Friday, October 31, 2003

Victory over Wake would make Clemson bowl-eligible

At least three stories today point out that the Tigers only have to win one more game, not two, to be eligible for a bowl game. It all has to do with the NCAA.

STUTTER-STEP OFFENSE: The State offers its look at Clemson's frustrating-to-watch yet effective offensive scheme.

PRAYING FOR A WIN: The Greenville News examines Wake Forest's up-and-down season. In that same vein, here's a story about the Deacons' talented quarterback Cory Randolph.

HOT FUDGE: The Anderson Independent-Mail profiles roverback Jamaal Fudge, who has been having an outstanding season so far.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's a quick preview of the rest of the ACC games this weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

McClinton cleared to return to team

Defensive tackle Todd McClinton, who hasn't played or practiced since suffering mysterious seizures in the preseason, has been cleared to return to the team after a visit to the Mayo Clinic. (More here.) I'm glad to hear that Todd is better.

A NIGHTMARE SCENARIO: That's what Wake Forest's misdirection offense presents to Clemson's defense.

TOO MUCH INTERFERENCE: The State examines the pass interference calls that have gone against -- and for -- the Tigers. And here's a nifty little chart.

LINE WORK: The Greenville News has a story on Clemson's young offensive linemen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

(UPDATED at 3:03 p.m.)

Time to Wake up and smell the Deacons

Clemson, and coach Tommy Bowden especially, must take Wake Forest seriously, according to this story. I don't know a single Tiger fan who isn't taking the Deacs seriously.

HUDDLE HARANGUE: Speaking of Bowden, he says he was "drunk" for not using the no-huddle offense in the first two games of the season. I think he was kidding.

HEMBY DISMISSED: Junior cornerback Ryan Hemby has been declared academically ineligible. (More here.)

PLAYER PROFILE TIME: The Greenville News has an excellent story on receiver Tony Elliott, who lost his mother at a young age but has recovered from the trauma to become an outstanding young man.

And The State has a fine profile of running back Duane Coleman, who had strong family support while growing up.

IMPROVEMENTS COMING: Athletic director Terry Don Phillips says he's going to spend some money to improve facilities in the interim before the big West Endzone project breaks ground. Nothing massive, just some much-needed touch-ups.

FUMBLE-FREE ZONE: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a longer story on Clemson's refreshing lack of turnovers. Well worth the time.

CU-WFU MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights of the 2001 Wake Forest-Clemson game. Check 'em out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Clemson's stutter-step offense seems to work

The Anderson Independent-Mail examines Clemson's frustrating-to-watch offense. It may not look pretty before the ball is snapped, but it's been fairly effective nonetheless. Check it out:

Since returning to the no-huddle offense Sept. 13 against Middle Tennessee, the Tigers have averaged 27.3 points and 431 total yards �– the most yardage in the Atlantic Coast Conference during that six-game stretch. Clemson average 14 points and 312 yards in the first two games while huddling and making fewer changes at the line.

And Wake Forest, Clemson's next opponent, runs a similar offense.

DON'T DISCOUNT THE DEACS: There are a couple of stories about Wake Forest, a team with a very tricky offensive scheme that Clemson shouldn't be downplaying.

HOLDING ON: Clemson has committed an ACC-low nine turnovers so far this year. Three of those came in the disastrous Georgia game to open the season.

WATCHING THE RECEIVERS: There are a couple of stories about Clemson's physical receivers getting more attention from the referees. Officials are looking for offensive pass interference.

Monday, October 27, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:24 p.m.)

Defense failed to wrap 'em up on Saturday

There are a couple of stories out today on the many missed tackles Clemson suffered through in Saturday's 36-28 victory over North Carolina. Hopefully, this is a problem that will be fixed very quickly.

WHITEHURST WORRIED: Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst says he's unhappy with the way he played Saturday.

CURRIE WARMING UP: Injured receiver Airese Currie, who had missed the two games prior to the UNC contest, played Saturday and appears to be gaining confidence.

CU-WFU NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for the Wake Forest game. Check them out.

CLEMSON-FLORIDA STATE GAME TIME SET: The Tigers and Seminoles will meet at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 8 in a game that will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.

NEW LINK: I've just discovered the Clemson page from College Football News. It has a cool little summary of Clemson's games so far this season.

