Tigers look to end 3-game slide against Louisville tonight
Earlier this week, Brad Brownell was asked if a coach called him about how he and his program handled the pause in their program due to COVID-19 protocols, the Clemson head coach said, “To be honest with you, I don’t have the answer, or we would be doing better.”
Brownell is right, he does not have the answer.
Since getting back from their 11-day pause, the Tigers have lost all three of their games by a combined score of 248-176. The most recent was an 80-61 loss to Florida State last Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla., in a game that was not as close as the score indicates. They trailed by as many as 35 points in the second half.
Brownell and his Clemson team hope to find some answers tonight when they host Louisville (9 p.m.) at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson. Brownell said he was not joking at all when he said he does not have an answer on how a team should handle a pause.
The Tigers lost by 35 points to Virginia coming off the pause on Jan. 16, and then got beat by 18 points at Georgia Tech on Jan. 20.
Clemson (9-4, 3-4 ACC) had won four straight games prior to its pause and was playing as well as anyone in the ACC. The Tigers led the conference in scoring defense and defensive efficiency.
Since then, they have lost their rhythm, while defensively they allowed Virginia, Georgia Tech and Florida State to score 80 or more points after not yielding more than 70 points to anyone in the first 10 games of the season.
“I am disappointed in myself. I am disappointed in our team and what we are doing,” Brownell said. “We may have made some mistakes from the standpoint of, looking back now and it all comes at you real fast, I don’t think we practiced very well the couple of days I was not there. Then we had one day to get ready for Virginia. Then we had the quick turnaround with Georgia Tech.”
Brownell feels, maybe as a coaching staff, they did too much game planning and probably did not practice the fundamentals as well in the last couple of practices leading into the last three games.
“We have regressed in a lot of areas like that,” Brownell said. “Some of it is poor play, some of it is other teams are burying you, so then you start feeling sorry for yourself in a game a little bit and you lose all interest doing what you need to do.
“For me, practice is really important, and we probably just haven’t been able to convince our guys that is the case and you better have good practice habits.”