Sunday, August 1, 2010

ACC 2010-Clemson Tigers

                                                                         Clemson Tigers
2009 Record: 9-5 (6-2)
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney (13-8, 3rd season)
Offensive Coordinator: Billy Napier (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Steele (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Music City Bowl, beat Kentucky 21-13

Offense: The Tigers got some good news last month when they found out that sophomore QB Kyle Parker will not be leaving for a baseball contract...yet. He really is the best option at QB for the Tigers, and nobody else is ready to step into the fire. Had he left,, it would have been a calamity. The backfield loses its star in CJ Spiller. Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper are the two backs competing to replace him, and it will probably take both to do so. Clemson uses a three WR set, and only one of them is areturning starter, but that's Xavier Dye, and he is a good one.Terrance Ash and Marquan Moses are expected to fill the other two slots, but there is very little depth beyond them. 4 starters return on the O-Line, which is great news for the new backs and Parker, but again, there is very little depth beyond the starting unit. Injuries will mean trouble. LT Chris Hairston has the size and dynamics to be a dominant LT. Dwayne Allen started some as a freshman at TE, and may be one of Parker's top targets as a receiver in 2010.

Defense: Seven starters return on the defense, which will be good news if any consistency can be found, which was a hard comodity to come by last season. The strength of this unit is on the line and in the secondary, where 6 of the 7 returnees live. The D-Line will be compsed of all juniors and seniors in 2010 in the starting unit. Da'Quan Bowers is the lone returnee at DE, but the DT spots are both back from last season in Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson. Andre Branch will be the lone new starter up front, and he is a 6-5, 265 lb junior. Both safeties return in 2010, with DeAndre McDaniel manning the strong side, and Rashard Hall setting up at the free spot. Hall is a sophomore. Marcus Gilchrist will be the lone returning CB and will line up on the left side, while Byron Maxwell will line up at the right side.Maxwell is a senior, so expectations should be high. The weakness of this defense is at LB, which could be huge. Brandon Maye is the returnee here. He will be in the middle and should be flanked by Corico Hawkins on one side, and Scotty Cooper on the other. Jonathon Willard, a sophomore, will contend to push any of these guys. Coordinator Kevin Steele will likely try to counter his LB woes by playing a ton of nickel D in 2010, but that defense is not set up to stop the run.

Special Teams: Richard Jackson returns as the PK in 2010. That is good news and bad. Which Jackson shows up this year? Will it be the guy that started out by banging 11 of his first 13 kicks through the bars? Or will it be the guy that finished 9 of 18? That is a huge question with a weak offense probably being on the field at most points. Dawson Zimmerman has talent, but has not strung it together yet at the punter spot.

2010 Schedule

Wins: 9/4 North Texas, 9/11 Presbyterian, 10/16 Maryland, 11/20 @ Wake Forest,

Toss Up Games: 10/9 @ North Carolina,11/6 NC State, 11/27 South Carolina

Losses: 9/18 @ Auburn, 10/2 Miami, 10/23 Georgia Tech, 10/30 @ Boston College,11/13 @ Florida State

The Tigers will to win all three toss games to go bowling, as the NCAA will not count the Presbyterian game. That scenario is unlikely at best. Presbyterian? Really? What happened? Slippery Rock wasn't available?

Outlook: Clemson had a decent run in 2009, and it was mostly because of CJ Spiller. He is gone now, and there are no real break away stars left on this roster right now. Someone has to step up and take over. Dye can be the guy, but he will be seeing lots of double teams this season. The LB group also has to step up big time, and Jackson has to make some big kicks. If all of those things happen, than Clemson can go bowling again. I don't predict that this will happen.

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