Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Danny Ford for Governor

Its pretty obvious our current one is a dumbass, so lets get one who will inspire fear to all those entering the state, lets vote for Danny Ford.

Its about time we had another beer-chugging, chaw-spewing Governor. I dont care if he's a republican or a democrat, I know he's not stupid.

He even looks the part when he wants to...

News and links...
Strelow ranks the ACC QBs and its hard to really argue with most of it after the first 2, just based on performance last year. I'd move Ponder up to 4 or 5 though, and I suspect he's going to have a season on par with Danny Kannell's in Tallahassee after another year of Jimbo Fisher's tutelage. Its possible that T. Lewis will do much better for Puke, but they still dont have enough weapons to get past a low-tier bowl game.

Will Korn spoke with Heather Dinich about his hiring of QB coach Jerry Rhome to improve his throwing motion this offseason. Apparently Rhome thinks he has improved:
"With NCAA rules, I couldn't work with coach Napier or any of my coaches at Clemson, so I just wanted to get an extra set of eyes on me, someone who could coach me and help me out," Korn said.

"We really didn't have to spend a whole lot of time correcting stuff when I went down there because I worked so hard on it with my dad and my dad would tape me throw so I could go back to the house and watch it and see what I need to correct," Korn said. "It improved a ton before I even got down there to work with coach Rhome. He was excited to see my release had gotten quicker and shorter and it wasn't so long and I was getting the ball out of my hands pretty quickly. It just gave me a lot of confidence for a guy with his experience and his knowledge of the game to look at me and say, 'You're throwing fine, your mechanics look good,' two weeks after the spring game. It gave me a lot of confidence."

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports gives his ACC Preseason predictions, picking Clemson 4th, behind NC State, FSU and Wake. He picks VT to win the Coastal.

Athlon has a piece on the GT triple option to complement our last post here. As does SmartFootball. The New York Times previews Wake Forest's upcoming season here.

Remember the SC coaches saying they could inflate a guy's Rivals star rating? Well it looks like Miami was recruiting solely based on that. UNC managed to yet again clear enough scholarships to fit their bloated signing class.

Another article on what the Fridge has gone through lately, and just being a larger-than-life character in Aiken and in the minds of Clemson fans.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GT: Defensing the Flexbone basics

If you ask most defensive coordinators what type of offense they like to face the least, you'll get one of two answers, either the Airraid of Mike Leach, or a triple option (veer) team. Lets be clear, the option is as old as football and will always be here. Florida's whole offense is essentially option, but based in shotgun and spread formations. RichRod's offense was a spread option and we know how well that worked for us with Woody Dantzler, so anyone who will tell you the option is dead or outdated is really an idiot who doesnt pay attention to football.

The Flexbone is derived from Fisher DeBerry's comment, "We need to become more flexible in the Bone..." DeBerry was talking about adding passing concepts to his normal Wishbone offense, and the flex is essentially the first true "spread option." The whole purpose of flexing the TE out was to create a horizontal stretch to the defense (Flexing essentially means the TE is lined up offset within 2 yards of the OT, and standing him up). Clemson puts WRs and TEs in flex positions frequently, yet we never really throw to the TE (the tragedy of Ben Hall).

In GT's Flex, those flexed TEs, or Splitbacks (also called Wingbacks or Halfbacks) are usually recruited RBs with enough speed to get around the corner on a sweep/end-around and yet still catch a pass over the middle. There's nothing mystical or gimmicky about it, Johnson just puts people in a position to win with sound principles. Has misdirection been abandoned in pass-happy offenses? Do we not ever use lead blockers or run traps and counter plays in a spread? What about double-teaming DL and LBs on a HB power play?

But how does one defend against any option team, particularly the Flex? If the opponent has a smart coach like Johnson, you're doing well to hold them under 4.0 per carry, because he knows how to make adjustments to what you're showing them. However, there are basic tenets to stopping the triple-option and Wing-T/Flex that we can go through.

-Take away something: The Dive or the Pitch, but preferably the Dive.
-Control the LOS: You must control the operating space of the QB and dive backs in the middle.
-Get the LBs into the running lanes: The DTs cannot be knocked backwards and the LBs must fill the lanes and be free to move.
-Discipline: Defenders must know how to recognize blocking schemes, and not worry about his teammate's job, only his.
-Lack of Stunting. You dont want to get caught in alot of stunts or play too many tricks up front, because you'll just open a hole for a Dive.

