Despite its 1-4 start to the ACC season, and playing four of the top five preseason teams in the conference, Clemson is not hanging its head.
Head coach Brad Brownell said Thursday his team is fine and the energy and the enthusiasm the Tigers started the season with is still in the locker room.
“We are fine,” he said. “We are not happy. Our team is disappointed that we are not winning some of these games, but I think our guys have played pretty hard.
“I thought we played really well against Georgia Tech. I thought we played well for a long time against Florida State. It is a hard schedule.”
Clemson’s schedule is one of the hardest in the ACC, especially on the front end.
The Tigers (11-7, 1-4 ACC) have already played at No. 2 Duke, at Syracuse, who beat Duke and is 4-1 in conference play, No. 3 Virginia and at Florida State, who is 14-5 overall. It does not get any easier this Saturday, either, as they travel to No. 21 NC State (15-3, 3-2 ACC).
“These are really good teams. You have to play at a high level for forty minutes to win,” Brownell said. “We just have not been able to quite put the full forty together in some of these games so that is the quality of the competition and some of it has not been our inability to finish. But guys are still coming to practice. We have good attitudes and are working really hard.”
Things will ease up for Clemson after NC State game. The Tigers next five games are winnable. Three of the next four—Pitt, Wake Forest and No. 10 Virginia Tech—are at Littlejohn Coliseum, while they travel to Georgia Tech, who they have already beaten, and to Miami.
However, the problem for Clemson is it has not found its identity and until it does, every game is going to be a challenge to win.
“I think we are still looking for exactly what it is. I don’t think that we have played as well as we would have liked on either end,” Brownell said. “There are times, defensively, when we have been very good … the Virginia and Syracuse games I thought we defended really well. Offensively, we struggled.
“I thought, for most of the game against Florida State, offensively, I thought we were pretty good. Our defense failed us in the last eight minutes. We have not been as consistent as we would like to be on either end. That is why we are 1-4 in the league. That has to change.”
The Tigers hope it changes in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday when they face NC State at 2 p.m.
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