Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chad Morris to N.C. State?

It begins: Clemson's genius offensive coordinator could be moving on.

I hope he stays, at least for a few more years. Also, I don't want to face him every year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tajh Boyd: ACC Player of the Year

Congratulations to Clemson's outstanding quarterback, who richly deserves the honor. Additionally, Boyd and center Dalton Freeman were named first team All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association.

Meanwhile, I'm accepting the award for Worst College Football Blogger of the Year for basically skipping the last third of Clemson's season. Sorry about that. I've been getting killed at work. I'll try to do better for my four readers (including you, Dad).

LOUISVILLE TO THE ACC: I have to say, I kind of like this pick. Better than Pitt or Boston College or Syracuse. And as Not Danny Ford said on Twitter: "Basically the ACC will do a slight upgrade with Louisville instead of Maryland and will get $50,000,000 out of it."

WHAT'S NEXT? Following another loss to South Carolina, the question remains: Will Clemson ever get to the next level?

BOWL PROSPECTS: Hello, Chick-fil-A!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clemson 45, Maryland 10: More big numbers

I'm a bit late getting to this, but here goes. Clemson won its 12th straight home game -- a record -- on Saturday, defeating overmatched Maryland 45-10.

OFFENSE ROLLS ALONG: The squad keeps racking up big numbers and records.

POLL NEWS: Clemson slipped a spot in both the AP and USA TODAY polls; 11th and ninth, respectively.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Clemson 56, Duke 20: Another big offensive night

Clemson rolled up 719 yards of  offense on Saturday night in Durham, N.C., en route to a big 56-20 victory over Duke. All kinds of records were set in the game. Here's one: quarterback Tajh Boyd threw six TD passes in the first half alone.

Yes, the Blue Devils are a much better team than they've been in the past, but they are still Duke.

POLL CLIMBERS: Clemson is up to No. 8 in the USA TODAY poll. They're No. 10 in AP's poll.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stay classy, Steve Spurrier

So let me get this straight: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney makes a heartfelt, sincere statement of support and sympathy for South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Saturday, and Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier uses the opportunity to issue a snide dig at the Tigers?

"Jackass," indeed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tigers ranked No. 9 in both polls

Clemson returned to the top 10 on Sunday in both major college football polls.

 The Tigers reached No. 9 in both, a jump of four spots from the previous week.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Clemson 42, Wake Forest 13: Record-setting win

The Tigers broke all kinds of offensive records in Thursday's big 42-13 victory over Wake Forest, and they also might have put an end to Clemson's Thursday-nigh jynx. Twofer.

RECORDS FALL: A rundown of which were broken. Also, the win tied an ACC record for most high-scoring games in a row.

A BIG STEP? Coach Dabo Swinney sees Thursday's victory as a landmark in a lot of ways.

DABO SPEAKS: "We got into a great rhythm."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 17: Defense steps up

Wonders never cease. Clemson's defense came to play on Saturday, helping the Tigers dismantle Virginia Tech 38-17.

Clemson forced four turnovers en route to the win.

DEFENSIVE TURNAROUND: Very welcome at this point in the season.

DABO SPEAKS: About the game.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31: Crucial win

Clemson rolled up big numbers on offense on Saturday en route to a big 47-31 victory against ACC rival Georgia Tech. The victory puts the Tigers at 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the ACC as they head into a week off before facing Virginia Tech at home on Oct. 20.

OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT: The Tigers rolled up 601 yards of offense on Saturday.

RECORD SETTER: Quarterback Tajh Boyd is setting all kinds of marks this season.

DABO SPEAKS: "We won every quarter."

POLL PROGRESS: Clemson moved up to No. 13 in the USA TODAY poll.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Can Clemson handle GT's triple option?

Clemson faces old rival Georgia Tech on Saturday in a key ACC game, and the big question is whether the Tigers' struggling defense can stop the Yellow Jackets' triple-option offense. Let's hope they can.

CONFIDENCE GAME: Clemson is gaining confidence after the tough loss to Florida State two weeks ago.

HOW TECH WINS: Strike quickly.

HOW CLEMSON WINS: Outscore the Jackets. No, seriously.

TROUBLE SPOTS: Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington is a big one.

IT'S DEATH VALLEY AGAIN: Clemson is 22-3 at home since a home loss to Georgia Tech in 2008 -- Dabo Swinney's first game as coach.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Notre Dame saves the ACC, schedulewise?

Thanks to the addition of Notre Dame to the league, the ACC has abandoned plans for a nine-game conference schedule. According to the Orange and White, that means that Clemson can now play a high-quality opponent (*cough* Georgia *cough*) every year instead of, oh, Duke.

Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tigers lead ACC in five stat categories

Stats entertainment! Clemson is No. 1 in the ACC in interceptions, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions and turnover margin, and Andre Ellington leads the league in rushing.

WATKINS RETURNS: Sammy Watkins returned to practice this week and will play against Georgia Tech after his "scary" illness kept him out against Boston College.

