'Nole Your Opponents: Week 11

Here's the weekly look at FSU's remaining opponents.  

Florida State takes on Clemson this week.  We've done a good job linking to ShakinTheSouthland for our Clemson coverage, as they are the best site for Clemson analysis, bar none.  Let's recap the Clemson season.  Here's what we've captured on Clemson to date.  



Dr. B does some of the best analysis on the net so I'll let him share his thoughts.  Auburn did have 44% more yards per play, but also committed two turnovers.  A very well played game on both sides and Clemson is no joke.


Miami out-gained Clemson by 15%, and had a major field position edge due to the resulting field position of being plus three in the turnover category.  These are some really good defenses.  Miami is clearly one of the best in the country and Clemson is probably in that top-15 range, perhaps higher.  

Mental Mistakes and Coaching Ineptitude Doom Tigers - Shakin The Southland
The same problems that we mentioned last week are the ones that showed themselves again this week, and as we have maintained here at STS, mental mistakes go on the Head Coach. I shouldn't need to reiterate that, but since knuckledraggers love to bitch at us for telling it like it is, I pretty much have to. This game was a total mental meltdown from start to finish. This will be a fun film review to do tomorrow, and it'll be pretty damning all-around. For now though, just my general impressions:

Clemson Football - Tiger Tracks - Travis Sawchik | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment
I felt all summer Miami was the best team in the ACC, and I still feel that way. All we learned is Clemson is not a top-10 caliber team and I think Miami is. But I was surprised by the way Clemson lost, I thought this was a poised team with good ball security. Clemson imploded Saturday. I still think the Tigers are on track similar to last season when the Tigers began 2-3 and finished 9-5. I still see Clemson winning the majority of its remaining games and contending for another nine-win season and Atlantic title. That’s the good news. But to get to that point, to become a nine-win team, there is a lot of work to do … and primarily three objectives to meet: find a go-to WR, find a WR that can stretch the field and fix the all-too-frequent mental busts on defense.



Some criticized me for saying that I am more worried about Clemson than UNC.  Clemson has lost to three good teams (@ Auburn, Miami, and @ UNC).  Clemson's defense is still one of the best 15 in the country for my money and held UNC to 3.9 yards per play.  

Credit Butch Davis for being smart and going for 4th downs as the percentages say a team should do, while eschewing any potential media backlash.

UNC's defense is still good as you would expect from a Butch Davis team, but it is not the best in the country as it would have been had its players all not been professional$ while still in college.  

Our Clemson friends write that Clemson is poorly coached and that the gameplan was poor.  Clemson listened and will now give Ellington more carries, which is unfortunate for FSU and smart on Clemson's behalf.  

Here's the UNC take.  And another one.  

UNC > Clemson +1.0. EqPts: UNC 18.4, Clemson 17.4. T/O Pts: none. Clemson close to being pretty good ... and it's just not happening yet



Clemson ended up wining 31-7, but were out-gained by 56% per play!  Clemson's offense is decidedly not anything special.  3.4 yards of offense per play is terrible.  Also, Maryland's defense under Don Brown isn't terrible.  Clemson scored off of two nice special teams players.  

Postgame Impressions: Special Teams saved the day for Clemson - Shakin The Southland
Postgame Impressions: Clemson's offense is a mess.

UNC Game Film Review - Shakin The Southland
UNC Game Film Review. Great breakdown of what is going on at CU



  • What can you say?  60% out-gaining of the opponent is sick.  
  • Georgia Tech is awful up front on both sides and has a running back playing quarterback.  
  • Clemson figured out giving the ball to Ellington and not fat-boy Harper is the right move. Smart.
  • FSU should be able to copy the Miami and UNC game plan against Clemson, because it has decent defensive talent, unlike Georgia Tech.
  • ShakinTheSouthland has more than you ever care to know.  



Clemson fans are really livid here.  ShakinTheSouthland has given up on Dabo.  They are lamenting that Dabo is like another Bowden:

To adapt a line from Ole Miss alum and Saints fan "Who-Dat Holly," I wish Dabo Swinney would have pretended to be a good head football coach for Halloween (instead of putting the Tom Bowden costume in Boston). What we saw against BC was the crap that got Bowden fired and, should it continue, will be what gets Swinney fired as well. I know that we said that Swinney deserved a fair shot and an extended (3-4 years) amount of time before being judged but that was assuming that Clemson would not have another 2009 Maryland experience. What we saw out of the staff in Boston, specifically from offensive strategy/execution and special teams execution was completely unacceptable. Clemson could get nothing going on offense and the Tigers could not capitalize when they moved the ball deep into the opponent's territory in a loss to a team that has a fraction of the overall talent on their roster that the Tigers have on theirs. 

