Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dabo Goin Full Dabo: Co-Coordinators

Dabo did not disappoint, as soon as he beats SC and feels he has the clout, he goes full Dabo again. I was told 4 years ago that him having to fire Napier stung him, because that last season with Billy was really a co-coordinator system between himself and Napier, and that he wanted people to think that he was an offensive coach who knew playcalling. That experiment failed miserably and Billy was thrown out. I was told before he even got the interim tag that Bowden felt he'd never make a great OC and that he'd never get that job after Spence left, but that one is water under the bridge now.

All these things worry me to death again now that Dabo has appointed dual-coordinators, neither of which could really stand up to him in staff meetings.

Despite what TI has thrown out there about TCU's co-coordinator system and some other successful ones, the majority of these situations do not actually work. Usually it fails and one guy leaves the school. Only one man can call plays at the pace Clemson runs, just one. There's time to discuss it between drives, but if you dick around and start arguing about calls in the game, you don't have any tempo. So really, this is Co-OC in name only, and an excuse to protect one while giving both fictitious promotions and raises. The question is who will call plays, and which one is Dabo really trying to protect?

Jeff has been on everyone's radar as a candidate, not Elliott. I have heard several conversations about the staff and Chad's opinion of each of them, but I will not share that info here. I'll only share the one i've stated before, which is that he and Caldwell won't miss each other. He took Joe Craddock, a GA who held the signs on the sidelines, as his OC. He didn't take Tyler Carlton, who he brought from Tulsa here. That should tell you something. No matter which way you slice it, it doesn't make much sense to not even go out and interview a few guys. I know Dab's talked to some on the phone and bounced some ideas off his other assistants, but no interviews. Given the gravity of the decision, and that we could have an team capable of a Playoff run when Watson is a Jr, I just cannot understand.

Clemson has the most talented QB we've ever had coming back, and a bevy of talent to go with him. We have shown that we'll pay the best in the country for an OC. Together that means we can basically go out and have our pick of coordinators. They'd be lining up to get a chance to coach Watson.

And he kept it internal. You don't promote a relatively unknown RB Coach to Co-OC for no reason. You don't let a Co-OC keep the Recruiting Coordinator job, and you don't have a guy who feels that he is worthy of the full job that wants to share the title and the pressure that goes with it. One gets scapegoated if it stumbles, and it may not be the one you really think.

I think the popular idea among all of us was that JS would be getting the job. What if JS got passed over completely? What would he do? Probably leave. What if Tony got passed over? Probably nothing at this point in his young career, unless Morris actually wanted him to be his OC. It makes you think about the true motivation.

But even though I went to school with both of these guys, along with Dameyune Craig while I was at LSU, I would not approve of either taking the job at this point. I want someone with a hard edge. Rich Rod was a dick at Clemson and Chad had no problem putting his foot in some ass here. I don't see any of them as having enough "asshole" in them to take the job. I see a Napier situaiton all over again.

Dabo sinks or swims with this decision.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Clemson pushes SC to 6-6, and The Chad Leaves for SMU

Dabo finally beat Spurrier again, and we totally dominated the line of scrimmage, which is what really made me happy about the game. Clemson's DL, especially DeShawn Williams, blew them up. Several times I saw Williams and Grady blow the Center/Guard 5 yards deep before he could even straighten himself up some. They had to hold Vic Beasley on every other play to keep him from planting Dylan's ass, typical of SEC refs to miss such calls in interconference matchups.

I doubt many of you noticed, but Clemson's Jet Sweep Toss play was actually blocked differently than we usually do, and this new front scheme was integral in its success this weekend. Usually we'll pull the playside Guard/TE outside towards the play, or simply run a OZ/stretch scheme to block it. This time we changed that, and messed up the keys for their LBs. I didn't notice it live, but a coaching friend pointed it out, and now that I've rewatched the game I can see how lethal it was to them. The play works off our normal jet motion + Power O play, where the Guard pulls over to playside and the RB follows him. We run a jet motion to confuse the LB, but the Guard tells where the ball is going.

On the new play, we pull the playside Guard away from the play. As I've written numerous times before, the Linebacker's keys are the Guard/RB and ball. It forms a triangle read. If his main key is the Guard, he'll go where the Guard goes, because naturally the Guard would be blocking as a lead blocker for someone else, as in the Power O play we run often. So the playside LB, in this case often Skai Moore, is reading the Guard, and thinks "power O" when the Guard pulls towards the backside. The LB then flows over there towards him.

Clemson released the TE towards the playside in an Arc release, to take out the safety or OLB. The WR to that side simply blocks, I never noticed a crackback. The playside OT veer releases inside, leaving the DE unblocked. The OT then seals off the backside pursuit, which was often the LB trying to recover when he saw the ball not going behind the pulling Guard.

When the OT down blocks, the DE is supposed to follow the Block-down-step-down rule and squeeze the OT further inside. Theirs never did, and just stood there while Artavis Scott ran right by them. With the backside sealed and an arc block by the TE and a block by the WR, he went a long way.

Watson was awesome, Gallman ran his ass off, the defense played great, so that's all I can say. I'm happy that we won and don't care about anything else right now. I want the bowl win to get to 10 but I don't care so long as I can flip off every cockfan I run into and say "From Top 10 to 6-6!".

As I'd hinted at on twitter two weeks ago, Chad Morris to SMU happened. While I have my issues with Chad's playcalling in big games, and I think the "we will be a good power run team" stuff is bull, I do think he's the best OC Clemson has ever had. I loved RRod and I love Chad Morris. We will miss him. Expecting us to be as awesome next year on offense as we would be with him seems farfetched. If you lose a good coach and possibly end up changing the whole system, you're going to take a step back. I hope he has great success and can go full Ron Meyer out there at SMU.

Knowing what I know about Morris' issues with Batson's S&C program, I highly doubt he takes a single member of our S&C staff with him. He complained to Dabo after his first year and has complained about it since.

