Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Happened at STS

My goodbye post "Tiger Trails to You" only tells a small piece of the story, and really didn't address the true issue why we were forced to leave SBNation. Since I have decided to forego legal action at this time, and have yet to decide if I want to continue writing about Clemson, I thought it prudent to get the story out there so that people could see the truth for themselves.

The issue at hand is the FY13 Budget post, and that was the only issue. Keep in mind that Clemson's budget is public since they are a public school, as is IPTAYs. You can request this info and they must give it to you, or you fan file a FOIA request and get just about anything. FOIA requests are more formal and require a small fee so they can collect the data. In the past, I have directly emailed Katie Hill, former CFO/Assistant AD under Terry Don Phillips, for the IPTAY and Athletic AUP budgets. She provided them freely. I have even quoted her responses in a previous post, and received no feedback at all, good or bad, from either SBNation or Clemson for doing so. The last post where we quoted her remains in the archives.

 This year, with Hill now retired, we got a bit of a run-around from Clemson. I had another writer email them and try to get the information while I worked on position reviews, and apparently he couldn't do it. He did eventually get the AUP but no one would give him IPTAY's figures. So, with the budget post now beyond due, I went to her replacement myself, Graham Neff, for the information. I then quickly got a response and another from Travis Furbee on the publicly available IPTAY membership total. I did not identify myself as a writer for STS, I figured that since the email address is "Shakinthesouthland@gmail" and my display name being "DrB" that he'd know, the AD reads the site anyway and they do know my name. All that I did was ask for the budget figures, then thanked him for his time and help. I compared the budget to a previous budget and found some oddities which I asked him to clarify, just as I'd done before with Hill. He gave me a reasonable explanation, told me he was happy to help and that Clemson wanted to become more transparent about money.

I decided that since his response was totally factual that it'd be better to quote him rather than paraphrase his response, so that is what I did. I thanked him in the article and published it. Nothing derogatory was said to him or about him or anyone else in the post.
Apparently the SID felt otherwise. They called SBNation and complained that I had somehow misrepresented myself by not identifying myself as a member of SBNation Media. Well the thought never occurred to me to mention it in an email, since I consider myself a blogger and not a member of the media. I thought, since they read the site anyway, especially Bourret, that the display name and email address were identification enough. Besides, its public information. They'd have to give it to me if I made them do it, even Neff's emails can be subject to FOIA in certain instances. And it is not illegal to not identify yourself, reporters do that all the time.
In talking with my counsel, if anything illegal was done, SBNation would've taken down the post immediately. Copyright violations are taken down for this reason. Yet, the post remains up two weeks later.
Then I got an email from Matt Brown and Luke Zimmerman, the SBNCollege managers, asking for a phone exchange. They called me and told me that Clemson had gone directly to them, complaining that I had misrepresented myself in the exchange with the AD. Apparently they had spoken to "several Clemson administrators" - why several? I see no grounds for a Clemson suit if the information is public and I published it faithfully and without a single derogatory comment to anyone. I could've filed an FOIA request and gotten it all the hard way. Luke then intimated that Clemson would somehow restrict their ability to do business by cutting off access throughout the conference and used it as justification to release me from contract.
Where would you get that idea from a factual quote of an Assistant AD, unless Clemson somehow pressured them into something? It does not add up. If it was as simple as it should be, I could've written an apology to Neff and filed FOIA from now on.
You can see something is very clearly wrong here. Many have suggested in the comments that they played a role in removing us; not the case. As recently as April 17, after I fired Ryan Kantor and Mark Gordon for insubordination (only later did I find out that Kantor tried to stab us in the back), both Matt and Luke agreed with my administrative decisions as site manager and sympathized with our banishment of trolls. I have always moderated STS as a Clemson site, and had given short leash for opposing fans who would love nothing more than stir things up. None of that was even part of the discussion here.
Then others will say its lack of traffic growth, but that is not the case either. Traffic does not grow at the (unsustainable) rate of 20-50% year/year as it once did, but I have the monthly traffic figures and we rank midpack in the ACC and generally near the top during football season.
I do believe, after talking with my attorney, that if they had basically told me that "Clemson made us do..." that I'd have grounds for a suit against both Clemson and SBNation, but of course they did not say so in those words. It was all done via phone.
Then after the fact, they demanded access to my Twitter and FB accounts, created by myself to my own email address. They said they'd pay for them "to avoid hard feelings", but then said their legal dept would take them if I refused. A bully tactic; I refused. Then they said the contract stipulates no notice, but that is not what the one I have here says. My lawyer will work this for free if I choose to pursue something, but there is no money in it.
The only people who make money off SBN articles is the computer programmers and management. All the writers who make up the sites get very little. Its almost like the NCAA vs. O'Bannon. Almost slave labor and someone else gets rich off it. I can't retain writers because I can't pay them for their time, and yet constantly bugs you in emails about writing 2 posts a day. They even tell you "Oh we'll give you $50-100 if you average 2 a day!". Yeah ok. I bill the government more than that in an hour for my day job. SBNation wants a Cadillac for Kia money.
So that is where we stand. FF and I both wanted to hand the site over to someone worthy and were waiting for that writer to emerge. None of the staff has intimate knowledge of the game, or have even played it, and none has my level of analytical skills to go with that knowledge. We wanted to retire and write as we felt, instead of being forced to write weekly year-round.
Now, with my belief that my own school, that I love more than anything except family, turned against me, I just don't know if my heart is in it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We're Moving!

