Saturday Morning Tailgate – Live Edition

Saturday morning tailgate is a weekly post of my thoughts as I get ready for this week’s game.

Good afternoon Tigers fans. What a great way to end the season: A night home game against our most-hated rival. It has been an up-and-down season this year with probably more downs than ups. Tiger fans have spent a lot of time being disappointed. A win tonight would go a long way towards soothing a hurting Tiger Nation and maybe even getting us a better bowl pick.

For Carolina, this is really a no-lose situation. If they win, it means back-to-back victories against us, something Carolina has a short supply of. If they lose, they will claim the game means nothing and remind us they are still division champs. Never mind that the SEC is a mess right now and that they will probably be annihilated by Auburn in the SEC Championship game. Or that they didn’t buy that argument last year when we lost to them but were still ACC Atlantic division champs. But what do you expect from Carolina fans? You can’t talk horse sense to a gamecock.

Things I’ll be looking for at the game:

  • A win. What else is there to say? They are riding “high” as division champs and college baseball national champs. We can’t give them another feather for their cap. What we will hopefully give them instead is a kick in the pants out of our stadium.

Let’s go Tiger! Beat the ‘Cocks! Enjoy the game.

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Saturday Morning Tailgate

Saturday morning tailgate is a weekly post of my thoughts as I get ready for this week’s game.

Today’s Saturday Morning Tailgate comes from the golf course as Clemson Guy and I enjoy one of the last nice days before winter descends upon New Jersey. It’s 60 degrees and sunny with very little wind – perfect football weather. Let’s hope it is this nice in two weeks when I am back in Clemson for the Carolina game.

I hate to say “I told you so” to Dabo and his staff about Richard Jackson but I did. After watching game after game filled with kicking failures last year, I don’t know how Dabo managed to put that all aside and give Jackson another chance. It took only the first quarter to remind us all why Jackson lost his starting job in the first place. Luckily missed field goals didn’t cost us the game last week like it did at BC.

Clemson needs to figure out the kicking problem before it costs us any more games. A lot of our games are decided by just a few points so field goals and extra points can make or break us. Especially when our offense is not producing. We have ended seasons in the recent past where we were forced to go for two after a touchdown or even go for the fourth down because we lost faith in our kicking. Clemson has FSU, Wake Forest, and South Carolina left and needs at least one more win to get to a bowl game so we are going to need all the offense we can get.

Last week’s offense was slightly better than the BC game, but still less than stellar. Clemson didn’t so much as win the game as NC State lost it. Neither team looked impressive. Equally unimpressive was Kyle Parker pouting after he got benched for continued poor decision making. I get that Parker was upset about being benched and/or about not being told he was benched, but his mental errors cost us points. Regardless, Dabo is the coach and if he wants to bench Parker, he can bench Parker and Parker just needs to grow up and deal with it. He shouldn’t be pouting on the bench. I am not a college football coach and I never will be, but if I benched a player and he threw a fit, he would stay benched.

Things I’ll be looking for today:

  • Improved kicking. CatMan says he has a new technique. We’ll see if it helps. Otherwise maybe we can get someone from the stands to kick field goals.
  • Positive team attitude. Kyle Parker needs to be a leader for the team even if he isn’t in for the snap. That is what it means to be a leader.

Let’s go Tigers! Enjoy the game.

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Building a Future with Taj Boyd

After last Saturday’s debacle in Boston, one has to wonder if it is time to bench Kyle Parker. Parker says he is the team’s best chance for winning. Even if I did believe that, which I don’t after watching several judgment mistakes he made in the BC game, I’m not sure it matters at this point. Even if it is true that he is our best chance for winning, what does that get us? A win or two more this season? Then what happens next season? Parker has signed a multi-million dollar contract to play professional baseball. Coming back for the 2010 season was a long-shot. There is no way he will risk his future career in baseball to come back for 2011. As far as I’m concerned, Kyle Parker is a lame duck.

Taj Boyd is the future of the Tigers, a future that looks young and green right now. Dabo has promised Boyd will play in the NC State game, but he hasn’t said how much. Why not just give him the whole game? Yes, we will probably lose games if he takes the majority of the snaps. But we are losing games with Parker now. The Tigers didn’t have a single offensive touchdown in the BC game. Why not let Boyd start getting some experience under his belt so that next year when the Tigers are his team, he will be ready. Our ACC championship dreams are over for 2010. Even our bowl dreams may be over. Why not start building our future now so the 2011 season doesn’t turn out like the 2010 has – a disappointment and, at times, an embarrassment to Clemson and the ACC.

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Praise for Clemson Fans…And a Little Criticism

First the praise: Clemson fans are the best in the world. As I was riding the train to BC yesterday, I was amazed by how car after car was packed with orange. People always say Clemson travels well but I had never had the opportunity to experience this firsthand. Clemson Guy and I got to the stadium and the fan ratio seemed about 50-50. Great for us but really sad for BC.

