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Old 12-01-2013, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

What a game. If you can turn off the fan-centric view for a moment and look at it as just a football game it was one hell of a game, a game that deserves to sit among the greatest USC/Clemson battles of all time. After jumping out to a lead they come back and tie us, they take our momentum and everyone in the stadium could feel the game slipping away from us. Clemson fans were happy, we were disgruntled, and then we got the ball back and answered, holding onto the ball for 6:46 seconds, scoring the go ahead touchdown and sapping the life out of Clemson. It was glorious.

Before I get too deep into this though, I want to say something...

Clemson is bush-league. Their whole team, their whole organization. At Clemson they flash strobe colors when the opposing team has the ball. At Williams-Brice their band played almost before EVERY ONE of our snaps, often just a loud fanfare that wasn't really a song as much as it was just noise. It was obvious that they were trying to disrupt our play calling, and although I'm not sure of the rules, I'm certain they pushed them right to the limit.

I'm not whining, I'm pointing out how small, petty, and bush-league they are. It extends to their fanbase as well, and if any of you have Clemson fans as friends on Facebook, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

You've sunk low Clemson. Low.

Before I get into grading the team, I have to admit I forgot to tape the game. I usually rewatch the game and grade out, but today I have to go from memory.

OFFENSE
QB: A

Connor Freakin' Shaw. He wasn't the sharpest I have ever seen, he constantly didn't see Busta running wide open over the middle on almost EVERY play, but he did make a few huge throws, and once again put the game on his shoulders and won it with his feet. Best Gamecock QB ever? Hell yes.

RB: B
It's obvious Mike Davis is more hurt than he let on, and it's also obvious that he's a warrior. We could never get much going on the ground, but kudos to the coaching staff for sticking with it. Wilds looked great in the limited time he got, and sealed it for us with a catch that was harder than it looked. We are in such good shape here for the next few years.

WR/TE: A
I hate that we didn't get our TEs involved at all, because the were running free most of the night. Spurrier even chucked his clipboard once when Shaw took off and ran and threw an incompletion rather than hitting a streaking, wide-open Busta in the seam. As it was, FANTASTIC evening by the wideouts. Bruce and Shaq simply dominated Clemson's secondary, challenging them for balls and winning almost every battle. Shaq is coming into his own, and if he can get whatever personal issues he has tamed he'll be one of our all-time greats.

OL: C
Perhaps the most surprising thing to me all night was the way we played in the trenches. Clemson's defensive front was MUCH better than I gave them credit for, but by the end of this game we should have been exerting our will on a smaller, and less deep Clemson defensive line. As it was we failed to generate running lanes and didn't pass protect as well as we should have. Nice job picking up the blitzes overall, but our interior line just got whipped most of the night.

DEFENSE
DL: B

Good job overall, you could kind of tell that the line was told to stay in their lanes and get as much push as they could. We did not overpursue up the field, which held Clemson's screen game in check. As the sacks started to pile up around Tahj, he got out of his rhythm and succumbed to happy feet. Tiger fans, it isn't trash talk if it's true, and Tahj played scared in the 4th. Almost gave them a C because of the way the Clemson offensive line was able to turn guys and create lanes, Clemson had WAY more success on the ground than they should have.

LB/Spur: C
Which leads me to our LB corps. Overall they executed well, but they allowed the Clemson RB's to reach the secondary all too often, and failed to contain Boyd on a couple of critical runs. Did a very good job in pass coverage though, once again our LB corps picked off Boyd. Another year, another Holloman interception (just a different Holloman...)

CB/S: A
Wow. For Legree and Hampton's final home game they worked up a masterpiece. Yes, Watkins got free for one long pass, but if you take that away he was 6 catches for 36 yards. Given the fact that we held Clemson to well over 100 yards below their average, I'd say these guys did their job.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Overall: A

No major mistakes, a long kickoff return, and Hull put one inside the 20. Not bad.