We've been invited to write and run a new Clemson blog on SBNation called Shakin The Southland.

This site will no longer be used or updated, we'll live the archives up through the season. Please join SBNation (no they dont hound you with emails) and comment on our new digs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clemson Baseball for a moment

Clemson's baseball schedule was released today by the AD. Its highlights are games against Michigan State, Elon (played in the Tourney), Georgia, and a 3-game set with Carolina starting in Clemson, then Fluor Field in Greenville, then finally in Columbia on the first weekend of March. In total, 27 of 56 games will be against teams that played in the NCAAs last year.

Baseball America rated the incoming Tiger Freshman class 20th, after losing the star pitching signee Madison Younginer to the Red Sox. Clemson was ranked 9th by signing class before the draft.

I'm sure this team can and will make the NCAAs, even after losing so much from the team, and the pitching coach from last season.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wake Forest postgame review

ESPN highlights.

FF:Clemson came out and played the way that everyone expected the Tigers to play all season long. The offense was able to string together plays that built off of one another the defense bottled up Skinner and played particularly well. While this is a nice win for the team, we all should be cautious what we take from this game due to the questionable overall football aptitude of this week's opponent.

Overall, the team came out with a high enthusiasm level, which is understandable after the embarrassment in College Park and the criticism from all angles over the past two weeks. As previously stated, there were a lot of good things and some bad things that happened against Wake. Check out the action and commentary below.

**Note to Mike Hogewood, Clemson's current defensive end is RICKY Sapp. Patrick Sapp is a former Clemson QB/LB who played for the Chargers and is currently attempting to do some sideline reporting for Clemson Sports Network and usually sounding like a drunk idiot. (BRING BACK RODNEY!)

**Rick "Doc" Walker did not disappoint us by saying something ridiculously out of control in the first half, suggesting that (paraphrase) he would "pull a pint of his (Kyle Parker's) blood and freeze it for next week". Raycom Vampire? Fantastic.

First Half

Wake started the game with an on-sides kick attempt. Why you give up this kind of field position when you know that your opponent's offense has struggled all season makes no sense to me, but Clemson will take this gift to open the contest.

After the game Jim Grobe confirmed it was intended to be a skyed kickoff, and he got under it.

Offensive Drive #1 at WF 46
Clemson unsuccessfully ran the ball a couple of times on first down here. It was obvious that Wake was going to make Clemson beat them through the air, keying on early run plays. Clemson countered very well with a nice catch by Ashe, a couple of nice grabs by Palmer, a toss to Spiller, and a lot of play action. The use of play action on this drive obviously froze the Wake defense and allowed some nice gains through the air, culminating with a great pitch and catch to Palmer in the end zone. The offensive staff did a great job of running initial plays and building off of these plays into a rhythmic and fluid drive.

Run, P, R, PA P, PA P, PA P to Palmer for the TD. Watch Palmer turn around the safety by jumping inside too soon on him, then he runs right by him.

Defensive Series #1
Jarvis Jenkins played really well here, Ricky Sapp as well. He was quick and destructive against the Wake offense. Skinner has some time to throw, but the Tiger secondary ensured that Wake only got 3 offensive plays this series.

