Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Clemson putting it all on the line

Clemson's offensive line, a question mark entering the season, has shown real improvement over the past three games, according to this story. It's helped the running game come around, and allowed quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to rack up some impressive numbers.

AN 'A' IN CHEMISTRY: Defensive back Jamaal Fudge says the Tigers have kept their strong team chemistry even in the face of some early-season adversity. That's good to hear. I was afraid the finger-pointing would get out of hand after the Georgia debacle.

FILLING BIG SHOES: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a story about receivers coach Dabo Swinney, who has done a fine job replacing the departed, and beloved, Rick Stockstill.

NOTEBOOK TIME: The Greenville News; The Anderson Independent-Mail; The State.

Monday, September 29, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:21 p.m.)

Bad memories of Byrd Stadium motivate Tigers

Clemson returns to Maryland's Byrd Stadium this week, site of a loss in 2001 that led to some ugly encounters between the players and Maryland's fans.

My fiancee and I were at the game that day, and we must have gotten lucky. I've been reading many posts on Tigernet about how awful the Terps' fans are, but we had no problems on that day. Hopefully, we won't have any problems this year, either.

Meanwhile, here's a story about Clemson beginning preparations for this week's crucial ACC game, the first of a tough three-game stretch that includes contests against Virginia and N.C. State.

CU-MD NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for the Maryland game. Give them a look.

VIRGINIA GAME TIME SET: The Clemson-Virginia contest at Death Valley on Oct. 11 will be televised by JP Sports and kicks off at noon. My dad and I are going to that one. It's homecoming, too, so I guess we'll have to leave early.

PRAISE FOR PUGH, FUDGE: Clemson defensive coordinator John Lovett says defensive backs Travis Pugh and Jamaal Fudge have been playing very well this season.

NIXING NOTRE DAME: Anderson Independent-Mail columnist John Brasier says there's no way the ACC will accept Notre Dame as a "partial" 12th member.

STATS WATCH: Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has jumped from 15th to 10th in passing efficiency in Division I, and he didn't even take a snap this week. More on Clemson's statistical rankings can be found here.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Former Tigers meet in NFL contest

Today's Carolina Panthers-Atlanta Falcons game has some added interest for Clemson fans. Former Tigers Brentson Buckner of Carolina and Woodrow Dantzler of Atlanta will meet on the field.

LEAKE IMPROVES: The Charleston Post and Courier has a story on the steady improvement linebacker John Leake has made since the Georgia game.

ACC EXPANSION: The league presidents held a conference call Saturday to affirm their dedication to all conference members taking full participation in all sports, a challenge to media reports from the Charlotte Observer and elsewhere that Notre Dame would join as a 12th team and be phased in gradually to all sports. Meanwhile, the ACC expansion lawsuit is back in court.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Virginia edged Wake Forest in a fine ballgame that saw the return of Cavs quarterback Matt Schaub. N.C. State's defense was once again unimpressive in holding off winless North Carolina. (Boy, I love those last three words.) The Wolfpack yielded 550 yards. Last week, Texas Tech racked up 681 yards of offense in a loss to N.C. State.

Georgia Tech got past Vanderbilt in overtime and Florida State routed Duke. And Maryland, Clemson's next opponent, defeated Eastern Michigan.

And how about the Gamecocks? They took Tennessee to overtime -- in Knoxville -- before losing.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Bowden seeks a running back

Clemson is off today, so there are very few stories out there about the team. But there are a couple. Both address coach Tommy Bowden's search for a running back, and both focus on running back Rafael Little of T.L. Hannah High School in Anderson. Read them here and here

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Fanblogs has a quick peek at today's ACC contests. Check it out.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Tigers wrap up a short practice week

After going full contact for a couple of days, Clemson's players will be taking it easy until Sunday afternoon, when preparations for the Oct. 4 Maryland game will begin in earnest. (More here and here.)

A WARNING TO MARYLAND: Former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons, who transferred to The Citadel at the start of the season and got to see Maryland up close and personal in a 61-0 loss in College Park on Sept. 13, warns the Terps about trying to cover Clemson's speedy receivers one-on-one.

ACC EXPANSION: The Charlotte Observer is all over the possible courting of Notre Dame as the 12th member of the league. This story details how Notre Dame would join the ACC in stages. Meanwhile, the ACC denies that a deal has been reached. (More on that here.) And here's a Q&A with Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, whose league also is pursuing the Irish.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's a quick preview of this weekend's upcoming ACC games. The big news is that Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub, a Heisman candidate who hasn't played since a shoulder injury suffered in the Cavs' first game, could return for Saturday's contest against Wake Forest.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:40 p.m.)

NCAA nixes ACC title game in 2004

The NCAA won't allow the ACC to hold a title game with just 11 teams, so the race may be on to add a 12th team. Here's the story. I'll post more on Friday.


It's an off-week for the Tigers, so there's not a whole lot of news about the football team. But there are some stories about the recent ACC expansion that are worth noting.

If the ACC ever splits into divisions, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he'd like to see Miami and Florida State separated. Meanwhile, ACC bigwigs will meet next week to figure out how to deal with expansion. And here are a couple of other stories on the dim prospects for a league championship game with an 11-team ACC.

Also, via Fanblogs, here's a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the ACC pursuing Notre Dame as a possible 12th team.

SPEED KILLS: Clemson's speed caught Georgia Tech by surprise in last Saturday's 39-3 victory.

�They looked a lot quicker in person than they did on the film,� Tech coach Chan Gailey said Wednesday. �And I was impressed with their defensive ends and their linebackers especially. I thought that those guys really played fast and well.�

Let's hope we catch some more teams off guard.

MISSING GRANT: Receiver Kelvin Grant says he hopes to get back into the swing of things after missing the Georgia Tech game because of personal reasons.

HAPPY FANS: The Greenville News looks at the happy mood on Clemson's campus in the wake of the Tech game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Taking time to prepare for a crucial stretch

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he's glad to have the extra time to prepare for Maryland on Oct. 4, the beginning of an important three-game stretch that sees the Tigers play the Terps, Virginia and N.C. State. Bowden also says he's pleased by the improved play on the offensive line.

