Clemson Football kicks off at noon against Georgia Tech, and once again I admit I don’t know what to expect.
I do not know if we should expect the same kind of performance by Clemson this week or not. The Tigers’ backs were against the wall, and if you follow the insiders, you know it was Dabo Swinney who put them there – both players and coaches – and it started before any fans called his show to give him a hard time.
Following the Notre Dame win, Swinney mentioned that the team couldn’t just revert to their old ways. Then the goodwill that had been earned would vanish. Swinney worded it as if to suggest that the goodwill of the fans would vanish. I think that was actually a public message to his team – again, players and coaches – that one good game followed by three uneven ones wouldn’t be good enough.
Typically, I expect a letdown in intensity following a big game like the win against the Irish. If the win was sweet for you and I as fans, I promise it was even sweeter for the team. Bringing the same intensity following the emotional release after a big win can be a tall task.
I do like Clemson’s chances against the Yellow Jackets. The game is in Death Valley, and hopefully, the fans bring the same intensity as last week too, even if the opponent isn’t quite as notorious.
I do like Clemson’s defense, and I think they have played well most of the season. They have some youth in places because of injuries, and that is a concern.
I also am excited about the success in the running game against the Irish. Phil Mafah played great. I don’t want to minimize his success because he earned it, but I can’t help but think the first step to a rejuvenated running attack was the simplification of the blocking schemes. I assume that will continue this week. It would be foolish if it did not.
Expect Clemson’s defense to play well, but get a bigger challenge than against Notre Dame
That said, I do respect this Tech offense, particularly Haynes King. He has been a very good player for the Jackets. Following a brief dip in efficiency in mid-October, King has a 76.7% completion rate in the past two weeks against North Carolina and Virginia, both wins.
I already know what you are thinking, and I agree: Clemson’s defense is a different beast, but don’t be mistaken. King will be a different beast than the disappointing performance from grizzled veteran Sam Hartman. The Tigers are still missing experienced players in the secondary. The young guys played well against the Irish but they weren’t tested as often as they will be this Saturday.
The biggest test will be for the Clemson offense. You might think that is a sarcastic statement, but I assure you it is not.
Georgia Tech is 132nd out of 133 FBS teams in yards allowed, based on games against FBS opponents only on teamrankings.com.
If the Clemson offense can’t function properly against this Wreck defense, they will be raked over the coals again. They must get out of their own way.
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