No. 3 Tigers routed by Seminoles, 51-14

Clemson self-destructs with four turnovers, suffers most one-sided loss since West Virginia in Orange Bowl

Clemson's Dabo Swinney during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

A season high four turnovers translated to a season low for Clemson football as the No. 3 Tigers self-destructed in a 51-14 loss to No. 5 Florida State on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Then again, Jimbo Fisher’s crew did the home team no favors by showing an appetite for destruction themselves, scoring the most points the Tigers have ever allowed in Death Valley.

Boyd: Tigers' on to next one

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The Seminoles won every battle at every turn, grabbing an early 17-0 lead and never allowing Dabo Swinney’s charges to make any real headway.

The winners’ first two touchdowns were due to Clemson fumbles and things unraveled from there.

Already ahead 27-7 at halftime, Florida State took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and swiftly moved the markers.

The drive ended with Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston hitting Kelvin Benjamin on a 17-yard scoring strike at 13:33 of the quarter.

The kick made it 34-7, erasing any and all doubt about the outcome of this game. By then many of the 83,428 fans had scurried to the exits.

The ‘Noles added one more score in the third and a TD and field goal in the fourth to turn a rout into a merciless beating.

“This was very disappointing,” Swinney said. “When you’re going against a team as good as Florida State, you don’t have very much room for error. We fumbled in the beginning, we had a busted play, fumbled again and before you know it it’s 17-0.”

Backup QB Cole Stoudt got a consolation score for the Tigers with 13 seconds remaining in the game when he pushed across the stripe from two yards out.

Florida State’s defense handled Clemson’s offensive line and a solid Tiger “D” simply had no answer for Winston and his receiving corps.

“We just have to get better,” Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. “We know we’re better than that. We just can’t let that happen.”

Winston finished 22-34-1 for 444 yards and three touchdowns while Rashad Greene caught eight balls for 146 yards and two touchdowns and Nick O’Leary had five receptions for 161 yards.

State had 564 yards of total offense, more than making up for its 12 penalties totaling 104 yards.

The win moves Florida State to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. More importantly, the ‘Noles are now the clear frontrunners in the ACC Atlantic Division and join the BCS National Championship Game conversation.

Clemson falls to 6-1 and 4-1 – its hopes of a berth in the league title game now a longshot and its dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed.

“I hurt for everybody,” Swinney said. “But we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got five games to go and we have to do everything we can to beat Maryland (next Saturday).”

The showdown between Tiger quarterback Tajh Boyd and Winston never really materialized.

Boyd struggled throughout the night and wound up 17-37-2 through the air for just 156 yards.

“Obviously it was a disappointing loss and we did some uncharacteristic things which you can’t do against a team like that,” Boyd said. “We couldn’t bounce back and rebound like we thought we could.”

The game couldn’t have started much worse for Clemson as Boyd completed a pass to Stanton Seckinger on the first play from scrimmage, only to see the tight end fumble at the Clemson 34 after being hit by Telvin Smith. Terrence Brooks recovered, and FSU was in business deep in Tiger territory.

Three snaps later Benjamin snared a 22-yard touchdown pass from Winston, and Florida State was on the board just 82 seconds in.

The lead grew to 10-0 at 4:18 when Roberto Aguayo kicked a 28-yard field goal –the first field goal of the season made against Clemson.

Then came another deadly miscue.

After Clemson moved the ball all the way to the FSU 45, Boyd was sacked for an 18-yard loss by Lamarcus Joyner, who forced a fumble on the play.

Mario Edwards scooped up the loose cargo at the Tiger 37 and rumbled into the end zone for a TD at the first frame’s 3:07 mark.

Morris: Loss wasn't on one player

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The PAT made it 17-0.

Clemson finally answered the bell on the next series, driving 65 yards in 11 plays to cut into the Seminoles’ advantage.

The capper came when Boyd hit Sammy Watkins in a 3-yard TD toss with 51 to go in the first.

But it was a four play, 95-yard march by the Seminoles that likely sealed the deal on this one.

After the game had settled into a defensive mode Florida State took over at its own 5 following a punt.

On a 1st-and-10 call from his 28, Winston found Greene on a play action pass and the wideout took it the distance, shaking off one tackler and motoring to the end zone with 7:08 still to go before intermission.

