Saturday night was college football at its finest, one for the books.
When looking at it with further detail the game itself is very similar to the major elements of a movie. It had characters, a plot, conflict, resolution, scenes, dialogue, and visuals. It was clearly worthy of being the Game of the Week, but it was a lot closer than it needed to be.
First off, I want to give major credit to Jimbo Fisher and Kellen Mond in this game. Jimbo prepared his team for battle and they showed up more physical and mentally tough than anybody expected them to.
Generally speaking, it is not easy to inherit a group of guys you didn’t recruit and have them ready to play with the big dogs on a main stage. He did that with Kellen & Co. The QB was tremendous in this game and although he made some ill-advised throws he stepped up and competed in a way that the Aggies haven’t seen since Johnny Football.
There is no denying that he’s going to be a star playing under his new coach. After sleeping the night off and reassessing the game I came to a conclusion. After all the smoke clears this Clemson team will be poised for a national championship appearance, bet on it…or not.
Everybody wants this team to be the most dominate and complete team in college football right now. I have four words for you “Don’t peak too early.”
There are concerns with this team and that’s evident, but you know what, its only Week 2 and there was more good than bad in this game. There will be questions this week addressing swirling, issues but I’m going to talk about the positives from the game.
This is Tajh’s Take:
Kelly Bryant was the leader the guys needed last night. There is no substitute for experience and it showed as he delivered in crucial situations. The moment was never too big for him, his elusiveness and calm demeanor proved to be critical as the game winded down.
Trevor Lawrence couldn’t write a script better than how he opened. First play in on primetime-TV and boom! Touchdown to Tee Higgins. This is the stuff you dream of. The only way to get better is by getting live reps.
I don’t think the staff cuts back on his playing time, but I do think they need to be strategic in how they handle the workload for both QBs. Pick one and call it like you see it because rhythm and continuity is important and I don’t see a two-quarterback system working for an entire year.
The wide receiver core played at a high level. Tee Higgins will find his way into the Biletnikoff conversation before the season is over. Amari Rodgers gets better every game. He’s so explosive and I love it, he plays with a fire in him and leads without having to say a word. Hunter Renfrow is well, Hunter, give him the ball and he’ll make a play. Diondre Overton did some really good things and I look forward to seeing him grow throughout the season.
Travis Etienne needs more touches, he has home run ability every time he gets the rock. He was a force last night and there is no telling what his numbers look like with more than eight carries.
The O-line had some positive moments last night, still a work in progress but you can tell those guys had been in these types of games before. No silly mistakes/penalties. The mishandled snap at the goal line is something that can be fixed.
The front four played really well, they kept the run game to a minimum and forced some rushed decisions in the air. There were numerous times where Clelin, Austin, Dex, and Christian were seen running after a ball carrier down the field. Great Effort leads to great defenses. The Linebacker corps was different without Dorian O’Daniel in the lineup but I think as players began to grow in their roles they’ll be a very solid unit.
The lapses in the secondary, well I don’t know. That’s one for the coaches to answer, but hey it was the second week of the season. I do believe in luck and some of the throws and catches made in this game just seemed plain lucky.
It wasn’t a picture-perfect night for the Tigers, but champions find a way to win and that’s what they did. “You can’t be afraid to play. Commit to play and you live with the results.” -Dabo Swinney
(Editor’s note: Tajh Boyd is a former All-American and ACC Player of the Year for Clemson from 2010-’13. Boyd is The Clemson Insider’s college football analyst and will be writing a column after every game, as well as being a regular contributor in different capacities throughout the year.)