STATS COOL: Clemson is again No. 1 in the country in kickoff returns, according to the latest NCAA rankings. I guess a 100-yard return will kind of boost your average.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Clemson 36, UNC 28: We really needed this one

Well, we really need them all, don't we? But if we'd have lost this one on the heels of the heartbreaking loss to N.C. State, I don't think we would have recovered. Some positives: a 100-yard rusher, a 100-yard kick return, 3-for-3 on field goals. The negatives: our rushing defense vanished.

Anyway, on to the coverage.

GAME STORIES: "Tigers swat pesky Tar Heels," says The State; "Tigers step on Heels," says the Greenville News; "Tigers get an ugly win," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "Heels slip up again," says the Raleigh News & Observer.

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

OTHER STORIES: The Anderson Independent-Mail's John Braiser says the Tigers were lucky to win. The Greenville News' Bart Wright says much the same, only with more sarcasm. The State looks at running back Duane Coleman's 100-yard day. (More here and here.) The State and the Anderson Independent-Mail both examine Derrick Hamilton's monster day. And the Greenville News looks at the stunned reaction of the Tar Heels to yet another close loss. (That's a shame.)

And finally, The State has its regular post-game features: grading the keys to victory, the quarter-by-quarter highlights, the injury report, and that high five thingee.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Florida State coach Bobby Bowden moved past Joe Paterno to become the winningest Division I coach of all time with a big victory against Wake Forest. The win also assures that the Seminoles will do no worse than tie for the ACC title. N.C. State held off Duke, and Virginia blanked Troy State.

NEW CLEMSON BLOG: Welcome The Clemson Blog. Check it out.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Tigers top Tar Heels in thriller, 36-28

Me so happy. Me want to cry. Read about it here. I'll post all the updates tomorrow.


It's time to stomp the Tar Heels

If there's any team I like for Clemson to beat, it's North Carolina. I grew up in N.C., and hate, HATE, the Heels.

The game kicks off at noon. It's televised by Jefferson Pilot. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Greenville News says Clemson's offense has a chance to score a lot of points against the hapless UNC defense. (Here's a game capsule.) The Anderson Independent-Mail takes the angle that today's game will be the last between the two schools for a couple of years thanks to ACC expansion.

The State has its usual package. There's the keys to victory, the matchups, and a look at how the Tigers will stop UNC quarterback Darian Durant. There's also a a Q&A with offensive tackle Gregory Walker.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The State takes a quick look at today's other ACC games.

TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC: Just read this. It's the funniest thing I've seen in months, and perfectly encapsulates my own feelings about Beanie Babies.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Faster defense, kill kill!!!!

The State takes a look at Clemson's improved defense, and finds faster players across the board.

NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: The Greenville News examines Clemson's frustrating-to-watch, step-up-step-away offense. I don't like it, but it seems to be having some success.

WITHER THE HEELS: The Greenville News has a story about the sorry state of the Tar Heel football team.

FRY GETS NOD: Redshirt freshman center Dustin Fry will start Saturday's game against UNC. (More here.)

ACC TITLE GAME SITE: Cities are lining up to host the ACC title game. I'd vote for Charlotte, because that's where I'm from.

DIVERSITY WATCH: Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips says he'll use "common sense" when it comes to hiring minority coaches.

CRAZY ACC: Well, Georgia Tech beat Maryland last night, leaving a big jumble in the middle of the league standings. Six teams are currently saddled with two losses.

Parity is running amok. Check out the last item in this notebook from the Greenville News:

The ACC may be the definition of parity right now. In Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings on Thursday, five ACC teams were ranked between No. 26 (Maryland) and No. 34 (Clemson). Wake Forest wasn't too far behind at No. 42. Only Florida State (No. 3), North Carolina (No. 82) and Duke (No. 111) were breaking the mold. ...

That's kooky talk.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

More on Clemson's offensive line

The Anderson Independent-Mail looks at Clemson's evolving, improving offensive line. This really looks like a position that will shine in the future.

STILL IN THE HUNT: Here's an AP story on Clemson's chances for a successful season.

INJURY REPORT: Four starters could sit out Saturday's game against North Carolina. Receiver Airese Currie is almost certain to miss his third straight game.

RAIDING THE PALMETTO STATE: The State looks at UNC's recruiting efforts in North Carolina. Contrast that with yesterday's story on the declining number of players from the Tar Heel state on Clemson's roster.