GAME TIME: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech goes off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Clemson 45, BC 31: I'll take it

I guess this season is just going to be a roller-coaster, if Saturday's 45-31 victory over Boston College is any indication. We can't be stopped offensively, but we can't really stop anybody, either. Could be fun. And again -- Sammy who? Sammy Watkins missed the game with a stomach ailment, and DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins stepped up and had a record-setting day -- 11 catches, 197 yards and a touchdown.

THE TURNING POINT: Tahj Boyd's big TD pass to Hopkins.

WATKINS' MEDICAL CONDITION: It was "very scary."

DABO SPEAKS: Says the defense grew up. Really?

GAME NOTES: Items of interest.

PLAYER NOTES:  Nuggets of knowledge.

UP IN THE POLLS: Clemson is now 15th in both major polls after Saturday's win.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

FSU 49, Clemson 37: Defensive debacle

Despite a decent offensive showing, Clemson couldn't stop Florida State in any manner en route to a 49-37 loss on Saturday night in Tallahassee. The Tigers (3-1, 0-1) gave up a whopping 667 yards of offense, and they seemed to have problems doing basic, middle-school-level things, like tackling.

The loss puts Clemson in a big hole in the ACC Atlantic Division race. The team must win every remaining league game and hope the Seminoles lose twice. Based on Saturday's results, good luck with that.

NONEXISTENT DEFENSE: Brent Venables takes the blame.

THE TURNING POINT: I guess the 35-3 run FSU put together to finish the game was a "turning point."

DABO SPEAKS: "It's a tough loss."

POLL PLUNGE: Clemson dropped from 10th to 17th following the loss.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Five things to watch with Clemson-FSU

Orange and White breaks down tonight's big game between Clemson and Florida State. Bottom line: Special teams might be the decider in what could be an offensive shootout.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Clemson-FSU: A 'season-shaping' showdown

The biggest Clemson game in years is a little more than 24 hours away, and Orange and White says the showdown with Florida State will go a long way toward determining what kind of season the Tigers have. You think?

IN THE BALANCE: Florida State's offense is powered by a balanced attack of rushing and passing.

SEMINOLE TROUBLE SPOTS: Key players to watch in red and gold.

ADVANTAGE SEMINOLES: How they can win.

ADVANTAGE TIGERS: How they can win.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Clemson-FSU will be a top 10 showdown

Next Saturday's marquee matchup between Clemson and Florida State will be a showdown of two teams in the top 10.

Sunday's new football polls show the Tigers moving up to No. 9, while the Seminoles are ranked fourth.

Clemson 41, Furman 7: Watkins returns in style

Yawn, again. Clemson walloped an overmatched Furman squad 41-7 on Saturday in Death Valley in a game that saw the return of star receiver Sammy Watkins.

BOYD'S BIG DAY: Clemson's quarterback had another 300-yard game, but he faced some stiff competition from Furman signal caller Reese Hannon.

'SPORADIC' DEFENSE: The Tigers will have to play much better next Saturday against Florida State, says defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

DABO SPEAKS: Clemson's coach on the game.

NOTES: This & that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame joins ACC, won't actually compete in football

Notre Dame has agreed to join the ACC as a full member in all sports except football. It will play five games a year against ACC teams, though. Apparently Clemson President James Barker was a driving force behind the decision to bring Notre Dame into the league.

So once every three years, an ACC team will get the honor of facing Notre Dame in football, but the game won't actually count in the standings. (And once every six years, they'll play in your favorite ACC team's stadium.) The Irish certainly know how to leverage their brand.

Regardless, the mega-conference trend is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stats entertainment!

Orange and White has a quick look at some statistics of interest regarding No. 11 Clemson after two games. Andre Ellington leads the ACC in rushing, and the Tigers have been perfect in the red zone so far this season.

CLEMSON-FSU GOES PRIME TIME: The Tigers and Seminoles will square off at 8 p.m. on Sept. 22 on ABC.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Clemson 52, Ball State 27: Record-setting day

Yawn. No. 12 Clemson racked up 526 yards of total offense and put 80 players into the action in Saturday's 52-27 rout of Ball State. Clemson improves to 2-0; Ball State falls to 1-1.

THE OFFENSE: It's on a roll, even without Sammy Watkins, who will return next week.

RECORD KICK: Spencer Benton booted a 61-yard field goal in the game, an ACC record.

DEFENSE CONCERNS: The Tigers aren't doing a great job of stopping the run, says defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

DABO SPEAKS: Quotes from Clemson's coach about the game.

NOTES: Facts and figures from the Tigers' record-setting day.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Check out the upgrades to Death Valley

Are you going to Saturday's game against Ball State in Clemson? Then check out this preview from Tigernet of the $3.8 million in upgrades the university has put in place. They include HD video boards, a new sound system and cellphone boosters, courtesy of Verizon, to help fans stay connected during games.