The kick increased the advantage to 24-7 and another field goal with three ticks left on the first half had the visitors comfortably in front at 27-7.

Once FSU cashed in the first drive of the second half, it was no longer a question of whom but by how much.

“Florida State is a heck of a football team,” Swinney said. “I wish we had played better and that’s no one’s fault but mine. We’re going to find out what we’re made of going forward. We have to put this behind us and move on.

“When Monday morning rolls around, Maryland is going to be the biggest game of the year.”

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Comments » 34

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

1) Clemson didn't "self-destruct". This is classic Clemson-speak homer reporting. Every time you get dominated it's always because Clemson beat themselves and not because a better team gave them a first-class beatdown. They got man-handled. This was the Orange Bowl all over again. FSU dominated in every part of the game.

2) "Dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed" is laughable. There's no "all but" about it. It's over. You shouldn't be surprised either. You struggled against BAD teams. You win only by 12 at NC State and it should've been 5 if not for the TD called back for the phantom step out of bounds. Then you have to rally in the 4th quarter against BC... at home. You weren't a national championship caliber team before this game and you certainly are not now. Phrases like "all but" make you look dumb as a writer.

3) Tajh Boyd looked awful. He curled up in the fetal position... again.

4) What do Clemson and Louisville have in common? They both got exposed as frauds with regard to the national championship. It doesn't matter anyway b/c the reality is that Alabama is the best team in the country and there's no one even all that close.

jgholbrook writes:

Just hard to believe that there is that much difference in talent. Set aside the 2 fumbles and 14 points...I saw the rest of the game and still can't believe the Tigers are that outclassed in talent. What happen?

KIMOSAMI (Inactive) writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

1) Clemson didn't "self-destruct". This is classic Clemson-speak homer reporting. Every time you get dominated it's always because Clemson beat themselves and not because a better team gave them a first-class beatdown. They got man-handled. This was the Orange Bowl all over again. FSU dominated in every part of the game.

2) "Dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed" is laughable. There's no "all but" about it. It's over. You shouldn't be surprised either. You struggled against BAD teams. You win only by 12 at NC State and it should've been 5 if not for the TD called back for the phantom step out of bounds. Then you have to rally in the 4th quarter against BC... at home. You weren't a national championship caliber team before this game and you certainly are not now. Phrases like "all but" make you look dumb as a writer.

3) Tajh Boyd looked awful. He curled up in the fetal position... again.

4) What do Clemson and Louisville have in common? They both got exposed as frauds with regard to the national championship. It doesn't matter anyway b/c the reality is that Alabama is the best team in the country and there's no one even all that close.

What does it matter to you?

You always show up with....really the same song to the same tune.

Only sadistic a holes do what you do. Otherwise...what's it to you?

CUNo1Fan writes:

Coot fan who's only joy after losing to a 3-3 Tennessee Team is to come on here and talk crap about the Tigers.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

1) Clemson didn't "self-destruct". This is classic Clemson-speak homer reporting. Every time you get dominated it's always because Clemson beat themselves and not because a better team gave them a first-class beatdown. They got man-handled. This was the Orange Bowl all over again. FSU dominated in every part of the game.

2) "Dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed" is laughable. There's no "all but" about it. It's over. You shouldn't be surprised either. You struggled against BAD teams. You win only by 12 at NC State and it should've been 5 if not for the TD called back for the phantom step out of bounds. Then you have to rally in the 4th quarter against BC... at home. You weren't a national championship caliber team before this game and you certainly are not now. Phrases like "all but" make you look dumb as a writer.

3) Tajh Boyd looked awful. He curled up in the fetal position... again.

4) What do Clemson and Louisville have in common? They both got exposed as frauds with regard to the national championship. It doesn't matter anyway b/c the reality is that Alabama is the best team in the country and there's no one even all that close.

Hey buddy, whatcha been doin' since Feb. 10? #trollin

SoCalTiger writes:

I know it's a cliché but I keep hoping to wake up to Saturday morning again and a do-over.

CUNo1Fan writes:

It looked to me like Tajh needed to spend more time preparing for the game and a lot less time giving interviews. Looked to me like a lot of the team needed to spend more time preparing for the game and less time giving interviews.

