Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Clemson remains a bit of mystery having played no one to this point. They are probably better known for having a sophomore quarterback who's a millionaire thanks to his prowess in a different sport...baseball. The one thing that catches my eye about this team is their coaching staff which is laden with former Alabama players/coaches (Dabo Swinney, Charlie Harbison, Danny Pearman, and Kevin Steele). To me this means these coaches have an ingrained hatred of Auburn and will express that to their players all week. Having a bye week following this game also stands out. They will hold nothing back physically having two weeks to get over the bumps and bruises. Clemson will be ready to play.
The good news is Auburn has more talent on both sides of the ball. As much as everyone doesn't want to see Cam Newton shouldering the workload of our rushing attack, Clemson struggles mightily in slowing down mobile QBs. They would love nothing more than to see Cam stay in the pocket and hand the ball off every down. My thought is the threat of having an athletic QB like Newton take off at any moment draws enormous respect from a defender, opening up alleys for RBs and cushion for WRs. We can't afford to take away the dual threat of Cameron and thus make life easier for defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. So I say run Newton early and often and make them respect his ability to beat you with his feet. I'm telling you first hand as a defender, you'd rather tackle (insert an AU running back) than Cam Newton.
I also believe another impact player in Trovon Reed will emerge and make his presence known this week as a speedy player with unbelievable instincts with the ball in his hands.
Defensively, Clemson will be the most balanced offense we've played to date. The QB is not great, but he's athletic enough to make a play when the one called breaks down, and he can squeeze a pass into tight coverage with some success. Our defensive backs will be challenged down the field considerably and they must be prepared to make plays on the football. If we can get pressure rushing only 4 like we did against State with the beastly play of Nick Fairley and crew, then life will be much easier in the secondary. I believe we are capable of controlling both lines of scrimmage and if so, this game's not close.
I see everything coming together in this one. Mike Dyer emerges as the primary ball carrier with McCalebb breaking off 10-20 yard gainers routinely. Trovon Reed becomes a big play guy along side Adams and Zachery and Cam Newton continues doing what he does. The defense gives up some yards but stiffens in the red zone. It's close early but Auburn pulls away in the second half and runs away with it by two touchdowns*.
*I have minimal respect for ACC football at the moment