I'm aiming to make it to a game this fall with my dad, and I'm looking forward to the constantly improving Death Valley.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Brian Dawkins to join ESPN as analyst

Former Clemson defensive standout and nine-time NFL Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins will take on a new role this fall after retiring from football -- analyst on ESPN.

Dawkins' first day in the studio is Sept. 13. Congratulations to a true Tiger great.

Three Tigers lead NCAA in statistics. Really?

Great work and all that, guys, but I'm sorry, but this is kind of a BS story: Three Clemson players -- running back Andre Ellington, receiver DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins and kicker Chandler Catazaro -- lead, or are tied for the lead, in the NCAA in their respective statistical categories.

That's after one game. One.

When I was a young sports writer some *mumble-mumble* years ago, I seemed to recall that the NCAA wouldn't even release statistical standings until a couple of games were in the books. I guess they do things differently now.

ELLINGTON HONORED: Clemson's running back was named the Maxwell Award National Player of the Week for his 228-yard performance against Auburn. He was also named the ACC's back of the week.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Tigers move to No. 12 in poll

Clemson has jumped two spots in the new USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll following Saturday's 26-19 victory over then-No. 25 Auburn. Alabama is No. 1, followed by USC and LSU.

South Carolina is No. 9, Florida State is No. 6 and Virginia Tech is No. 18.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Clemson 26, Auburn 19: Great opener

Sammy who? (wait, AP had the same lede. Oh well -- ed.)

Clemson, missing top receiver Sammy Watkins for disciplinary suspension, defeated Auburn 26-19 on Saturday night in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins (13 receptions, 131 yards, 1 TD) and running back Andre Ellington (26 carries, 231 yards) filled in more than adequately, and the defense under new coordinator Brent Venables got the job done.

Other coverage from the game:

TAJH BOYD: Is Clemson's quarterback a  Heisman hopeful?

DABO SWINNEY: The coach speaks about the game.

BOX SCORE: The complete rundown from the game in Atlanta.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Who's ready for some football?

The two-a-days are over and nobody got hurt or left the team or anything else newsworthy. It's finally game week. Clemson faces Auburn on Saturday in Atlanta, so let's get to the season previews:

OVERVIEW: Can Clemson take "the next step" this year? 

DABO SWINNEY: 2012 will be an important year for the Tigers' head coach.

TAJH BOYD: Clemson's quarterback is slimmer and ready for a big season.

DEPTH CHART: A position-by-position look at the Tigers.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

AD Terry Don Phillips to retire

Sad news: Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips, who has presided over a decade of dynamic change and success, made it official on Thursday: He'll be retiring in June 2013.

Good luck, Terry Don, and thanks for all the tremendous work you did for Clemson.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Is Sammy Watkins already out of Heisman race?

Clemson's top receiver Sammy Watkins is a preseason All-American and All-ACC selection, but he could be out of contention for the Heisman Trophy already, thanks to the two-game suspension he'll have to serve to open the season.

That's the opinion of Tyler Waddell at Fan IQ, and I kind of agree with him, but so what? First of all, the Heisman means a lot less than it used to. Secondly, it's not like Watkins couldn't end up winning it before he turns pro -- if he sticks around.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sammy Watkins: 'I'm going to grow from it'

Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins, who will be suspended for the first two games of the season as punishment for a May arrest for marijuana possession, speaks to the media after his punishment was handed down.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Practice opens; Watkins suspended for first two games

Clemson began preseason practices for the 2012 football season today as it was announced that star receiver Sammy Watkins will sit out the first two games -- including a big showdown in Atlanta against Auburn -- as punishment for his arrest for marijuana possession in May.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Clemson is No. 14 in USA TODAY poll

The Tigers come out of the gate with a decent ranking in the first poll of the season. Other ACC teams ranked: Florida State (No. 7) and Virginia Tech (No. 20).

The full poll is here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Four Tigers on preseason All-ACC team

Quarterback Tajh Boyd, receiver Sammy Watkins, center Dalton Freeman and running back Andre Ellington were named to the preseason All-ACC team, which was announced on Wednesday during the conference's annual media event in Greensboro, N.C.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sammy Watkins is ACC's preseason player of the year

High expectations, indeed: Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins has been named the preseason pick for ACC player of the year. Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd was third in the voting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ACC expansion forces cancellation of series

When you supersize the ACC, this is what happens.

Clemson announced on Wednesday that it will have to cancel upcoming non-conference home-and-home series with Ole Miss and Oklahoma State, mainly because the addition of Syracuse and Pitt will require a nine-game league schedule for ACC teams.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Syracuse will join the ACC in 2013

This just in: Syracuse has reached an agreement with the Big East to sever its relationship with that conference on July 1, 2013, and formally join the ACC.

If Pitt can get the OK to leave the Big East and jump to the ACC, the league will reach 14 members, which would mean the league would move to a nine-game football schedule for conference games. That could jeopardize many old non-conference rivalries.

