By Lee Lance.
After last weeks lackluster performance, one thing would be really great for the Clemson Tiger football team and its coaches, another “preseason” game. Lucky for them, they get just that in Saturday’s opponent the Presbyterian Blue Hose.
The Blue Hose are coming into this weekends match up with the Tigers sitting at 0-1 after getting blasted by another ACC foe, Wake Forest. The Blue Hose allowed the Deacons to gain 415 yards on the ground, and gave up 53 points.
Presbyterian won’t have it any easier this weekend, coming in to Memorial Stadium to face a much bigger, much more talented, and much deeper Tiger team. Perhaps the worst part of this weekends game for the Blue Hose is the fact that they are the next team, the next team to play Clemson after last weeks performance. You better believe the Tigers will be ready to put it all on the field, and they will now be looking to prove some things to themselves, the coaches, and the fans.
The Tigers hold the overall record in games versus the Blue Hose, 32-3-4. The two teams last met in 1957, a game which Clemson won 66-0. The two teams played in the season opener for 28 consecutive seasons between 1930-1957.
Tiger Offense vs. Blue Hose Defense
Clemson found out last week what the backfield could look like this year, and it looked bright. With Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington in the backfield, and with a much improved offensive line, the Tigers could amass some record numbers on the ground this weekend. All of the Tiger’s offense won’t come on the ground though, as the coaches are still looking to see who will step up and stand out among the receiving corp. Look for Kyle Parker to do plenty of airing it out early in this game for that reason only.
Blue Hose Offense vs Tiger Defense
Last weeks dismal performance from the Tiger defense sure didn’t do Presbyterian any favors. If folks thought the defense would be tough on the Blue Hose a week ago, it could be much worse now. Notice I said could. Nothing could make me give the edge in this category to the Blue Hose. I am simply saying that IF the Tigers got any of the issues fixed this week, then look for them to try to make a statement that shows just that. Things could get nasty here. After giving up almost 500 yards last Saturday, Tiger defenders will now come in with a chip on their shoulder, especially at linebacker, and we may see some real fire come out.
After finding answers to several questions in the special teams category last week, I think the Tigers are in good shape there for now. Cantanzaro may get a chance to kick a few field goals in the second half of this one when the second team offense takes over. Gilchrist should get plenty of punt return yardage, but may not have may opportunities to return any kick offs.
One part of the special teams that Clemson coaches hope they don’t have to see much of is punter Dawson Zimmerman. But if they were to see him much, rest assured he will be booming punts deep, much like last week.
Everyone knows what kind of monumental shock it would be if Clemson lost to Presbyterian, everyone. While that isn’t very likely to happen, what we do need to pay attention to are the things that haunted the Tigers last week and if there has been any progress towards correcting them. It doesn’t take a division one opponent to tell if you have learned how to tackle, after all, but it really won’t have much impact on the game’s outcome either way.
The Tigers use this much needed tune up to try and correct some things before Auburn, and the players should have lots of fun doing so, especially the non-starters.
PREDICTION: Tigers 55, Blue Hose 6