COACHING
Overall:
A

Dabo is eventually going to rue the day he opened his big mouth, as soon as he's able to figure out what's happening to him, of course. His rant fixed Spurrier's attention to him like the Eye of Sauron, and it's obvious the way that Spurrier game-plans this game. Kudos to Spurrier for sticking with the run, even when it wasn't working. I'm not a huge fan of the Wildcat, but it obviously gave us a change of pace and a spark that Clemson had problems dealing with.

Also, it was awesome of Spurrier to let Lou Holtz coach a drive or two. There's no way he'd call that many QB draws in a row...

would he?

A big hats off to Whammy, who took a defense that had some young and inexperienced players and molded them into a top 10 defense. Those guys played lights out and shut down the vaunted Clemson offense.

14. That's how many points they averaged against us the past 5 years.

INTANGIBLES
Overall:
A

I have to admit, I didn't expect Clemson to be that physical. We got their best shot, they didn't fold in the 3rd and they really held their own in the trenches, something I didn't think they could do. They honestly surprised me with the physical level of their play. That being said they got out-coached, and eventually whipped by a team that just expects to beat them. You can tell it by the way our team carries themselves and it's starting to take root in our fans as well. All week people would ask me about the game and I would reply with the same answer; I was quietly confident. In the past it didn't matter how good our team was, we just always found a way to lose to Clemson. Not anymore.

The atmosphere for the game was fantastic, very loud and pumped up the entire time. There's a reason we've won 18 straight at WB, and the fans have a lot to do with it. Well done guys, well done.

FINAL THOUGHTS

One final thought about Clemson before we move onto more important things. In 1954, our series record with Clemson was 20-29-3. Nothing to write home about, but not dreadful. In 1970 it stood at 29-41-3. Obviously we began to decline in the series, but nothing like what happened next. From 1971 to our current streak we went 9-27 against Clemson. This was the time period that I grew up, probably becoming a serious Gamecock fan around 1978 or so when I was 8 years old. I've had to endure losing streaks, dealing with their entitled, ignorant fanbase, and seeing them win a bought national title that would be stripped from them in our modern enforcement climate.

All of that was enough to create a defeatist attitude around the Clemson game and beating them. I got to the point that I just no longer cared about the game.

I expected to lose.

Then Spurrier arrived. At first it looked like nothing would change, as he went 1-3 in his first four games. As he built his program, however little by little you could see things changing. By the time we won in 2009 to start the streak it was obvious we were not only the better team, but perhaps more importantly the better program.

That leads me to my final point on Clemson. It's taking some time for both fan bases to realize it, in fact I don't think that it has totally set in in either camp, but the truth is that our program has passed Clemson in almost every area. More importantly it's not likely to change for the foreseeable future. I'm not saying that Clemson will never beat us again, they certainly will and the team they fielded on Saturday was good enough to beat us. However, they'll never dominate us like they have in the past, and the chances are much better that we'll dominate them in like fashion.

You see, the SEC money is about to start rolling in for real. Once the SEC Network gets going there's going to be about a 10 million dollar per year difference between us and Clemson on just the basic revenue model. That is going to be compounded over the years, and if Ray Tanner is half the AD I think he's going to be, in 20 years the two programs will not even be close in terms of facilities and amenities. As long as we make the right hire when we eventually have to replace Spurrier, we'll own them for the foreseeable future.

Now, on to other matters. No, we didn't win the SEC East. From that standpoint our season was not as successful as our goals. However, we finished 10-2 and ranked in the top 10 AGAIN. These are the good old days, so rather than complain about losing to Tennessee and not making Atlanta, or having to go to the Outback bowl...enjoy it.

I've been through the years where you looked at the schedule trying to figure out how we would get 6 wins and go to a bowl...ANY bowl. The Orange Crush which used to ruin our November is a distant memory, we're 11-4 in those games over the last 5 years.

Enjoy this.

