What did TCI see from the sidelines as the Tigers fell to North Carolina Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium?
When Did Clemson Become a Passing Team?
Did Clemson really need to throw the ball 38 times Saturday against the Heels. The strength of the Tigers offense is the running game and the weakness is the passing game. The North Carolina staff had to love the game plan of the Tigers as they came into Kenan Stadium and tried to for some reason prove that they could beat the Heels throwing the ball.
Kyle Parker played well hitting 21-38 and had at least six drops by the receivers, but Clemson should have been much more balanced in their offensive attack. The Tigers moved away from the run way too early.
Like everyone else the media on the sidelines wondered where Andre Ellington was during Saturday’s loss. Andre played, but was not on the field for a number of series. Jamie Harper ended up with only one less carry than Ellington. Andre was bent over at one point in the final quarter on the sideline. Not sure what the injury was at the time.
Andre needs to get the majority (75% or more) of the carries. That is clear. Jamie is simply nowhere near as talented as Andre. The best player should get the majority of the snaps, not the oldest player.
A few weeks ago during the interviews Andre and Jamie talked about how they decided on many plays who would be in the game. This should not be decided by the players. The staff needs to dictate which running back is in the game.
Really Harper on the Kickoff Return Pitch
Jamie Harper should not have been the pitch man on the trick kickoff return in the final quarter. Are you kidding me? Jamie Harper should not be used on that play. Pitch the ball to someone that actually has some speed and can make a play.
If Looks Could Kill
Rashard Hall would have been in trouble Saturday after giving up the big pass play in the second quarter. After the play coach Steele gave him a look he will not soon forget. Hall was taken off the field and did not return until the second half.
Hopkins and Brown Seize the Opportunity
DeAndre Hopkins and Jaron Brown did their best to seize the opportunity they were give with more reps at receiver Saturday. Nuke did have several drops, but also led the Tigers with seven catches for 46 yards. Brown added four catches for 107 yards including a 74 yard touchdown run in the final quarter.
We told you when Hopkins signed with Clemson that he would start at some point in 2010. Expect him to be a starter now for the next four years. Hopkins plays with the confidence of a junior or senior.
The good news is he and Brown will only get better.
Hopkins also had a huge punt return when he returned a punt for 31 yards. Expect to see him get more opportunities there.
After Saturday’s loss many Tiger fans are looking for hope for the future. Now that the Tigers have settled on Brown, Hopkins as the main playmakers at receiver the passing game should only improve as the season moves along. That could make the Tigers a much tougher opponent when they travel to Florida State and host Carolina on Thanksgiving weekend.
Hawkins Showing Improvement
The Clemson linebackers have not played well so far this season. One bright spot Saturday was the play of Corico Hawkins. Hawkins led the Tigers in tackles with seven. Brandon Maye also added seven tackles. Hawkins and Maye combined for 1.5 tackles for loss. Hawkins appears to be showing signs of improvement which would be huge for the Tigers as they look to win some games.
The LB’s continue to get beat on pass coverage however. Spencer Shuey got beat on a big play to Johnny White for a first down in the second half.
Nice Stadium Improvements
North Carolina already has a very nice stadium, but it will be even better once they finish the new East Endzone upgrade. The new upgrade will increase the seating capacity and give the Heels a very competitive stadium with the other ACC schools.