THE NOTEBOOK: This one is from the Greenville News.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Maryland plays Georgia Tech tonight on ESPN. A Maryland win solidifies the Terps' hold on second place in the ACC. A Georgia Tech win creates a logjam in the middle of the league standings with six teams each saddled with two losses.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

(UPDATED at 4:01 p.m.)

Young offensive line is making strides

The State examines the state of Clemson's young O-line. These guys are gaining some valuable experience, and could be a real force next season.

HILL ON TOP: Clemson linebacker Leroy Hill, the ACC's leading tackler, thanks defensive lineman Donnell Washington for clearing the lanes for him. And late Wednesday afternoon, Tigernet reported that Hill leads the nation in tackles for loss. Way to go, Leroy!

WHERE'S MILLER? Defensive coordinator John Lovett defends defensive back Justin Miller, who has yet to make an interception this year after leading the league in picks last season with eight.

NOT GOING NORTH: With the North Carolina game looming, the Anderson Independent-Mail has an interesting story on Clemson losing its recruiting pipeline into the Tar Heel state, which has produced many great players in the past. The Tigers used to have as many as 20 players on the roster from North Carolina; this year, there's only three.

PORN PROBE!!!!!! There are a couple of stories out there about Clemson players having dirty pictures stored on their university Web sites. Yawn.

BRING BACK DANNY? The Charlotte Observer has a nice column from the excellent Tom Sorensen on what former Clemson coach Danny Ford is up to these days. (Someone copy-and-pasted it onto the Tigernet message board.) Check it out.

CU-UNC MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights from the 1981 Clemson-North Carolina game. Check 'em out

HMMM: Interesting notebook leading with comments from athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

STATS WATCH: Here are Clemson's updated rankings in various NCAA categories. We're down to third in kickoff returns.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The State has a goofy column by Ron Morris that links songs by Bruce Springsteen to the performance of the teams in the ACC. You've been warned.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Clemson maintains its ACC title hopes

Sure, it's a bit of a stretch, but the Tigers are optimistic that they can win the league title this year. Of course, it'll take some help from other teams and a lot of luck, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. (Another notebook is here.)

NO PEEKING: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says he doesn't want his team looking past North Carolina to the Nov. 1 game against Florida State. And Bart Wright says Bowden doesn't care.

IT STILL HURTS: Clemson's players and coaches say last Thursday's tough 17-15 loss to N.C. State is still bothering them.

RUNNING UP THAT HILL: Clemson's Tye Hill wonders whether moving from running back to defensive back was such a good idea.

DIRTY PICTURES: Clemson players Ben Hall and Yusef Kelly say they don't know how pornographic pictures ended up on their personal Clemson University Web pages. Yeah. I know I never looked at dirty pictures between the ages of 18-21. Ever.

CLEMSON-WAKE GAME TIME SET: They'll play the Nov. 1 contest at 3:30 p.m. As of right now, there is no television.

Monday, October 20, 2003

(UPDATED at 2:25 p.m.)

Slow news day for Clemson football

Again, not much stuff out there. I'll link to what I can.

RECRUITING WATCH: I don't usually delve into the minutiae of recruiting, but when that's all you've got from one of your main sources, you go with it. Here's The State on Clemson's recruiting efforts.

CU-UNC NOTES: The SID's office has posted the voluminous pregame notes for this week's game against North Carolina. Give them a look.

FLASHBACK: The Greenville News looks back at the 1981 Clemson-North Carolina game. At the time, it was the biggest game in ACC history.

NEW LINK: Here's a Clemson-related site I was unaware of until now. It's the Tiger Den, and it's more of a first-person type blog. Check it out.

FRANKS FIRED: Here's one I missed the other day. Duke fired football coach Carl Franks following the Blue Devils' 42-13 loss to Wake Forest. His overall record was just 7-45, and he lost 29 ACC games in a row.

SITE NOTES: The Charlotte Observer and the Charleston Post and Courier are now forcing readers to go through an intrusive registration process to read stories, so I will no longer be linking to those papers. (It's the same reason I don't link to stories from the Spartanburg Herald Journal.)

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Looking for wisdom in a loss

Not much Clemson news out there today. The one story of note is another postmortem of the N.C. State game, this time from the Anderson Independent-Mail.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Florida State held off a tough Virginia team to maintain its hold on the top spot in the conference. Wake Forest ripped Duke.