Also as I expected, he took Justin Stepp with him to SMU as WR Coach. Stepp was previously a GA here and Chad promised he'd take him wherever he went as HC after he left for App State. As I recall, Stepp also had a money issue with Dabo where they didn't see eye-to-eye, and Chad took up for Justin. GAs make in the $20K range while they work on their Masters.

While I believed that Jeff Scott would end up going with Chad Morris if he went to a P5 or some other fairly big school, I have heard that he was going to stay. For those who are stupid and haven't thought of coaching as your life career, let me break it down for you as to why he'd ever consider leaving. If you want to be a HC someday, you need to cut your teeth somewhere else, get exposed to new ideas and philosophies, and become a well-rounded coach. If you think you've found someone who can teach you something, then you should go with him wherever he goes. I know Clemson is fond of promoting WR coaches to HC, but that just doesn't happen often. Maybe some who feel that any Clemson coach is awesome and would be awesome as HC don't think that way, but those people are the trailer park fans who don't know anything about football. If I was underneath Saban as a DL coach, I'd go with him wherever he went until I felt I was knowledgeable enough and ready to make my own way. The smartest move for yourself is to go with the smart coach who can teach you everything, then come back home later. If I were Jeff and Chad was going to Florida, or even Tulsa, I'd go with him, learn a few years, eventually take over playcalling, learn how to run a whole program, and then go off on my own. Maybe then I'd take a lateral move as OC as Chad did with us from Tulsa to prove it was me and not Chad. Maybe by then I could get the Clemson HC job if Dabo left. All Clemson fans would accept me if I had proven offensive coaching skills.

That's the thinking and most of you with professional skills and who have thought about your lifelong career understand that.

SMU is a little different in that I think its very hard to win there, so I'd think twice about it and maybe stay put, but that is the thinking going on here, and so I wouldn't fault Jeff Scott either way. I'd wish him luck and hopefully he'd be able to come back someday.

And if Clemson loses a few recruits, then they really werent committed to the school anyway. Alabama and Auburn and Georgia and etc. etc. lose assistants every year and still put up great classes don't they? If you lose a coach thats not an excuse.

We may end up promoting Jeff to OC and turning the RC job over to Elliot too. The concern here for me is that Dabo will go full Dabo in the offense like he did Billy Napier. Chad Morris had no problem telling Caldwell some guys sucked and did the same to Dabo Swinney. He wouldn't let Dabo meddle in his playcalling. Is Jeff that confident in himself and will he stand up to Dabo when he dabs? Dabo is no offensive genius despite what he may think of himself. We've seen what happens there.

Dabo is being very quiet about it all, so I havent heard much at all. All I know for a fact is that I'd interview some guys before I decided. I'd call Rhett Lashlee at Auburn, who doesn't call plays but who has coached this system for many years after having played in it under Gus. I'd call Philip Montgomery at Baylor, which is an absolutely lethal offense that scares the shit out of a defensive guy like myself. I'd call Scott Frost at Oregon, because I think that option style will destroy the ACC's defenses. I'd call up Lincoln Riley at ECU, because God knows Clemson has never once stopped a true Air Raid team. I'd look at Mike Norvell at Ariz State, Spavital at A&M, and Kurt Roper, who walked into a lose/lose situation under Muschamp at Florida.

If I got my wishes, Pearman would move off into an admin role so we can finally get a recruiter in Charlotte and finally get a decent ST coach who could find someone besides AH to return punts.

My other wishlist if the right coaching dominoes fell would be to get Brandon Streeter here as a QB position coach, or even Bobby Bentley (who is a total prick but can coach his ass off) at the same spot.

On defense, Venables shot down the A&M rumor, but I said from the start that this wasn't happening anyway unless he really just wanted to move back out west. He's proved his chops at DC and is ready for the right HC job. Its only a matter of time before he gets offered one he wants. I know Iowa State called to speak with him, but would you go there? If your goal is to get a plum job, you'd pick somewhere a little easier to win at. If he stays, he's getting a raise from the money Chad just left behind, but he won't be here after 2 more years, I'd bet money on that. I'm biting my nails on this one for a few weeks as the coaching carousel takes shape, because our D is going to lose a lot and we'll take a big step back next season, and I don't want to be installing a new scheme too.

Monday, November 17, 2014

House Of Horrors: Atlanta

Probably not being fair because we've won a Peach Bowl and beat Auburn down there, but we haven't looked good at Bobby Dodd in quite some time, and the same thing happened this weekend just as we feared.

I told many people that the clock was ticking on us with Stoudt playing QB. We were going to lose with him sooner or later. Clemson fans bitched at me for saying so on twitter a month ago, so what do you folks think about him now? Stoudt is a terrible QB. You don't like that I'd say so? Too damn bad. I always call it like I see it. He's worse than Proctor ever was.

As soon as Watson went down, I knew it was over. I had hope for a bit, but it was gone by halftime. Dabo knew it, thats why he didn't bother calling TO at the half. With Watson, we beat GT. Without him, its a loss. 

I'm not going to come down too hard on other sites that reported a torn ACL for Watson before the MRI, but with him being able to walk off unaided, I would not have called that out as the actuality until we got the MRI back. If he was carried off, I might have called it myself. I initially thought it was a bad sprain or MCL (which you see guys walk off with), but I couldn't argue that an ACL wasn't a good possibility based on what we were hearing. A lot of doctors would speculate it was ACL based on the apparent severity, but I would say you should never definitively state it was one thing or another until Clemson officially released it.

Thats not to say you should always wait til Clemson says something, because they're hiding Stoudt's left shoulder problems. They knew about Kyle Parker's shoulder blade problem and hid that as well, and they've repeatedly told us guys were 100% only to find out they are more like 60%, so...

Anyway, having Watson as a possibility means we could actually win the SC game. Without him, its a loss, and I'd pick the bowl as a loss too. This offense stinks without Watson. I understand that the QB makes it go, but that the offense is so inept without Watson is squarely on the coaching staff. The offense is so pitiful that I can barely stand to watch them.

Its a shame that Stoudt stinks so bad because it really hurt one of our best defenses in my memory, i thought they handled the option very well. They stopped the dive. We got busted in coverage a few times, and I was disappointed in Alexander on a few of those, but they played well enough to win the game if the offense hadn't pissed down their legs.

