Friday, September 18, 2015

Tigers Fail to Impress

Neither Clemson nor Louisville looked good (except my nephew Ben, above right wearing the white visor). Watson mostly completed safe passes and threw too many up for grabs. He runs straight up, exposing himself for hits and further injury. Heisman candidate? ACC player of the year? Far from it.
The Tigers vaunted hurry up offense is dismal – slow-developing plays and a lack of playmakers. The freshman wide receiver shows promise. The play-calling was vanilla and lacked imagination.
The ESPN announcers correctly noted several calls that went against Clemson. The blunder of the night was the halftime expert who predicted Boston College to defeat Florida State.
On the 100 yard return the Clemson defenders appeared to just stand around before the returner broke into the open. On the ensuing possession Watson ran off some clock but failed to take the game into his hands. With two minutes to run off for the win the first two runs up the middle for three yards left a too long third down play. The terrible spot was corrected by replay. Only a missed chip-shot field goal by a senior kicker kept the game from overtime.

Even at the end the Clemson defensive backs failed to knock the Hail Mary pass to the ground, instead unwisely intercepting the ball. I don’t think Vince Lombardi could train today’s athlete to play selflessly. Sure the Clemson player motioned for the interceptor to down the ball, but just by catching the batted ball and running five or ten yards gave Louisville an extra chance to force a fumble that might be returned for the game-winning touchdown. Perhaps a one in a million chance, but that’s exactly what happened to UGA against Auburn in 2013. Kids these days are always out for glory and rarely learn from history – because they’re so caught up in their own little world that they rarely notice and learn from what’s happening in the larger world around them.

Louisville’s only chance at victory was to capitalize on big plays and turnovers. With opening losses to an average Auburn team as well as little Houston, Louisville should have an easy win for the Tigers. Did Bobby Petrino out-coach Dabo? I can’t blame Dabo for putting a positive spin on the victory, or for celebrating with his team. A win is a win. But in his heart he has to know his team is far from dominant. Win one game at a time is all he can do.

Until the offense comes together Clemson will have to win games with great defense and kicking, as they have done in past years. Clemson will face its toughest opponent Notre Dame without the Irish QB and running back. Playing the way they have, beating Georgia Tech and FSU will be a challenge.

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