Offensive Drive #2
Kyle Parker made a great play on this drive by looking, scrambling, then tucking the ball for a nice 7 yard gain. This is what we have been looking for out of KP all year. After a short gain, the OL gets a huge negative. Wake's DT put a simple inside move on McClain and ran past Freeman to sack Parker.

R (cuz Austin got beat on speed rush), R, Pass/Sacked. It was a Gun Trips Field with a TE and Spiller on a wheel/flat route, and only 5 protecting.

Defensive Series #2
Bowers did a good job getting up field. I will probably say this a few times, but Bowers is nothing short of a beast...big, fast, strong, and agile. He got his clock cleaned by a 185lb WR on the boundary though, tell us why our WR cant make blocks like that? I was a little disappointed with the tackling (and overpursuit) here, but was impressed by the int by McDaniel. He made a nice break on the ball from the center field position and picked it clean.

Offensive Drive #3
Finally, some sort of draw play! I absolutely love the QB draw play here. KP showed off his wheels and picked up a nice gain. This play call was fantastic and really threw off Wake's defense. The Spiller run was a good example of what can happen with zone blocking. Clemson's zone blocking produces strike outs or big gains. Spiller made an excellent inside out cut and picked up a chunk of yards. These plays work well with a back by Spiller because of his excellent ability to cut against the grain and pick up 15-20 on his own. I really liked the play action to Palmer and hitting Allen out of the left TE position. Two things bothered me with this drive. First, at the goal line, Clemson got zero push up front (as usual). Second, we line up in a 5 wide formation here. Dye has to MAKE himself get OPEN there. He got zero separation. I hate the lack of execution (no push) and strategy (5 wide) when you have a chance to punch it in. Jackson hammers home the short FG and the Tigers go up 10-0.
R,R, PA P, P, R, R, P, FG. 8 plays 58 yards 2:59.

Defensive Series #3
Wake was able to move the ball here, too well. WF got some push up front on early in this possession. I noticed Ricky Sapp getting around pretty easily here. Sapp showed his speed and agility all day. Clemson for most of the day played the corners pretty close to the line. Riley Skinner was able to scramble for a huge 3rd down gain during this drive. This is one of the few times all day the defense lost him. Tigers hunker down and force a (badly) missed FG from the Preachers.

We might chart the defenses we show and the number of blitzes we run in the coming weeks.

Offensive Drive #4 starts at the CU 34
Jamie Harper finally appeared to get going on this drive. He had a big run to start the series and was not brought down with an finger-tackle. J. Ford had a nice, long grab off of a 51 yd play action pass on the next play to the 3yd line. I like the design of this play, as Clemson motioned Palmer and kept him in to block. Harper also threw a block to give KP a chance to heave the ball up. Ford came back to the ball and made the catch on what looked like a Post. Clemson then runs option, with Parker making an acrobatic leap to score. Good execution for all four plays by all aspects of the team (play design, play call, hard running, good throw, good receiver play, max protection).

R, PA Pass, R, R for TD. 17-0 4 plays 66 yards.

Defensive Series #4
The defensive front (led by Bowers) had a great series. Three and out for the D.

Punt hits Wade's foot, live ball recovered by Wake. This is ridiculous, and has happened two games in a row now. There is no excuse for not getting as far away from the ball when the return man will not field the punt. BC punt is pretty crappy, with no chance for a return. With little sound on the field, I could not hear what was going on, but am sure there was a "Clear" or "Peter" call (these are the code words on punt return that mean "get the hell out of the way, the punt will not be fielded"). This should never happen and is nothing short of poor execution/field awareness. Here is where we lost it for the only time of the day.

Defensive series #5
Goodman gets great push here and tosses Skinner down for a sack. Bowers shows off all of his skills and why he was the #1 recruit in the nation a few years ago. Bowers looks like a man amongst boys out there. Three plays for Wake and another punt. Almost a huge pick by Cumbie, Jenkins eats them alive.