Also, FF and I are now thinking of building a new site. I think we'll do something a little different and use a message board along with a front page which would include a few periodic articles, not the daily posting schedule that we set on STS.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Its Option Time Again

I must say that I don't miss having to correct people's perceptions of the triple option as a gimmicky or archaic offense and that Johnson is a know-nothing idiot anymore. Usually you see at least 10 message board idiots saying that we'll hold GT under 200 yards rushing and that they couldnt beat us in any year in which we had a decent defense. Its this time of the season that you find out which Clemson fans really know something about football at all, and thus it depresses me more to see how many are stupid when it comes to the option.

Its not going to shock anyone for me to say I predicted this as a loss with Stoudt starting at QB. I mean, we can't beat up Wake or BC, and neither of those offenses are worrisome, with Stoudt in there, so why would you think we'd beat a good offensive team that can score big plays just as fast as Clemson with him? Then add on to that the fact that we haven't looked great in Atlanta in about a decade's time. The history doesn't matter in the pro football arena, but I do think it does in college for some reason (or we'd have beaten UNC in the Dean Dome by now).

And make no mistake, GT is going to score on us. They are going to hit a couple 40+ yard runs in this game. They are going to crack Steward and Goodson and both safeties, and cut block the hell out of us in the alleys. I do not think this offense is as potent as what we faced in 2009, but I think Thomas is the most capable QB he's had in Atlanta of being able to run the entire system at you.

Also, for some reason PJ calls a better game in Atlanta than he does elsewhere. When i watched tape of his strategies in DV, he does dumb stuff, out of the blue, for no obvious reason. He'll go for it when he should kick. He'll abandon things that worked fine, which he did two years ago in DV and on the previous trip up before that against Steele. In Atlanta, he doesn't do the same things.  He calls better games.

So no, I don't think this will be a pretty defensive performance, even with one of the best defenses in the last 25 years at Clemson. We'll give them 250 yards, maybe more in garbage time. If we're aggressive like we were last year in the front 7, and hammer the shit out of that QB, they won't outscore us with Watson. Even our shit OL should be able to protect him enough to bomb their terrible secondary.

Watson has been running and throwing in practice for weeks, the hand hasn't been an issue since about 1 week after the surgery.

If DW struggles though, better break out some hard stuff.

Monday, October 27, 2014

At some point you just don't know what to say about it anymore

I just want to thank Brent Venables (Skeletor) for knowing how to coach a defense. I loved the 2009 defense and the pressure that that front 4 could get, and it was really an elite defense pared with a below average offense, but it had some weaknesses at LB. This defense doesn't have a glaring weakness like that one did, and its right up there with the best defenses we've had at Clemson since Brother Bill left town. They might even give the 89-91 defenses a run for their money.

And Mack Alexander doesn't get nearly the credit in the press he deserves. I always say that if you don't hear of a CB during a game, that means that he's playing great, and this kid can flat out cover. He doesn't get the INTs, but he can play M2M with the best. Whenever they zoom out and you can see someone blanketed, its always Alexander stuck to his hip, playing the ball correctly instead of the receiver.

But once again, our offense has stunk it up and leaned on the defense to win them the game. Lakip and Gallman get my game ball.

When i went to the spring game, the team I saw looked like a 7-5/8-4 team. I didn't tell anyone but FF about that because they'd just bitch about me being negative. If Stoudt starts all games this season, I think we would've wound up being 7-5. He has simply reached Proctor-level. His fundamentals are not there. They were there last year, and they looked better than this in the spring game, but they aren't there now. His feet are happy. He's not setting and throwing, and the zip is just off. The accuracy is poor.We have never said that Stoudt had a great arm, but he's consistently late to the flats. He does not read his coverage, at all. He's locked on to his #1 and forces that too often, then takes his 3rd read (the checkdown) and puts that receiver in a bind because the throw is too late - receiver gets killed as soon as he catches it, or gets no yards.

And our OL, woof. Wayne Gallman ran his ass off with no help. Stoudt barely has time to make a read even when he doesn't lock on the primary. After Norton went down I was glad to see Webster move over, because anyone should be able to block better than Norton there. Webster isn't good enough to play full time either, but he's not as awful as Norton.

Davis playing Tackle points to a failure in recruiting tackles and coaching them. He can't move well enough to play Guard in this system and now he's playing Tackle?, where you have to move your feet even more? Gore should be able to play by now and someone should've properly put a foot in Battle's ass.

And as good as Watson is, getting Hyatt and Fruhmorgen in there next season won't fix it next season, they may fix it in 2016, not as true freshmen tackles. If you think its miraculously going to get better i'd like to know what you smoke daily. If we havent had a line in years that could a) consistently drive block and b) pass block, what makes you think the same coaches+Batson are going to fix it in one year with a few recruits? One year fixes happen at WR or RB where there is less development required, not OL.

I said after BC that if this team played anyone worth a shit while Watson was out, we'd lose. I caught a lot of flak for it, but after 3 straight games of terrible play, those same people are coming around to my concerns. Its a good thing Syracuse and WF are two terrible offenses and would need significant help from us to win the games.

If Watson is out for GT we will lose the game. Our defense will play well but they'll be on the field too much by the 4th Q and will miss tackles by then, and PJ doesn't do the stupid shit in Atlanta that he does in DV. Their offense has improved this year yet wouldn't be able to beat Clemson with us having a great defense, but I wouldn't predict the 91 defense to win if the offense couldn't score.

Thankfully from what I've heard from practice is that its a soft cast on Watson's hand and that he can throw nerf balls already just fine, so we should have him. If we do I think we'd win by probably 2 TDs, but I don't expect any victory in Atlanta to be pretty. They never are.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Louisville: A damned debacle.

So much fail in one game. It felt like a Dabo-Napier offense. Chad Morris still can't get it together against good defenses. I'll let that stand as the overarching issue, leading to our terrible OL and QB play from the whole day. Somebody was reading too much into who Louisville's defense had faced and not enough about the skill they do possess. I was not one of those people reading Louisville's defensive stats and simply pointing out that they hadn't played a great offense - they hadn't - I watched them play earlier this year and its a pretty good group.

