Clemson Preview: Revenge Is On The Mind
Well, it’s arrived ladies and germs. College Football season is back once again and the excitement is definitely at a high level. I can’t wait to see what this season brings in terms of twists and turns (hopefully not literally).
Game 1 starts with Clemson, a team that broke us down late last year after we jumped out to two 14 point leads. It was a head-scratching loss to say the least. Not because it was our first loss since November 2009, but because after running Dyer over and over again in the first quarter, he went AWOL in the middle of the game. I guess after recent events, we know why that was.
Anyway, that was last year. It’s in the books, it’s done, finished. Revenge is on the mind, not just with the players but with the fans. This is a game that will tell us a lot about this season, whether good or bad, which is scary in a way. We lose, and the mood immediately declines, we win and the mood skyrockets and we find ourselves excited for what’s ahead. I guess that’s the beauty of College Football. There’s always the risk of heartbreak or bliss, since every game matters…
Although this is an opener with two high profile programs going toe to toe, there are still a lot of issues on both squads. Which makes this matchup even better.
Offensively, Clemson will come in strong. They do miss Watkins, who abused us last year, but still have a few other weapons in Ellington and Hopkins. Both of which will be targeted early on to test this VanGorder defence. It will definitely be a big test for a unit that was poor last year, but should find it’s groove this year as the season goes on.
The question will be what kind of defensive game plan we’ll use against this offence. Will we see a more aggressive defence with a lot of man to man looks, or will we see a more conservative look, since we know that Chizik hates giving up the big play. My guess is with we’ll see a variation of looks, seeing as though it’s a young-ish defence with almost no experience in this new scheme. One advantage we do have is up front. We have a very talented defensive line, and Clemson’s offensive line is questionable to say the least.
I’m optimistic about the defence this season, and it all begins in this game. If they manage to hold this offence – even without Watkins – to under 20 points, then I’ll be extremely happy. If not, then it might be a tough one to win.
Defensively, Clemson come in with a new coordinator as well. Brent Venables has spent the last 12 years at Oklahoma, and had an up and down tenure. His system at Oklahoma was described as being “too complicated”, but at Clemson he’s been implementing a simpler system. We have an offence with plenty of questions, so my expectations have been tempered. Sure, there’s the chance that we could start out slow and we’ll gradually get stronger (which is my expectation anyway), but Clemson by no means have a ‘dominant’ defence. There is a lot of talent on this offence, albeit unproven, so it will be interesting to see who steps up and who doesn’t.
Frazier will be starting his first game at Quarterback, and it will by no means be an easy one. The last time we had a new Quarterback start their first game against a half-decent opponent, we lost 23-14 to Georgia tech. But that won’t impact this game at all. What will impact it, is whether we can score enough to win. The unit to watch for is the offensive line. If they can protect Frazier enough, create enough holes for the running game and hold off the blitz, then the offensive output won’t be as bad. It’s a big ask for a brand new offensive line. There is talent there, but the unit has zero experience together.
I think our defence will get plenty of stops in this one, and I think the offence will get it done. I’m a big believer in this VanGorder defence, and I think we may be pleasantly surprised early on. It’s going to be a tough, tough game. I’ll be very happy if we win by 40 or if we win by 1.
Prediction: Auburn 21-19 Clemson.
I know for a fact that this Auburn team is out for revenge after last years meltdown. I think they’ll give it 100% from start to finish. They want this one. Bad.