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.