Strong recruited well and coached better, but Grantham will screw them up, and Petrino won't recruit defensive players, so I think this is the best D they'll have under his tenure, but they can play right now.

I will address the scoring first, since us not being able to win at FSU by lining under center at the 1 yard line remains firmly on my mind. Clemson should've been able to do the same thing Saturday late in the game and been up by 10, and instead of doing that, they decided to once again get in the Gun, call a Power O, and not get one fucking yard again. This led to the game still being in doubt down to the last second because of one slip in coverage, one slip after being outstanding basically all day, and our coaches would bear 100% of the blame because they can't get their shit together.

Heres what you do at the 1yd line, 1) get under Center, 2) call a Wedge play. If they beat that then you don't deserve to win the game.

Heres what you dont do at the 1: 1) Get cute and try stupid shit. 2) call a Power O play when your Center has been getting his ass beat all goddamn day by the backside DT when you called Power, 3) don't have a guard who can get his fat ass over into a hole and knock someone backwards.

On the Power O, the backside Guard pulls to the playside and the RB/QB follows. If the backside G is covered by a DT, then the Center has to block back or the backside OT has to cut him or somehow take him out (which means somebody like Suckinger gets to down-block on the DE, that'll work great right?). 90% of the time, its the Center blocking back. Ryan Norton is our center. /endofdiscussion. Stop calling the play until he can block. Stop calling QB Power with Stoudt altogether.

I've heard word from practice that it is Chad Morris who has a preference for the gap scheme calls, and it is Robbie Caldwell who is pushing for more zone plays. Well right now, we have no working gap calls. The Power does NOT work if you can't seal the backside DT and can't pull a Guard. If the Power doesn't work, the Counter Trey won't either. They are complimentary plays. We run a Counter H where we pull the TE behind the Guard, and we know damn well that the TEs can't block, so you can't call that one can you? We've abandoned the buck sweep, which used to be Chad's favorite run call, because we don't have two Guards who can pull and actually block anyone. One will forget to wrap around and the other will run downfield and not touch anyone.

Thus far this season its only the Zone plays that are working halfway right. Its also only the IZ because we have basically abandoned the OZ and the toss/pitch to GHop or Davidson that would compliment it.

So, essentially, our running game is a complete cluster. They insist on letting Howard actually play when he sucks, and not giving the carries to guys who could do anything with them. They call the wrong plays, and they can't block when they do have good calls.

The next issue is Stoudt. Wow that was bad. He's not that bad a player, but he reached Proctor-level Saturday afternoon. He stares at the blitzer and doesn't check to the hot read (a fault Tajh often had). He's locking on his primary and not reading the coverage. He's pressing and trying to make too much happen. His feet aren't moving. He was late to the flats, which is a rule you don't break against any good secondary. Watson lobbed one out there as well and got picked, but Stoudt knows better. If you go to the flats, you throw a bullet or you don't throw it at all.

Stoudt has regressed from last season. His fundamentals are falling off, and I think the main thing is just that he lost all confidence. UGA messed up his head, and right now I would not be surprised if we lost one of these 4-5 games coming up with him starting.

I knew our D was going to have to win us some games this year one way or another. They'll be hard pressed to win 4-5 games if Stoudt plays this bad.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mid-Season Sunday Thoughts

We’re halfway home.  I’ve kind of been in hibernation since the Ryder Cup debacle.  Of course I’ve been watching our Tigers and been in awe of #4 as most of you have.  I will take this opportunity to man up and say that I was wrong about Watson starting.  Padge was adamant over the summer that he would be one of the greatest in school history and would start this season.  Many others gloated over his skills.  I was of the opinion that there was no way a true freshman could learn enough of the offense and adjust to the speed of play to get significant snaps.  I figured Cole was way ahead of him in understanding the offense and the ability to use that much more of the playbook would leave him in—at least through the NC State game.  Well, I was clearly wrong.  Deshaun Watson has emerged (to date) to be the real deal.  Chad Kelly is lucky now that he got the hell out of town, because Watson is simply better.  The only others with as much hype as him in my memory include Michael Carr and Billy Luckie.  Neither did shit at Clemson.  Now we’ll see how Cole plays over the next month and wonder what will happen when Watson is back healthy.  More about Clemson Football and my other musings following the jump (too much to eat up the whole page, so click the article's title link to open).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UNC: The score doesn't tell the whole story.

I was at a bar full of FSU fans Saturday evening, 3 of whom I shot a bird towards, and missed the start of the Clemson-UNC game. Apparently I missed the best parts. However i did get to rewatch it Sunday, and it actually looked worse the second time.

I am happy with D. Watson breaking records, his touch is great, his poise is great, and he's on a Heisman trajectory if we can ever put it together as a team during his 3 years here. He wasn't perfect this weekend by a long shot, 3-5 balls were thrown that shouldn't have been thrown. NC just wasn't good enough to take advantage of them all. Unfortunately since Chad is not committed to building a running game, he's going to have to bulk up and become our RB too.

It must be stated however that UNC has the worst safeties we've faced this year. I mean those guys were completely lost. I was watching the tape and constantly asked myself, "what the hell was that guy watching?". We had guys open by 10 yards multiple times. I thought it was a Big XII defense i was watching. UNC doesn't have the talent they had under Butch Davis anymore, and it shows. VK is a good DB coach but he has not done a good job there and I don't think he has anything to work with either.

Defense played well, for one half. Thats all. In the 2nd half it was a mental letdown. We were not aggressive any longer. We were flat footed on jailbreaks too often, because guys were simply not reading their key. Our LBs in particular seemed to hesitate. UNC made that a 2 score game and threatened to make it one score under 5 minutes to go.

OL - terrible as I've come to expect. No one is pushing the starters, they are all so equally bad that its just a mishmash on any play. Who sucks the most on any play? Just pick a number, you'll be right soon enough. Kalon Davis playing RT is a travesty. 

