By Brentson Buckner.
Former Clemson Tiger and 12 year NFL defensive tackle Brentson Buckner is doing a weekly column with TheClemsonInsider.com. Brentson will share his thoughts on the Clemson football program, provide in-depth analysis and unique perspective on the Tigers. In this edition the former Super Bowl champ discusses the 2010 season and more!
I think personally 2010 was a disappointment. I honestly believe in 2009 with the great run the team went on at the end of the year and to have a chance to play for the ACC Championship. With C.J. Spiller having a great year, with Jacoby Ford, Kyle Parker coming on and looking like he could do it on the football field. The defense playing better. They were doing some things that you thought they could build on even losing C.J. and Jacoby. You still had Ellington and Harper. I thought the team would sort of ride that wave in, but once the season started it just looked like there wasn’t any chemistry there.
I didn’t see anybody take that true leadership role and say let’s build on this. We are not going to settle for anything less. We made the Championship game last year. Let’s right the ship and can we win it.
I never did see that true leader come out and I think the team really suffered because of it.
I am looking for that from a player. The head coach is a part of that but if a player can become the extension of the head coach it will really get the guys going.
When I got to Clemson Danny Ford was a great guy and fired us up but the players bought into what he was doing and guys were extensions of him. James Lott, the Chris Morocco’s, the DeChane Cameron’s. Those guys were extensions of coach Ford. It was also about the coach being a leader and getting guys going, but there is nothing like being in the trenches and being held accountable by one of your teammates.
I think Clemson has some guys that can do that next year, but it will be up to them if they want to take that responsibility. Brandon Thompson is a guy that can do it.
Some may think a defensive tackle can’t do it. But even though it is not a glamour position like a quarterback or a running back if he can take that position and lead from inside out he can do the job.
I think Ellington is a guy that can do it. He is a dynamic player. To me he is a better football player than C.J. Spiller. C.J. Spiller is a dynamic athlete who can score points. But when we are talking about carrying the football and making football plays I think Ellington is much better. So he is a guy that can step forward.
It also has to come from the quarterback. I don’t want to hear that he is just a freshman or it is his first year playing. That position of quarterback comes with responsibility. When you are going to start in college at this level they have to be a leader from day 1.
The thing I think happened with Kyle is you can’t serve two people. In sports you can’t really have two masters. I really think Kyle Parker loved playing football, but you saw a change with Kyle Parker once baseball became his bread winner.
He played well the first part of the season. Everything was great until he took a hard lick at Auburn. I think it scared him to the point where he said wow I need to be careful for baseball. I think he played not to get hurt the rest of the year. You didn’t see that dive for extra yardage. You didn’t see him staying in the pocket staring down the defender as he waited to get off the pass. He was playing, but it was like if there is a chance I am going to get hurt I am not All In here at Clemson.
I thought All In was good for the first year. Everyone wanted an emotional thing. I think Clemson fans were looking for something after they had Tommy Bowden. They wanted a leader that was emotional. When Dabo came in it was a great one year slogan to say I am the new coach everybody is All In.
I think now it is about All In and going to work. You see Gene Chizik took it and won the national championship.