I know this is the "media age" but I don't see all these interviews/videos from players on other teams, maybe I am just not seeing them but we were woefully unprepared to play in this game. FSU is one heck of a team but there is no way they should have beaten the Tigers like that especially in Death Valley.

I can take losing a game if they play good, give it all they have, and just lose - it happens. Tonight was ridiculous, there is simply no way that embarrassing beating should have taken place. The Tigers have a better team than that.

I love everything Dabo has done for this program but a loss like this on national TV is just unacceptable. I don't know if he needs to take a different approach with the players such as a more disciplinarian/authoritative coach or what but he obviously needs to do something to kick them in the tail along with the rest of the coaches. Being that unprepared is on him as the HC.

TigerFan95 writes:

It is clearly evident that we are not a physical team up front on either side of the ball. Until we do so we will not be the team we long to be. FSU came in our house on a mission to distroy us and we were completely unprepared. Unless we get bigger, faster and more aggressive up front we can expect more of the same in the future.

TigerNE writes:

Problems that we have been told needed addressing and were being fixed came back to haunt us in the most painful way last night. Not sure who has the most to work on, but my gut says Morris. Our D didn't play start to finish perfectly, but they did get their act together for a while, off and on, even at the line. But, our offense was "flat", "rusty", whatever word people like, the entire game.

The only thing the troll first poster got right without saying it directly is that FSU dominated both sides of the ball. It's because they played flawless and didn't come out "rusty" or play defense off and on well. Just the way their backfield kept our receivers so tightly wrapped for every snap was one key factor that would have prevented us from winning IF we didn't have the other offensive problems.

Bigboots writes:

Disappointing loss, but not a real surprise given our lack of a running threat and a suspect defensive secondary.
FSU is talented and deep. No doubt about who is the better team.
Maybe Dye will help improve the running game, Alexander will help the secondary, and others will continue to get better.
An offensive right tackle would be nice too.

TigerFan95 writes:

Bigboots, Our lack of a running game is not due to lack of talent at RB its lack of talent upfront. Unfortunately Dabo is a lot like Bowden was and stinks at recruiting O-lineman. We signed only two O lineman last year and have only two commits this year. I see our problems upfront getting only worse the next few years. And I hope im wrong but I believe theres more to Dyes back injury than we've been told and it may be one that threatens his career. He may never play a down for us.

Bigboots writes:

I'd have to disagree and would say the ineffective running game is attributable to mediocre backs and sub-par line play.
There is no star running back getting playing time. Certainly no power runner.
Dye would fill that void if he is healthy, but as you say, we don't truly know the full extent of his problems.

michtiger writes:

In my 70 years I should have been smarter than fall for the hype and not follow my instincts and observations. I love this team and boyd but we do get so carried away. First great game against Ga but we knew their DBs were in shambles and D line below average. Good win but we made way to much of it. W/o the call at NCSt we could have easily lost. BC was scary. WAKE and Syr. we got the big start. We have all known the problem is very weak secondary, average at best OL. Interesting in the big stage Boyd looked like a rookie. Yes he was hurried but he was dancing and had fear in his eyes. Md could be problem if we do not get heads together, GT offense is always a problem and SC away. This next few weeks could be like two years ago after8-0 start. We are a top 25 team but not top ten. Yes this game looked like the orange bowl and we have to expect the old "Clemson" comments and we just have to live with it. All the hype made us look even worse. forget BCS, Heisman, ACC and try to just play and be happy with Chick or less in DEc. Lost our best chance in a long while to be considered in the elite. Go tigers.

TigerNE writes:

in response to michtiger:

In my 70 years I should have been smarter than fall for the hype and not follow my instincts and observations. I love this team and boyd but we do get so carried away. First great game against Ga but we knew their DBs were in shambles and D line below average. Good win but we made way to much of it. W/o the call at NCSt we could have easily lost. BC was scary. WAKE and Syr. we got the big start. We have all known the problem is very weak secondary, average at best OL. Interesting in the big stage Boyd looked like a rookie. Yes he was hurried but he was dancing and had fear in his eyes. Md could be problem if we do not get heads together, GT offense is always a problem and SC away. This next few weeks could be like two years ago after8-0 start. We are a top 25 team but not top ten. Yes this game looked like the orange bowl and we have to expect the old "Clemson" comments and we just have to live with it. All the hype made us look even worse. forget BCS, Heisman, ACC and try to just play and be happy with Chick or less in DEc. Lost our best chance in a long while to be considered in the elite. Go tigers.