Of all those things, the most important is stopping the FB Dive, it sets up the entire option offense, no matter whether you use a Flex or a Wishbone or the "I" formation.

The key to defending the veer here is the dive...if the DE gets sucked in or if your DT's lose ground, you may as well pack your shit up and go home, cause you are going to give up 10 yards. Its a direct-attack play that forces your DL get off their blocks, and the LB/S to choose whether to come up and make a play or wait for the pitch. In a true option, the QB has a choice on every play whether to run the Dive, by watching the defensive end. If he sees the End stand pat, he gives the Dive. If the End collapses inside, the QB takes it himself around the corner with a pitch man behind him.

What is missed when people talk about the Bone is the play of the interior linemen. The Dive is all set up from the Center and Guard play. Generally they will be doing the same thing. If the Center blocks down, so will the Guards (but one might pull for the Trap). If he charges upfield to take out Mike, the Guard will try to follow. If Mike is knocked out of the play by a block, you can expect to get a minimum of 4 a carry.

If you bring everyone into the box, to stop the interior rush, then you are setup for the Keep:

Its relatively simple in concept, but the GT offense uses misdirection and motion to confuse the secondary and LBs, less so than an I-formation offense that would normally run directly at you with more lead-blocking plays. If one S/OLB's key is the splitback/wingback to his side, then when he runs across the LOS, he must immediately go to his next key or follow. Also with everyone up in the box, you are setup for the pitch play:

In the pitch play above, you see the Miami safety was keyed on the Wing, and cheated closer and closer, and once he broke to the other side, he had to follow because he was the only key once the safety read run, but he was so close that he got blocked out when he crossed midfield. The LBs, worried about the Dive play, all came up to stop it, but the QB keeps the ball and reads the OLB.

Since the DE had come inside (one of his keys is still the OT/TE) to stop the Dive, the OLB was out there alone, with his normal assignment being the pitch man and not the QB. He turns inwards and blocks the alley for the QB, forcing the pitch, except that the CB has been knocked out by the WR and the play gains 40yds.

So how do you teach a defense to stop this kind of offense? Primarily it comes down to discipline and good fundamental defense, with the key player being the DE. A good defense may simply have so much speed that they are always near the ball pretty quickly, and they tackle well enough so that they make plays. That doesn't mean the players are always in the correct positions, just that they manage to recover quicker than the offensive back can take advantage of it, and they swarm to the ball to make up for any bad tackling. The Flex is different from the Wishbone mainly in that it has those two TE/WB players (who may just be RBs that can catch) set outside, but the coverages run against both are usually Cover 1 Man or rotated zone because you still must keep enough players close to the LOS.

Something that many people do not realize about teams that run this offense is that it is very confusing to figure out who has the ball. You begin each play with three running backs and a QB. There is often a great deal of motion, with players "criss-crossing" in the middle of plays (this constant motion and excessive number of ball handlers makes a a defense that is not fundamentally sound easily susceptible to any sort of counter play--specifically an inside handoff).

Here is a basic rundown of what most coaches will teach in defending the Flex, or any other triple option offense. It is primarily the same run keys (and sky/cloud calls) for any defensive back, so their specific assignment duties wouldn't change much week-to-week from a pro-style team to an option, except that they may be told to cheat up more than usual.

Defensive End

The DE is critical here with the veer to maintain containment on the fullback while acting as the "force" man should the QB fake the dive. The End must be more athletic than the man in front of him to slow down the veer, be thankful we have D. Bowers and Ricky Sapp. The End must be the force, making the QB take more time than he wishes and most importantly make him pitch the ball.

Against the double-wingback set the End has a difficult assignment, but its best to play either an anchor or loop technique to keep it simple. The Ends are primarily responsible for forcing the Pitch. They play for time, and wait for help from the inside, because the option will force them to make a choice on who to tackle. They must be aggressive. Against a veer/pitch play, the End gets his inside hip into the hole and rotates his feet towards the sidelines, and doesnt jump on the dive back unless he's coming directly to him with the ball.