Next week's opponent, the hated Tar Heels, hung tough with Arizona State before losing.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

N.C. State postmortem: Finding a positive attitude

A quartet of stories following up on Clemson's tough 17-15 loss to N.C. State all echo a similar theme: Despite the setback, the Tigers aren't giving up.

Read here, here, here and here.

Meanwhile, the Greenville News' Bart Wright continues pouring the heat on coach Tommy Bowden.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's a quick preview of today's other ACC games.

Friday, October 17, 2003

NCSU 17, CU 15: Another night of disappointment

Can we get off the night-time national TV games? Because we just can't seem to win them. Thursday was another example, as penalties and mistakes led to a 17-15 loss to N.C. State. I had to take some ribbing from Jacqui, my fiancee (her dad is a State grad), but that's OK.

I'm disappointed, but not crushed. Folks, we can still win out and finish 9-3. Or, just lose once more and be 8-4. Keep hope alive, or something like that.

GAME STORIES: "No big play this day," says The State; "Pack put bite on Tigers, take 17-15 victory," says the Greenville News; "Tigers fall short," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "Pack passes 'gut check,' " says the Raleigh News and Observer.

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

OTHER STORIES: The Greenville News examines Clemson's futility on third down. The State does the same thing. The State also grades the keys to victory, has the quarter-by-quarter highlights, and continues the goofy "high five" trivia feature. Notebooks are here and here.

JUSTICE DIES: Legendary North Carolina running back Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice died early Friday. My dad, who saw him play a couple of times, always said he was one of the most exciting players he ever saw. Justice was a native of Asheville, where I lived for seven years before moving to Northern Virginia. (Click here; I'm sure there will be a lot more coverage later in the day.) I'm sad to hear of his passing. He seemed like a true gentleman.

ACC MIDSEASON REPORT: ESPN examines the state of ACC football halfway through the year. Check it out.

BRING IT: The folks at the Georgia Tech Sports blog are talking a lot of smack about the Tigers. (They just can't get over the whipping we gave them.) Check it out, and leave a comment. I did.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Let's see a whole lot of this tonight!!!

It's another big ACC game for the Tigers tonight as they face N.C. State in Raleigh. The game begins at 7:45 p.m. It's on ESPN (though it's going to get absolutely buried by the Red Sox-Yankees game). Go Tigers!!!!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Anderson Independent-Mail says the Tigers have a good chance at an upset (I'd say an excellent chance, and, considering N.C. State's record, it wouldn't be much of an upset). The Greenville News says Clemson's plan tonight is to attack the 'Pack. (There's also a game capsule.) The State has its usual short-and-sweet package: the keys to victory, who has the advantage and where, and a look at how Clemson might try to stop Wolfpack quarterback Phillip Rivers. The Raleigh News and Observer examines the impact that the return of running back T.A. McLendon will have on the game. The Durham Herald-Sun says a Pack win tonight could help salvage their season.

OTHER STORIES: The State has a Q&A with defensive back Justin Miller. The Greenville News profiles backup receiver Curtis Baham, who is getting more playing time since Airese Currie went down with an injury. The Anderson Independent-Mail looks at N.C. State's disappointing season so far.

GRADING THE TIGERS: The Anderson Independent-Mail hands out its midterm report card. Check it out.

SITE NEWS: Sometime today, Tigerpundit will reach 10,000 visits. Thank you all so very much!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

(UPDATED at 7:07 p.m.)

Many Rivers to cross in N.C. State game

Clemson's defense must figure out a way to shut down Heisman candidate quarterback Phillip Rivers of N.C. State Thursday night. Well, we faced a Heisman candidate last week in Matt Schaub and managed to come away with a win. Rivers is a good bit better, but I think we can do it, though this game may be a high-scoring one decided by who has possession of the ball last.

MEMORIES LINGER: Clemson's humiliating loss to N.C. State last season is serving as motivation this year, according to this AP story.

CU/NCSU MEMORIES: For a look at memories that are more pleasant, check out the video highlights of the 2001 Clemson-N.C. State game, a 45-37 victory in Raleigh in 2001. My dad and I were there, and it was truly one I'll never forget.

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL: Clemson's special-teams play, a real sore point last season, has improved in some areas, such as kick coverage. But outside of Jad Dean's kickoffs, we still seem to be struggling in the kicking game.