Meanwhile, the mood in Clemson is one of excitement tempered with a dose of realism:

"People are excited," defensive end J.J. Howard says. "There are a lot of smiles, but in the backs of people's minds, they know what we know."

And that's this -- despite strong starts the past two seasons, Clemson struggled during the meat of its schedule and needed to win its final games both years to make the postseason.

The Tigers were 4-1 in 2001 yet lost four of their next five contests. A 3-1 start of a year ago fell apart with losses against Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina State.

So very true. Hopefully the team won't get overconfident, like Georgia Tech did.

NO ACC TITLE GAME? According to the Anderson Independent-Mail, the NCAA has informally rejected a football championship game for the expanded 11-team conference. All the more reason to add a 12th team, and all the more reason to make it West Virginia. Yeah, I know. It's probably not the most attractive TV market, and the Tar Heel wine-and-cheese crowd would be suitably horrified. But it's a near-perfect geographical fit, and imagine the atmosphere for big football games.

A.D. LIKES THE EFFORT: Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips says he was pleased with the players' intensity in last Saturday's 39-3 victory against Georgia Tech. He's been critical of the players' effort in other games.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Overconfidence kills, Bowden warns

Just look at Georgia Tech, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden warned members of the Greenville Touchdown Club on Monday. (More here.)

MEANWHILE IN GREENWOOD: Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips spoke to that town's Touchdown Club. Check it out.

MARYLAND GAME TIME SET: It's official; Clemson and Maryland will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 in College Park. The game will be shown on ABC.

Monday, September 22, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:15 p.m.)

Tigers bask in landmark victory

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was deservedly giddy Sunday following the Tigers' 39-3 victory against Georgia Tech. Clemson has won three straight games after a season-opening 30-0 loss to Georgia that appeared to have drained the life out of the program. The Tigers are off this week before playing at Maryland on Oct. 4.

THE DEFENSE RULES: The State continues the giddiness theme, with Bowden saying that this was his team's best defensive showing in a couple of years.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Greenville News writes about Clemson's game against Maryland in two weeks. The official ACC Web site indicates that the Oct. 4 game against the Terps in College Park will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be televised by ABC.

LEAKE HONORED: Clemson linebacker John Leake was named the ACC's defensive lineman of the week for his 14-tackle performance against Georgia Tech.

STATS WATCH: Here are Clemson's updated NCAA statistical rankings. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is now 15th in the nation in pass efficiency, and other Tigers are in the top 50 in the nation in other categories. And here's a selection of notes from the SID's office that highlight Clemson's statistical rankings.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Biggest margin of victory since Heisman's time

Man, it sounds like Clemson was damn impressive in that 39-3 ACC win over Georgia Tech. Charlie Whitehurst threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns, and we had a real running game for the first time this season -- 138 yards rushing against a defense that had shut down Florida State's Greg Jones the week before. The Tigers now have a week off to prepare for their toughest stretch of the season, which begins Oct. 4 at Maryland. (I'll be at that one.) Here's what the media had to say about the demolition of the Jackets.

GAME STORIES: "Tigers rip Jackets apart," says the Greenville News; "Tigers take to the air," says The State; "Tigers pass first ACC test," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "Jackets suffer worst loss to Clemson in a century," says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

THE STATS: Here's a complete statistical summary of the game.

GAME ANALYSIS: The Greenville News examines Clemson's strong defensive showing. (More on the defense here.) The State has a story about Charlie Whitehurst's great performance, hands out some grades, and continues this weird trivia feature called "high five." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about how Clemson's taller receivers wore down the shorter Tech secondary.

Augusta Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux says Clemson's surprisingly strong performance is symptomatic of the parity and unpredictability of college football. The Charleston Post and Courier's Ken Burger calls Clemson's win "Bowden's great game nobody saw." The Greenville News' Bart Wright sees through Clemson's ugly purple uniforms (I hate 'em; see pictures here) to an essential truth:

It was a complete victory. One, at this point, that looks at least as good if not better than any win Clemson managed a year ago.

So true.

NOTEBOOKS: The Greenville News; The Anderson Independent-Mail; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; The Charleston Post and Courier.

AROUND THE ACC: Florida State looked impressive in crushing Colorado. N.C. State looked less impressive in holding off Texas Tech; the Wolfpack defense yielded 681 yards.

Elsewhere, Maryland whipped West Virginia, North Carolina came up short against Wisconsin, Wake Forest defeated East Carolina, and Northwestern downed Duke.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

(UPDATED at 11:45 p.m.)

Tigers impressive in huge win over Georgia Tech

Wow. I can't believe this result. Clemson came out and dominated every facet of the game in a convincing 39-3 victory against Georgia Tech. I'll post more on Sunday. For tonight, I'll just enjoy this victory with a few cold Bass beers.


The lights are on, and football blogging is back!

Hurricane Isabel knocked the ol' Tigerpundit out of action for a couple of days, but he woke up on a beautiful Northern Virginia morning and behold! the lights were back on. I'll post a quick rundown of what's out there regarding today's crucial Georgia Tech game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. There is no TV coverage. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Greenville News says Clemson must avoid Georgia Tech's hidden defenses. There's also a game capsule. The State examines the Yellowjackets being motivated after preseason criticism, and offers up the usual items: the keys to victory, "the edge," and a story about how Clemson can stop running back P.J. Daniels. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart breaks down the matchup (third item). The AJC also has a fan's guide to the game, and a preview story that focuses on special-team play.

OTHER STORIES: Georgia Tech would probably be Clemson's permanent rival in several ACC realignment scenarios, according to the Anderson Independent-Mail. The State has a Q&A with defensive end Khaleed Vaughn. This Greenville News notebook notes that Clemson's no-huddle offense could wear Georgia Tech out, because the Jackets have very little depth on defense. And there's also this story from Thursday about Clemson coach Tommy Bowden noting his team's progress from the season-opening debacle against Georgia.

AROUND THE ACC: Everybody else is playing a non-conference schedule. Meanwhile, here's a story about how the league, which entered 2003 with high hopes, has struggled this season. And here are notes and more notes.

AND FROM THE ENEMY CAMP: Here's a great blog about Georgia Tech sports. Anybody know of any other blogs about other ACC schools?

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Turnovers troubling for Tigers

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he's worried by the team's turnover margin. It's currently -.67 per game; last season it was +.15 per game.