Disagree partly. I think our D line inconsistencies are fixable. The O line seems unchanged for a while (since last year). It might be a little better. But that little makes almost no difference. If Morris can straighten out Boyd's head problems and he comes out strong next week @MD, I am less pessimistic than you about the rest of the season.

We could even get by SCar with this O line only if Boyd steps it up. I don't think SCar can take so many options away from Boyd's arm like FSU did. Holy moly, they amazingly swarmed receivers. We should be so lucky...

waran writes:

I agree with several of the comments posted here - unprepared; too many interviews by players and coaches; the hype that has created an illusion about National Championship, ACC, etc; and we are going to find the next few weeks very hard.

I want to focus on Coaching. I like Dabbo a lot. But I agree with a previous comment very strongly " I don't know if he needs to take a different approach with the players such as a more disciplinarian/authoritative coach or what but he obviously needs to do something to kick them in the tail along with the rest of the coaches. Being that unprepared is on him as the HC." He needs to hold players and coaches accountable and he never does. he always has excuses for poor performances. I think the main culprit is Boyd. No more interviews for him till the end of the year.

I also think they need to focus on recruiting bigger and stronger O-Line and D-Line.

richardcd writes:

When I saw Florida State beat Maryland, I knew Clemson would be in for a long night. They have been overrated at number 3 for several weeks. It is obvious that Florida State has out-recruited Clemson and has better athletes. And they came up with this phenom at quarterback. Tajh Boyd could not perform because he was running for his life and Florida State pass defenders were practically hanging onto his receivers. Florida States receivers were usually wide open and Famous Jameis had all day to throw. There was really no hope from the beginning, but we Clemson fans continue to delude ourselves as usual.

TigerNE writes:

in response to waran:

I agree with several of the comments posted here - unprepared; too many interviews by players and coaches; the hype that has created an illusion about National Championship, ACC, etc; and we are going to find the next few weeks very hard.

I want to focus on Coaching. I like Dabbo a lot. But I agree with a previous comment very strongly " I don't know if he needs to take a different approach with the players such as a more disciplinarian/authoritative coach or what but he obviously needs to do something to kick them in the tail along with the rest of the coaches. Being that unprepared is on him as the HC." He needs to hold players and coaches accountable and he never does. he always has excuses for poor performances. I think the main culprit is Boyd. No more interviews for him till the end of the year.

I also think they need to focus on recruiting bigger and stronger O-Line and D-Line.

I am hoping that this game didn't change too many minds of the many potential recruits who were at the game. The are a few big linemen in that mix.

But given our history, I don't expect us to recruit the 5 stars in the region. Maybe a skill player like QB or WR here and there. But we do need to find the 3 and 4 stars that have some real potential. The biggest and the baddest almost invariably choose any SEC team, even those not at the top. Or FSU...

Maybe we need to start looking in the back yards of some of the newer teams, like in PA or more in OH/KY....

BrandonRink writes:

Outside of the comment starter, we've got some really good discussion here.

FSU showed they were clearly the better team, but as Tajh Boyd said postgame, Clemson didn't play near to its capability. That's partly on the coaching staff and partly on the players. The playmakers didn't make plays - or didn't have time to make plays, and that's just a total team failure. I'd imagine the o-line competition will be pretty fierce this week, but then again, they won't face a d-line and pressure like that until the regular season finale.

There's no shame in losing to a top-five team at home - it happens - but losing that way should never happen with the talent level Clemson has and the crowd they had behind them last night. There's going to be a lot of hard looks in the mirror by the coaching staff this week.

I have a feeling the leadership on the team will right the ship and could still be BCS-bowl bound (especially with the chaos behind them this week), but their mindset will be tested with this back-to-back road trips. They survive that then it's a bye, rivalry game with Tech on a Thursday and basically two weeks to what's now (maybe still was anyway) the defining game of the season.

TigerNE writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

Outside of the comment starter, we've got some really good discussion here.