VAUGHN MAY RETURN: Defensive end Khaleed Vaughn, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee last week, could return to the lineup for Thursday's game. That would be a big boost after losing defensive end J.J. Howard for the season to a knee injury.

QUARTERBACK OF THE FUTURE: That's what the Durham Herald-Sun calls Clemson signal-caller Charlie Whitehurst. I think they just may be right.

CLEMSON/USC SIMILARITIES: Columnist Ron Morris of The State says the Tigers and Gamecocks are having similar seasons, and not just because they have identical 4-2 records.

UNIFORMLY INTERESTING: Tigernet has a story on how coach Tommy Bowden has become involved in Clemson's interesting and ever-shifting uniform combinations. Check it out. And Kevin Donahue of the excellent Fanblogs has done a nice breakdown on Clemson's performance under Bowden in various uniform combinations. Give it a look.

ACC EXPANSION: The State is reporting that Boston College will likely end up in Clemson's division. And the Anderson Independent-Mail says the addition of BC won't affect Clemson's scheduling for next season.

Here's what the divisions should look like:

Division A: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Wake Forest
Division B: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech

The next question is: What are they going to call the divisions? Red and Blue? Norris and Smythe? Abbott and Costello? Seriously. You can't call them North/South or East/West; the teams are all over the map.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Attitude adjustment helps Tigers excel

Clemson players have found their swagger at just the right time, according to this story and this one. Apparently, a motivational speech by former Tiger great Michael Dean Perry helped get the team fired up.

MIDSEASON REPORT: The State hands out a report card on Clemson's status so far this season, including a hard-to-read report card.

A SHORT WEEK: The Anderson Independent-Mail has a basic game preview for Thursday's contest against N.C. State in Raleigh. Speaking of N.C. State, it seems that Chuck "The Chest" Amato is worried about our passing game. I think he ought to be more worried about his pass defense and his team's injuries. (Another notebook is here.)

THEY'RE STEALING OUR SIGNS: Clemson's coaches will change their sideline play-signaling system in the wake of the Virginia game. The Cavs were stealing our signs.

I hate that step-up-to-the-line, step-away-from-the-line razzmatazz that this system forces on quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Hopefully next year, they'll let him call his own plays.

STATS COOL: Clemson's updated statistical rankings are posted. We've slipped to second in the NCAA in kickoff returns.

Monday, October 13, 2003

(UPDATED at 3:20 p.m.)

Boston College accepts ACC's invitation

Well, it's official. Boston College will be the ACC's 12th team. (More here.)

I'm ambivalent about this. Yes, BC has a solid sports program. Yes, Boston is one of the nation's big TV markets. But I still think it's too far from the other teams in the league. (I know; so is Miami. But at least Miami has a natural geographic rivalry with Florida State. Who in the league is a natural geographic rival with Boston College?)

I would have rather had West Virginia join. But that's me.

TIGERS WARY OF TV: Nationally televised games have not been kind to the Tigers. They hope that changes Thursday night against N.C. State. Other notes; defensive end J.J. Howard will be lost for the season with a knee injury. (More on Howard here.)

CU-NCSU NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for Thursday's Textile Bowl showdown between Clemson and N.C. State. Check 'em out.

That Textile Bowl trophy is without a doubt the biggest prize in all of sports -- literally. I remember when they would wheel that thing out at halftime, and it made the Stanley Cup look like an ice cream dish.

GRADING THE TIGERS: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says his team has been playing like a B or C student. Sounds about right.

SHORT TIME TO SAVOR WIN: Clemson fans and players were jacked up after Saturday's thrilling 30-27 overtime victory against Virginia. They'll have to get ready for Thursday's game pretty quickly.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Fantastic finish to a fantastic day

The rain held off, the fried chicken was amazing, traffic wasn't too bad, we found a good parking spot and Clemson won a vital game in a thrilling manner, defeating 25th-ranked Virginia 30-27 in overtime. I won't be blogging a whole lot tonight, and I'll be on the road all day tomorrow, but here goes the game story from the Greenville News, plus the down-and-dirty version from the AP. Whoops! Here's the updated AP version with quotes.