Too early to talk football? Never!

Greg Wallace of the Orange and White takes a game-by-game look at the upcoming season and predicts that the Tigers will finish 10-2.

I'll take it.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Clemson is a top-15 team, say preseason magazines

The consensus among most college football prognosticators is that Clemson will be pretty good this year, at least on paper.

 Orange and White reports that the Tigers have been picked 13th by Athlon, 14th by Phil Steele and 15th by Lindy's.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New book: 'The Danny Ford Years'

Former Post & Courier sports writer Larry Williams, who blogs at Eye on the Tigers (which I don't link to nearly enough), has a new book coming out -- The Danny Ford Years at Clemson: Romping and Stomping.

Williams, who co-authored last year's State of Disunion, about the Clemson-USC rivalry, has this to day about his new book:

The research and writing for the rivalry book was a thrill that I didn't think was capable of being matched. Digging into the Ford story exceeded that experience for a number of reasons. A chronicling of that era is enlightening even to those who were around, because memories are hazy after all these years. It also goes a long way toward explaining Clemson fans' animosity toward the ACC and the influence of North Carolina.

The book will go on sale in July, and I'm looking to order one as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Dabo Swinney gets contract extension

Clemson football Coach Dabo Swinney just got a bit more job security -- his contract has been extended to 2017. He'll still receive $1.965 annually, plus other pay incentives that could boost his salary.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sammy Watkins' arrest: The dashcam video

The Orange and White has obtained the 47-minute police dashcam video of the May 3 arrest of star receiver Sammy Watkins for possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.

I don't know if they're going to post the video, but the story contains a blow-by-blow description of what happened that night.

Clemson's home is the ACC, columnist says

Kerry Capps of the Orange and White lays out a persuasive argument for Clemson to remain in the ACC. Logistics, regional ties and tradition all figure into his calculations.

Check it out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clemson to the Big 12? Rumors heat up

Somebody on the Internet is writing that Clemson, along with Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami, has informally approached the Big 12 about joining the conference.

It must be true, then, right?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Clemson, other ACC teams may need to move

The new SEC-Big 12 bowl game has thrown a wrench into plans for a national championship in college football, of course. But it's also left the football future of the ACC's big players -- Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami -- in serious doubt.

With that in mind, The Orange and White's Kerry Capps says it's time for those schools to figure out their future.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brian Wofford, former Clemson receiver, dies in crash

Sad news: Former Clemson wide receiver Brian Wofford, who played at Clemson from 1996 to 1999, died in a motorcycle crash on Friday.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Times, TV set for four football games

Clemson now knows the kickoff time and TV schedule for four of its games this season. The Tigers kick off their home season on Sept. 8 against Ball State at 12:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised on the ACC Network. The Sept. 15 game against Furman kicks off at 3 p.m. and will air on the Regional Sports Network.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic game against Auburn on Sept. 1 kicks off at 7 p.m. and airs on ESPN, and the Tigers face off against Wake Forest on Oct. 25 (a Thursday night) on ESPN.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Sammy Watkins arrested on drug charges

Big news out of Tigertown today: Clemson's All-American receiver Sammy Watkins, who is widely considered a serious candidate for the 2012 Heisman Trophy, was arrested early Friday after Clemson University police said they found him in possession of marijuana and ADHD drugs.

Watkins is currently free on bail. There was no immediate word from the Clemson athletic department about what punishment may await Watkins.

Monday, April 30, 2012

NFL draft wrap-up: Four Tigers selected

Clemson didn't have a first-round pick, but four players will be suiting up in the NFL this fall: defensive end Andre Branch, tight end Dwayne Allen, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh. Congratulations, guys.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brian Dawkins to retire from the NFL

Former Clemson standout Brian Dawkins, who crafted a stellar 16-year NFL career at the demanding position of safety, is retiring from pro football.

Dawkins has hall-of-fame-worthy numbers. He made 1,131 tackles, forced 37 fumbles and picked off 37 passes during his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos.

Revealed: Clemson's post-sping depth chart

Here it is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Could Willy Korn be drafted by the NFL?

Orange and White has a great read about former Clemson quarterback Willy Korn, who has overcome a lot of obstacles during his up-and-down career and is hoping to be drafted by an NFL team.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Orange 23, White 20 in OT: End to a solid spring

Clemson's spring scrimmage on Saturday came down to a 45-yard Chandler Catanzaro field goal in overtime, which gave a 23-20 victory to the Orange squad before a crowd of 28,000 at Death Valley. Way to go, big Orange.

• Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney liked what he saw this spring from Brent Venables, and Venables liked the progress he saw on defense.

• Here's a list of spring practice award winners.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring game preview: Execution edition

Clemson's spring football scrimmage game is Saturday, and Coach Dabo Swinney is talking execution.

As in, he hopes the Tigers execute their plays well.

