known, let's label them roll players, who have stepped up.
I didn't get a chance to watch the game live this week, so I am probably prejudiced by some of the frustrating reports about the erratic performance of the Hokies this week. After a quick review of the first quarter, I walked away with the following impressions: 1) The defensive line and middle backers are a strength of this team. 2) Logan Thomas has some weaknesses, but the coaching staff is giving him much more responsibility than they gave Tyrod Taylor or Bryan Randall as a first year starter. 3) The offensive line has played better than you think they have, but they still play too high to drive people off the ball.
My favorite month of the year. By the time October is over, the leaves will have gone from green to yellow, red and orange. The temperatures will have cooled, the humidity evaporated and many of college football pretenders disappeared. As we are now a third of the way through the regular season and each team's flaws are apparent. Improve your flaws, expose theirs, that's the game, especially for the final three games on this week's 6 Pick.
It's time. The training wheels left on our new quarterback during September are coming off. It's big boy football and it's time to find out how good this edition of the Hokies are. Having seen and doubted Clemson the last two weeks, we know this isn't your typical Clemson team. They are resilient and explosive on offense. They will test Bud Foster's improved defense. The defense likely can't win it alone, even with 66k yelling behind them. The running game needs to turn it up a notch and Logan Thomas has to be decisive and accurate when his number is called. Let's not put the cart before the horse, before this game there is a celebration of football and competition. I intend to drink lots of good beer, eat lots of animal flesh and partake in communion at the Clubhouse. So party up fellow Hokies, Saturday is when the fun really starts.
Editor's Note: This is TKP's official stance on how to conduct yourself Saturday. --Joe
Clemson University is located on the western tip of South Carolina in Clemson. The university was founded in 1889 as an agricultural military academy. Clemson didn't become a civilian co-ed university until 1955. Horace Grant, Brian Dawkins, Jim Speros, Strum Thurmond, and Lee Brice all attended Clemson, though their most cherished alum is probably Robert H. Brooks (yeah the guy who founded Hooters).
Clemson fans are big in spending $2 bills at away games.
It's the same as it was 30 years ago, said George Bennett, the founder of the $2 bill tradition.
Mr. Bennett said he began the $2 bill strategy when Georgia Tech decided to stop its series of games against Clemson. Clemson fans wanted to show Atlanta businessmen how big an economic mistake that would be.
So if someone painted Clemson Orange hands you a tiger paw stamped $2 bill this week let him/her know that the 70's are over and everyone uses debit cards now.
This week we are going to have a little southern dish that really has nothing to do with the west side of South Carolina, but you never need a really good reason to eat cedar planked shrimp and grits.
Is it me or was Saturday's game extremely boring? I watched it twice and I wanted to take a nap both times.
The defense is fun to watch, however. Especially the front seven.
I noticed some second teamers come in towards the end of the game, but I didn't really have anything to say about them, so I kept them off this week's roll call.
1. Antone Exum - Mr. Exum is pretty lucky he didn't get smoked for a touchdown when he was playing near the line of scrimmage about five minutes into the game. Tajh Boyd doesn't overthrow that ball next week. He needs to get the mistakes cleaned up pretty much right now. But, he deserves some props for the interception and return. (and the nice break up on Marshall's last offensive play).
2. Josh Oglesby - Can we talk about how important he's been this year? He runs with authority and has been extremely effective in the red zone.
3. Logan Thomas - He didn't have a bad day, but he didn't have a great day. I thought his accuracy was better on intermediate routes. His deep ball touch worries me, because ACC defensive backs are going to make more plays on under thrown passes. I also get nervous when he throws the out-route. I am not sure we should be calling that right now. Lastly, we saw yet again what he can do with the ball in his hands on his touchdown run -- let's get him moving around a little more (not a lot more).
I was driving down 95 through VA and stopped to get gas somewhere near Fredericksburg. I ran inside to grab some essentials for the rest of the trip ahead: red bull, beef jerky, gatorade, gum (all four road trip food groups.)
I saw a rack full of random gas station quality sports schwag so I went to check it out. I'm a sucker for spending $5.95 on a piece of VT paraphenelia I will never use again.
Most of the stuff on the rack was VT and UVa stuff. Here's what it looked like when I walked up...
I fixed it...
You're welcome world.
My full poll is after the jump. As always I'm going to rely on y'all to keep me in check so leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary.
- LSU - Three wins away from home against top 25 teams, worthy of everyone's number one spot.
- Clemson - I said last week that Tajh Boyd "looked like the best quarterback in the ACC", let me clarify that. Tajh Boyd is the best QB in the ACC. As a freshman, Sammy Watkins is already a top playmaker in the ACC. Clemson is playing with a lot of confidence right now.
- Georgia Tech - They could, should, probably be lower, because the defense has holes, but POINTS AND YARDS, POINTS AND YARDS.
- Big Ten teams we don't know enough about - Michigan and Illinois are both 4-0, both have impressive non-conference wins, Notre Dame, San Diego State and Arizona State, respectively, but both have yet to play a Big Ten team. Conference play will tell us what we need to know about these two teams.
- Florida State - I'm not impressed. I think Trickett is an upgrade throwing the ball —336 yards 3 touchdowns against Clemson— but the Noles miss Manuel's legs. They rushed for 27 yards against Oklahoma, and 29 against Clemson. Stoops' defense looked capable of carrying them, but then they gave up 455 yards.
- Texas A&M - I can't get past them blowing a 20-3 halftime lead at home.
Will never get tired of this. Original source is via, who else, @VTPhreak4evr
Up 20-3 with 8:19 left in the first half Tech could have pulled away. Instead we spun our wheels. We moved the ball 247 yards and only scored 10 points the rest of the way. Fumbles, interceptions, bad execution, and some bland play calls stopped us dead in our tracks. The win was never in question, but regardless of the outcome, leaving points on the field is a sour taste in the mouth.
--The defense held Marshall to 6 rushing yards!
--Armpunt aside, I thought Logan had a pretty tight game. He's getting better as a quarterback. He checked down when the deep ball wasn't there, and looked beyond the first receiver to his second and third options. He wasn't just throwing heat today. There was touch on those screens and passes into the flats.
--Gayle or Collins, take your pick. They each had a pair of sacks, Gayle had 7 tackles and Collins had 5. The defensive line played at high level.