On the snap, using the Anchor, he'll charge the TE to give him a shiver, helping the LB thats scraping across behind him. All the while he's keying the FB first, and if he goes away or up the middle, he backs upfield waiting for a counter sweep or a bootleg. He has to do this even if the Wing is trying to block him. If the FB comes toward the end, he flattens out to prepare for his block (on a power sweep play, or the Guard's block on the belly play) but keeps his feet parallel to the line.

If he's playing a Loop, after the snap he charges upfield in the TE/WB seam and reacts the same way to the FB key as before. If they try a bootleg, he's supposed to be there waiting.

Against an arc play, where the TE across him will try to come upfield and block the SS, he has to stand pat with his outside foot back. He has to feel for his help, and then come down the line to make the play. Against a Load play, where the Dive back will come off-tackle or off TE (the TE/WB will usually block inside), the End attacks the load blocker and forces the QB to go around him, then tries to get off the block and make a play.

Defensive Tackle

Tackles key the Diveback and the QB. They must be taught to get off blocks and not be moved from the LOS, and simply be aggressive against anything they see.


You want to keep the LBs within 4 yards of the ball, so that they can read on the move and react effectively. Because of the misdirection, LBs have a hard time keying one back or the ball, which is why this offense is difficult to defend. Instead, they are told to key the Guards and react from that.

If the G blocks inside on the NT over the Center, the LB has to step in to the OT for the trap play, keeping his outside arm on him. If the Guard base blocks (i.e., straight up on the DT across from him), the LB looks for the ball and plays an assigned gap (usually A/B). If the flow of the play is away, they are taught to rip through the Guard's block with their outside forearm, aiming for the A-gap on the opposite side. If the Guard pulls, the near LB pull with him.

You will either see more Cover 1 or a rotated cover 3 zone against this offensive scheme, and this (rotated zone) is what Clemson primarily used last year in Death Valley. This year I expect GT to use more misdirection and pass a bit more because more teams will stack the box against them after what they did to Miami last season. Whether Kevin Steele will use more zone against GT or stick to his Cover 1, I'm not sure. Like I said, the Corners are usually out wide because the slot man is not on the field between the Wing/TE and the Flanker in the Flex, so they can be on an island by themselves.

In a rotated coverage, the secondary might key the FB to determine the rotation. This would help them cover the counter pass, or a fake keeper pass. As the two safeties rotate, they read the blocks of the Wing for run, and if they ever show blocking for a counter, they stop rotating and play run support. Otherwise, the secondary keys the ball, which places the responsibility of the counter pass on the OLBs.

Finally, the defense cannot be lulled to sleep. A good offense can run simple plays like the dive, toss sweep, iso, and off-tackle all afternoon and can do this with relatively little motion (often shifting a wing to a split back or i-formation look). If you were watching the Clemson-GT game last year, you saw them consistently get 3.5-4 per carry against us, and by simply running the same play over and over again. It only takes 3 runs of 3.3x yards to get a 1st. Methodical operation of this offense has a tendency to get the defense complacent and lackadaisical, allowing the offense to run a misdirection play or for the QB to pull the ball on what looks like a FB dive. Defensive inattention allows the offense to go from 3-4 yds repeatedly with the dive, iso, or offtackle rushing play to picking up a huge chunk of yardage because defenders are out of position and anticipate the 3-4 yd play.

An addendum, for the R&S concepts from the flexbone, is here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lucas Glover wins US Open

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Lucas Glover has won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.

Getting only the second victory of his PGA Tour career, Glover finished a final round of 3-over 73 Monday afternoon to win by two strokes over Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes.

Glover took the outright lead with his lone birdie of the day at the par-4 16th and held on, taking home $1.35 million for the victory. He was 4 under for the championship.

Defending champion Tiger Woods finished even par and in a tie for sixth, four shots behind Glover.

Which means Clemson wins the US Open!

Tigers get commitments

Clemson picked up a huge basketball commitment from Noel Johnson, who picked us over LSU, Xavier, Charlotte, and UNLV after being released from Southern Cal.
Johnson told the AJC that, besides academics, he was drawn to Clemson by its “winning tradition.” At the same time, he said, “They seem to die at the end of the season. I’m trying to be that missing piece.”

Johnson is 6'7" and likely will play 2 or 3 position here. He's rated #30 in the ESPNU 100, and the #11 Small Forward by Rivals (4-star). He'll sign this week (we're in the spring signing period) and will enroll this week in the short summer session classes.