What can I say? We finally got our running game back with the return of big Yusef Kelly, the defense absolutely smothered Virginia's ACC-best rushing attack, and the Tigers found a way to come up off the mat when the Cavs shut them out 17-0 in the third period to take a 17-10 lead into the final quarter. That's something that's been missing for quite a while, as evidenced by an 0-for-8 streak against ranked teams that was broken today. This was also a much-needed win for this team, and for beleaguered coach Tommy Bowden. The Tigers now face N.C. State on Thursday night in what is once again shaping up to be a huge contest.

OTHER COVERAGE: The Greenville News has a Bart Wright column on the return of Yusef Kelly and the return of good news for the Clemson football program (more on Kelly here), plus a notebook. We were sitting near The Hill when the team took the field, and I didn't even realize a player broke his leg trotting down the slope into the stadium. And I hadn't even been drinking!

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

ACC EXPANSION: Sounds like Boston College could get the invitation on Sunday. I'll post more on all this stuff when I get back home and back on a regular schedule on Monday.

Friday, October 10, 2003

A quick preview post

My father and I will be leaving Charlotte EARLY in the morning to make the drive to Clemson for the game, so I'm posting what I can on Friday night. Kickoff is at noon Saturday. The game is on JP Sports. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: .The Greenville News; the AP.

WILL WHITEHURST PLAY? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll find out tomorrow.

That's all I got right now, folks. If I can, I'll post updates when we get back to Charlotte tomorrow night.
Clemson weighs its offensive options

With quarterback Charlie Whitehurst only 50-50 for Saturday's crucial ACC game against 25th-ranked Virginia, the Tigers may have to come up with some options to get the win.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Clemson's youngest assistant coaches, Dabo Swinney and David Blackwell, have been making a great impression in their first season with the program.

BAD LUCK STREAK IN FOOTBALL SCHOOL: Clemson hopes to end a string of eight consecutive losses to ranked teams when it meets 25th-ranked Virginia on Saturday.

UGLY THREADS: Clemson's uniforms have been rated among the ugliest in the NCAA by Clarissa Cruz, fashion editor of Entertainment Weekly.

MILLER TIME: Clemson must figure out a way to defend against Virginia tight end Heath Miller. He's the best in the league.

Speaking of tight ends, what happened to Ben Hall? I can't understand why such a talented athlete is not getting the ball more in our pass-happy offense.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Kelly readies for his Death Valley return

And Clemson fans are more than ready for an improved running game. The return of running back Yusef Kelly to the lineup for Saturday's game against No. 25 Virginia will be most welcome in light of Clemson's....

WALKING WOUNDED: Receiver Airese Currie, defensive end Khaleed Vaughn and linebacker Eric Sampson are unlikely to play Saturday. Whether quarterback Charlie Whitehurst plays could be a game-day decision. (More here.)

LINEBACKER U? The State examines Virginia's talented linebacking corps, who are the heart of coach Al Groh's NFL-style defense.

DEFENSIVE ADJUSTMENTS: The Anderson Independent-Mail takes a look at Clemson's up-and-down defense. The D is doing a lot of good things, but it's also getting burned too often by big plays.

ACC EXPANSION: Fanblogs is reporting that Boston College could get an invitation to join the ACC within the next few days.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:07 p.m.)

An injured Whitehurst: Nightmare in the making?

Ron Morris, a sports columnist for The State, suggests that the possible loss of quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to injury could be as devastating as losing Matt Schaub was for Virginia. (As we remember, the Cavs were whipped by the Gamecocks 31-7 in the first game after Schaub's season-opening injury.) Whitehurst returned to practice on Tuesday, but he did not run. He says his chances of starting Saturday are "50 percent."

WHERE'S KELLY? The State also looks at the differing opinions about why running back Yusef Kelly, Clemson's best rusher last year, hasn't played much this season. Kelly is slated for his first start of the season against Virginia.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Here's the AP version of what went down at coach Tommy Bowden's weekly press conference.

SAMPSON WORKS HARD: Linebacker Eric Sampson, who was kicked off the team last year but was reinstated at the start of fall practice, is working hard to stay on the field.

CU-VA MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights of Clemson's 33-14 victory over the Cavaliers in 1999. Check 'em out.

EXPANSION AFFECTS SCHEDULE: Thanks to ACC expansion, Clemson won't play Auburn in 2006 and 2007, according to this story.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Tigers express frustration in season's progress

I'm glad to see that the players feel they should have a better record this season. Hopefully, they'll use that to motivate them to play well for the rest of the year. And they should be jacked up sky-high for 25th-ranked Virginia.