FATHERFOOD FOR KELLY: Clemson running back Yusef Kelly, who has yet to play this season because of injuries, is expected to become a father on Saturday. That's also when he's expected to see his first playing time of the season, in a crucial ACC game against Georgia Tech.

We really need Kelly back in the lineup. He was our leading rusher last season.

TECH FINDS ITS STING: The Anderson Independent-Mail looks at Georgia Tech's surprisingly strong performance in the early stages of the season. And Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says much the same thing here.

BENEFITS OF THE CUPCAKE DIET: The Anderson Independent-Mail's John Brasier has a column about Clemson's improvement over the past two games following the season-opening debacle against Georgia. Easier opponents have definitely helped the team at least feel better about itself.

A CLEMSON FAMILY REUNION: Saturday's game will be a chance for former Clemson athletic director Bobby Robinson, who recently accepted a job as Georgia Tech's associate athletic director, to reunite with folks from the school he worked at for 17 years. The State has a story; so does the Anderson Independent-Mail.

NOTEBOOK TIME: The Greenville News has one. It includes an update on Justin Miller, who will play through the pain of his hip pointer injury.

ROLL THE TAPE: Tigernet has posted video highlights from the Middle Tennessee State game. Very cool. Check 'em out.

LISTEN TO PHILLIPS: Tigernet also has a selection of great calls by Jim Phillips. Give them a listen.

AROUND THE ACC: The State has a notebook, including nervous glances from league coaches as Hurricane Isabel makes landfall. Hey, I'm in the D.C. area, and I'm watching it, too. This thing could seriously interfere with my football blogging, dammit!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Currie is heating up the Tiger Nation

There are a couple of stories examining the impact receiver Airese Currie has made this season. He's nationally ranked in a couple of statistical categories, and is currently rated the No. 2 receiver in the ACC. Here's The State's look at Currie, and here's the Anderson Independent-Mail's.

NO-HUDDLE SCUTTLEBUT: The State has a couple of stories about Clemson's return to the fast-paced no-huddle offense. The first says it's an offensive feature that's here to stay; the second is a column by Ron Morris.

NOTEBOOK TIME: The Greenville News has a notebook that includes the promising news that defensive back Justin Miller will play Saturday against Georgia Tech. (Miller's status is also mentioned in The State story on the no-huddle offense in the previous item.)

PREPPING FOR TECH: The Yellowjackets have rallied behind embattled coach Chan Gailey, and it shows on the field; a 17-3 upset of Auburn and a close, 14-13 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee.

Meanwhile, Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is worried as he prepares for Georgia Tech. (More here.) And Greenville News columnist Bart Wright makes the accurate observation that the Georgia Tech game will answer a lot of questions about this football team.

ANOTHER PHILLIPS TRIBUTE: Here's a column about longtime Clemson broadcaster Jim Phillips that's written by Robert Bradley, the son of legendary Clemson sports information director Bob Bradley.

CU-GT MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights of the 2001 Clemson-Georgia Tech game, a thrilling 47-41 overtime victory for the Tigers. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Miller's game status could be last-minute decision

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he may have to wait until the absolute last minute to decide whether all-star defensive back Justin Miller will play in Saturday's critical ACC game at Georgia Tech. Miller, who suffered a hip pointer last week against Middle Tennessee State, would be replaced by sophomore Tye Hill.

NO-HUDDLE IN-DEPTH: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a detailed story about Clemson's return to a no-huddle offense. Well worth the time. For more on the no-huddle offense, here's a shorter story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

THIS WRECK CAN RAMBLE: Georgia Tech's powerful running game will be a serious test for Clemson's defense, according to The Greenville News. And here are five questions for the Jackets from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

MORE ON TECH: The State has a good story on the Clemson-Georgia Tech rivalry, which may be the most important ACC game for both teams each year. There certainly have been some great contests in the series. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more here.)

A.D. ON BOWDEN: Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips spoke in Sumter, S.C., on Monday and said he's taking a wait-and-see attitude toward coach Tommy Bowden:

�It would be unfair to say this is a make-or-break season for Tommy,� said Phillips, who spoke to the Sumter Rotary Club Monday at Sunset Country Club. �I really respect Tommy and his staff, the way they go about their jobs. He is the kind of man you want your program run by.�


NEW ANNOUNCER NAMED: Clemson has selected Pete Yanity to serve as interim play-by-play announcer for the football season. I'm sure they'll go nationwide in their search for a full-time replacement, but they should hire Don Munson. He's a damn good announcer.

NOTEBOOK: The Greenville News has a notebook full of notebook-like things. Check it out.

Monday, September 15, 2003

(UPDATED at 5:22 p.m.)

Whitehurst on road to several school records

Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is having a great year so far:

(He's) on pace to break Brandon Streeter's season completion percentage record, ranks 19th in the nation in passing efficiency and is performing up to Clemson's expectations at quarterback.

By completing 23 passes in 28 attempts for 298 yards and four touchdowns Saturday in Clemson's 37-14 victory against Middle Tennessee State, Whitehurst reinforced his reputation as an accurate passer.

He certainly did.

THAT RUNNING GAME: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, who went with a no-huddle, pass-happy offense in the win against Middle Tennessee State, still wants the running game to become a bigger part of the offense.

CU-GT NOTES: The volumnious pregame notes for Saturday's Georgia Tech game have been posted. Give them a look.

MILLER OUT: All-star defensive back Justin Miller will miss today's practice session after suffering a hip pointer, according to this notebook item from the Greenville News. There was no word on his status for this week's crucial ACC game at Georgia Tech. Speaking of the Tech game, here's a flashback to the 2001 contest in Atlanta, when Woodrow Dantzler accounted for 418 yards of total offense in a 47-44 victory over the Yellowjackets, who were ranked ninth in the country at the time.

ROTATING LINE: The Anderson Independent-Mail leads off its notebook with an item on Clemson making more substitutions on the offensive line to prevent fatigue. There's also a fairly entertaining "conventional wisdom" watch.

THE PUKER TALKS: Clemson center Tommy Sharpe, who gathered some unfortunate attention during the Georgia game for puking on the football, is the subject of this AP story.