Doc Walker on our DL: "they musta had pepah in dey grits"

Offensive Drive #5
KP takes off on a zone read for a short gain, then a screen fails because of a tipped ball by a blitzer off the corner. Clemson had a nice play set up for a huge gain, but KP made his lone poor throw (high) of the day, overshooting an open Jacoby Ford. Clemson is forced to punt.
R, P-i, P-i

Defensive Series #6
Maye was turned around on an early play that could have really hurt the defense. Instead, Wake confuses the Tigers zone turning a short drag route into a huge gain. This was the biggest miscue of the day for the pass defense. There appeared to be some crossing to confuse Maye. The TE released to pull Maye one way, and the slot WR he should've picked up was going the other way, both in front of his face. A helmet to helmet call gives Wake 15 more. Clemson had a few issues wrapping up the ball carrier on this drive. A nice reverse pass back to Skinner put the ball inside the Clemson 10. Seven more yards on a rush took Wake to the 2. Clemson looked a little sloppy until this point in the drive. A quick stop at the 1 and an incomplete pass after a penalty held Wake to a field goal. I was particularly impressed with the speed of Conner at the goal line (play negated after the Tigers accepted a 10 yard penalty on the play). Conner was exceptionally quick, chasing down the running back who bounced outside and seemed destined for the pylon. During the game, I questioned accepting the 10 yard penalty, but I figure the coaching staff was concerned the Wake would go for the TD and punch it in from the 1 on 4th down if given the opportunity.


Offensive Drive #6
CJ does what CJ does, 66 yards on a (33/35) zone run with a fake sweep to Ford. Both TE's were in the game and Walker made a good effort to seal and allow Spiller to make the cut inside, and another by Cloy (playing RG) to seal off the backside of the cutback lane. Once he was to the second level, you all know what happened.

CJ goes over 6000 all-purpose yards.

Defensive Series #7
Riley Skinner really got knocked around here. Clemson brought a few extra guys all series, with Branch and Conner getting sacks here. The latter sack came even as Wake kept extra players in to provide more protection. Clemson uses timeouts well here to get the offense the ball back.

Offensive Drive #7 starts at the WF 41.
Clemson starts with a pair of nice catches by Ashe (he caught the ball!) and Palmer. Palmer's grab was particularly impressive because he did everything correctly. He runs a quick out route (watch how he pushes the defender by selling the fly), plants, and makes a crisp turn, catches the ball with his hands, tucks the ball, turns and gets up field. Fundamentally, Palmer may be the best pass receiver on this football team. After a quick run by Ford (same play run by Spiller before, but on the end-around), Parker appears to have Allen open, but the pass is dropped. While one could argue it wasn't a perfect pass, I was a little heartbroken by this drop. We have been pimping Allen and getting two TE's in the game because they are better receivers and blockers than the WR's, and what does Allen do? He drops the freaking football! This was the sole dropped pass that I can recall on the day. I still like getting both TE's in the game as much as possible. Fortunately for Allen, his teammates picked up for his drop, with KP taking a designed run for 14 yards to the 3. Downfield blocking has improved by the receivers. Harper then punched it in with the help of a nice block by Chad Diehl. Wake's defense looks deflated here.
PA P-i, P, P, R, P-i, R, R. 31-3

Defensive Series #8
WF runs the clock down here. I did notice Jamie Cumbie still had his motor running wide open. It is particularly nice to have a guy like Cumbie to spell the guys up front. He played particularly well throughout the game.

271 yds of offense to 99 for WF, most of which was on 2 drives.

Defensive Series #1
Clemson forces an incompletion, then Ricky Sapp runs right around WF's tackle. Clemson continues to blitz, allows a 9-10 yrd pass completion, and forces another 3 and out for the Demon Deacons.

Offensive Drive #1
Parker, off play action, has a ball batted down and Clemson gets a few yards off of an inside hand off from the gun to Spiller. KP then telegraphs a pass to Taylor that easily could have been picked off. Parker has issues of not looking off defenders and staring at his intended target. Three and out for the Tigers.
PA P-i, R, P-i

Clemson still is not lighting it up on 3rd downs today.

Defensive Series #2
Wake attains consecutive 1st downs to start this drive. Skinner connects for 9 or so to get the initial first, then Wake runs for 15 or so for the second. Clemson had pretty good coverage on the 9 yard pass. The 15 yard run was set up by Brandon Maye being out of position and getting sealed away from the play. Maye plays particularly hard, but often takes bad angles to the ball. Often times, he is too anxious to do too much, becoming his own biggest obstacle. Clemson then forces an interception on a nice play by Butler. His tip ended up in R. Hall's hands coming over from his two-deep position.

