Clemson Football has played an uneven season, to say the least.
This past weekend’s victory against Notre Dame was particularly sweet. This is partly because the Tigers have been defeated both times they faced the Irish in South Bend, but mostly because it seemed this 2023 squad was spiraling towards a very bad end for the season.
The past few days have been about celebrating a big win, but now looking forward with a 5-4 record and three games left, what are we supposed to make of this 2023 Clemson team?
I am no more a fan of Will Muschamp than most Tiger fans, but a few years ago he said something that stuck with me. Paraphrased it was “Critique the performance, not the performer”.
I see the logic to that statement, especially from a coach. A coach needs to be able to communicate the areas for improvement while also encouraging the player that he/she is fully capable.
When I look at the performances of this Tiger team in 2023, I see a bad start against Duke followed by a slow recovery against FCS and G5 opponents. Next was a good performance in a losing effort against FSU, and a strong game at Syracuse. Then came a drop in performance for three games in a row against Wake Forest, Miami, and NC State, which was probably the worst performance of the season.
The team followed up their worst performance of the season with their best against the Irish.
Eventually, the performances of Clemson Football must define it as a performer
Critiquing the performance instead of the performer is wise from a certain perspective, but eventually, the performances will define the performer.
To date, the only real adjective that seems to stick for the 2023 Tigers is ‘inconsistent’.
Head coach Dabo Swinney mentioned this week that the Tigers can’t let up on the effort now. All the excitement and enthusiasm for what they accomplished last Saturday will disappear in a heartbeat if they regress and perform against Georgia Tech the way they did against NC State.
The only thing that could change the perception of Clemson the performer at this point is if they follow up their victory against Notre Dame with three similar efforts against Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and South Carolina. If they can, the reaction will be that Clemson found a way to right the ship and is sailing in the right direction as they head into 2024.
Otherwise, the inconsistency of their performances will solidify the perception of inconsistent performers.
Are you a Clemson fan? Do you like to write, or think you might want to give it a try? Rubbing The Rock is looking for new contributors. If you are interested, click here.