I hope nobody gets hurt, and I hope the fans who attend have fun.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Andre Ellington has ankle surgery

Some real news out of spring practice: Clemson running back Andre Ellington had minor ankle surgery on Thursday and will miss Saturday's spring game. He'll be fine for fall football, though.

• Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney reveals the format for Saturday's spring game at Death Valley.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Clemson-Georgia is ON for 2013-14

Great news: Clemson and Georgia will play each other in a home-and-home series in 2013 and 2014, despite scheduling challenges brought about by conference expansion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How about a 'spring game' against Georgia?

Here's an interesting idea: Instead of an intrasquad scrimmage for Clemson's spring football game, how about using it as a chance to mix it up with another top football program?

Here's Dabo Swinney's bold idea, as told to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

College football teams have the option of a spring game against themselves or another team. If you play another team, it must be both an out-of-conference team but also one within a reasonable driving distance. The coaches will agree upon the rules of the scrimmage in advance.

The NCAA would have to sign off on this plan, of course, but I think this would be very popular.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clemson whips out the 'Pistol'

Orange and White has another good spring practice report, this one focusing on a new wrinkle possibly coming to Clemson's offense -- the "Pistol":

For the uninitiated, the “Pistol” formation is a variation on the shotgun offense made famous by Nevada and coach Chris Ault. Where shotgun offenses put the quarterback five to six yards behind the line of scrimmage, the Pistol places him four yards behind the line, with a tailback placed directly behind him, as opposed to beside him, as in the shotgun.

Let's load that sucker up and squeeze off a few next fall.

Catching up with spring football

Here are a couple of items about Clemson's spring football practice that don't involve "I'm pleased with the effort" and "the kids are working hard" coachspeak platitudes.

Orange and White examines unanswered questions about Clemson's offense and defense.

• Who are Clemson's 20 most valuable players?

• And finally, here's another good column on how conference realignment is screwing the fans out of high-profile matchups.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More on how conference realignment is ruining your life

Orange and White has a follow-up piece to Wednesday's story about how the Clemson-Georgia series set for 2013-2014 could be going bye-bye forever.

Bottom line: With Syracuse and Pitt aiming to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013 instead of 2014, future Tigers-Bulldogs games either won't ever happen or will be very rare, because major programs like Clemson must play seven home games a year to generate sufficient revenue to stay in business.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ACC expansion endangers Clemson-UGA series

The Orange and White has a good story on what the addition of Pitt and Syracuse will do to Clemson's football schedule -- make playing teams like Georgia harder to do on a regular basis.

Spring practice update: What we've learned so far

Orange and White takes a look at how Clemson's offense and defense have progressed so far during spring practice.

• Coming this spring to Tigertown: The CJ Spiller Football and Life Skills Camp.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

'Football Scientist' sees bright future for Tigers

"Football Scientist" K.C. Joyner sees good things ahead for Clemson based on his in-depth statistical analysis, which, unfortunately, is behind a paywall.

But ESPN's Heather Dinich summarizes the good doctor's findings.

More spring practice: Changes up front, Venables sees progress

Clemson's spring practice continues, which means there are sports writers, much like mother robins, are  looking to stuff the chirping, gaping maw of the Internet with nice, wiggly stories:

• So far this spring, Clemson is trying some new combinations on the offensive line.

• New defensive coordinator Brent Venables sees "good progress." That beats bad progress any day of the week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Clemson's offensive coaches travel far, wide

The Clemson offensive coaching staff has been hitting the road hard during the offseason, according to this Orange and White story. They've visited Oklahoma State and Nevada in order to learn some new offensive wrinkles.

• Spring practice update: The youngsters are working hard!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Obligatory spring practice update No. 1

Spring football practice begins today at Clemson. I kind of hate it (fall practice, too), because nothing of note is ever reported unless somebody gets hurt or quits the team, so the daily updates are just a flood of upbeat coach-speak. Anyway, here goes:

Dabo Swinney is optimistic about spring practice.

Alternately, Dabo Swinney is ready for spring practice.

There is a bit of real news: Running back Mike Bellamy, who was suspended from the team prior to the ACC title game in December, will participate in spring practice.

Look for a lot more posts like this over the next month. I'll go ahead and apologize in advance.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Spring practice preview

Clemson's spring football practice begins on Wednesday, and there is really only one motivator:


That was the score of the Tigers' Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.

Let's hope everybody works hard and gets better, and practices the things they need to practice!

There will be 15 practice sessions leading up to the spring game, which is set for April 14 at 4 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Redshirts ready to step up

With Clemson's spring practice set to begin on March 7, Orange and White takes a look at 14 redshirt freshmen who could make big contributions this fall.

For example, tight end Eric MacLain could start immediately considering that All-American tight end Dwayne Allen is going pro.

Much more at the link, so do read the story.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clemson releases 2012 football schedule

It's official: Clemson has finalized its football schedule for 2012.