Enjoy it.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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Originally Posted by Acockolypse Now View Post
Dabo is eventually going to rue the day he opened his big mouth, as soon as he's able to figure out what's happening to him, of course. His rant fixed Spurrier's attention to him like the Eye of Sauron, and it's obvious the way that Spurrier game-plans this game.
Gold, absolute gold.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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Gold, absolute gold.
Dabo's hoping to God that Chad Morris doesn't get a head coaching gig any time soon...

As soon as he does, then Dabo will be every bit as exposed as Gene Chisik was...

Don't worry, Dabo, you'll always have your real estate career to fall back on...
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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Gold, absolute gold.
Poetic brilliance.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

What a write up wow! Thank you!
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Eye of Sauroman! HAHAHA NICE
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Good chit, A N!
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

I read every single word and it tasted delicious.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Always love these write ups, especially after wins.

Great as always Acock.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

When you look at the overall series records, consider these other problems which helped to contribute to our past troubles:

When the insane Ben Tillman came within a whisker of closing the school (and The Citadel), he had a special state tax created where all the money was sent to Clempson to improve the school and make it stronger and was set up as a military school, too. USC barely had enough money to stay operating and enrollment dropped to 62 students.

So in the first many years, Clempson was thriving, while USC was barely keeping its doors open. Strong advantage for Clempson.

Another dip came when we found we needed to leave the ACC (cowardly Clempson was suppose to drop out on the same day as us, but stabbed us in the back and did not follow through with their promise). As an independent, while we had a good team here and there and some good players, now and then, it was more difficult to recruit a kid when there were no potential conference championships for them to contend. Advantage Clempson.

One of our better coaches in those years was Coach Joe, of course. Some of our younger fans may not realize, but we were putting together a very nice recruiting class together when Morrison died the day before National Signing Day. When word got out, we lost almost all of our top recruits, It was almost like losing a year in recruiting and it really set our program back.

Although we did join the SEC in the early 1990's we were on a downhill slide under Sparky Woods and were in no condition to compete on an equal footing with most SEC teams as we were still playing with kids recruited here while we were Independent. We follow Woods up with Brad Scott. A decent recruiter, but a horrible coach. He led us into our worst stretch in history, the start of our 21 game losing streak which finished under Lou Holtz. Scott hurt our program so much, he was almost like our getting the Death Penalty. Strong advantage Clempson.

Holtz eventually brought us a glimpse of hope, but he did not want to coach any longer and lost his team, at the end. Even the hire of SOS, who brought us to this point, our best era of football, did not realize the scope of the problems he faced and admitted he almost walked away after having so much difficulty of changing our culture. Thank God he stayed.

Whenever he does call it quits, while I am not a fan of statues of coaches or players, the first thing Ray Tanner should do is name the field after him.
Williams-Brice, home of Steve Spurrier Field. It is the least we can do for him.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

it's glorious
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

I'd give the OL a B. They faced 8 in the box and safeties up most of the game. The pass protection was actually pretty good, again considering what they faced. We had at least ten chances to get TE throws with a checkoff because they were playing so flat. I supposed Spurrier left those inside runs on hoping Davis would bust past coontain and go long.
I think the LB's and Spur salvaged the C with heads-up play in underneath coverage (2 picks) after missing some tackles and not spying Boyd on fakes. Counting Pharoah's play with RB's or QB's gives either position a boost.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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I'd give the OL a B. They faced 8 in the box and safeties up most of the game. The pass protection was actually pretty good, again considering what they faced. We had at least ten chances to get TE throws with a checkoff because they were playing so flat. I supposed Spurrier left those inside runs on hoping Davis would bust past coontain and go long.
I think the LB's and Spur salvaged the C with heads-up play in underneath coverage (2 picks) after missing some tackles and not spying Boyd on fakes. Counting Pharoah's play with RB's or QB's gives either position a boost.
I know people hate being called out, but, you are wrong. Clemmers played two high safeties 99% of our offensive snaps. I would give the OL a "D". I'm an OL coach, there is not much about football I can't figure out. I know this, when you have two high safeties, like the tiggers did Saturday night, you ought to be able to run the football, because you have numbers in the box. This is precisely the reason we started utilizing Shaw on designed runs, not just zone reads, b/c by doing that, we gain an extra blocker (RB). I will agree we had TE's open, but it wasn't in the flat it was over the middle, where the two deep safeties split.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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I know people hate being called out, but, you are wrong. Clemmers played two high safeties 99% of our offensive snaps. I would give the OL a "D". I'm an OL coach, there is not much about football I can't figure out. I know this, when you have two high safeties, like the tiggers did Saturday night, you ought to be able to run the football, because you have numbers in the box. This is precisely the reason we started utilizing Shaw on designed runs, not just zone reads, b/c by doing that, we gain an extra blocker (RB). I will agree we had TE's open, but it wasn't in the flat it was over the middle, where the two deep safeties split.
Well said. I didn't grade out to a D just because the pass protection was passable against a very good Clemson rush. There was no excuse for us not opening up lanes for Davis though. We did a poor job against their interior.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

