Found October 29, 2011 on College Football Zealots:

The Clemson Tigers have been one of the surprises of the college football world this year. New Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris has the offense, led by Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd, clicking on all cylinders and seemingly ready for all challengers. Reginald Eller of Unconquered Noles had the opportunity to talk with Clemson Tigers play-by-play guy Pete Yanity.

 

Clemson – being 8-0 has taken the nation by storm.  In your mind’s eye, where did you think Clemson would be after 8 games, before the season began?

I thought 6-2 would have been a credible guess as I thought that three game stretch early in the season (vs. Auburn and FSU and at Va. Tech) would be tough to sweep and I thought winning two of three in the stretch of vs. BC, at MD, and vs. UNC was also a reasonable expectation.

 

Dabo Swinney and “Hot Seat talk” went hand-in-hand during the off season. What do you make of you turn of events from a year ago in the Clemson program?

There are several factors involved.

Dabo bringing in Chad Morris to run the offense has been a huge plus as Morris’ system has worked perfectly with the players here.

The infusion of talent in the freshman class with WR Sammy Watkins making the biggest impact and others like RB Mike Bellamy and WR Martavis Bryant also contributing.  The elevation of redshirt freshman such as DB Bashaad Breeland.

And there were some talented guys coming back like WR DeAndre Hopkins, TE Dwayne Allen, and RB Andre Ellington as well as most of an offensive line with several guys who’ve taken a bunch of snaps this season.

You also can’t forget about the play of a first-year starting quarterback and not only the skill that Tajh Boyd has shown but the decision making.  It’s a case of some of the best passes he’s made are the ones he hasn’t, if you know what I mean.  His 24 TD passes compared to just three interceptions tells the real story there.

I also think you have to keep last season in perspective.  Five of the seven losses were by six points or less.  Another loss to Miami was by nine points but was decided late.  If this team had lost a bunch of games 35-7 a year ago then I’d say that the turn-around this season was stunning.  Instead, it’s essentially a case of making a few more plays per game that’s been the big part of the 8-0 start.

 

Defensively Clemson has question marks. Versus Georgia Tech is an interesting match up. What are key match ups to watch for in the game?

I think their duo of Smith and Jones out of the backfield and the many others they use in their running game, and the style they use make them a tough team to defend.  It helps that Clemson faced an option team already this season, Wofford.  Dabo Swinney says they actually take a portion of time during spring drills and August practice to work on Georgia Tech’s attack because it’s so unique.  Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says the key to containing their offense a year ago, and holding them to just 13 points, was that Clemson’s defensive line controlled the game.  So, I think DTs Brandon Thompson and Rennie Moore will be keys as will outside linebackers Quandon Christian and Tig Willard, which is always the case when you face an option team.  The cornerbacks, Coty Sensabaugh and Xavier Brewer, with Breeland seeing plenty of snaps, will also have huge roles because Tech has a couple of decent wide receivers that they’ll try to make you forget about with their running game and the next thing you know they hit them on a quick fade.

 

Clemson wins If?

The offense continues its explosive ways and is able to continue to protect QB Boyd against what will be a pretty radical 3-4 look that Ga. Tech DC Al Groh shows. I would think he’ll try to come at Boyd with a variety of blitzes.  Getting Ellington close to 100% (he sprained an ankle last week) will be vital to counter such situations.  Defensively for Clemson is probably where the game will have to be won as they’ll have to do a significantly better job with assignments against the option than they did against Wofford (giving up 478 yards) and a better job with filling running lanes and tackling than they did against Maryland (allowing a good running quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards). I think it’s tremendously important to build a quick lead on Ga. Tech because of the style of their offense and to force them out of their comfort zone.  That will happen by making them give the ball up as they lead the nation in third down conversions at 59%.

 

If I made you choose one between Chad Morris, Dabo Swinney, Tajh Boyd, or Sammy Watkins – at who has been Clemson’s “Most Valuable Person” in changing the Tigers fortunes in one season. Who would it be? 