Offensive Drive #2
Willy Korn comes into the game at this point. Clemson opens with a pair of runs (5 yrds by Spiller and 6 yrds by Korn). Incomplete pass to Clear. Korn is shifty and can move well (as we all knew), but has had issues throwing the ball. His incomplete pass to Clear was terribly thrown. Ellington then makes a fine run off of a toss out of the shotgun formation. Clemson was able to kick out and seal necessary defenders (David Smith was in and made a big seal) around the LOS to create this space for Ellington to operate. Unfortunately, after quite a few moves and a 30 or so yard gain, Ellington puts the ball on the ground AGAIN. We have been dogging on Harper and begging for more snaps for Ellington, but this fumble does not help that cause.
R, R, P-i, R-Turnover

Korn just has no luck.

Defensive Series #3
After a quick 9 yard completion, Wake commits a penalty and completely stalls, turning the ball over on downs. McDaniel made an excellent tackle, and Brandon Thompson gets it going up the gut, helping keep Wake at bay on both 3rd and 4th and short situations. Their RB missed the correct hole, because they had a surge over there on the right side.

Offensive Drive #3
Jacoby Ford completes a nice one to Xavier Dye off of the option pass. Not only was the ball well thrown, but Dye also made an exceptional catch down the sideline. Out of a 2 TE look, Spiller is able to bust another one on an inside zone for 14 yards and the day's final scoring. Good blocks by D. Allen and C. Lambert to spring him on the left side.
P, P, R-TD. 38-3

Defensive Series #4
Byron Maxwell made an exceptional break on the football and drops an interception (and possibly a touchdown, as he was in open space). Clemson's secondary did a good job here, as Skinner just could not find an open receiver on this drive. Skinner was able to break containment, tuck the ball, and 15 yards. After allowing Wake to convert on a 3rd down attempt, CU holds and Wake is forced to punt.

Offensive Series #4
Will Korn is back in the football game. Harper gets a tossout here in Gun, which he is not suited to. Not a good call. After running for a few yards, Korn connects with Harper on a quick stop route from an empty set. Korn again shows off his rushing ability, and Chad Diehl get a 5 yard carry on the FB Dive. HELL YES! Korn attempted a dangerous pass while on the run here. There was really no reason for him to throw the ball up. Korn gets sacked (had time to throw) and completes another pass to Harper on a bubble screen from an empty set. Punt.
R, R, P, R, R, P-i, Sack, P.
End of 3rd Qtr.

Defensive Series #5
Gilchrist made a pretty good tackle early on. Clemson continues to blitz, and Riley Skinner is taken down with another sack in his last play of the day.

I will not take the time to discuss drive by drive the rest of the 4th quarter, as both starting QB's had already been pulled and this was mop up time. I will elaborate on an item that was particularly displeasing, particularly Cory Lambert getting smoked once again and Will Korn bearing the brunt of this mistake.

Overall, the play calling was night and day from the past few weeks. The play progression made sense. Clemson simplified things. Clemson found a weak point (play action paralyzed the Demon Deacons) and continued to exploit this. CJ Spiller had a nice day. Clemson's O-Line (for the most part) gave Parker time to throw. Clemson's receivers did not drop a pass, and Michael Palmer had another good outing. On the defensive side, there was a small lapse in the second quarter, but otherwise CU did well. Riley Skinner was bottled up all day and Clemson was able to put pressure on him all day.

I really would like to have seen Clemson line up and run the ball down Wake's throat at the end of the game yesterday. However, it is apparent that CU's offensive line does not have that capacity. Clemson's rushing offense is based on zone blocking (because the Tigers can't line up, put a hat on a hat, and push the defense around) and is spotty at best. What you will see out of this strategy is a couple of rushes for 1-3 yards, then a 15 yard gain (with Spiller). This style will not allow the Tigers to methodically move the ball down the field...it's either feast or famine.

Parker did a nice job of using his feet to make plays. He still has a few issues of not looking off defenders (and a mechanical issue), but KP has a cannon. The velocity difference when Parker was substituted out of the game was obvious. We all were impressed with the read and effort on the goal line option play. Kyle (after what appeared to be a 3 week slide) showed improvement since the Maryland game.

Formations and personnel choices were vastly improved this week. The offense committed to getting back to basics with balanced formations and play action. Particularly pleasing was having two TE's in the game either for blocking or receiving purposes. The only complaints arise from the 5 wide, empty backfield formations. Clemson needs help up front with a TE and/or back chipping or blocking oncoming rushers. I have not looked at the film, but will be eager to see the performance (and amount of play) of Cloy at guard and D. Smith at tackle. Cloy has played pretty well at center, so it would be disappointing to move him around for no reason. I have seen enough of Cory Lambert already this season...

