Monday, October 01, 2007

Notes From Clemson Territory

In case you're wondering, I thought I would share the general feelings and vibes I am getting in the heart of Clemson country (Greenville SC).

First, it's always interesting to hear things from the other perspective. Here is a sense of what I heard today at the office and on local radio:

  • Georgia Tech is a good team, but Clemson fans feel pretty strongly that they are more talented at almost every position on the field. The fact that they were beaten by a "lesser" team is a complete debacle to them. The coming weeks will bring teams like VaTech, "better" teams than us, and if they cannot beat GT, how are they going to get the national respect they crave and deserve?
  • Clemson people are happy with recruiting, but see Tommy Bowden as a terrible game-day coach. They do not see the in-game adjustments necessary to counter opponents. In addition, they did not feel like there was any gameplan or strategy to counter the blitzing Tech defense
  • Clemson fans all say James Davis was hurt and that's why he didn't get the ball more. They don't understand why they kept trying to stretch out runs to the edges (of course that was our game-plan to force them to the edges).
  • They're all ticked at special teams, although the general feeling is the kicker is not to blame since his missed field goals were all pretty long.
  • "That is Tommy Bowden football". I heard that a few times. Many are just convinced it will always be this way under Bowden.
  • Also interesting that Clemson and GT both lose games they are "supposed" to win and win games they are not expected to, yet the way this is perceived by the media is different. For GT, it's about "schizophrenia" and "inconsistency". For Clemson it's about the "annual collapse", typically between games 4-8 each year.
  • I received more than one comment about the cockiness of both Tashard Choice and Philip Wheeler. One Clemson person told me they were "underwhelmed" with the way Choice acted after a number of those plays and how he yapped his jaw all game (I tend to agree on a few plays). Another thought it was arrogant that everytime Wheeler made a play he held up 4 fingers on one hand and 1 on the other (his number).

Bottom-line is that Clemson fans had reconciled a fairly easy victory based on three factors:

1) They crushed us last year
2) Clemson is a better team than last year
3) GT is NOT a better team than last year.

The fact that they lost has created quite a disconnect and the resulting frustration and anger is interesting to watch. Of course it's something we're used to over at Jacket-nation as well. Bottom-line is that there is nothing like winning and losing to change perceptions of a program.