Talking Clemson With Danny Ford Is God
I caught up with the guys from Danny Ford Is God and got their thoughts on CJ Spiller's struggles, the Extreme! awesomeness that is Willy Korn, and the relative hotness of Tommy Bowden's seat. I'd have asked Bowden about his job security myself, but we all know he doesn't blog with the NC States of the world.
You can find my answers to their questions over at their place.
1.) I noticed that Clemson gave up a good chunk of yardage to Louisiana Monroe and Furman; how concerned are you about the defense at this point? Is there something NC State can/should exploit?
With our defense, it's hit or miss. The only reason that they gave up so many yards is they kept the second and third stringers in for as long as possible to get them as much playing experience as they can. The main problems we have with our defense are the awareness of the cornerbacks and the side to side speed of our outside linebackers. If there is anything you should exploit is rolling out and passing. If you give your QB plenty of time, or a chance to scramble and throw it away, you should have an advantage there. Furman, you gotta give it to them, they're not bad for a I-AA team. They had fast and smart quarterbacks and extremely smart and aware receivers. They also had two talented tight ends.
2.) Is there a particular reason why CJ Spiller has been ineffective on the ground (3.3 YPC)? James Davis doesn't seem to be having any problems.
Honestly, I (Willy Mac) think that CJ has his mind elsewhere. He hasn't been running effectively and he's just been making terrible decisions. He's been running stupid, so to speak. James Davis is always consistently good. It seems that he just tries harder and has better down field vision. CJ is just too fast for his own good and I think teams are trying to concentrate on him more because of that and thats another key reason he's having a bit of trouble. Plus the coaching staff is throwing a lot of stuff at him right now and they're trying to run this cutesy direct snap stuff with CJ as QB. If they're not going to let him do what McFadden did last year by passing it, they don't need to screw around with him.
Chili: CJ has said it himself that he isn't being patient enough when rushing this year. He said this week that he changed the way he practiced to look for holes opening up on the line instead of just trying to break off a big highlight reel run. Statistically, he has had more carries and more yards through 3 games this year than he did through 3 games the last. I consider our last two games an aberration as we know we focused on the pass way more than the run to get ready for teams crowding the line against us, so his numbers are a little more excusable in that context.
3.) Cullen Harper is off to a rather amazing start: a completion percentage above 70%, 10 TDs, 0 INTs. I haven't really had a chance to watch him play, though; what are his strengths/weaknesses? And how come he didn't see more time last season?
He's not bad at all. Certainly a step up from Proctor. He can read the field well and get the ball off quickly. His young offensive line tends to hang him out to dry quite a bit and he doesn't make stupid decisions and get rattled with four big guys trying to rip his head off. He's also hard to rattle in the sense that he can take a hit and focus his attention to the next play. The only reason Cullen didn't see more playing time last year is because Bowden has his head up his own ass. He really dropped the ball by not getting Harper more snaps.
4.) So, despite the way Harper has played, there are a lot of folks who want to see freshman phenom Willy Korn, right?
There's an adage that everyone's favorite player on their team is the backup quarterback and that's certainly the case this year with Clemson. Korn was a megastar at a local football factory who committed to Clemson his junior year and enrolled early to practice in spring with the team. His hype has been building for years and it doesn't hurt that he scored a rushing touchdown his first game and a passing touchdown his second game in the cleanup role. While we think it's important that he gets plenty of playing time, Cullen is doing everything you could ask of a quarterback and doesn't look like he'll lose his starting spot any time soon, barring injury. So far, Korn has seen some tired defenses against some schools not on par with Clemson and he's played like an outright stud. He's good, but we need to ease him into the starting position. Also, why change a good thing like Cullen Harper destroying defenses?
5.) I thought Clemson was going to cruise to a division title after the Tigers crushed Georgia Tech last season, but the team faded down the stretch. If they falter in similar fashion this year, is Tommy Bowden gone?
He's not on the hot seat yet because he's too much of a yes man. If he goes 7 wins and a bowl loss on the year, our fans will be pissed. 6 wins and he's a goner. The team just seemed to lose focus. Tommy is too much like his daddy in the fact that he likes to hire coaches, and then manage them. He needs to get his hands dirty too. Hiring coaches, recruiting a few kids, and giving a speech or two won't cut it in college football these days. You have to bring more to the table. If he wins 8, he gets to stick around and if he doesn't get over the hump next year, he's definitely gone. Tommy will do enough to not get fired. Not intentionally, we really think he works his ass off and cares about the program. We just don't think he's good enough to take the program up another notch. In terms of facilities and recruiting, he's done wonders, but the titles aren't there. Several talking heads say that Clemson tanks at the end of every year. Not true. We tanked last year, and in 2000, but in other years we started off slow and built up to a satisfying finish. Other years we were consistently mediocre. The one constant - and you should expect it to continue - is that each year we beat a team we probably shouldn't and lose to a team we also probably shouldn't have.
6.) Our quarterbacks like to give the gift of points to our opponents, just to let them know we appreciate them. Just smile and try to look surprised when Harrison Beck gives it to you, okay?
Uh, okay. *Winces in anticipation of being shanked.*