I just have some questions for Dabs and Chad.

1. Did a rock fall on your head before you decided to take Watson out and put in Cole Stoudt in the 1st half? Did Joey B ring the bell too loud this week and fuck up your senses? Maybe he hit you with the chains on the weights? You don't take out the QB who is in a rhythm after just hitting a bomb to GHop, and you don't do it again with 5 minutes left in what had become a 2 score game.

Look I'm all for Stoudt getting a chance to play, but if you leave Watson in earlier it may have been a 3 score game with 5 minutes to play and I'd have no problem putting him in, but it made sense in neither case. I can't believe Chad decided on this himself.

2. Bench every TE on the damn roster. Put another lineman in to block, hell they need the work too. That display of blocking was atrocious. You pull a guy, he stands up to block, plays pattycake with the LB, and he gets planted on his ass and the RB gets nailed for a loss.  Suckinger wouldn't play again for me this season. Leggett would sit the bench for a month until he decides to get serious about blocking. A TE who can't block is a liability in this offense, put him at WR if you want him out there.

3. I like Adam Humphries, he plays hard, but he can't play over guys like Kitt or Scott or GHop. He is good at two things: blocking and calling fair catches. He's not going to outrun anybody. He's not getting himself open. He can't return a punt. Watch the defense when he runs across in motion, they do not respect him. Otherwise he's a decoy on the field.

4. Get DJ Howard off the damn field. 13 carries for him? Did I read that correctly? Howard is not conducive to having a strong run game. Gallman or Choice are. If Choice was banged up with a thigh bruise, Gallman should've been playing. Put the extra OL in there to block and let Gallman run.

Since I'll be in Braselton for the race this weekend, I'll get a chance to hear the wonderful "Coach" Don Munson call a game live, I'm sure I'll be twice as pissed at him afterwards.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Clemson gives away the game in Tallahassee


I'm just heartbroken that we could play a game so well against the #1-ranked team on the road, and somehow lose the game. Theres a few losses in our history that really bothered me, the 1988 one, the 1999 one, the loss down there 3 years ago, and this one. 3 years ago we basically outplayed them just the same, but couldn't score in the red zone and couldn't make the kicks. This time we outplayed them for all but one defensive drive in the 3rd quarter, and still gave it away.

FSU tried their very best to gift-wrap the game and hand it to Clemson, but its about Clemson, just as Dabo said pre-game, and Clemson failed to TAKE it.

Defense played their asses off. One weak drive, and basically one slip up by Mac Alexander, who himself played a hell of a game. DL whipped their asses up and down the field. Cameron Erving had his pants pulled down by Vic Beasley. Their Center couldn't recognize the front and it got him whipped a few times.

Just about the only thing I could complain about as far as the coaching went was that we continually allowed the best TE in the country, O'Leary, to get a free release even with a DE lined up on him in a 7-8-9 tech. MacGuire couldn't find anyone else when he needed a catch made.

D. Watson, I didn't think he was ready pre-game from a playbook standpoint. When he took the team that first drive I knew I was wrong. I don't care how many mistakes he makes this year, leave him in there. Play Cole, because he deserves to play, but Watson better start from here on out. Anything else would show me how stupid Dabo remains.

I just don't understand why Chad Morris says he couldn't get under center. He's a QB, and he hasn't put his hands under a center's ass before? I know Gainesville runs 100% Shotgun, but Jesus man. We line up under center down there and we score. I still believe we did score, but the ACC refs didn't think to review that one? If our coaches had a TV in the box, they should've called down to Dabs and had him challenge.

Now if Pearman can't coach, and I can see he can't improve Special Teams at all, then he can at least watch a TV to see if a call should get challenged. What other good is the man doing? We can't do more than fair-catch a punt, we can't hit a FG, we can't cover or return kicks, he can't recruit worth a damn, so what else is he here for? He has yet to approach Jack Hines-level of shittyness, but he's getting there.

I just don't want people blaming the whole loss on Lakip. Kickers are all mental cases, leave him alone. He needs practice yes, and absolutely should've made the first one, which I won't excuse at all, but the offense needed to get a damn yard. One fuckin yard inside the redzone wouldv'e won it. They had chances. Our OL can't push SC State off the ball, and they didn't do any better getting FSU off the line. If we had a good OL we win the game outright.

However, I give Spence a shot at kicker this week and forwards. I give Pinion another shot at placekicking as well. We have to fix it ASAP. If another guy can do it, gotta hold open tryouts to find him. I can tolerate missing over 40, but under 40 you need to be able to hit 95% of them.

And second, Ryan Norton needs to be on the bench. Guillermo is a better player. He needs to be starting this week if he's healthy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pre FSU thoughts

Been seeing a lot of noise about Famous Jameis and his innate ability to insert his foot in his own mouth. I would just say that I could not care less what he says at any time, much less this week. I pay no attention to anything the opponents say before the game. I will say that the kid is either just plain stupid or has no self-awareness at all. Some guys only have football brains, they can't add 2+2 otherwise.

I like Jimbo Fisher as a coach, but I have my criticisms of the man. The way he and FSU have handled Winston have disturbed me a little. I'd put a muzzle on him. I don't have a problem with what he said to the Student Union, I've said worse and most of you did too in college, but he needs to know you can't act like a normal 20 yr old when the media is going to be all over every damn thing you do. Just stop talking. Stop tweeting.

Certainly it improves our chances of winning down there, but I can't realistically pick us to win. I see the talent and depth on their roster, and I don't think losing him for a half will make the difference. I hope I'm wrong but I don't see it.

I do see Clemson's problems: our OL is terrible and we have a QB issue.

If you can't block FSU's front, it won't matter who plays QB for us. Once again, for the what, 7th year straight now?, our OL stinks. SC State exposed further protection problems that FSU will exploit all night.  Our run blocking is no better than it ever has been.

Someone asked me the other day what the OL's problems are and why we can't fix them. They wanted me to lay it on Caldwell, but I'm not. Its still a combination of things, but moreso Batson than the others. If your starting OL still can't move SC State off the ball for 5 ypc, you aren't strong enough. Not seeing any improvement in functional strength. Ring the bell Joey.