FSU showed they were clearly the better team, but as Tajh Boyd said postgame, Clemson didn't play near to its capability. That's partly on the coaching staff and partly on the players. The playmakers didn't make plays - or didn't have time to make plays, and that's just a total team failure. I'd imagine the o-line competition will be pretty fierce this week, but then again, they won't face a d-line and pressure like that until the regular season finale.

There's no shame in losing to a top-five team at home - it happens - but losing that way should never happen with the talent level Clemson has and the crowd they had behind them last night. There's going to be a lot of hard looks in the mirror by the coaching staff this week.

I have a feeling the leadership on the team will right the ship and could still be BCS-bowl bound (especially with the chaos behind them this week), but their mindset will be tested with this back-to-back road trips. They survive that then it's a bye, rivalry game with Tech on a Thursday and basically two weeks to what's now (maybe still was anyway) the defining game of the season.

I expect to not only see wins from here on out, but also to see huge success on reversing this tired, unprofessional excuse of missed assignments and being off-rhythm. Only then can we fans be convinced this is a staff and team that has "turned the corner," like we've been told. Last night looked waaaay too much like the old Tigers Dabo promised he was going to change.

I'll take every win. But I can't get on the wagon that we are entering a new era just yet. Especially when we have such potential.

Bigboots writes:

A few observations on Boyd:

He is a good QB. I would not call him great.
He has shown character, heart, and class. Sometimes his execution of the offense is really good. At other times, he'll try to force a pass into triple coverage or fire the ball five feet over a receiver's head. And as he did last night, he'll misfire a ball to the ground on a simple pass into the flats. Without pressure.
I realize he was under pressure for the most part, but when he falters, he is just as likely to do so with no pressure.
Overall, good guy, good runner, inconsistent passer.

essoclub writes:

Here are a few observations:

It's time to commit to the run. While McDowell had a number of solid runs last night, Morris inexplicably went away from the run, just like he did last year against FSU and USC. Win or lose, Clemson needs to develop a hard-nosed offensive mentality. We ran the ball effectively against Georgia during the first game of the season and against LSU in our bowl game. Why does Morris immediately scrap the running game plan when the chips are down? This needs to be addressed.

Looking at our record over the last 3 to 4 seasons, while there has clearly been improvement in the number of wins per season, we have consistently imploded against top competition, with the exception of a handful of games. Our four straight losses to the Gamecocks can be partly attributed to the lack of a running game. When our pass-happy offense is not clicking, the wheels come off very quickly and games against better teams can quickly get out of control.

If we cannot figure out how to play ball control against a good defense, by running the ball, we will again have a tough time beating USC. With that said, I am not sure how much tolerance there is, amongst the Clemson faithful, to suffer a fifth straight loss to the Gamecocks, especially if the game turns into a rout. I can certainly tell you that I am tired of losing to the Gamecocks and a 5th straight loss would be unacceptable. Make no mistake about it, as much as it pains me to say this, the Gamecocks are much better than their record indicates. They beat us like a drum last year with a back-up QB, so do not think for a minute that Clemson will be favored in this game, especially since we have to play at the fly trap in Columbia. If we are not able to establish a running game, they will out muscle us in the trenches, and make us one dimensional, just like they have done for the last four years. Boyd will once again be running for his life and this time, Hopkins will not be there to bail him out with circus catches.

Furthermore, I have very little faith in this team's ability to bounce back and win two consecutive conference games on the road. I hope that my Tigers prove me wrong. For the sake of recruiting, where there are a number of glaring needs on both sides of the ball, I hope that the Tigers can finish the season strong.

As a die-hard Clemson fan, I can tell you that the way we lost last night to FSU, coupled with the four straight losses to the Gamecocks by an average margin of 17.5 points, I am not happy with the direction of the program. I want smash mouth football , a solid running game and a shutdown defense. I want Danny Ford football, and this monkey shine, patty-cake spread offense crap, with the Tigers getting blown off of both sides of the ball in the trenches, is just not delivering. No more excuses. Last night's game was a complete embarrassment and all die-hard Clemson fans should be very frustrated and concerned.

radtiger writes:

in response to richardcd:

When I saw Florida State beat Maryland, I knew Clemson would be in for a long night. They have been overrated at number 3 for several weeks. It is obvious that Florida State has out-recruited Clemson and has better athletes. And they came up with this phenom at quarterback. Tajh Boyd could not perform because he was running for his life and Florida State pass defenders were practically hanging onto his receivers. Florida States receivers were usually wide open and Famous Jameis had all day to throw. There was really no hope from the beginning, but we Clemson fans continue to delude ourselves as usual.