PALMETTO STATE FOOTBALL SUCKS: And Georgia is great. That's the thrust of this column by the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux. I hope he realizes that sucess in college football can be fleeting. (Ray Goff, anyone?)

STATS WATCH: Here are Clemson's updated rankings in various NCAA statistical categories. The Tigers are 13th in the nation in kickoff returns, 16th in the nation in pass defense, 38th in passing offense and 43rd in total defense.

Charlie Whitehurst ranks 19th in the NCAA in passing efficiency (good enough for second in the ACC) and 22nd in total offense. Derrick Hamilton is 11th in kickoff returns, and Airese Currie is 23rd in receptions per game and 39th in receiving yards per game.

Additionally, it's worth noting that Clemson has three receivers in the top 10 in the league (so does N.C. State, which leads the nation in passing).

Sunday, September 14, 2003

(UPDATED at 6:15 p.m.)

Miller may miss Georgia Tech game

Tigernet is reporting that all-star defensive back Justin Miller suffered a hip pointer in Saturday's victory against Middle Tennessee State. He won't practice Monday, and he's currently listed as questionable for next Saturday's key ACC matchup against Georgia Tech. I'll post more developments Monday.

TIGERS ROLL: Clemson went with a no-huddle offense in stacking up some impressive numbers against Middle Tennessee State in the 37-14 victory. Let's go to the media.

GAME STORIES: "No huddle needed," says The State; "Tigers cruise past MTSU," says the Greenville News; "Whitehurst thrives in Tigers' return to no-huddle offense," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "MTSU's woes continue in loss to Clemson," says the Tennessean.

THE STATS: Here's a complete statistical summary of the game.

GAME ANALYSIS: The fine rushing performance of Kyle Browning is highlighted here, as is the good job by the offensive line -- and another puking incident by center Tommy Sharpe. The State also grades the keys to victory, and has a little trivia feature called "high five."

The Greenville News examines receiver Airese Currie's record-breaking day, and offers up an exceptionally long notebook. Here's another story on Currie. It's from the Anderson Independent-Mail, which also examines the offensive changes Clemson implemented for this game.

REMEMBERING PHILLIPS: There were plenty of tributes to the late Jim Phillips on Saturday. Here's a column from The State's Bob Spear. The Tennessean has a story on Phillips, and here's the AP's version.

AROUND THE ACC: Florida State survived a scare from Georgia Tech to go to 3-0 in league play, but the story of the day was N.C. State's three-overtime loss to No. 3 Ohio State. The Wolfpack came within a foot of a huge upset.

One wheel came off the Wake Forest bandwagon following the loss to Purdue. Elsewhere, Duke squeaked past Rice, Virginia whipped Western Michigan and Maryland demolished a Willie Simmons-led Citadel.

And how good is Georgia? Pretty damn good, judging by the whipping they applied to the Gamecocks. I still think our offense played pathetically against the Dawgs, but seeing them dominate South Carolina makes me feel a little better about that season-opening loss. In other words, Clemson may end up being OK after all. We'll find out next week, when the Tigers travel to Atlanta to face a Georgia Tech team that seems to be better than advertised in the preseason.

DANTZLER HAPPY TO HAVE JOB: Former Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is happy to have landed with the Atlanta Falcons after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

(UPDATED at 8:30 p.m.)

Another big passing day for Whitehurst in win

Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 23-of-28 for 298 yards and four touchdowns as Clemson defeated Middle Tennessee State 37-14 Saturday in a game where the Tigers paid homage to broadcaster Jim Phillips, who died Tuesday. Airese Currie caught 12 passes for 133 yards and a TD, and the Tigers finally found a running game, racking up 183 yards on the ground. I'll post the meda reaction on Sunday. As for right now, I'm happy with the win. Thai food for everyone!!!!


Clemson plays Middle Tennessee State today

I guess this will always be remembered as the "Jim Phillips game," because it sounds like the whole day will be dedicated to the memory of Clemson's longtime radio announcer, who died Tuesday. His funeral was held Friday in Simpsonville, and there's coverage of it here, here and here.

Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret will handle radio duties for today's game,

Kickoff is at 5 p.m. There's no TV coverage. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: From The Anderson Independent-Mail, The Greenville News, (and a game capsule), The Charleston Post and Courier, and The Tennessean.

The State does its usual "quick glance" coverage. There's "the edge," the keys to victory, a look at how Clemson might stop shifty MTSU quarterback Andrico Hines, and a Q&A with Clemson receiver Kevin Youngblood.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The State rates the weekend's other games involving ACC teams, and has a selection of quotes from N.C. State coach Chuck Amato regarding the Wolfpack's preparations for today's big game at No. 3 Ohio State.

And let's don't forget that the hated Gamecocks play Georgia today.

Friday, September 12, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:42 p.m.)

Memorials for Phillips keep rolling in

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart has penned a wonderful tribute to longtime Clemson broadcaster Jim Phillips, who died this week. Perhaps Barnhart will mention Phillips' passing on College Gameday this week.

Late Friday afternoon, word came down that longtime Gamecock broadcaster Bob Fulton will call the first series of Saturday's Middle Tennessee State game as a tribute to his friend. Here's a story about the celebrations of Phillips' life scheduled for Saturday's game, and here's another Bart Wright column that mentions Phillips (as well as former Clemson star Brentson Buckner).

CURRIE FAVORED: Receiver Airese Currie has become Clemson's go-to receiver this season, and coach Tommy Bowden says he may start designing plays around him.

WHO WILL RUN? Bowden also says he still hasn't decided who will start at tailback Saturday against Middle Tennessee State.

TOP OF THE HILL: Here's a look at the outstanding performance of linebacker Leroy Hill, who leads the ACC in tackles and tackles for loss.

PLUG FOR WHITEHURST: The Nashville Tennessean has a staff-written profile of Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, left. There's nothing in the story that Clemson fans don't know already, but it's good to see Charlie getting some publicity in the middle of Vols country.

PROFESSOR HENRY: The State profiles offensive tackle William Henry, who is just a couple of credits short of a master's degree.

TOUGH ROAD FOR RAIDERS: Middle Tennessee State is playing a grueling schedule. I wish them luck, just not this week.