WHERE'S THE RUNNING GAME? The Anderson Independent-Mail points out that Clemson's struggles in the running game could be historic. The Tigers are on pace for the worst rushing season in school history.

INJURY UPDATE: Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, receiver Airese Currie, linebacker Eric Sampson and defensive end Khaleed Vaughn -- all starters -- missed practice Monday. Get well real, real soon, guys.

OFFICIATING COMPLAINTS: For like the umpteenth time in his Clemson career, coach Tommy Bowden has filed a complaint with the ACC office about the officiating in the Tigers' most recent game.

FLASHBACK: The Greenville News looks back at Clemson's greatest comeback, a 29-28 victory over Virginia. The Tigers were trailing 28-0 at one point.

Monday, October 06, 2003

(UPDATED at 1:35 p.m.)

Tigers are banged up heading into Virginia game

Clemson suffered several notable injuries in Saturday's tough 21-7 loss to Maryland. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and receiver Airese Currie are currently listed as questionable, though I seriously doubt they'll miss what is shaping up to be a pivotal game against Virginia on Saturday. For more on the injuries, go here and here.

RUNNING OUT OF GAS: Here's a column by the Greenville News' Bart Wright that I missed the other day. It's about Clemson's continuing anemic performance in the running game.

CU-VA NOTES: The SID's office has released the voluminous pregame notes for the Virginia game. Check them out.

STATS WATCH: Clemson's NCAA statistical rankings have been updated, and we are now the No. 1 team in the country in kick returns. Yay. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst slipped a little in the passing-efficiency rankings. Receiver Derrick Hamilton leads the ACC in all-purpose running.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Disappointed, but we'll be OK

Maryland's strong defense and a couple of questionable calls ruled the day in the Terps' 21-7 victory over Clemson in College Park. I'm not happy about the loss, but there are still plenty of reasons for optimism.

1) We can beat Virginia next week for our homecoming in front of a sell-out crowd.
2) N.C. State lost to Georgia Tech, a team we thrashed, and the Wolfpack's defense looks mighty vulnerable.

Folks, we win the next two, and maybe only lose once more the rest of the season (to Florida State), and we could be in a decent bowl game. Anyway, on with the blogging.

GAME STORIES: "Momentum stealer," says The State; "Clemson winning streak snapped by Maryland, 21-7," says the Greenville News; "Tigers flattened by Terps," says the Anderson Independent-Mail; "Terps drag down Tigers," says the Charleston Post and Courier; "Terrapins' defense needs little help," says the Washington Post; "UM cooks at home, feasts on Clemson," says the Baltimore Sun.

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

GAME ANALYSIS: The Charleston Post and Courier's Gene Sapakoff calls the game "a big missed opportunity" for the Tigers. I couldn't agree more. Short-yardage situations and the running game were once again problem areas for the Tigers. Maryland's fine defense also was able to make the right adjustments. And check out the grades for The State's keys to victory, plus the quarter-by-quarter highlights.

Offensively, the Terps decided to pick on all-star defensive back Justin Miller, and it worked.

NOTEBOOKS: The Greenville News; The Charleston Post and Courier.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Georgia Tech surprised N.C. State, which gives me hope for Clemson's visit to Raleigh on Oct. 16. Virginia, next week's opponent, thumped winless North Carolina. We are going to have to play pretty darn well to beat the Cavs next week. A large, enthusiastic crowd -- of which my father and I will be part -- could help.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Tigers will learn a lot about themselves today

OK, the preliminaries are over. Today's Maryland game is the real deal, and I'll be there to see it. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. It will be televised by ABC. Go Tigers!

GAME PREVIEWS: The Anderson Independent-Mail looks at the importance of the game and also offers a prediction. The State has its keys to victory and also examines which team has "the edge." The Washington Post has a game capsule, and a story about Maryland not forcing as many turnovers as it would like.

OTHER STORIES: The Greenville News offers a feature story on Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. The State has a Q&A with center Tommy Sharpe, who often has trouble keeping his lunch down.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's another quick preview of today's other ACC games.

Friday, October 03, 2003

'The Fridge' owns far

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has enjoyed tremendous success against Clemson throughout his career. Let's hope that streak ends Saturday.

COLEMAN TO START: Duane Coleman continues to impress at running back, and he'll get the starting nod Saturday. Stories are here, here and here.

