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.