We pulled in another OL in Reid Webster (6'5" 270), and he was only offered last week during Camp. He has offers from FSU, Ole Piss, and Miami, but has no star-rating by Rivals yet (which means its likely a 3-star from them, but who cares if his offers are from good schools). He's slated for Tackle, and will likely have to bulk up to play it in college every week, so don't be surprised if he starts at Guard. This is our 7th commitment, out of a likely 20-22 total.

Just to note: B. Breeland is recruited as a DB/S, Ricky Chaney as a LB/SS type, DeAndre Hopkins is on the board at WR at the moment, which is where he would prefer to be.

South Pointe (Rock Hill) C Jacob McQueen is really enamored with us, and even if we dont offer him I'm sure he'd try to walk-on. I really do wish we could get back to the old walk-on tradition we were getting in the '80s. If he's being recruited as a Center, I'm not sure they'll take him, what we will be needing in two years is Tackles, but I like what he had to say:
“I’m about 50/50 on run blocking and pass blocking,” McQueen said. “But, I like run blocking because I get to smack people in the mouth.”

Tajh Boyd has been on campus and rehabbing his knee, and believes he will get a legitimate shot in training camp in just a few weeks. I've really wondered all along that if he doesn't get this job within two years, that he will transfer somewhere else to play. Ideally you would like to RS him and hedge your bets against injury to Korn/Parker or Parker choosing MLB in next year's draft. The hard fact is that one of those two will almost certainly lock down the starting job by the end of this coming season, and Boyd will be RS'd. If Korn or Parker doesn't, then it will have been an AWFUL year, and we all know that. I fear that once Boyd sees that, he may look elsewhere, perhaps not next January (2010) but certainly in 2011 if he feels he's not getting an opportunity to showcase his talent.

Dabo did an interview with the P&C recently about installing a winning attitude at Clemson that hadn't been here. Dabo continues to show me he has the right idea, but what we really want to hear is what the old teams used to say about Danny: That Saturdays were easy compared to practice. I thought this was encouraging along those lines...
The other thing we did is had about 1,100 competitive reps (in spring) — good on good — which is fantastic, so it was extremely competitive. (Tracking the competitive practice reps) is something Kevin Steele brought. He said they probably had 900 at Alabama last spring. He was blown away with the amount of competitive reps we got. I can tell you we didn't have near that many competitive reps last year. That's a result of tempo and how we structure practice.

Motivating people to be great. … Coach (Bear) Bryant talked about four kinds of players. You've got those players that have it and give it, like C.J. Spiller. You have players that have it but won't give it — you want to get rid of those guys. Then you have players that don't have it — and this is what the majority of your team is — but don't know they don't have it and give way beyond their ability. And then you have the guys that don't have it, and know they don't have it.

I don't know about you but when I hear things like that, I go from thinking we'll win 7-8 games to believing we'll win 10 games. Its hard to keep my usual cynicism about Clemson football.

Southern Pigskin previews the upcoming season in the ACC here. Justifiably, FSU is picked #1, but us #2 in the Division.
Final thought – A lot will depend on the play at quarterback. With Spiller, Ford and a strong offensive line, Clemson doesn’t need a game-changer. The Tigers can’t have inconsistency and mistakes, either. This is a team with a lot of potential.

The SID reviews the 2008-2009 year in athletics. All sounds good when you look at how Bourret piles up the stats doesnt it?
- Clemson played in a bowl game, the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time since the 1997-98 academic year and for just the eighth time in school history.
- Clemson was one of 13 schools to compete in a bowl game, NCAA Tournament baseball game, and NCAA Tournament basketball game during the 2008-09 academic year.

Oh and Steve is bitching about us telling recruits about the horrible run-ins with SLED in Columbia....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday News

Clemson commit and Gaffney player Joe Craig shines in the 7-on-7 scrimmage during Camp. The SHJ spoke with committed WR M. Bryant earlier this week as well.

Oliver Purnell agreed to a 2-year extension, which is not yet signed, on June 1 that will keep him here through 2016. The specifics:
Purnell's base salary jumps $50,000 a year to $275,000. His supplemental income improved to $1.075 million each year, up from $775,000 guaranteed in a two-year extension agreed to in 2008.