There are also major administration concerns they discuss.

Here's another good one on the meltdown:

Clemson needs to hire a coach with no affiliation to Clemson and no ties to the school. Why you ask? The definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is where we are today. Clemson needs a coach who can be OBJECTIVE, attack the challenges head on, make changes on their own and REBUILD Clemson from the inside out. All this tradition Clemson has is deteriorating every time Clemson has a loss like today. Little by little Clemson football is on steady demise.

As for Boston College, I've told you time and time again that the Eagles have an excellent defense.  And it played that way again.  Those who look to total points to judge an offense or a defense are fools.  Total points does not account for field position!  What is a defense to do if its offense is always turning it over in its own zone?

That said, Clemson had opportunities to win this game and FSU fans wish it would have.  As it stands, will Clemson be motivated to beat NC State this weekend?  FSU needs the Tigers to come through here.  Adding to the problems, stud running back Andre Ellington is out for the NC State game and the FSU game with a turf toe.  And Clemson is now going with the two-QB system.  That's great news for NC State.  




Pre-Film Thoughts and Assessment - Shakin The Southland

Overall and outside of the first quarter (and first series in particular), Clemson's defense was lights out yesterday. The team got critical stops all afternoon especially when our offense put them in a tough situation because of a turnover. Clemson, sans, the opening drive for the Pack, was able to keep Russell Wilson and a pretty dangerous offense out of the endzone for the final three quarters of the football game. The defense won the game yesterday and Clemson was VERY, VERY fortunate that the defense came to play and that NC State could not capitalize on very opportune situations during the game.


On to the bad pathetic unacceptable and vomit inducing portion of the football game. Our offense flat out sucks, as does the majority of our special teams. I guess I'll get on special teams first, as it almost cost us the game yesterday then get on our offense because it should have cost us the game against NC State.

Why in the hell do we have three, yes three field goal kickers on staff and none of them can put the ball through the uprights? Yes I know that Richard Jackson allegedly kicked the ball from Greenwood all the way to Columbia once in high school but I really don't give a shit if he cannot make a 30 yard kick. Our scholarship allocation has been a touchy subject around here and if you include our special teams "specialists" we waste a lot of scholarships on players who probably should not be in a Division 1 football game.

Another special teams "specialist" who almost cost us the game was long snapper Matt Skinner. I don't know why we have a player on scholarship who does nothing but long snap, but don't care if he is jam up there and we don't have A SINGLE bad snap on the year. If we have ANY bad snaps, this is a misallocated scholarship as we could get another lineman or a linebacker to snap and occasionally screw something up (although there is no excuse). Skinner had two bad snaps yesterday...the first missed field goal then the punt near the end of the game. We are lucky that we have a punter (Dawson Zimmerman) with the athletic ability of an early ‘90's Ken Griffey Jr. to retrieve bad snaps and avoid complete disaster for this team.

FINALLY, I am tired of seeing our return men fumbling the football on returns. The bad thing about our fumbles is they have been unforced errors (ie, non-contact blunders). We cannot seem to cleanly field a kick then run during kickoffs. I will say that Marcus Gilchrist had a very nice (76 yard) kick return in the early part of the 4th quarter. I am only sorry that our offense completely pissed away this opportunity, as we will discuss below.

Clemson's offense is, well, offensive to watch. We have a QB who showed that he can sit in the pocket and throw well. Just when you get more comfortable with him tossing the ball, Kyle Parker starts throwing the ball across his body and makes critical mistakes. Our QB situation is frustrating to say the least. We did, however, get a pretty good idea of where the staff thinks we are personnel wise as Kyle Parker had all of the pass attempts (by one of our quarterbacks) on the afternoon.  Maybe KP just needs to quit scrambling or trying to throw the ball after scrambling, I don't know.

That's eight Clemson games.  What do we know about the Tigers?  They fixed their offensive personnel issues (benching the awful upperclassmen), but the mental errors and poor playcalling is still there.  The defense is one of the best in the country and nobody will be moving the ball much on these guys.  They have arguably the best defensive player in the country in Da'Quan Bowers.  The kicking game is a bit of a mess.  





In the battle of rookie quarterbacks, Miami's Morris was better.  If I am FSU I hope the Canes start Jacory Harris next season and not this Morris kid, because Morris has considerably more arm talent than Harris.  I've maintained that Maryland was a fraud all season and nothing I've seen out of them will change that.  Maryland has wins over Navy, Morgan State, FIU, Duke, at BC and WF.



I'm not even sure what to say here.  This had to be the most dominate effort by one BCS team over another of the year.  Vanderbilt is not a good team and they were missing a few key guys (CornNole will fill us in more on that if he is reading today), but wow.  Out-gaining them by 6X per play.  

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