MIAMI-FSU OPENER: The Canes and the Noles will kick off the expanded ACC football season in 2004 with a Monday night game in the Orange Bowl. But there's no decision yet on whether the league will split into two divisions, or add a 12th team.

ACC PREVIEW: Here's a quick look at the other games in the ACC this weekend.

KEEP ASKING HIM STUFF: The State's Ken Tysiac is still answering your questions. Check 'em out.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

A pause to reflect on a terrible anniversary

Today is the second anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Football blogging seems rather silly amid memorials to that great tragedy, but I think it's important to both honor the dead AND carry on with life as usual. In my own small way, I'm going to try to do both.

For a great perspective on the Sept. 11 anniversary, here's uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan's post for today, here's a memorable piece he wrote for the Sunday Times of London on Sept. 16, 2001, and here's a column he wrote for The New York Times, titled, appropriately enough, "This is what a day means."


And now, back to your regularly scheduled football blogging

BLAME THE REFS: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he's looked at the tape from the Furman game, and he still can't understand how his team was whistled for 111 yards in penalties.

LITTLEJOHN COMES HOME: Middle Tennessee State defensive tackle Jeff Littlejohn, who was the target of a recruiting investigation at Clemson in 2001 and chose to sign with another school, says he harbors no ill feelings toward the Tigers. (More here.)

HUNT MAY GET THE BOOT: Clemson placekicker Aaron Hunt is 0-for-3 on field goal attempts this season, and he could be replaced by freshman Jad Dean, who has boomed some impressive kickoffs in the first two games.

PHILLIPS TRIBUTE: Saturday's game will feature a tribute to Clemson broadcaster Jim Phillips, who died Tuesday. Earlier stories have noted that Clemson players will wear a "JP" sticker on their helmets during the game.

NOTEBOOK TIME: The Greenville News' notebook leads off with some facts about Middle Tennessee State, which was a Division I-AA program until 1999.

ACC MEETING: The league's athletic directors met Wednesday to discuss football and basketball scheduling plans in preparation for the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech next season.

ACC NOTES: Here's a quick look at what's making news around the league.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Memorials pour in for legendary Clemson broadcaster

There are tons of remembrance stories about Jim Phillips, the longtime Clemson sports broadcaster who died Tuesday at the age of 69.

The State's Clemson beat writer, Ken Tysiac, has an updated obituary story with more details than Tuesday's rush job. Here's the Greenville News' update.

The State offers a couple of unsigned pieces, plus a remembrance by columnist Ron Morris.

The Greenville News has a couple of other remembrance stories here and here, and a nice column by Bart Wright.

The Anderson Independent-Mail has a memorial story, a look at who could follow in Phillips' footsteps, and quotes about Phillips from fellow sportscasters.

The Greenwood Index-Journal offers the memories of fans.

Tigernet has a couple of memorials, here and here.

Even Gamecock fans have tributes. Here's a longish one from Gamecock Central.

And finally, here's a photo gallery showing Phillips through the years.

So long, Jim. Godspeed. And now on to more mundane matters.


OFFICIATING PROBLEMS: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has complained to the ACC office about officiating. (More here and here.) Good. I've long thought the league had the worst referees in Division I football.

KILLER INSTINCT: Bowden also says he hopes his team finds a killer instinct this Saturday against Middle Tennessee State. Consistency, too.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:20 p.m.)

'Voice of the Tigers' was 69

This is truly sad news. Legendary Clemson broadcaster Jim Phillips, who had covered Clemson sports for 36 years, died early Tuesday from an aortic aneurysm. He was 69. The Georgia game was the 400th football contest of his Clemson career.

Tigernet has the press release, plus an online sympathy card.

Here's the Greenville News' take, and the AP's story via the Augusta Chronicle. Also, ACC commissioner John Swofford offers his condolences.

Additionally, the official Clemson site has posted a short video clip of Phillips, and a link to audio clips of some of his famous calls.

Wow. This is stunning. I grew up listening to this guy. He had such a smooth, welcoming radio voice, and was truly a great Clemson man. I wish his family the best during this difficult time.


CROSBY LEAVES TEAM: As reported late Monday, receiver Roscoe Crosby has left the team for "family reasons." Stories are here, here and here.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: Here are the highlights from coach Tommy Bowden's weekly press conference. I'll post more about this on Wednesday.

INTERESTING NOTEBOOK: The Greenville News' notebook has a couple of items worth mentioning. First, there appears to be some contention on the team regarding playing time, according to receiver Tony Elliott (who has more choice words below). That doesn't sound good.

Second, there's confirmation that the Sept. 20 game at Georgia Tech, scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff, will not be televised. That's a shame for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Tech game has been a real barn-burner the past few years. Secondly, this means the Tigers won't be on television for the entire month of September. According to The State's notebook, Clemson hasn't had three non-televised games in a row since the 1987 season.

Additionally, The State's notebook reveals that the starting tailback job for Saturday's Middle Tennessee State game remains up for grabs, and also reveals a telling quote from Elliott on special-teams play: "On special teams, there is not as much discipline," Elliott said. "As you can tell, what separates the great programs from the mediocre is great special teams. Special teams is as important as offense and defense, and I think a lot of guys don't understand the importance of special teams."

Is finger-pointing getting out of hand on this team?

FAN INDIFFERENCE: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a story on how the poor attendance at last week's Furman game affected the players.

WE'RE CLEAR: ESPN has deigned to lift Clemson from the Bottom 10. For this week, anyway.

Monday, September 08, 2003

(UPDATED at 9:20 p.m.)

Peripatetic receiver to leave team -- again

Tigernet is reporting that wide receiver Roscoe Crosby, one of the most widely heralded recruits in Clemson history who rejoined the program this fall for the first time since 2001, has left the team for "family reasons." I'll post more about this on Tuesday.

Where is that confounded running game?

With Furman playing soft defense after getting burned on some long pass plays, Clemson still couldn't generate a whole lot of offense on the ground in Saturday's unimpressive 28-17 victory.

This just doesn't sound good.

MTSU NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for next week's game against Middle Tennessee State. Give them a look.

STATS NOT TOO BAD: Here's a quick look at Clemson's ACC rank in various statistical categories. And, here's a very valuable page that tracks Clemson's NCAA statistical rankings -- and the rankings of every Division I program.