Purnell will also receive deferred compensation of $250,000 a year in 2015 and 2016, money the coach would receive unless he left the school voluntarily or was fired for cause.

The Tigers coach would owe the school $250,000 if he left after April 30 for another Division I head coaching job. That payback amount would increase by $250,000 each year until reaching $1.5 million should Purnell depart for a Division I job after April 30, 2015.

I'm a little stumped as to why its set for April 30th? Its not college basketball signing day and the Tournament is long over by then. The regular signing period for basketball lies between 4/15 and 5/20, so maybe they picked a day in the middle?

By now you've heard of Trevor Adair's forced resignation, and BlockC has their take on it here, Plyler has a good blog on it here. If his daughters are saying he really didn't do anything, and they are the supposed victims, then he'll never be convicted of anything at all. Even if the police decide to push things on what they have, they wouldn't get more than community service (you know, what nearly every drunk gets in Clemson) or some big fine.

TNet is predictably going batshit, calling him a loser and that he's worthless as a father and a coach, and that our soccer program is complete crap. I couldn't give less of a damn about soccer myself, but at least look at as much information as you can before you post. I'm glad its easy to resist the train wreck on the mange board in the offseason.

There are posts on TNet, supposedly from his daughter here and here. Is this another situation where the Administration runs a good coach off for no fucking reason, or was it all TDP?
It's finally time to speak up.
I am coach Adair's oldest daughter Courtney. It's time for TRUE, REAL clemson family members to know the truth.
My father is the best man, dad and coach I know. One thing that upsets me through this is the unfairness and hypocracy of it all. If you read one thing, read this, if I had an abusive or violent father, every member of this family would have gone running. Instead, today, more than ever, I stand by my dad and I will defend him til the end. He has always put his family before anyone else, and that is the true measure of a great father, especially one that is a "high profile" soccer coach. My father has never harmed my sister, mother, nor I. He never would, and he never will. The charges brought against him are unfitting and false. Although no one will ever know all the details of that night, I know in my heart the truth, and that is all that should matter to the Clemson family. The Clemson family should stand by a man who has given them so much and has so much yet to give. He is a great man, great coach and an even greater father. We are a wonderful, strong family, and the fact that we have been made out to be anything less, is very upsetting.

As for his resignation, it is a day of great sadness for Clemson University. The sad fact is that I am disapointed with the lack of support from the administration, and I do not believe that they fit the definition of "Clemson Men." However,I feel my dad exemplifies that definition. My dad is an amazing coach, he has put 54 players into the proffessional leagues, I do not believe that another coach has done that from a college position. But more important than wins and loses, my dad strives to make his players better men when they leave this campus. Men that will represent this University well in the real world. Clemson will be hardpressed to find a coach that cares about his players as much as coach Adair does. Clemson is family, which is exactly why it is a shame to see my dad go. He's a great family man, and his team has always been considered his second family. To not be shown support after giving back so much to this supposed "family," shows me that perhaps our administrators need to learn a few family lessons of their own. So clemson family members, I ask you this, from now on, stand by your memembers. Defend them til the end, and in all situations. Because if you are the caliber of person that belongs in the Clemson family, you know that what Clemson has done to Trevor Adair is WRONG.

I dont know whether its true, but take it as you will.

Recall the SEC's $3 Billion deal that will pay each team $15 million or so? Well Georgia just signed a deal to give them another $93 million. Thats another $11 million per.

The ACC Conference Championship is now moved to primetime in December.

Ron Morris paints a pretty picture from the Clucker's recent success in all sports, finally breaking .500.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ok, back to football.

FSNSouth mic'd up Chancellor and Dabo at spring practice...

New Commitments

Bashaud Breeland, a 3-star S/CB from Allendale-Fairfax (6'1" 190) also committed, and according to him this is where he always wanted to be, but finally chose us because of Harbison. He turned down offers from Tennessee, VT, SC, Michigan and was courted by Florida.

This commitment, assuming all the others hold up, will put us at 4 DBs for the 2010 class. They're all "officially" over 6' tall, so they could all play one of the safety positions as well. Joe Craig is more like 5'10-11", so he'd likely be put at CB.