Now the reality of this whole thing. This is probably what CU needed, a good outing. Wake is the best passing team Clemson has faced so far, and the Tigers did a good job of neutralizing their senior signal caller. The offensive play calling and execution was much better than the previous 5 games. Clemson looks like it is moving forward. The real test will come next week. Miami is not Wake Forest. Clemson will have to defeat a much better team in South Florida next week. Miami has an offensive line, a dynamic quarterback, and a talented group of receivers. Defensively, Miami will be a lot quicker and the game will need to be played a lot faster agaist the 'Canes. Overall, Clemson will need to execute well in a fascets of the game to keep up with the "U".

Doc: I put in a few comments above but I don't have much to add, except that I would've either grounded the offense in the 4th and worked on the power running, or actually went for the jugular more. I want to beat wake by 80 every time, but we let up on them. Kickoff coverage was suspect and they got to the 2nd level quite a bit on returns. I havent decided whether to clip anything out of the film on this one because there were some good plays to look at, and I might edit this post later to add them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Impressions before looking at the film...38-3 Victory

Not much to complain about without looking at the film of this one. FF is doing a game review post and I'll add my thoughts to it tomorrow.

-Very balanced offense today, looked like they tried to simplify things. Good changeup with the amount of playaction passes and usage of the Tight Ends. I noticed a few calls I didn't agree with, particularly one where we went empty-set in the red zone, and I would've preferred to run the ball more inside and establish it. Another was a pitchout to Harper, he should get the ball inside, not on the perimeter. WF is susceptible to the zone blocking scheme because of their slanting fronts, but I was not impressed at how we couldnt take full advantage.

-Although we had 195 yards rushing, if you look at the stats and take out the long runs, we dont have much. I wanted to see us churn out a sustained drive on the ground, and we didnt do that even at the end, when it was clear we were no longer going to press for a TD. One zone play gets 2, the next 30. That kind of thing doesnt happen as much against a fast Defense like Miami's.

-I was not happy with the overal push up front, but the first string did well in pass blocking I thought...except for Cory Lambert's lazy ass giving up that sack at the end. 4 sacks, 3 on Korn with the (partly) backup line.

-If Ellington wants more carries, he needs to learn to hold onto the damn football. Harper might've just taken back some of what he lost to Andre today.

-I could tell Parker had been told forcefully to scramble on his first one in the first half. You could see him look to throw it away, then looked at the coaches on the sideline and ran towards them. We had 13 QB carries (-4 sacks) today, the option keeper and a few of the draws were called, but the rest were them making plays with their feet.

-You know we scream for Allen to get the ball and then when he gets a chance to get a 1st and Goal or a TD, he fails to catch it. Only drop I believe.

-Defensive line and Palmer deserve the game balls here. We played Cover 2 Man for a good bit of this game, and our DB's were all over them like glue. Bowers totally ate Skinner for lunch today:
"We basically had everything broken down to a tip of looking at their heels to tell if they were going to pass or run," said Bowers, who had three tackles for loss. "We were actually calling the plays that (Skinner) was going to run, so he had no choice but to check down.

"We could tell exactly what they were running by the way the line was lined up and the things that he was doing. He was getting frustrated. I could tell in his eyes. I kind of said something to him, and he just looked at me and shook his head. So I knew something was wrong with him."

Deacons center Russell Nenon walked away impressed with Clemson's defensive front."You take a week off against a team like Clemson and you see the athletes like Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp -- they're freaks out there."

-Rumph and Dan Brooks are earning their paychecks, the entire front was just on fire today. There were some plays where Maye again gets himself blocked out with bad angles and trying to hard, and another where he got crossed up in his coverage assignment, but otherwise there's not much I can say without looking at the film tomorrow.

****Clemson had a large contingent of recruits in town today, a dozen committed and several uncommitted for this year and 2011. Among them were the #6-rated LB Justin Parker and 2011 commit Martin Lane (RB) with his teammate Cortez Davis, who committed tonight (for 2011). He has garnered an offer from Miami, LSU, FSU and Oregon, and plays Safety. He was recruited by Rumph.

Roll Tide.