I saw one really good toss play for a TD, where we blew SC State 5 yards into the endzone. Thats the kind of thing we should be doing to them on every play.

Picking up blitzes IS Caldwell however. Pass pickup technique is his problem. A 3 man rush from SC State should not even get a sniff of Cole or DeShaun.

The man starting at Center is another problem. Norton is quickly losing me. I would not have him start if Guillermo can gunsnap the ball consistently, and I haven't seen anything that makes me think he cant.

Not impressed with any TE in blocking. Suckinger had a year to bulk up and still couldn't put a hit on someone if his life depended on it. Leggett looks like he hasn't worked on it at all. McCullough is adequate and I hope he can do something in the passing game. A TE who can't block is a WR, and none of this bunch would play over our WRs.

D.J. Howard should never play aside from definite passing (or max protect) situations where his blocking is required. Only Gallman and Choice should get touches, and Gallman the most right now. FSU yards will be tough yards, if we get none, we lose.

Finally, the QB situation. I went to Clemson during the "We want Willie over Woody" days. I've rarely been a fan of the backup more than the starter since then, because guys start for good reasons that most fans don't see. Watson has been given a limited portion of the playbook, Cole can run it all. Cole can execute our offense to a higher level than Watson as of today. Watson would be able to improvise with his legs better and possibly make a big play. I can see like anyone else that Watson is the better player. He really is, the arm is better, the speed is better. I also want him starting within the next couple weeks. Do you throw him out for FSU? That is the real question.

On this one I'd side with Dabo. Watson might actually give us the better chance of winning with his improv skills, but otherwise I don't think so today. You need the whole playbook to win this one. If you damage Watson's psyche now, you can ruin his season and you might cause Cole to lose confidence as well. Cole was already pressing a little against SC State. He's going to throw some picks this weekend, as would Watson if he started. I'd base my decision going forward on the post-FSU play of the QBs, and I do expect Watson will win the job, just not this week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Two Weeks Into the 2014 Football Season

Like DrB, I am enjoying my free time and just want a spot to land thoughts as this football season progresses.  This seems an adequate location.  As such, I don't know how often this will be updated or if it'll deviate from random musings about the Clemson Football program.

Two games in so I have a few basic thoughts I want to capture before Clemson gets into the bye week then heads down to Florida State.  These items reflect both the Georgia / SC State games this season and look back at trends carried over from years’ past.

Yes,I am still overall pleased with Morris’ work he is a damn good coach and responsible for a lot of Clemson wins.  However, in big games (particularly during the regular season), Chad Morris and the offensive staff tend to “manage” games the football games instead of calling them. Clemson’s offense operates best under loose, rapid-fire conditions.  In years’ past against SCar and again last weekend at Georgia in the second half Clemson slowed down.  Last week they got flat out conservative.  The combination resulted in the second-half offensive bog.  Of course, Morris was not helped by the offensive line, critical dropped passes, and the decision to play veteran backs but we'll look at those items in a bit.

Over the years I’ve openly criticized the decision to slow the pace down, highlighted with the expletive exasperation following the “check with me” strategy against the Gamecocks a couple years ago (yes, I still believe that Clemson could have worn down that SCar defensive line had the Tigers increased pace of play).  Without delving too far into the Clemson offensive strategy, I’ll say that The Chad (and the rest of the staff) has to commit to playing rapidly and Morris must get back to his core philosophy revolving around taking shots down the field on a routing basis.  It is one thing to do it against SC State, quite another against better teams we’ll play this season.

We saw complete crap from all five offensive line spots yesterday.  Right now, this offensive line is absolute shit a mess.  From memory, the worst from State included Ryan Norton getting bulldozed, Eric Mac Lain being slower than shit causing him to be way out of position (then deciding just to dive into the turf way, way behind the play), and Kalon Davis completely whiffing in several pass protection situations.  Pass blocking was very poor overall and, again, we got no push when keeping it on the ground.  Basically, a Division 1-AA school beat our ass at the point of attack.  There is absolutely no excuse for this.  Shitty pass blocking from guys I didn’t expect too much from is unacceptable but not inexplicable.  Our center getting his ass whipped / steamrolled against the defensive line we faced yesterday is flat out embarrassing.  Clearly there are deficiencies up front—a big deficiency being depth.  Swinney and crew cannot piss away scholarships yearly while this issue year over year remains a program eyesore.  If we ever want to get serious about smashing the ball A-gap to A-gap (as I believe Morris would like), this has to be fixed.  The "Mountaineer" Jet Sweep (pass) will only work so often when you have a defensive line faster and more talented than State.

Overall, Cole played fine both weeks despite some mistakes against Georgia and Watson played well in both games.  I am more comfortable with Cole for the duration of a football game and believe he can lead this offense using the all of the items in the playbook.  I'll admit I was disappointed in Cole trying to force another one near the goalline yesterday in addition to throwing across his body at Georgia in a similar down/distance.  I can't think of an opportune time for most any quarterback to throw across his body, particularly with that much traffic.  You must protect the football in those situations because, duh, they are your best opportunities to score.  As mentioned earlier, Watson looked talented and advertised.  He is impressive slipping out of trouble / running the football and has been more impressive with several downfield passes.  Again, I expect his role to be limited, at least through the end of this month.

Many are calling for an immediate depth chart change at the quarterback position.  Deshaun Watson is slippery elusive and throws the ball very, very well.  He is the most talented incoming QB in my memory and looks very developed for a true freshman.  He’s looked very good so far in his limited role.  That role will remain limited in the near future as the staff will keep the training wheels on him (no matter what they say to the media).  You’ll see him in a couple near-scripted drives at FSU and probably the same against Louisville.  I agree with the staff here…in order to play at the pace we want/need to play, I believe the more experienced—and very capable—Stoudt is the horse to ride into Tallahassee.  The win/loss results through the end of September should dictate how snaps are divvied up.  Obviously, if we cannot win the division, Watson as many meaningful reps as reasonably possible...he is without a doubt the future of this program.