For 2011, Daytona Beach RB Marlin Lane (6'1" 180) committed at the end of camp as well. You can't put alot of faith in an 18 year old, and a 17 year old is even worse, so don't get all excited about it. Its quite likely, considering who has offered him already (Mich, Tenn, Bama, Ole Piss, Miami), that he'd end up as a 4 star guy at least next season, so I do hope he sticks to this. He runs a 4.42 40'.

Clemson also gained a commitment from DT DeShaun Williams from Daniel HS (6' 280) during the Swinney Football Camp that ended Tuesday. He'll likely end up as a 3-star, but again the rankings arent totally done. He was getting interest from UNC, Oregon, and LSU. He's the son of former RB Ronald Williams, a ROY player in 1990 and on the 1991 ACC Title team who left Clemson early in '92 and didnt get drafted, and spent 10 years in the CFL. He's a bit short for an interior lineman, but he could still grow another couple inches before 2011 rolls around.

As you can imagine, the Swinney Camp is moving us into the top tier in many recruits mind's, but otherwise theres little else to talk about. A 7-on-7 passing tournament is being held today.

Jacoby Ford pulled up with a hamstring injury in his Track events yesterday. Thankfully Track is now done and he can take time to heal. A bad hammy takes forever.

Tammy is back on video, woo...hoo. Its a classy interview though.

Steve offers them earlier and earlier now. Too bad the Curse destroys their potential.

FSU will need production from their incoming freshman class with the dismissal of Preston Parker, but they still have enough speed at WR to cause us problems.

Paul Johnson reminds people that if the option was too gimmicky, it wouldnt be working.

Minor rule changes in basketball, the most important being that now if a player is injured on a foul, the other 4 players on the court must shoot his FTs.

Casey Harman and Brad Miller were invited to tryout for Team USA baseball, and the outlook on 2010 baseball will be muddled for a while longer. I really think the NCAA should put some kind of rule in place to help college baseball on this subject. While I think its fine that players get drafted from HS, and most of you have seen the better Braves' players come straight through the system from there, there should still be some kind of protection to help college ball survive better. Perhaps moving the signing date for committed players upwards from August 7?

Baseball season ends in Supers

So everyone knows we got swept by Arizona State in Tempe. I tend to look at it as us just running into great pitching and not having enough timely hitting, and even our defensive mistakes really didnt lose the games for us, they just made the scores worse. I disagreed with the decision to take Dwyer out, but it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the second game. We lost to the better team.

We put 4 earned runs on Mike Leake, now a 1st round pick (8th by the Reds), who had a microscopic ERA coming in. Spence managed to shut us down without pitching over 7 total innings in the last month (he was picked in the 3rd round by the Angels). Except for the defensive lapses we played fairly well down the stretch this year, and we're set up well for 2010. We're going to finish outside the Top 10, but its certainly a big step back from last season.

Its going to rile up the Tardnetters who call for Jack's head though. It’s the third time in the last five years we have been eliminated from the super regional round and the fifth time since 1999. All five times have come on the road. The others will call for Tom Riginos' head as well, perhaps rightfully so, because I didnt see more than 3-5 good at-bats in the 2nd game. It does call into question having a lefty-heavy lineup against the left-handed Spence.

Ben Paulsen is now likely gone, but the Draft didnt take away the rest of our core group of talent on Day 1 (first 3 rounds), not even our biggest HS signees. Generally anyone drafted in the Top 10 rounds go pro, and its pretty obvious that Dwyer will be drafted today. A lefty with a 90-94mph fastball will get picked, but I think he needs seasoning to work on his command.

Strelow asks 5 questions that will be important for 2010 baseball, along with a projected lineup. Note that he assumes Stoneburner and Dwyer will leave, Stoneburner was picked in the 14th by the Yankees while Dwyer got picked in the 4th by Kansas City. Honestly I'd rather sacrifice hitting ability for some defense, especially in CF. Maybe I'm spoiled by watching Andruw Jones in CF for years now, but we do need some speed out there in Center.

Greg Wallace reviews the highs and lows of the season, and previews next year.

Draft Results-updated
-Paulsen in the 3rd by Colorado
-Dwyer in the 4th by KC
-Ryan Hinson was picked in the 10th by the Padres.
-Incoming recruit Younginer was picked in the 7th by the Red Sox, but in the links above he's mentioned as asking for $1mil to not go to Clemson.
-Stoneburner in the 14th by the Yankees
-Delk by the White Sox in the 29th.
-Mike Freeman in the 36th by Arizona
-Matt Sanders in the 41st by Colorado
-Clinton McKinney in the 48th by Colorado
-Addison Johnson in the 48th by Oakland

Friday, June 5, 2009

Football News

-Kickoff has been set for the first three games by the ACC.