Around the Southeast

Here is a look at games going on in the ACC today:

Wake Forest at Clemson (Raycom 12:00 PM ET)
Riley Skinner and the Wake Forest offense will come to Memorial Stadium to play the Tigers. Skinner, who it seems has been at Wake for about 10 years, handled Clemson in a sloppy, low scoring affair last season. Skinner is on quite a roll to this point, playing particularly well the past few weeks. Interestingly Jim Grobe has never won at Clemson. How the Tigers offense responds to a week off should give college football fans an idea of what to expect in the race for the Atlantic Division championship this season. Clemson finds a way to score at least two offensive touchdowns and holds off Wake.

FF Prediction: Wake 17 CU 24

North Carolina State at Boston College (ABC 3:30 PM ET)
Both of these teams desperately need a win and some momentum heading into the second half of the season, as Tom O'Brien faces his former team. BC is coming off of a thrashing to Virginia Tech, yet sits second in the ACC Atlantic race. BC has ACC wins over Florida State and Wake. NCST (0-2 in ACC Play) has played particularly poorly all season, emphasized by last week's tank job against Duke. While neither team is dominant, you know you are in trouble when you give up 49 to Duke. I look for BC to win big.

FF Prediction: NCST 17 BC 35

Virginia at Maryland (ESPNU 4:00 PM ET)
In what originally appeared to be the Al Groh farewell tour, Virginia has come to life after a horrid start to this season. Virginia is currently 1-0 in league play, sporting an upset win over UNC a few weeks ago. This team has, however, lost to William and Mary, Southern Miss, and a pretty good TCU team. Maryland is coming off of a loss to Wake and currently sits at 1-1 in the ACC. There is no other way to describe this matchup than two bad teams fighting it out. Maryland out-bads Virginia, and Al Groh lives another day.

FF Prediction: UVa 17 UMd 14

No. 4 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Georgia Tech (ESPN 2 6:00 PM ET)
This is the only ACC top 20 matchup of the week, and is a crucial game for the Yellow Jackets. GT is 3-1 in ACC play and is frantically chasing Miami and VT for a spot in Jacksonville. After getting beaten badly by the U earlier this season, this game is a must win for GT. Virginia Tech (3-0 in the ACC) is in the driver's seat for the conference championship and could back door it's way into the MNC game by running the table and getting some outside help. Needless to say, this is the biggest remaining regular season game for both clubs. Georgia Tech catches a break by having the Hokies travel to Atlanta for this contest. I see a hungry Virginia Tech team that is dynamic in all three phases of the game. While Virginia Tech's defense may not be as revered as in years past, it is fast enough to shut down GT's flex attack. On the flip side, the Yellow Jacket's defense (which has given up a ton of points all year) is no match for Tyrod Taylor and crew.

FF Prediction: VT 28 GT 17

No. 9 Miami (FL) at UCF (7:30 PM ET)
The U travels to Central Florida for a non-conference matchup. Miami (4-1 in conference) appears to be getting close to the championship form we all remember. Jacory Harris is a fantastic player who really has played well all season. UCF (1-2 in Conf. USA play, 3-2 overall) should not be a match for the 'Canes. The U rolls and eagerly watches the outcome in Atlanta.

FF Prediction: U 38 Golden Knights 10

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dalton Freeman to start against Wake, and what it means

Preliminary reports indicate that redshirt Freshman Dalton Freeman will start over Mason Cloy at the center position against Wake. This is encouraging news from this offensive line and overall depth for this unit. Along with depth, the move allows Clemson to try to shore up the tackle spot by moving David Smith from guard to tackle and possibly getting Cloy some snaps at the guard spot.

Freeman, a Pelion native, is said to have great footwork and pass protection skills. Going into fall camp, those in the know expected Freeman to push for a starting role all fall. He has received significant playing time to this point in the season. Greenville News has been following this all week, and has a pretty good outline of Brad's opinion on things here and Anderson Independent here.

Let's be clear what this actually means. Freeman currently sees significant playing time on a weekly basis, so the coaches have confidence in him. The important aspect here is trying to fix the glaring eyesore that is the right tackle position. Cloy has enough size to immediately take effective reps at the guard position, freeing up David Smith to add depth to the Cory Lambert Landon Walker revolving door, especially after losing Chris Hairston for a couple games earlier this season.

This issue has been discussed almost daily here, with most agreeing that we are in this situation because of good ole' Heinz ketchup-man himself. If you missed the problems up front, Dr. B gives you a pretty good idea of our overall problems here and here, so it is something that we all have been aware of for some time now.

In other news, the CU AD has slated the Halloween day contest against Coastal will begin at 1:30 and available only on ESPN360.