The South Carolina game didn’t necessarily turn out the way I had envisioned. In this game particularly, they rarely do.
When I first committed to Clemson, I didn’t know what the Clemson-Carolina game was. I didn’t know how much it meant to the players that grew up in this state and even more so, I didn’t realize how emotionally invested and engaged the fan bases were.
There is a lot riding on this game. There always has and there always will be. This is the one day that last for an entire year.
I understand that now. As a player you have to drown out any and all background noise. You have to focus on the task at hand. You must take care of the little things in practice so you’re not thinking while you’re playing.
And when those lights shine bright. It’s go time and you’re either ready or not. This isn’t a one-sided affair here – each team and player will give everything they have until the whistle blows. It’s still the same mentality of “Beat the guy in front of you.”
Some years the talent level differs dramatically. Some years it’s truly a chess match and the real battle is between the guys that wear the headsets. I say all that to say this. This Clemson-Carolina game had some “dudes” playing in it! On BOTH sides.
I’m not going to not acknowledge that Jake Bentley played out of his mind and his wide receivers are first round caliber guys. The defense will get adjusted, correct some errors on film, and figure out which players fit where from a schematic standpoint.
There were leaks and mismatches that exposed some weaknesses at the second and third level. The linebackers and safeties were in situations that left them on an island. That’s a no-no, especially when matched up against tier one receivers like Deebo Samuel, Brian Edwards and Shi Smith.
It was unfamiliar territory for this secondary because they haven’t played a group that talented collectively this entire season. Brent Venables and his crew aren’t happy about what and how this game went down, and I don’t expect that the guys playing were either. He’s going to have to fix it.
Pitt, who the Tigers play in next week’s ACC Championship Game, will try and break this film down to the nth degree and see if that can try and get a leg up. The offense did their job, they went out there and outscored their opponents. Sometimes what you need to see as a coach and as a player is what would happen if there were to be a shootout.
Trevor Lawrence ripping those Bang 8’s (Skinny Post) don’t hurt either. This defense has been so dominant this season when it comes to getting stops and getting the ball back to the offense that I didn’t know what would happen if push came to shove.
As a fan of the game, and of Clemson, I know this defense will be on the right track in no time. However, I now know that this offense can go get it done on their own if need be.
I’ll be around this week to talk the ACC Championship Game matchup as well as more recap from the Carolina game.
If you have any questions you want me to answer shoot me a message on Twitter: @Tajhb10 and or Facebook.