Here's how it looks:

Sept. 1 Auburn (in Atlanta)
Sept. 15 FURMAN
Sept. 22 at Florida State
Sept. 29 at Boston College
Oct. 13 Open Date
Oct. 25 at Wake Forest
Nov. 3 at Duke
Nov. 17 N.C. STATE

Auburn in the Georgia Dome to kick things off. Three home games to finish the season. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech at home with a week off between those tough games, but then only a five-day break before playing at Wake Forest on a Thursday night.

This sounds like a lot of fun.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sammy Watkins, punt returner? Bring it on

ESPN's Heather Dinich reports that All-American receiver Sammy Watkins wants to return punts next season. (He already returns kickoffs spectacularly.)

“I want to be more known as a great athlete not just at receiver, but as a kick returner and special teams, also," Watkins told Dinich.

Let's make that happen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Brent Venables brings diverse background to Tigertown

Orange and White's Kerry Capps has a nice profile of Clemson's new defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who has worked with some of the top coaches in the country and brings a different perspective to the Tigers' coaching staff:

For Venables, the trunk of his personal coaching tree is Hayden Fry, long-time head coach at Iowa, who has sent a string of former players and assistant coaches to high-profile head coaching jobs, including Bob and Mark Stoops, Bill Snyder, Barry Alvarez, Jim Leavitt and Bo Pelini, among others.


Six Tigers are taking part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis -- Dwayne Allen, Andre Branch, Antoine McClain, Rennie Moore, Coty Sensabaugh and Brandon Thompson. Good luck, guys.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clemson players under scrutiny for party-flier promo

Exhibit No. 3,546 of the hypocrisy and stupidity of the NCAA: Two Clemson football players could be in hot water for appearing on party fliers promoting a get-together at a nightclub. (It was a birthday party for one of the players.)

According to the short story by The Charleston Post and Courier's Travis Sawchik, "NCAA rules prohibit employing an athlete's name or likeness to promote a commercial interest."

It seems that a "commercial interest" is whatever the NCAA says it is, so clearly the multibillion-dollar sport of college football is most definitely not a "commercial interest." At all.

Clemson sets non-conference schedule

While we wait for the ACC to get its act together regarding the 2012 football schedule, Clemson has set its non-conference slate for the upcoming season.

As announced on Thursday, Clemson will open the season on Sept. 1 in Atlanta against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. The Tigers will host Ball State on Sept. 8 and Furman on Sept. 15.

This season's home ACC foes are Georgia Tech, Maryland, N.C. State and Virginia Tech. The league road opponents are Boston College, Duke, Florida State and Wake Forest. The season-ending showdown the South Carolina is set for Nov. 24.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's official: Clemson vs. Auburn on Sept. 1

Is it me, or is there a lot of football news getting pumped out in February? Or is this just how the Web news world works nowadays? (I'm pretty sure it's the latter.)

Well, here's the latest: The Clemson-Auburn season-opening game is now officially scheduled for Sept. 1 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. It's part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic’s first ACC-SEC doubleheader. (N.C. State and Tennessee play on Aug. 31.)

Beyond the intrigue of two top football powers in the South facing off to open the season, this game will perhaps put an end to the Chick-fil-A recruiting squabble.

ACC football schedule faces 'unusual' delay

Via Orange and White, the Atlantic Coast Conference put out a statement today that says the release of the 2012 schedule for ACC football will be delayed.

I'm guessing this is all related to conference expansion and realignment -- not just in the ACC, but across the country.

Sammy Watkins: He's just getting started

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris tells the Orange and White that All-American receiver Sammy Watkins, who gathered every conceivable honor as a freshman last season, could reach even higher ground this fall, but it won't be easy:

“What helped get him to where he was as a freshman, this offense can help catapult him even more,” Morris said. “He’s going to be even more of a high-profile guy. The challenge to him is how hard is he going to work to prepare himself going into the second year of this system."

Morris also says he wants to open up the talent-rich state of Texas to Clemson's recruiting efforts.

Dabo Swinney's making it rain in Tigertown

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney is sharing the financial love with his assistant coaches.

After earning big financial incentives (and a salary boost to $1.9 million in 2012) for leading the Tigers to their first ACC title in 20 years, he decided to kick in a hefty chunk of that bonus money -- $265,000 -- to the $450,000 of raises that the university doled out to the assistants.

I wish I worked for a company like that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Clemson coaches visit Nevada for ideas

The offensive braintrust at Clemson is paying a visit to the University of Nevada this week to gather some ideas on how to run the ball more effectively. Nevada Coach Chris Ault is noted for his "Pistol" offense:

Ault developed his offense as a variation of the power-I, which he used extensively during the early days of his coaching career. In the formation, the running back lines up in approximately the same position, relative to the line of scrimmage, as the running back in the I-formation. ... Last season, Nevada ranked sixth nationally in total offense with 507 yards per game – and near-perfect balance with 248 yards per game rushing (8th nationally) and 259 yards per game passing (32nd nationally).

