Players feel like they learned a lot about themselves from the UNC game
As he walked into the meeting room to watch film with the rest of his defensive teammates, Nyles Pinckney knew they were going to be there a long time.
Though second-ranked Clemson held its fifth straight opponent under 300 yards of total offense in last Saturday’s win at North Carolina, there was still a lot of things to correct.
There were missed tackles, like Nolan Turner’s miss before a 31-yard run set up the Tar Heels in position to score the game’s last touchdown. There was A.J. Terrell biting on a move, allowing a 40-yard touchdown pass to start the game. There was a 26-yard screen play allowed on the same drive and then two times on fourth down, on UNC’s final possession, the Heels converted to keep the sticks moving.
So, film review this week was not easy.
“It feels like a long time, but it is needed,” Pinckney said. “We all actually appreciate it more.”
Clemson’s senior defensive tackle said their 21-20 victory over the Tar Heels, which came down to stopping a 2-point conversion with 1:17 to play in the game, was something the Tigers needed after opening the season with four straight easy wins.
Even though it did not play its best game in blowout wins over Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Syracuse and Charlotte, Clemson still won by an average of 32.3 points per game.
However, North Carolina made the Tigers (5-0, 3-0 ACC) pay when they did not play well in Chapel Hill.
Pinckney feels playing a four-quarter game was probably what the doctor ordered, especially considering Clemson has a combined 80 freshmen and sophomores on the roster.
“I feel like it helps us grow, especially with such a young team. I feel like going into this bye week, it actually shows us a lot about ourselves. It shows were we need to grow at, where we need to improve,” he said. “It shows our strengths and weaknesses. This bye week came at a great time, especially after playing a game like that. You can exhaust everything.”
The Tigers are hoping they can learn from the North Carolina game like they did in close wins over Texas A&M and Syracuse. In both of those games, they had to overcome adversity in different ways to find a way to win. They taught them how to handle certain situations and gave them the confidence to know they can win a close game in the final minutes when they have to make a play to get the victory.
With the North Carolina game in the review mirror, “This week is all about preparing for Florida State, now,” Pinckney said.
Clemson and the Seminoles will meet at Death Valley on Oct. 12.
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