I hope all of my Clemson family reading this wasn’t severely affected by Hurricane Florence this past weekend.
It was a beautiful day in the Valley on Saturday where the Tigers play and it was clear to see who the superior team was. What’s not so clear is the established depth chart.
The awesome part for a coach playing against teams like Georgia Southern is the fact that it gives you a chance to build depth on your roster. Practice will never simulate games regardless of the pressure you’re under to perform or the artificial crowd noise.
The tough part is making decisions on how to strategically place certain players in the field of play and at what time it makes sense to.
The plan against Georgia Southern, according to the coaches, was to continue developing the ground game. The Tigers executed well racking up over 300 yards on the grass with Travis Etienne rushing for over half of the total output.
Travis is a rarity in the sense that his combination of size, speed, and power is all bundled up into one package. He is a wizard out on the field and he is often able to make nothing into something.
When I watch him his style is more rugged than finesse, he fits the mold of the gladiators in the olden days. Earl Campbell, Jim Brown, Billy Sims, the common theme between them is the mentality to bring the blow instead of being the one receiving it. Travis is special and his progress shows he’s only getting better (Big dog gonna eat).
The big nasties up front were able to sustain the rushing attack in spite of the continued shifts from bench to field. They looked like they had a toughness that has been needed for a period of time now.
In order to win at a high level and go deep into the playoff race they are going to be the ones that take the bull by the horn. Being able to rotate the way they did yesterday will create competition, and as you all know competition at any spot is never a bad thing.
Trevor Lawrence looked outstanding as he commanded the offense to multiple drives that led to touchdowns. The thing that stands out is not his ability to throw the ball, we know he can do that, but it’s his calmness that will make him a first-round draft pick.
I remember my first action in Death Valley and I about had a heart attack (haha). At such a young age he possesses traits of a senior that has been through the storm. As he continues to learn the system and the game slows down for him it is going to be an absolute delight to see what he does.
Justyn Ross is explosive and will continue giving defensive backfields fits. He plays very under control especially when the ball is in the air, which isn’t as easy as some people may think.
I haven’t mentioned the defense much in previous articles being that Brent Venables is working out some kinks with his newly planted players and the defensive line playing as good as advertised.
There was a young kid who was flying around in the Georgia Southern game.
Defensive end Xavier Thomas was all over the place and made his presence felt often. He looked like another No. 3 (Vic Beasley) that donned a Tiger Paw back when I was playing.
You never know what a young player will do when the expectations are astronomical, some are built for it and some aren’t. At this point the freshmen on the field look every bit of what their ranking indicated.
The season is young, the Tigers are fine and the team is building depth. All Good Things!