Sounds good to me.

• Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is looking for ways to make his squad "tougher, meaner and more physical."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dabo Swinney on Brent Venables: 'A great pick'

It sounds like Clemson's new defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, is really making a positive impression on head coach Dabo Swinney.

“Brent’s just been great,” said Swinney. “He’s a tremendous fit in every regard – in football, in recruiting, personality, and chemistry..."

Good to know.

• Clemson has begun "all in" drills, which are demanding tests of agility and fitness. These could be important for a team that folded down the stretch in 2011.

• Clemson assistant coach Jeff Scott has been named on of the top 25 recruiters in college football by

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tigernet chats with Terry Don Phillips

Tigernet sat down with Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips recently, and they've posted the conversations as a four-part series. These are long, but well worth your time.

The first part deals with the Tigers' basketball program, which is not the focus of this blog, but the other parts are outstanding.

Part II: Conference realignment

Part III: Clemson's facilities

Part IV: The football program

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Remembering Randy Anderson

Brian Peahuff of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal has written a touching tribute to former Clemson backup quarterback Randy Anderson, who died last week.

Anderson, who played at Clemson from 1984-1987, was a childhood hero of Peahuff's, and the two eventually became great friends.

Give it a read.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clemson going to the Big 12? Huh?

 An insane rumor popped up on the Internet the other day: Clemson and Florida State could be poised to jump to the Big 12.

According to Kerry Capps at Orange and White, here's what's behind the rumor:

Enthusiasm among rank-and-file fans for the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC seems underwhelming – especially in light of ACC commissioner John Swofford’s announcement last week that the conference will move to a nine-game league schedule, with Syracuse joining the Atlantic Division and Pittsburgh the Coastal Division as every-season opponents.

Faced with the prospect of trading even the occasional home-and-home series against Georgia or Auburn for a yearly date with Syracuse and a bi-annual trek to the Canadian border, many football-focused Clemson fans are starting to feel even more-than-usual like the Tigers have become a fish out of water.

I understand the reasoning behind that. However, the rumor seems to have no basis in fact -- thank goodness.

• Speaking of college conference realignment and scheduling, it looks like the Clemson-South Carolina series will continue without need of legislative action.

• Clemson's trip to the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 cost $1.84 million, exceeding the Atlantic Coast Conference's allotment of $1.75 million, according to an analysis by The Charleston Post and Courier.

However, the ACC pulled in more than $40 million in bowl revenue, which is divided among the 12 member schools, so things aren't as bad as they seem.

The 70-33 loss to West Virginia, though, remains every bit as bad as it seems.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

New on Tigerpundit: Video from the ACC

In my never-ending drive to enhance your user experience here at Tigerpundit, I have added a video feed from the ACC Digital Network that brings you highlights and news tailored to Clemson sports fans. You can see it in the upper-right-hand corner of this page.

I hope you enjoy it.

 I'd like to thank Wayne Moore of Silver Chalice Ventures for reaching out to me about this opportunity, and Colin Smith of Raycom Sports for providing me with the codes to host the Clemson-specific video player.

Thanks, guys. It looks great, and best of luck with this venture.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New ACC football schedule could be problem for Tigers

The addition of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC means schools will now play nine league football games a year, which could present challenges for Clemson when it comes to scheduling.

Specifically, smaller in-state schools like The Citadel, Furman, Wofford or Coastal Carolina might not get to play a highly profitable early-season game at Death Valley as often as they used to.

Friday, February 03, 2012

ACC unveils new sports scheduling formats

With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, the league has been forced to rejigger its scheduling for major sports.

The basics for football: Syracuse joins the Atlantic Division and Pitt goes into the Coastal Division.  Teams will play nine conference games a year -- six against division foes and three from the other division, including one permanent opponent. (Clemson retains Georgia Tech as its permanent opponent from the other division.)

Read all about the plans here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Chick-fil-A factor and recruiting

Did Clemson lose a top recruit because the coaching staff doesn't know where the Chick-fil-A is located on campus? Looks that way.

About an hour ago, Chick-fil-A's official Twitter account posted the following:

signee McKinzy says lack of played a factor in picking Tigers over   /via 
The player, Cassanova McKinzy, told CBS 42 in Birmingham that he was swayed to Auburn over Clemson because "(It was) kind of the environment and plus they had no Chick-Fil-A on campus. You had to go like, probably like 15 minutes off campus to go to like a real restaurant. Their café was kind of small."

Well, it turns out that Clemson does indeed have a Chick-fil-A on campus. In fact, Chick-fil-A points out that Clemson has had a store since 1992, and it was one of the first colleges to get an on-campus branch of the fast-food restaurant.

Don't worry, though. This will all get sorted out on Sept. 1 when Clemson and Auburn meet in the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Talk about motivation.