@GT-7:30pm, kinda already knew that one though, its a thursday night.
BC-Nooner....hot damn. Are you as excited?

-Troy has been added to the schedule for 2011, @ the Valley.

-What the hell? Did you see this? 2nd in the conference on talent maybe...
2. Clemson - All five starters return for the Tigers. Like FSU, an inexperienced line from a year ago will now be loaded with veterans. The leader is without question versatile guard Thomas Austin. The polished senior has played center and guard for Clemson and anchors the Tiger ground game. Expect running back C.J. Spiller to follow his lead. Junior Chris Hairston is emerging as a premier tackle on the edge and sophomore guard Antoine McClain progressed quite well in his first season.

-CFN previews Clemson in 2009.

-Preseason Athlon magazines are out, Clemson picked 30th nationally, 3rd in the Division behind FSU and NC State. I will say that O'Brien has proven to us several times that he's a good coach and NCSU did have discipline problems under the Chest that this man has fixed, but I just don't quite think they are there yet. With the way they finished down the stretch however, its understandable where this rating comes from.

-Tomahawk Nation believes the smart money in Vegas is on Clemson to win the conference.

-There have been some interesting articles come up lately about drama within the athletic department. TDP brought an assistant with him from Arkansas to Oklahoma State and then here; Katie Hill, now our Senior Associate AD for Internal Affairs and CFO for the AD. Basically she is the money person who runs the finances of the department, and since you have to have a "no" person doing that job, she's rubbed people the wrong way. She's been integral in financing the whole WEZ project and has worked to keep us in the black while still improving facilities and doubling Vickery's budget.

But basically the various coaches think she's a bitch, and don't like that she questions them or uses foul language. Thats the impression I'm getting. What seems to make it worse is that TDP lets her run the show while he sits on the sidelines.

Combined with the financial situation we're going through right now, losing Verizon and Bi-Lo sponsorships to the tune of a couple million, as well as 12% reduction in season tickets (another couple million), and that there are so few conference titles coming lately the morale in the Athletic Dept. seems low.

With the SEC signing this huge contract with ESPN (who will now suck off the conference even moreso than usual) and CBS, their schools are getting $7-9 million individually...equivalent to what they'd get as a BCS payout. SC will still fuck it up but just look at the coaching salaries at Tennessee.

TDP mentioned that he would stay here as long as he enjoys it, and we have success. I'm sure he'll be here until Dabo is established, but probably not much longer.

Phase III of the WEZ construction will have to wait with these financial losses. This last step is to include some things to make it prettier and a museum on Clemson history, likely a joint adventure with the University.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Super Regional Preview: Arizona State

Super Regional is a best-of-3 series at Packard Stadium in Tempe, AZ. A stadium that holds about 2/3 of what Tiger Field can.

No. 5 Arizona State (47-12, Pac-10 Champion) vs. Clemson (44-20)
Game 1: Saturday, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2: Sunday, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 3: Monday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2), if necessary

The only local team ASU played was Winthrop, who they swept in a 3-game set in early May. We didn't play Winthrop this year. Their schedule with results is here.

Rivals previews the series and predicts ASU to win. Greg Wallace writes about how relaxed the Tigers are trying to be this week...which I would really like to see. They've played tight in big road games as far back as I can remember, even during the days of Benson and Koch. The first half of this season we played very tight, and again in the ACC tournament.

More on the team from Gnews and the SHJ. This Rivals article talks about ASU, and how they want redemption for last year. Don Munson previews the series with player interviews here.

Leggett and pitching coach Kyle Bunn said they would likely decide on their starters for the opening two games today. Sophomore lefty Casey Harman figures to be a lock for one start, while other candidates include lefty Chris Dwyer and righties Scott Weismann and Graham Stoneburner.

Looking at ASU's pitching statistics, and given that the Pac-10 is not a cupcake conference (though behind the SEC/ACC), we are going to have an insanely tough time beating a team who are 34-4 at home this year:

ASU team ERA is 2.79, the only other team under 3.00 is Texas. Anything under about 4.50 is great against aluminum bats. Clemson is 5th nationally at 3.57.