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Clemmers played two high safeties 99% of our offensive snaps. I would give the OL a "D".
I agree with Acock 99% on his, what I see as a, GREAT POST!

But the OL was abysmal Saturday night. We are HUGE, talented, and experienced across the front and our guys got pushed into our backfield all night long. I expected our OL to win this game for us with ease, but they nearly cost us the game. In an ironic twist, clemson's trying to stop Connor Shaw really worked to set him up to win the game for us. Their defensive tactics played into Shaw's strengths and he did NOT disappoint.

The fact remains though that their defensive line should have been pushed by our OL through Charleston and into the Atlantic. Instead, they lived in our backfield all night long. At some point, we need to just push inferior lines backwards and forget the fancy stuff. Last Sat night was one of those times.

I also want to show some appreciation for brat. I have been reading his posts for over a decade now. He and I don't always see things the same way, but I have a great deal of respect for him and his posts. He has more experience and knowledge about our program than all but a few that post anywhere on the www. That gives him insight that few of us can have when looking at our program. I have been attending games at W-B since 1979, but brat (and a poster not seen much lately, teddykohncock) is the MAN.

Acock is as well with these weekly 'wrap ups'. I love reading these each week and this week, he posted a monster even by his standards.
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Dead on with the out coached comment. McDowell gashed us for most of the game. But instead of going back to the well until we stopped it, Morris chose to try and throw the ball. It is like he is going to win his way no matter if it costs Clemson the game. I think if they continue to nickel and dime us with the run we could very well be having a different conversation right now.

I think a great deal of it is psychological. Spurrier is in their heads just like he was in UGAs heads when he coached at UF. Spurrier has shown he will do whatever it takes to win a game. If he has to run the QB draw every play of the game to win, that's what he will do. Morris just seems to be unwilling to alter his gameplan to suit what a quality defense is giving him.

After the first punt return muff Clemson panicked and started to press, which triggered an avalanche of turnovers that ultimately sealed their fate in this game.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:35 AM   #17
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Your "final thoughts" made me cry. For real, you're the only person who can tell me to chill out and enjoy shit and I'll do it.

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Old 12-02-2013, 12:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

"I am as excited as a little girl!"
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

Possibly one of the best write ups I've ever seen.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: Acock's Wrap Up: Clemson

I agree with you about the difference in resources and what it will mean over time, and by the time Spurrier is done we will be solidly within the top tier of the SEC with all of the resources to sustain it. We should be a much more prominent program than them over time. It will likely play out like GT and UGA did as the SEC diverged from the women's soccer league. If we hire a bum after Spurrier, we just can't let it fester. Maybe Wolfie or Whammy will be ready by then. Look at Auburn if you have any doubts what good coaching can do.

If you think about it, it really didn't take us all that long to become competitive in the SEC given our historical context. It only took one year after we decided to get serious and spent the money to get a good head coach (Holtz).

Last edited by LegalCock; 12-02-2013 at 12:36 PM.
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