Clemson Guy and I don’t have enough priority points to get tickets through IPTAY so we were stuck buying tickets online and sitting with the enemy in the visitor’s side upper deck. We had a great view of how empty the home stands were. Until the second quarter it really looked like the BC fans just weren’t going to show up. I even heard a BC fan remark “There are more of their fans here than ours.” And it really was the truth.

Home stands at kickoff time

And we were loud and proud. Maybe not Death Valley loud but pretty impressive given Boston is almost 1,000 miles from Clemson. It was not an easy game to watch. It is hard to lose, but it is even harder when you really should have won. Most of the fans never gave up on the team even after several mistakes, turnovers, and failed opportunities.

I have to say most because some of our fans really disappointed me. And that is where the criticism comes in. Some of the fans around me left before the game was over, after the pick on the Tigers’ second to last drive. I know at this point it looked like the game was over. BC just had to get a first down to end the game. But they didn’t get that first down. Our D shut them down and we got another chance.

Some of ours fans didn’t stay to see that last chance and that was just another feather in the cap of the BC fans. They openly taunted the fans as they were leaving. And I don’t blame them. Leaving the game early shows you have given up on our team. And why bother traveling all the way to Boston to just give up on the Tigers? You are just making us look bad in front of BC fans, showing them Clemson fans are fair-weathered. If you are going to be a Clemson fan, be one all the time, not just when things are going our way. That is what All In means. You can’t be All In part time.

Bottom line: Don’t come to Clemson games to see the Tigers win; come to the games to support our team. All In all the time.

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Halftime in Eagle Country

It’s halftime at the Clemson-BC game. We started off ok, going three and out on our first possession and jumping out to a lead with a Pick 6. But the second quarter was filled with Tiger mistakes and bogus penalties. During halftime the Tigers have a lot to think about including why the defensive line keeps getting blown off the ball.

Also BC’s halftime show is even more annoying than ours. I’ve seen bigger high school bands. One thing I didn’t expect: seeing as much Red Sox gear as BC stuff. There is no doubt where Boston’s true alliance lies. It is embarrasing for an ACC school to have so little home support.

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Saturday Morning Tailgate – Live Edition

Saturday morning tailgate is a weekly post of my thoughts as I get ready for this week’s game.

Good morning from the B train on the Green Line in Boston, a B train packed with orange. It is amazing how many Tigers are on this train alone. We should have a good showing at the game.

Last week I watched the GT game with a friend who is a GT fan and it wasn’t until the 4th quarter with 5 mins to go that I felt the game was in the bag. With GT you never know since our games against them always seem to come down to the wire.

This week is another must-win for us but aren’t all the rest of the games must-wins? If we are going to repeat as division champions we have to run the table on the rest of our ACC games. And South Carolina is always a must-win.

After Thursday night’s game it looks like NC State will be our toughest game although Florida State in Tallahassee could be tough too. But we’ve got to take it one game at a time and focus on this week’s opponent.

Things I’ll be looking for during the game:

  • Receptions. Last week was our best week yet as far as catching the ball. It seems our receivers and Parker are finally clicking.
  • Focus from the whole team. This is probably the coldest game we have had thus year: windy and a high in the 50s. That and the pressure of an away game mean the Tigers really need to be focused.
  • A sea of Solid Orange. There are plenty of Tiger fans on this train alone so I am hoping for a huge turnout at the stadium. Let’s make it look like it’s a Clemson home game.

Let’s go Tigers! Enjoy the game.

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Saturday Morning Tailgate

Saturday morning tailgate is a weekly post of my thoughts as I get ready for this week’s game.

Good morning everyone. Time to get out the bug spray and fly swatters, the Yellow Jackets are in town. I’m back at home in NJ this weekend and won’t even be watching the game live thanks to a friend of mine who has some home improvement work he needs help with. Can you believe he had the nerve to ask for help even though he is a GT fan? Today’s SMT is short and to the point because I have to get over to his house and get to work.

Given his alliance I probably shouldn’t even help him, but I am hoping it will grant the Tigers some good karma to use against the Yellow Jackets today. Hopefully when he comes over this evening to watch the game on tivo we’ll see another great offensive domination like we did last week.

Things I’ll be looking for while watching on tivo:

  • Receptions, receptions, receptions. I sound like a broken record, but this has been a weak point in our team the whole season that we need to fix if we are going to win a few more ACC games.
  • Can the defense stop the option? The answer is usually no. But how many times can we play against the option before we finally figure it out? (And the wildcat for that matter).

Let’s go Tigers! Enjoy the game. I am looking ahead a bit to next week when I will be in Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill in person.

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