Clemson Football is still in recovery mode after a tough loss to the Florida State Seminoles.
Clemson held the lead most of the game and had a chance to go up by a field goal, but kicker Jonathan Weitz missed it.
When teams lose games, fans and observers will inevitably attempt to diagnose what went wrong. Some fans are scratching their heads about the Tigers’ kicking woes. Others look more broadly at program policy and question if more exploitation of the transfer portal would have led to a better roster.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the two were morphed by someone into a take.
Please note that I didn’t say it was a ‘good take’. It isn’t a ‘hot take’. I’m not even sure ‘bad take’ fully encompasses this one. ‘Silly take’ is the category I put this in.
Let’s step back in time for a minute. In the spring, Robert Gunn competed with Liam Boyd for the kicking job. Boyd hit a 51-yard kick in the Spring Game which got the crowd on their feet.
Shortly after spring practices concluded, Boyd elected to transfer.
I don’t think this was a situation where Boyd beat out Gunn but decided kicking for Clemson just wasn’t for him. Could it have been because he wanted a different academic path? Of course, but if we are laying odds on it, I don’t think Vegas would put them there.
The logical reason Boyd transferred was that throughout the spring Gunn performed well and the staff judged Gunn to be the better option. He was in line to start. Considering that Boyd hit a 51-yard field goal, I doubt this was a situation where they felt Boyd just got lucky, both kickers stunk, and they were just picking the lesser of two evils.
In other words, the staff had no reason to think they had a problem with kicker in the spring. Gunn performed well. They had reason to have confidence in Gunn.
Please note that if you want to add someone from the portal, you do it in the spring, or at the very least the summer because anyone you want to add from the portal to play the next season has to enroll in school to be eligible to play. Just a detail I wanted to note before I continue.
Fast-forward to the present and Gunn has struggled in the kicking game. Coach Dabo Swinney needs a solution, and there is a guy on his roster, punter Aidan Swanson, to whom he can turn. Instead, he turns to Jonathan Weitz.
Why would Swinney turn here instead of going to the portal? Because Weitz was enrolled at Clemson, and anyone in the portal was not.
Clemson Football didn’t need a kicker in the spring, and they can’t add someone from the portal now
In other words, you can’t pull someone out of the portal and add them to your roster in Week 4. Players must enroll in school, and there is a deadline to do that. Weitz was enrolled in online classes and attended from home in Charleston.
So now we have established that Swinney and his staff weren’t simply sticking their head in the sand and ignoring a kicking issue, and once they were aware there was a kicking issue, it was too late to take someone out of the portal.
This leads us back to this silly take by former Rhode Island long-snapper Joe Deleone. At first, I did consider that this tweet was sarcasm because it does sound like something a master in sarcasm (like Three Year Letterman) would post, but a quick scan of the comments and his page suggested he was serious.
I will concede that someone who is much more familiar with the FCS than Clemson might not be aware of the circumstances of Boyd’s transfer last May. Those who are familiar with the situation understand that it was highly unlikely that the staff had a lack of confidence in Gunn back in the spring when they could have conceivably taken someone from the portal.
Even if we give Deleone the benefit of the doubt that he is simply uninformed, its still a very silly take from someone who clearly doesn’t understand something. He is at the very least jumping to the conclusion that Gunn must have had this many problems all along instead of getting the yips when he finally took the field in a real game.
At worst he is has a severe lack of understanding how the portal works and/or the basic rules of college football. Either are problems when you are criticizing a coach who has two national championships on his resume.