The good: We lead the league in kickoff returns (averaging 30.1 yards per return, which also ranks us 14th nationally) and kickoff coverage, only allowing an average of 12.5 yards per return. We're third in the conference in total defense (292.5 yards per game, which ranks us 31st nationally), second in pass defense (147 yards per game, good enough for 19th nationally), and we're tied for second in sacks in the ACC with seven.

Leroy Hill leads the ACC in tackles and tackles for loss, Kevin Youngblood, Derrick Hamilton and Airese Currie are ranked in several receiver categories (and Hamilton is seventh in the NCAA in kickoff returns), and Charlie Whitehurst is fourth in the league in passing yardage and fifth in passing efficiency.

The bad: We're the worst rushing team in the league (and ranked 102nd in the country), we're the worst in red-zone offense, and the next-to-worst in fourth-down conversions (1-of-4) and penalties (17 for 156 yards). We're also the worst team in the country in punt returns (117th out of 117).

Interesting stat: Clemson hasn't been getting many breaks from the other team's screw-ups. Our two opponents have only been penalized 9 times for 83 yards, the lowest figure in the conference.

Another interesting stat: N.C. State leads the nation in passing with 418 yards per game.

QUESTIONS ABOUND: The State's Ken Tysiac is still busy answering questions from fans. Check them out.

AP POLL: Florida State is 10th this week. Wake Forest jumps in at No. 20, the first ranking for the Deacs in a decade. N.C. State hangs around at No. 24, and South Carolina is 25th. Virginia drops out; Maryland has been out of the Top 25 since its opening-week loss to Northern Illinois.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

It was a win, and we'll take it

Clemson's 28-17 victory against Furman produced a few positives (another great passing day by Charlie Whitehurst, for example), but also plenty of negatives (more than 100 yards in penalties, a running game that remains anemic). Here goes.

THE GAME STORY: "Nearly chased down," says The State; "Tigers survive Furman," says the Greenville News; "Tigers survive to beat Furman," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "Furman puts up fight at Clemson," says the Augusta Chronicle.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Tigernet has posted some video from the game. Check it out.

THE STATS: Here's a complete statistical summary of the game.

GAME ANALYSIS: The penalty problem is analyzed here and here.

The State grades the Tigers on various aspects of the game, and there's also an interview with Whitehurst where he expresses frustration at the team's offensive woes. Plus, there's a "high five," quarter-by-quarter highlights, and an injury report that includes an item on defensive back Justin Miller getting leveled by a Furman player.

The Anderson Independent-Mail has a story on how the pass is Clemson's best weapon in a season that was supposed to see the running game become more prominent.

Tigernet's Dan Scott says Clemson faces a much more difficult path through the ACC than preseason predictions indicated.

TASTES LIKE ...: The Charleston Post & Courier's Gene Sapakoff has a great line in his column this week:

The Tigers on Saturday warmed up for the regular season with a 28-17 victory over Furman that tasted like diluted vanilla.

So true.

ACC ROUNDUP: Florida State's 35-10 victory over Maryland puts the 'Noles in firm control of the conference race, but the real shocker was Wake Forest's 38-24 whipping of N.C. State. The Deacs are for real, folks. Another stunner: South Carolina's 31-7 evisceration of Virginia. Of course, the Cavs are missing all-star quarterback Matt Schaub, but that doesn't account for this tail-whipping.

Let's see: The "new power elite" in the ACC (Virginia, N.C. State, Maryland) is a combined 2-4 so far this season. They'll still probably kick our asses, though.

Georgia Tech was impressive in a surprising 17-3 victory over fading Auburn. We play those guys in Atlanta in two weeks.

Elsewhere, North Carolina went to 0-2 with a tough 49-47 overtime loss to Syracuse, and Duke got a much-needed 29-3 win against I-AA Western Carolina.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

(UPDATED at 9:25 p.m.)

Tigers aren't overly impressive in win

I didn't see the game, but from what I heard on the radio (via the Internet) and saw by monitoring Gametracker, it's safe to say we struggled offensively. We should have scored more than 28 points against Furman. Once again, the running game was absent. (Here are the stats.)

We play Middle Tennessee State next week. Here's a bit of discouraging news: They hung tougher against Georgia than we did, losing 29-10.

Sigh. I'll post the Bowden media bloodletting on Sunday.

Or at least run down The Hill correctly

If we don't beat the Pals today, I don't want to imagine the turmoil it will cause to this program.

So I won't. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. It ain't on TV. Go Tigers. Yay.

I just hope they're not looking ahead to next week's game against Middle Tennessee State, currently rated 189th out of 240 teams in the Sagarin rankings. (Clemson is 49th.)

On to the previews.

GAME PREVIEWS: The Anderson Independent-Mail looks at the importance of the game to coach Tommy Bowden's future, emphasizing that the Tigers don't want to overlook Furman. (Uh, you think?) The Greenville News focuses this story on Clemson's much maligned offensive line. There's also a story on quarterback Charlie Whitehurst's motivations for the game (his dad was a quarterback at Furman). And, of course, the ubiquitous game capsule. The State offers three keys to victory for Clemson, the position-by-position "edge" list (with Furman getting the nod at O-line), a look at how the Tigers might stop Furman running back Hindley Brigham, and a Q&A with Whitehurst.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's The State's guide to the best of the rest of today's ACC games.

Friday, September 05, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:30 p.m.)

Looking into Bowden's playbook

The Greenville News has an interesting story today examining coach Tommy Bowden's controversial call in the second quarter of the Georgia game. Trailing 13-0, the Tigers were at the Georgia 4-yard line and facing a fourth-and-two situation. Bowden called for a halfback pass that failed. (Why the hell didn't we just kick the field goal? It was early in the game, and it could have seriously altered Georgia's momentum. Instead, they got a big stop.)

O-LINE WOES: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a story on the tough week the offensive line has had in the wake of the 30-0 loss to Georgia.

TOUGH TIMES: The Greenville News' Bart Wright continues the "tough week" theme in this column on the state of the football program.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: Tigernet has some quotes from an interview with Bowden. Check them out.

HONORING HEISMAN: The State looks at Clemson's efforts to celebrate its rich football heritage, and especially the three-year coaching tenure of John Heisman, arguably one of the most important figures in the historical development of football.

