Clemson Tigers: Turning the Page

Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates with linebacker Ben Boulware (10) and quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Clemson won 37-17. Mandatory Credit: Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates with linebacker Ben Boulware (10) and quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Clemson won 37-17. Mandatory Credit: Robert Duyos-USA TODAY Sports /
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As we close out baseball, there’s only nine weeks left until Clemson Tigers football summer practice begins.

Well, that was fun. Really, it was. The 2016 edition of Clemson Tiger baseball was a roller coaster of emotion that came to a screeching halt late Sunday night/early Monday morning.

The Tigers got hot about two weeks ago. It started with a sweep at Notre Dame. Clemson, who finished 44-20, went from a sixth seed in the ACC tournament, to a seventh seed nationally, compliments of an ACC tournament championship and a group of kids that relished a never say die mentality.

One had to wonder if that hot streak could last long enough to make this season one for the record books.

Congrats to Coach Monte Lee, on a season that most of us, honestly, didn’t put much stock in until we saw the energy that spilled out of the dugout game after game. Thanks for a wild ride and the future of Clemson baseball is looking great. The Best Is Yet To Come!

So now, we turn the page.

Unfortunately, the page we are turning to is blank. We are now, as of today, entrenched into day one of the dreaded, “no Clemson sports for two and a half months” period. However, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Our beloved Tigers will be starting summer practice in just about 9 weeks. This is called the talking period of the football season. It’s the official beginning of the season. Didn’t you know?

Everyone is undefeated. Everyone has a secret weapon that they are ready to pull out of the bag. Everyone has high hopes and even higher expectations.

I’m interested to see what happens in summer camp. I keep an eye and an ear tuned to reports coming out of the practice fields, and the indoor practice facility. Which, needs a nifty name, by the way. “The Indoor Practice Facility” is just bland. Let’s give it a name. You can leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

I like surprises that come out of summer camp. Did anyone see Hunter Renfrow being a ‘go to guy’ this time last year? Did anyone really know the impact Christian Wilkins was going to have a year

Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Trevion Thompson (1) during the third quarter of the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (13) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Trevion Thompson (1) during the third quarter of the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

ago today? Thinking back to this time last year, we had some serious questions.

Clemson had five new starters on the Offensive Line. Please drop some Tim Bourret knowledge on me if you can, but when was the last time a team with five new starters on the O-Line played in the National Championship game?

I’d be surprised if Clemson wasn’t the first to do so. We were going to start last season without Stephone Anthony and Tony Stewart.

No Grady Jarrett or Vic Beasley either. Oh and by the way. Vic Beasley is only the single season sack record holder at Clemson.

There is no way our defense could recover from such losses. Deshaun Watson had never played an injury free season, and we didn’t have our Offensive coordinator guru Chad Morris. There was a lot of doom and gloom coming into summer camp this time 365 days ago.

This year, not so much. Expectations are literally higher than they’ve ever been in my entire life. Normally expectations are unrealistic in most cases.

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Expectations have gotten coaches fired. How would you like if your job hung in the balance because of an idea that a certain group of people shared? That would be scary. Especially when you’re talking about a sport played by 18-22 year olds.

However, this season, with the depth, experience and talent on this team, expectations are probably spot on. The collective fan base, if polled, would say that Clemson will not have a successful season unless they are playing in Tampa in January.

And other than a trip to Tallahassee in late October, the schedule sets up nicely for the Tigers.

Last season, the number one rankings, the Sports Illustrated covers, the Heisman attention the SportsCenter coverage was all new. It was fresh, and it was exciting. Coach Swinney threw a pizza party for 20,000 people for heaven’s sake, when we were selected to play in the CFB Playoff.

This season, the newness, the first time in 35 years, the firsts, all that is gone.

must read: Clemson Baseball Season Comes To A Bittersweet End

The shock and awe is over with. The, do we really belong. The, can we really do this. All of that wonderment has been replaced with, we CAN do this. We ARE this good. We WILL, we SHOULD, we EXPECT . Clemson proved last season that the spotlight was not too big. The moment was not too big. This year, as we turn the page, lets look forward to a season where the expectations, for once, are right where they need to be.