The decision should already be made for other Clemson backfield spots.  The production out of the veteran runningbacks was poor at Georgia and younger backs have to be featured.  Sure, we’ll have passing game issues because of this (you simply cannot expect a newcomer to come in and block well—either at the collegiate or professional level) but Clemson cannot win big running the football with the personnel featured in Week 1.  The staff realizes this, hence Gallman and Choice being featured against State.  Unfortunately, they'll likely have to carry the load without significant push up front.

I am not exactly sure where I stand with the receivers yet.  We have a talented yet thin group and I am trying to stay optimistic.  With the departure of Priester, we can ill-afford any injuries or suspensions.  I am happy Peake was able to return, though it is a shame he was hurt a year ago--especially considering Clemson's track record of rehabilitation.  I am still pimping Mike Williams even though his drops early against UGa were momentum killers.  You know exactly what you are getting with Adam Humphries (I’ve spent the past three years praising his effort, so won’t rehash that here).  Scott provides instant impact as the freshman was productive in the opener and set records against State.  I look to see how Kitt progresses.  With the aforementioned depth issues, we’ll need a lot of quality snaps out of the freshmen.

Tight end play has been a disappointment.  I figured I’d see the TE targeted more in Athens but this group was essentially a non-factor.  Their blocking has been a liability to date and I haven't noticed any improvement over last season.  There is absolutely no sense in lining up Seckinger anywhere near the interior linemen if you expect to run to his side and I wouldn’t want him helping in max-protect situations if I were Cole.

The short yardage quandary is an offshoot of our line issues / question marks in the backfield.  We have been piss-poor in this area using conventional running backs for years and I don’t see improvement in ’14.  The last couple years featured a single wing power play with Tajh doing the grunt work.  While this was successful, Cole…well…likely can’t generate the momentum Boyd did in his wrecking ball role.  I’ll be interested to see how Clemson tries to get tough yards and, eventually, if the staff can find a way to consistently move the chains and convert goalline situations (without killing the quarterback).

This defense is good…possibly the best we’ve had at Clemson in a long, long time.  I will admit they seemed lackluster and unfocussed as the Georgia game progressed but think that is more of the exception than the rule.  Also, they won't see a back like Gurley again this season.  Everyone said it all offseason and hopefully these guys will fully understand that this offense simply doesn’t have the fire power it had a year ago and is bad/average up-front.  Accordingly, the defense will be asked to do more and more this year to win games.  They rose up and did this on several occasions last season and I am confident that it’ll happen again this year.

The senior-laden front seven is the best we’ve had in recent memory especially when at full strength.  There is little else to say about them other than enjoy this season because there has to be a dropoff next season.  I probably should be a little more concerned about the corners than I am but the strong front seven clearly helps this group.  Outside of Jenkins and Peters, I'll point to the extremely youth which will result in spectator frustration at some point in the year.  The clear talent headliner is Alexander and I suppose I am not the only one eager to see him go through a full year.  My biggest overall concern for this defense is the safeties (not a surprise following last season).  I am still not pleased with all the angles that are taken.  Poor angles result in players being out of position which leads to arm tackles which leads to broken tackles which leads to big yardage for the opponents.  We saw Robert Smith woefully guilty of this yesterday.  I'll be interested to see how better passing teams attack the seam.  If I were the opposition, I'd make Clemson prove they can contain the middle of the field.

Special Teams suck.  This specifically applies to the punt return team and kick coverage teams.  Neither is something new.  Clemson gave up trying to return punts for positive yardage against Georgia last season.  This unit repeatedly fucked up against Carolina at the end of the year, handing them the football in opportune locations.  I get it, you put AH back to assure that a fair catch is made (so make sure we can at least do that).  I think most Clemson fans are interested in seeing if we can get any return on an opponent’s punt.

A kick returned Week 1 was the catalyst for Georgia’s turnaround.  Clemson couldn’t manage the simple task of running lanes and paid dearly for it.  Anytime there is that shitty of an effort to fill lanes you are going to give up a touchdown, it was that pathetic.  

In addition to 7 points, how did that effect the overall game?   I'll argue that Mike Bobo is a very incompetent bad offensive coordinator and could see him leading Georgia down the path of complete implosion (yes, this is the same yahoo who refused to run the nation's best back the whole 1st half).  I am not arguing the result of the game or the dominance of Gurley.  I am saying that the kickoff return moved the momentum / took pressure off of Bobo and the piss-poor execution of Clemson's kick coverage team was unacceptable.

We’ve said it time and time again, we don’t really know what Danny Pearman brings to this football program.  Clemson has repeated special teams follies that completely changed games.  He was brought in originally to help an inept Brad Scott.  Now he’s an average TE coach, below average special teams coach, and ineffective recruiter.  I want to like Pearman but cannot tell you I like him eating up a staff spot.  Swinney clearly wants him around this program so all may be happy to put DP in an administrative role.

The final item I took from the weekend was the Clemson Radio Network's coverage of the football game.  I did not listen to the whole broadcast.  The piece I heard was absolutely awful.  "Coach" Don Munson was extremely dry honestly tough to listen to.  There were long breaks where you could almost hear Rodney thinking, "What the hell is this guy talking about?"  I won't say that I was the biggest fan of Pete (it will always be tough in my mind to replace Jim Phillips) but I'll say that he was much, much better than "Coach."  How anyone in the AD can think otherwise is unfathomable.  I know Munson is Dabo's boy and all and I know there is no real reason to employ him in the AD now, but for goodness sakes don't make the whole fanbase suffer by putting him on the radio.  At the very least, have some respect for Rodney Williams and get him a real counterpart for these broadcasts.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Georgia: A Tale of Two Halves

Frankly I haven't decided to work up another site, and am enjoying the time off, but I wanted to put down my thoughts of the game somewhere. Here is as good as any. Clemson played UGA this weekend, losing by 20+ points, because they weren't physical enough at the POA. Plain and simple. You get beat up front, you lose. Theres a bit more to it than physical strength though.
-Clemson TEs caught 2 balls. Leggett got none. That one is on Chad.
-Clemson's defense could not set the edge. You won't win often if you cant.
-Clemson couldn't tackle Gurley, or anyone else, after the first series. We didn't in the 1st half, and for some reason Bobo/Richt didn't beat us to death with him. 5 touches. At halftime I told FF that if they give Gurley the ball 15 times in the 2nd half, they'd beat our ass.

