First of all, the defense was not as bad as I originally thought. Bottom line Clemson has a good offense and they made some really good plays. If we eliminate critical penalties at crucial times, we win this game.The two biggest plays were Joyner's roughing the punter (take this one play out of the equation and we have a completely different ballgame) and the pass interference on Clemson's first drive of the second half.
Also, all of the players making plays for us in this game were freshmen....Tricket, Rashad Greene, Christian Green, Kenny Shaw and Nick O'Leary. Bottom line is we have great players in our freshman class and it looks like we are poised to add to that talent.
Now the bad news. Our running game sucks. Our coaches have to figure out how to establish some sort of balance to our offense. I was under the impression that we had the best offensive line coach and the best running back coach in the country. It's time Rick Tricket and Eddie Gram earn their paychecks.
After the game, I was starting to question whether the defense was as good as I originally thought; after watching the game I do still believe we have the potential to be a great defense. But, great defenses do not make mental mistakes at crucial times in a game. The countless penalties on 3rd down is unacceptable. In a week where our offense is playing a backup QB, is without several of our top receivers, has not established a running game all year and has issues at OL we needed our defense to go out and play mistake free. As a matter of fact, I contend that if we just eliminate one or two of the numerous mental mistakes we win the game.
I think we still have the ability to be a very good team. We need to get healthy over the bye week and work on our running game and fine tuning our defense (mostly from a mental standpoint). If we do this, we still have a good chance to win out.