Another top 10 recruiting class for Clemson

Clemson had another outstanding Signing Day, pulling in 20 top-notch recruits and earning its second straight top 10 class, according to recruiting experts. That's the first time that's happened since the latter days of Danny Ford.

Half of the signees are linemen, which addresses a critical need for the Tigers.

The standouts of the group include safety Travis Blanks, defensive end Carlos Watkins, quarterback Chad Kelly, tackle Isaiah Battle, center Jay Guillermo and guard D. J. Reader.

Click here for a complete look at all the signees.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Signing Day: How's Clemson doing so far?

Today's the day that prep superstars sign up to become college superstars. Orange and White is doing a live blog of Clemson's signing day events.

You can follow it here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tigers poised for another great recruiting class

National signing day is Wednesday, and things are once again looking very good for Clemson's football program.

The Tigers could end up with back-to-back top10 recruiting classes for the first time since 1988-1989.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Clemson football: 'There are no excuses left'

The Orange and White's Greg Wallace makes a strong case that Clemson is spending the money to be a serious football program, as demonstrated by the hiring of Brent Venables, and "it's all on Swinney & Co." to produce a winner.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brent Venables is in the house

It's now official: Brent Venables was introduced as Clemson's new defensive coordinator on Friday.

Venables, who was at Oklahoma for 13 years, should bring some new formations and a new sense of excitement to the Tigers' defensive squad, which struggled badly at times in 2011 and gave up 70 points in the Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia.

His hiring is the latest example of coach Dabo Swinney as Clemson's CFO -- chief football officer.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Brent Venables named Clemson's defensive coordinator

It's official (maybe): Brent Venables will join the Clemson staff as the new defensive coordinator.

Venables had spent 13 seasons at Oklahoma as defensive coordinator prior to joining the Tigers. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dabo pours his heart out at press conference

Here is a great read from Kerry Capps of the Orange and White -- a report from Dabo Swinney's Friday press conference. It's both a perfect summation of Clemson's 2011 season and a terrific snapshot of Clemson's fiery coach. The best line: "Football is an emotional game, and Swinney is an emotional man." Very true.

• Could Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Brent Venables be coming to Clemson? Stay tuned.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Swinney on Steele's departure: Feeling was mutual

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, speaking Friday at a press conference, said the departure of defensive coordinator Kevin Steele "was the best thing for me, him and our staff, as far as where we were at the time." Good to know.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kevin Steele ousted as Tigers' defensive coordinator

Kevin Steele, who was one of Dabo Swinney's first hires when he took over the Clemson football program in 2008, has lost his job, according to reports.

Clemson's horrific 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl may have been the deciding factor.

Defensive co-coordinator Charlie Harbison could be promoted to the job, and there also is talk that Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater might be a serious candidate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Andre Ellington to return for senior season

Good news: Running back Andre Ellington, who rushed for more than 1,100 yards this past year, will come back to play his senior season in orange.

Ellington had submitted paperwork to enter the NFL draft, but decided not to pursue it.

Tigers finish 22nd in final polls

We ended the season still ranked? I guess so -- No. 22 in both the USA TODAY and AP polls announced on Tuesday after Alabama defeated LSU for the national championship.

•According to Pete Yanity at WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C., defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has turned down an offer to coach the defense at Tennessee.

• Clemson's final grades for 2011? Mixed. Very mixed.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Dwayne Allen to enter NFL draft

I was afraid this might happen: Dwayne Allen, Clemson's All-American tight end, will forgo his senior year and give the NFL a shot.

 Good luck, Dwayne. You will be missed.

• Some good news: Clemson dominated the ACC's offensive statistics in 2011.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

W. Virginia 70, Clemson 33: Utterly horrifying

West Virginia's 70-33 demolition of Clemson might not be the worst defeat in the Tigers' history, but it's got to be the most demoralizing. The defense was horrible, the offense inept.

How did this happen? How does Dabo Swinney, the national coach of the year, not have his team ready for the school's biggest game in 30 years?

Lots of questions.

There are still plenty of reasons to be hopeful for Clemson's future.  So many outstanding freshman players (if they don't turn pro). Strong institutional support. Coaching staff continuity.

Hope. As Clemson fans, that's all we've got, right?

OK, on to the carnage.

• Game stories: Here, here and here.

• The turning point of the game?  That 99-yard fumble return when Clemson was about to retake the lead in the second quarter.

• Dabo says: "We'll be back."

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's Orange Bowl game day

Clemson and West Virginia square off in the Orange Bowl tonight at 8 p.m. (ESPN). Here's a look ahead to the big game.

• Game previews: Here, here and here.

• Historical perspectives, Part I: Clemson's last trip to Miami, in 1981, was memorable.

• Historical perspectives, Part II: Clemson's last matchup with West Virginia, a 27-7 victory in the 1989 Gator Bowl, marked the end of an era.

 • Historical perspectives, Part III: An update of Clemson's football timeline from 1896 to the present.

• An Orange Bowl win for the Tigers could be a boon for recruiting.