ASU starter Mike Leake is a 2-time Pac-10 player of the year and currently a finalist for the Golden Spikes (baseball Heisman). This year he is 15-1 with a 1.23 ERA (unimaginable in college, but Benson was just as good) in 124.2 IP, 20 BB, and 143Ks, 7 CG, and 2 shutouts. He is slated to start Game 1.

He's followed by Josh Spence in Game 2, a Jr. lefty with an 8-1 record and 2.37 ERA (13th nationally, 99Ks in 79.2 IP, All-American). The other notable pitchers are Mitchell Lambson (Fr. LH, 8-3 2.81, freshman All-American), Seth Blair (Soph. RH, 7-2 3.16 ERA), and Jason Franzblau (Sr. RH, 3-2, 2.40). Its likely Blair will start Game 3.

As a team, ASU has allowed only 28 HRs all year. Clemson hit 64 this season.

Conversely, theyre about the same as Clemson when it comes to their hitting, compare it to our own here. Both teams hit .303 average, which is good but not extraordinary for college ball. Their offensive attack is led by Jason Kipnis (.387, 15HR, 68RBI) and Carlos Ramirez (.341, 18HR, 69RBI). They scored 476 runs this year, compared to our 447.

They also field only slightly better than Clemson.

If we can avoid playing tight, which has always been our problem, and get some clutch hits then we can win. Any hits will be at a premium though. We cannot afford mental glitches like the 7th inning of Sunday nights game, or UVA in the ACC Tournament. We all know that we had teams with comparable pitching to what ASU has, and have lost, so anything can happen.

Highlights of the regional from MBRO.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tigers advance to Super Regionals!

Clemson pulled off a small miracle in the 7th and 8th innings, coming back from a 5-1 deficit they dug for themselves, to beat Oklahoma State 6-5 monday night. We advance to the Super Regionals against Arizona State in Tempe, AZ next weekend. Matt Vaughn got the win with 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out the last man on 3 missed swings with 2 men on base.

Chris Epps got Tournament MVP for the weekend series, hitting .526.

Game recap from Larry Williams. P&C version.

Video highlights are here.

Clemson got down early 3-0 before a Mike Freeman RBI triple made it 3-1 in the 5th, scoring Epps who had just doubled.

But in the 7th, what I predicted after the ACC Tourney happened: the defense came apart. None of it was the fault of Vaughn. A routine grounder to third was airmailed over (1B) Paulsen's head by Matt Sanders, putting a runner at 2nd. Then Jeff Schaus either didnt see the ball or took his eyes off it, as the ball bounced right out of his glove in Left, and then Ben Paulsen took a grounder about 6 steps from 1B and threw to 2nd, which went wide left and into LF. It was a complete meltdown to put OK State up 5-1. Had Vaughn not induced a lineout into a double play, it wouldve been worse.

Thankfully Oklahoma State gave one back to us, throwing wide to 1st and putting the first runner (Sanders) on base, with 2 out already. Chris Epps slammed one over the LF wall to make it 5-3. Freeman then came up and doubled down the RF line, and Schaus made up for his mistake with an RBI single to make it 5-4.

In the bottom of the 8th, Ben Paulsen led off and got on base, but then Wilson Boyd struck out and Brad Miller lined out in the infield. Catcher John Nester came up and saved us, with a 2B, putting both runners in scoring position for Kyle Parker.

Oklahoma State went to their closer McCurry, with 10 saves and a 2.45 ERA. With Parker 1-for-10 and in a 17-for-96 slump, I only hoped he would hit a quick grounder to the left side and run out a throw, but he pulled off the clutch hit and both runners came home to make it 6-5.
”You are definitely just in the moment,” Parker said later. “It is just exciting that we got the lead and ended up winning. I have been feeling comfortable; it’s just that things haven’t been happening for me. That is how baseball is.”

Vaughn, true to form, made it interesting in the 9th, pulled it out.

Now it's off to Arizona State and meeting with their ace, a certain first-round pick in Mike Leake who is 15-1 with a 1.23 ERA, striking out 143 batters in 124 innings, while walking just 20.

Oh yeah, and the Cluckers lost to ECU in 10, so it was a perfect day.