IPTAY'S TAKE DECLINES: Clemson's athletic fundraising arm saw a decline in contributions for 2002-2003. Hmm, I wonder why that happened.....

BYLAW CHANGES IN THE WORKS: The addition of Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC has forced the league to examine whether it needs to change its bylaws:

Wake Forest President Tom Hearn will head a three-person committee that will review the ACC constitution and offer the presidents several choices and a recommendation in March. The issue carries great significance because it could dictate how the future 11-team league votes if it chooses to add a 12th school.

Stay tuned.

ACC PREVIEW: FSU-Maryland is the marquee matchup, followed by N.C. State-Wake Forest. In non-conference action, Auburn is at Georgia Tech, Virginia is at South Carolina, Syracuse is at North Carolina and Western Carolina is at Duke.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

(UPDATED at 7:55 p.m.)

Furman has beaten the big boys before

Clemson's I-AA opponent on Saturday has enjoyed some success against Division I opponents, most recently a 28-3 shellacking of the Tar Heels in 1999. They've also beaten N.C. State and Georgia Tech twice over the past couple of decades.

CROSBY, KELLY MAY SIT: Tigernet is reporting that Clemson receiver Roscoe Crosby and running back Yusef Kelly may not play Saturday against Furman. Earlier reports said Crosby has missed the past two days of practice for "family reasons." Tigernet's update indicates that Kelly has suffered a back injury in practice.

POSITION CHANGES: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says some new players will get a chance to start this week's game against Furman.

PROMOTING HISTORY: Clemson's athletic director, Terry Don Phillips, hopes to emphasize Clemson's rich football tradition and history in promotional materials. That's a great idea. Clemson is not one of the all-time dominant programs, but it's got a very solid winning record, plenty of history and some of the more unique traditions in college football.

GRADUATION RATES RISE: Clemson's graduation rate for football players has hit 76 percent, according to this story.

HE TAKES IT BACK: Augusta Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux retracts his prediction that Clemson would upset Georgia, and happily jumps on the Dawgs' bandwagon.

THE NAPIER STORY: Everyone has a story on Billy Napier, a Clemson graduate assistant coach who was Furman's starting quarterback a year ago. Gripping stuff. (Yawn.)

ACC NOTES: The State has its version; so does The Greenville News. And Gregg Doyel, the Charlotte Observer columnist everyone loves to hate, actually pens a pretty good roundup of the abysmal week in the ACC.

SCHAUB MAY RETURN: The Washington Post is reporting that Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub, a Heisman candidate who injured his shoulder in the season-opening win against Duke, could return for the Cavs' Sept. 27 against Wake Forest. It looks like he'll definitely miss Saturday's game at South Carolina.

STATS PRETTY GOOD: For those doom-and-gloomers who feel that all is lost in the wake of last week's 30-0 season-opening loss to Georgia, here's something I stumbled across on the Tigernet message board. It's a statistical analysis of Clemson's performance in season openers against quality opponents since 1970:

1. In short, we have been utterly abysmal, with an overall record of 11 wins and 23 losses.

2. Nine of those 23 losses were by shutout.

3. We only have only three wins (in 22 tries) against what you might call �quality� teams � teams that finished with a high number of wins on the year: Georgia in 1981, Florida State in 1989, and Virginia in 1984. However, it is interesting and relevant to note that none of the three games were our initial games of the year, meaning that we have never beaten a quality opponent in our season opener in the last 34 years � that�s right: never. It�s also relevant to note that in 1981, Georgia was the third game of the year, after two games in which we looked pretty bad � Wofford (45-10, after trailing early), and Tulane (whom we beat by only 13-5, in a very ugly game). Also, the Virginia team in 1984 finished only 8-2-2 (i.e., it was not a top-10 caliber team).

4. The records under each coach have been as follows: Ingram (1-2), Parker (0-4), Pell (0-2), Ford (6-5 � although it�s again interesting to note that in his first five seasons, the most seasons any of the other coaches have been at the helm, his record was 1-4), Hatfield (1-3), West (1-4), Bowden (1-4). I should note that in compiling this information, I counted Bowden�s loss to Marshall against him (although it wasn�t against a BCS conference team), because it was against a team that finished highly ranked. Strictly speaking, Bowden�s 33-14 win over Virginia in the second game would improve his record to 2-3.

The above represents the bad news. But what does it imply about how the season will turn out overall?

1. Despite the record in the initial Division I games of the previous 33 years, the Tigers have averaged 7.12 wins in the time span (and that counts some horrid seasons in the early to mid Seventies).

2. We�ve had 24 winning seasons (out of 33).

3. Our record in initial Division I games is 4-2 in seasons in which we�ve won at least 10 games, 2-3 when we�ve won 9 games, 0-4 when we�ve won 8 games, 2-4 when we�ve won 7 games, 1-2 when we�ve won 6 games, and 1-8 when we�ve had a losing record.

4. Using some basic statistical analysis (for those of you who�ve had a stats class before), the difference between the Tigers� score and the opponents� score in these initial games only explains 17.6% of the variation in the number of games won on the year. Stated otherwise: it doesn�t mean much.

5. Some of the best wins and seasons in Clemson history have come after being shut out in the Division I opener. In perhaps the second best season in Clemson history, with perhaps the best offense in Clemson history, the Tigers were shut out by UGA 12-0, but finished 11-1. In 1979, the Tigers were shut out by Maryland (at home) by 19-0, but immediately turned around and defeated UGA, and later beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame. In 1993, the Tigers were thrashed by FSU 57-0, but finished 9-3. The 1974 team was beaten by Texas A&M 24-0, but finished 7-4 (with a win over Georgia).

6. Although I did not do a complete analysis of what has happened immediately after Division I opening losses, a few very positive examples come to mind: pounding UVA in 1999 after the Marshall loss, beating UGA in 1979 after the Maryland loss, beating UGA in Athens after the 1977 Maryland loss, and beating UGA in Athens after the 1986 Virginia Tech loss. Conversely, one of the only three �quality� wins (over Virginia in 1984) was followed immediately by the 60-yard field goal loss at UGA (and a loss to Georgia Tech the week after).