MILLER TIME IS COMING: Clemson's all-star defensive back Justin Miller, who has been solid but not spectacular so far this year, says he's due for a breakout game. Hopefully it'll be Saturday.

O-LINE IMPROVING: The Charleston Post and Courier examines Clemson's line play, which has gotten better with each game.

EXPLAINING CLEMSON: The Washington Post, my local paper, explains to the city folk why Clemson football is such a big deal, and why coach Tommy Bowden has been feeling the heat for the past couple of seasons. All in all, it's not a bad story.

And here's a story from ESPN on Bowden's shaky job prospects.

ACC EXPANSION: The Charlotte Observer looks at the winners and losers in the new league scheduling. Check it out. And Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says a 12th team will be added to the league sooner rather than later.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Here's a quick preview of the weekend's other ACC games. It's a slow week; there are only three contests.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

(UPDATED at 3:30 p.m.)

Clemson: Back to the Orange Bowl in 2004?

Well, yes... to play Miami in a regular-season ACC game. There is plenty of news out today on the new ACC schedules for the expanded conference. The State has stories here and here. The Greenville News has coverage here and here. And here's the Anderson Independent-Mail's take.

For much more on future scheduling questions, go here. And here is an audio of an interview with athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

I have to say I'm sad we're not going to play the Tar Heels for a couple of years. They're the team I love to hate the most -- even more than the Gamecocks.

ROAD WARRIOR: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden says his success in road games doesn't surprise him.

PREPPING FOR MARYLAND: This story from The State examines how the Terps have bounced back from an 0-2 start. Meanwhile, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen marvels at the play of safety Madieu Williams. And this story looks at how Clemson might handle Maryland's blitzing defense.

QUITE A CATCH: The Greenville News looks at the great performance so far this year by the receiving corps.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

(UPDATED at 3:35 p.m.)

Fates of Clemson, Bowden hinge on next three games

OK. The preliminaries are over. We all know that the stretch of games beginning Saturday at Maryland will go a long way toward determining whether Clemson coach Tommy Bowden has a job next year or not. Don't get me wrong; I'm pleased we're 3-1. But I'd say, at the minimum, we've got to win at least one of these next three contests, and then only lose once more the rest of the season, for Bowden to have anything like a viable career left. Judging by the performances of our three upcoming opponents so far this year, I think we've got an outside shot at winning all three. But then again, I'm a fan.

Oh, and speaking of Bowden, here's a column by The Greenville News' Bart Wright that says Clemson's coach is a master at using a lot of words to say next to nothing.

HANGIN' WITH THE TERPS: Clemson's players say they believe they'll be competitive against Maryland, and hopefully end a two-game slide against the Terps. Meanwhile, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen praised Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, but also called him David. Additionally, Friedgen says it's time for his team to "turn up the juice."

Finally, Clemson's receiving corps believes it can do well against Maryland's veteran defensive backs.

"THEY'RE THE WORST": That's linebacker Eric Sampson's description of Maryland fans, who pelted the Tigers with fruit the last time Clemson visited College Park in 2001. That bad memory is serving as motivation.

WHERE'S MILLER? Clemson defensive back Justin Miller, a preseason all-American pick by a lot of publications, seems to be having a quiet year so far. The Anderson Independent-Mail explores why.

THE SCOUTS: The Greenville News sings the praises of the scout team, a squad of scrubs who pretend to be the other team in practice the week before the big game.

CU-MD MEMORIES: The official Clemson site has posted video highlights from the 1983 Clemson-Maryland game in Death Valley. That's another one my father and I attended, and it's perhaps most memorable for the massive, record-setting balloon release before the game. Also, we kicked the 11th-ranked Terps' asses, 52-27. Check it out.

ACC EXPANSION SCHEDULE SET: ACC officials have come up with a schedule for an 11-team league, according to this story. The key excerpt:

The schedule, approved in meetings that included athletic directors, senior women's administrators and faculty representatives, maintains eight conference games with each team missing two schools every year. In the first two years, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Virginia and North Carolina will play all three marquee programs.

Miami will play both Virginia Tech and Florida State, while the Hokies and Seminoles will not meet. The other four teams will play two of the powerhouses.

Meanwhile, Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips says rumors that Boston College is poised to become the league's 12th team are just that -- rumors. We'll see, won't we?