With the first practice just two weeks away, it is time to start looking at some things to watch during August. The Tigers hope to make it back to the ACC Championship and finish what they started last season. In order to make it to Charlotte it all starts with a successful camp in August.
1. How much has Tajh Progressed
Regardless of Kyle’s decision, one of the most important things to watch in August will be the progress of Tajh Boyd. Obviously if Kyle leaves for the Rockies Boyd’s progress becomes much more important.
There is no question that Tajh has the physical tools to be an outstanding quarterback at Clemson. Dabo said following spring practice that he hoped Tajh not only spent the summer sharpening his skills on the field, but more importantly improved his knowledge of the offense and the game.
The schedule sets up nicely for Tajh. He will have two easy games to get his first playing time as a Tiger before hitting the road for a very hostile environment, but a non-conference game. Then the Tigers will have a bye week where the staff can work to correct anything necessary before the ACC run begins. Tajh should be much more comfortable with the offense by the time the Tigers host Miami for their first ACC game.
2. Search for Playmakers at Receiver
The search for playmakers at receiver continues. With the departure of Jacoby Ford, the only consistent receiver in 2009, the staff hoped to see a few receivers seize the opportunity during the spring and show that they are the next playmakers at receiver.
Several receivers including Xavier Dye, Brandon Ford and Marquan Jones took steps forward in the spring, but nobody clearly separated themselves with consistent performances.
Joe Craig and DeAndre Hopkins join the battle in August. Don’t be surprised to see Hopkins push for major playing time.
3. Continue Youth Movement at Linebacker
The biggest question marks on defense entering August are certainly at linebacker. The staff was very pleased with what they saw from the young linebackers this spring. The Tigers are loaded on the defensive line and in the secondary for 2010. The improvement at linebacker will determine how good this defense can be.
Corico Hawkins, Tig Willard and Quandon Christian all had outstanding springs for the Tigers. Christian was dominant from the outside in several of the scrimmages. If these three can continue to progress the Tigers could have their best defense since the early 90’s.
Brandon Maye moved to WILL during the spring and will provide leadership for the backers. It will also be important this fall to see Brandon take his game to the next level.
Scotty Cooper came to Clemson as a 4-star prospect, but has yet to show on the field what many expected from him. Injuries have limited his performance the past two years. If Cooper can stay healthy and play to his potential it will be a major boost for the backers.
No list of things to watch for August would be complete without mentioning injuries. They happen every year, some years they have a big impact on the upcoming season. In order for the Tigers to make it back to the ACC Championship it will be critical for the team to remain healthy.