He got it 7 times for 150 Yards. If I had a Gurley he'd get the ball 25 times in a game, minimum. If UGA does that they'll win the East going away.

-Our backside LB frequently overran and opened the cutback lane.
-Our OL is no better than it ever has been. Gore was whipped off the edge because he would not move his feet and lunged. It wasn't Gifford Timothy bad, but he has to move them better.
-Reid Webster playing? Are you kidding? Webster is a situational backup. All I heard about was Crowder, play him.
-Our pass pressure pickup problems were the Center's fault primarily. He was not id'ing the MLB properly. Anytime they get 2 sacks up the A-gap, you have a big problem.
-Stoudt is not a bad QB, he's just average. He's about the same as Cullen Harper in terms of ability. His OL didn't do a good job and his WRs didn't help him. I was impressed by Watson, sure, but Stoudt deserves the shot and the loss was not entirely on him. He got rattled in the 2nd half, that much is on him, not much more.
-Defense can't tackle. Last year's team tackled much better. If I can count missed tackles in the first half on more than one hand, you aren't a good tackling team. You do not get to call yourself a good defense if you can't tackle.
-Special Teams coverage teams all fucking suck. Fire Pearman.
-Pinion's leg and Bobo's lack of a brain kept us from losing by 40.

I've been critical of The Chad many times in the past, because he frequently gives up on the running game when it works, despite saying, almost weekly, that we want to be a physical running team. At this point I'm convinced that is just horseshit. He has no intention of being a physical running team, and he doesn't want to run the ball well. If he did, he wouldn't ever let DJ Howard touch a football, and Wayne Gallman wouldn't touch it just once in an entire game. Chad's playcalling in the 2nd half was Spence-esque. You have Peake matched on a LB in any Trips set, and you don't chuck it? You can go max protect Chad. Its in your book. Go max and run 4 verts, anything to get a spark. Field position be damned. Your QB is seeing the rush, getting rattled, and you won't take a shot just because you started inside the 30? ITS THE OFFENSE, RUN THE OFFENSE. If you won't give it to the good RB, and won't take your shot once per drive (hell once every other drive would've been enough), then what do you have? You didn't even target Jordan Leggett all night, and he's all I heard about for a month. He couldn't beat a LB one on one?

BTW, Peake is not 100%. Clemson medical staff bullshit us again. He's more like 75%. He won't take the top off a defense, leaving us with no one who can. Williams is not that fast. Scott is not that fast. Peake can still whip a linebacker 1 on 1 though, and if I'd been calling plays I'd have busted Georgia's ass with it all night.

DJ Howard does block pretty well though, I will give him that much. That is why he plays. He kept Stoudt from having his head ripped off a few times. In my mind, Howard is Bowden-circa-2004 talent, and shouldn't be on the field aside from a max protect passing situation. You have to give the ball to the youngsters and let them screw up the blocks because Howard is not going to scare anyone in any running situation. I'd hand the rock to Gallman and Davidson and Choice next week and Howard would not touch the football again this season.

What was up with the pass rush? Well a couple things. They handled Lawson and Beasley one on one well. We didn't get it done. Clemson DEs got reached all night. All night. Vic was handled the same way FSU did. They put a TE outside him often. The TE blocks back, and he gets nowhere. That happens when you are 240lb against a 240lb TE + a 300 lb OT. We also had him in a H5 technique, which boggles my mind. Why do you have him almost head up on a OT who has 40-50 lbs on him? Vic lives on the speed rush, and if he can't get outside leverage, he ain't gonna do shit. He should be playing a 6 or 7 technique against a OT who knows how to play.

UGA ran the toss sweep at the tune of 12 per carry to the right side, right where Corey Crawford normally plays. He decided to get smoked up with the other guys this offseason, got suspended, and hurt his team in the process. Crawford is instrumental in setting the edge. Barnes is good enough as a backup, 300 snap guy, but went down, but he's not as good at setting it as Crawford. Lawson can't do it as well as either of them. We didn't get the edge all night, and especially on the right. If you can't disrupt the edge then you get your ass kicked on the sweep outside, which we did. LBs overran a few times, leading to some TDs, but the edge being set is key there, and if someone had set the edge and refused to be moved, you'd have seen Anthony/Steward making some plays. And on one play, which I think is on Venables, BJ Goodson was actually lined inside the TE with NO ONE outside him. That should never happen. You gave them leverage from the start.

My thought from the Spring game was that this was a worst-case 7-5, best case 9-3 team based on what I saw that day. I thought last week that it would be a 9-3 season. I still think we're 8-4/9-3. I'd start Stoudt next week, give Gallman the ball 10 times minimum, and Choice another 10. I'd then give D. Watson the whole 2nd half.

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.

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 commenters from other fanbases have suggested in the comments that they played a role in removing us; absolutely not the case. Other users were never once brought up. 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. There is no paper/email trail to request between Clemson and SBNation.

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; obviously I refused. They backed down at that.

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.

It would be easier to accept this ordeal if there was any notice given to SBNation bloggers about etiquette in these situations with respective schools/franchises. SBN never gave me one. They made up the rules after the fact and then punished us according to those ex post facto rules.

The only people who make money off SBN articles are the computer programmers who built the sites and management. All the writers who make up the sites get very little. Its almost like the NCAA vs. O'Bannon. Essentially slave labor and someone else gets rich off it. I can't retain good writers because I can't pay them fairly for their time, and yet SBNation constantly bugs you in emails about writing 2 posts a day. Seriously, its to the level of once weekly in the email chains we received. If you want the content to grow beyond the usual bullshit that you push in your emails to me guys, then give me funding to attract and retain talented and dedicated writers.

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. Break down my time spent writing simply football film reviews and you'd get a rate of pennies per hour.

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.