So what does the above suggest? First, Saturday�s debacle is certainly not out of the norm. Secondly, first game performances are simply not a very good predictor of how the season will transpire. In sum: chill out � all is not lost.

That's a fine piece of research, but it only makes me feel a little bit better. What about the fact that Bowden is only 2-18 against teams that finished ranked in the Top 25? For whatever reason, the guy seems to have trouble winning the big games. I hope that can change over the next three months, but I'm doubtful it will.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

(UPDATED at 5:25 p.m.)

Bowden manages to find positives in blowout

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says the Tigers' 30-0 loss to Georgia wasn't so bad when you look at it closely:

"After looking at the film, we just needed to make a play," Bowden said. "Turnovers hurt us, things you thought pretty much might have been the problem. I thought the effort was good."

Uh huh. Ken Tysiac's last line perhaps explains why Bowden seems to be living in Cloud-Koo-Koo Land:

By focusing on the positives, he may be trying to build the morale of a team that is down.

Yeah, either that, or he's trying to avoid the painful facts brought up in this story: In his entire career, he's just 2-18 against teams that finished the season ranked in the Top 25.

This column by John Brasier of the Anderson Independent-Mail not so subtly suggests that Bowden was engaged in some heavy-duty spinning at Tuesday's weekly press conference. I'll second that.

Meanwhile, athletic director Terry Don Phillips says he's confident the team will improve, but ducked questions about Bowden's job security.

HOT SEAT WATCH: CBS Sportsline weighs in on Clemson's shoddy performance against Georgia and Bowden's rapidly declining stock, and points out some little-known history for those clamoring to bring back Danny Ford (little known to me, anyway):

Now there is speculation Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips could pull the trigger on Tommy Bowden before the season ends. That leads to another question: Has a Bowden ever been fired?

It has not slipped some people's attention that Phillips was the senior associate AD at Arkansas in 1992 when Frank Broyles canned coach Jack Crowe after a season-opening loss to The Citadel. Coincidentally, Ford had the Razorbacks' job by 1993.

What is more likely to happen is Phillips will assemble a short list behind the scenes during the season rather than put the program through such upheaval.

I wasn't aware Phillips was at Arkansas when Ford got hired. Very interesting, as is the whole column.

LINE SHUFFLE: Some linemen were injured in practice, and their backups got more work. Fascinating stuff.

CU/FURMAN MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted some video highlights of Clemson's 33-0 victory over Furman in 1998. My father and I were at that game, and if I remember correctly, that was the one where quarterback Woodrow Dantzler made his debut. He led the Tigers on a drive late in the first half, running the ball himself on nearly every play. It was one of the strangest drives we ever saw in Death Valley.

By the way, I was glad to hear that Dantzler was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons after being cut by Dallas.

COMMENTS ADDED: It seems like I'm getting enough traffic to warrant comments, so I'll see how this works out. Fire away about what you read here!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

(UPDATED at 7:25 p.m.)

Tigers try to get it together

Clemson's players and coaches are still trying to sort out the 30-0 loss to Georgia last Saturday.

Labor Day brought Clemson back together for the first time since the loss. A team leader apologized for a comment he may or may not have said; a handful of players suggested holding a players-only meeting to clear the air; and several veterans urged that Clemson must not dwell on one defeat in a 12-game season.

That apologetic player was linebacker John Leake, who told the Augusta Chronicle: "We're not going to recover from this. It's going to be in the back of our heads all year long." (There's more on Leake's apology here.)

I'm trying to find the positives here. Maybe this horrific setback will help develop some true team leaders. And it's got to be a wake-up call for the coaching staff. Perhaps the team will grow closer because of this.

I'm a fan; I've gotta have hope. Heck, it's all I've got anymore.

BOWDEN SPEAKS: Here are the highlights from Tommy Bowden's weekly press conference. I'll post the media reactions on Wednesday.

WE STINK ON ICE: Clemson is No. 5 in ESPN's Bottom 10. I know we looked bad Saturday, but that seems a tad harsh. I guess that's the point, though.

PREPPING FOR FURMAN: The Paladins from neighboring Greenville are excited about playing in Death Valley, and are hoping that Clemson will still be reeling from the Georgia loss.

SAMPSON TO START: Linebacker Eric Sampson, who was dismissed from the team last spring, is slated to start against Furman.

HIGH ON HILL: Linebacker Leroy Hill was one of the few bright spots for the Tigers last Saturday. He had 16 tackles, including three for loss.

MORE QUESTIONS: The State's Ken Tysiac keeps answering them.

ESSO CLUB MAKEOVER: The Esso Club in Clemson, a landmark drinking hangout for generations of Tiger fans, will be getting a face lift. I hope they don't mess with the low-rent ambiancece and turn the place into a fern bar, but those raunchy bathrooms could definitely use a renovation.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Bowden says a change is gonna come

In the wake of Clemson's 30-0 loss to Georgia, embattled Clemson coach Tommy Bowden is vowing to make personnel changes, but he says he won't be changing his game plan. Here's The State's story, the Greenville News' take, and coverage from the Anderson Independent-Mail.

HOT SEAT WATCH: Bowden's rapidly declining job security cropped up in numerous "this was the week that was in college football" columns across the country. The San Jose Mercury News and The Sporting News are fairly representative of what's out there.

And here's an interesting story that does a side-by-side comparison of Clemson's 30-0 loss to Georgia and Auburn's 23-0 loss to Southern Cal. The similarities are eerie: two teams nicknamed Tigers, each coached by a Tommy on the hot seat, get shut out in a high-profile home opener. Weird.

FURMAN NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for the Furman game. Boy, talk about struggling to find positives. Read 'em and weep.

In other Furman-related news, here's a look back at the Paladins' 12-0 upset of the Tigers in 1936, the last victory in the series for the Greenville school. It was also the only game ever played in the snow at Clemson.

TIGERS IN THE PROS: Clemson has 19 players on NFL rosters, according to this story from Tigernet. Can we get them back for Virginia, FSU, N.C. State and Maryland?

SCHAUB OUT: Matt Schaub, Virginia's Heisman candidate quarterback, will miss at least one game because of his shoulder injury, according to this report.

QUESTION TIME: The State's Ken Tysiac has been bombarded with questions from Clemson fans following the loss to Georgia. Check 'em out.