Probably Swinney for hiring Morris, helping to close the deal in recruiting to land Watkins (Swinney credits former assistant Brad Scott, who’d followed Watkins since his early days in high school and had great connections there), and not forcing the issue with Boyd last season when it was clear that former QB Kyle Parker was affected by an early-season injury and wasn’t 100%.

 

Bonus- Should Sammy Watkins be considered for the Heisman trophy?

Bonus answer: Why shouldn’t Boyd, as well?

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Football. Boyd Named Semifinalist for Maxwell Award

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, the honor presented to the Collegiate Player of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia.

Football. Watkins Named To Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll

Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Robert Woods (USC) have been named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll. The weekly recognition honors versatile, single-game performances around the nation by FBS student-athletes.

Clemson's Tajh Boyd Earns Manning Award Honor Once Again

For the fourth time this season, sophomore Tajh Boyd from No. 5 Clemson has been selected as the Manning Award Player of the Week. Boyd earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week in the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Facebook contest.

Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 17: Tigers Finally Show Dysfunctional Side

I don't think many people felt Clemson was an elite program this season, but I'd say there were some who felt the Tigers could actually go undefeated. Well, Georgia Tech took care of any lingering doubts last night in a dominating 31-17 victory in Atlanta. Instead of playing like a team that was trying to prove to the nation it should be considered a contender for the BCS...

Clemson’s Magical Run Ends

Clemson was 8-0 and was ranked No. 5 in the nation. They had impressive wins over Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Unfortunately for Clemson, that all went down the drain tonight when they lost to Georgia Tech by a final score of 31-17. Clemson got on the board first with a field goal but then Georgia Tech exploded. They scored the game’s next 24 points to head into halftime...

Tigers ready for road trip to Atlanta

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney updates the status of Andre Ellington and Dwayne Allen and takes one last look at Georgia Tech.

5 questions about Clemson

1. What has happened in the past few weeks that’s kicked the offense into high gear? First-year starting quarterback Tajh Boyd really began to look comfortable against Auburn in Week 3 and since that point, only Bud Foster’s defense (Va. Tech) has kept Clemson below 35 points. Freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins has really kicked the offense into a different gear since...

Maxwell Award Semi-Finalists Ballot Released

Matt Barkley Jr QB University of Southern California Justin Blackmon Jr WR Oklahoma State University Tajh Boyd So QB Clemson University Ryan Broyles Sr WR University of Oklahoma Robert Griffin, III Jr QB Baylor University LaMichael James Jr RB University of Oregon Landry Jones Jr QB University of Oklahoma Case Keenum Sr QB University of Houston Andrew Luck Sr QB Stanford...

Upset Bait: Clemson’s clock strikes midnight in Atlanta

Perusing the weekly lines for a straight-up shocker or two — for entertainment only, of course. • GRAHAM WATSON: Georgia Tech +4 against Clemson. Clemson is ripe for an upset. The Tigers and quarterback Tajh Boyd just spent a week being showered with praise and linked to national championship scenarios, all of which will be a distraction heading to Georgia Tech. Yes, the Yellow...

Football. Tiger Football Team Falls to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, 31-17

The Clemson football team fell to Georgia Tech by a score of 31-17 in Atlanta on Saturday night. Sammy Watkins had 10 receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown in the loss, which brings the Tigers' record to 8-1 on the season.

Thumbs-up for Georgia Tech special teams

Greetings- Funny the difference a week makes and some kudos to BigTimeTechFan, who last Monday predicted “Yellow Jackets in a blowout.” He was a little more on the ball than Dawgfan, who prophesied that “CLAMPSUN WILL DESTROY THAT STUPID YOUTH FOOTBALL OFFENSE.” A couple thoughts and I’ve got to get moving. 1. After taking a lot of heat, special teams gets a pretty big...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.