I so agree with you,Clemson need to focus on winning one game at a time, They have focused on National Championship every since the win over LSU, not to mention the win over Georgia. All week long Dabo and his interviews has been focused on being the loudest stadium....NEWS ALERT...its only going to be loud if we are winning!!!Over hyped, Over rated and flat out embarrassing on National TV.... Everybody thought That number 3 rating was a joke and now they know for sure.

SoCalTiger writes:

The "O" Line has been a constant issue at least as far back as Bowden, if not further. It negatively affected the play of Cullen Harper, Kyle Parker, James Davis and CJ Spiller. Thunder and Lightning could have set records had they had a strong offensive line. Their "off" seasons at Clemson were because of a weak offensive line. It's like a broken record that keeps playing over and over. Recent OL recruits are few and far between.

CUNo1Fan writes:

I agree with several above but it isn't just the O line, it is the trench players on both sides. More emphasis must be given to recruiting top quality trench players. Games are won/lost on a teams ability to control the LOS.

The O Line was supposed to be one of our strengths this year - it is not. The O Line simply is not winning the LOS to provide proper pass protection or to establish an effective running game. More than once this year on 3rd/4th and short or goal they have been stopped cold. To be an elite team, those situations should be golden.

FSU IMO dared us to beat them in the trenches on both sides of the ball, we didn't. As a result, on O they established an effective run game and protected their QB giving him time to pass with little pressure. On D, they got pressure with the front line allowing them to shut down the passing game with "extra" defenders and we didn't/couldn't change that with the non-existent run game.

Perhaps it starts with the players spending less time giving interviews and talking to the press and spending more time on the game. Perhaps it starts with spending more time on fundamentals such as proper tackling - I am sick of all the missed tackles because of the "big hit" mentality instead of proper tackling technique. Perhaps it starts with becoming physically tough on the field by spending more practice time hitting and playing live which will also foster more mental toughness. We simply can't handle getting smashed in the mouth.

It definitely has to include a commitment to recruiting more/better trench players. I think it definitely includes not being the players "best friend" and being more of the "coach". That seems to work well for the top coaches of today as well as the top coaches of the past. It also has to include changes in the coach's mindset on dealing with the big games as more often than not (with a few exceptions - UGA and LSU), the Tigers seem to be woefully unprepared for them. In the big games on the national stage they just fall flat on their face. Being that unprepared in big games is just unacceptable. That falls squarely on the coaches as a whole and particularly on Dabo as the HC.

As a fan, I can handle losing a game if the Tigers show up, give it their all, play a good game and just lose. It can be to a better team that just beats us, a fumble, a missed kick, any bad break as long as we compete. What I can't live with is being woefully unprepared and embarrassing the University and Fans like Saturday night.

I love the Tigers and will bleed orange regardless but it is time to fix this.

essoclub writes:

in response to CUNo1Fan:

I agree with several above but it isn't just the O line, it is the trench players on both sides. More emphasis must be given to recruiting top quality trench players. Games are won/lost on a teams ability to control the LOS.

The O Line was supposed to be one of our strengths this year - it is not. The O Line simply is not winning the LOS to provide proper pass protection or to establish an effective running game. More than once this year on 3rd/4th and short or goal they have been stopped cold. To be an elite team, those situations should be golden.

FSU IMO dared us to beat them in the trenches on both sides of the ball, we didn't. As a result, on O they established an effective run game and protected their QB giving him time to pass with little pressure. On D, they got pressure with the front line allowing them to shut down the passing game with "extra" defenders and we didn't/couldn't change that with the non-existent run game.

Perhaps it starts with the players spending less time giving interviews and talking to the press and spending more time on the game. Perhaps it starts with spending more time on fundamentals such as proper tackling - I am sick of all the missed tackles because of the "big hit" mentality instead of proper tackling technique. Perhaps it starts with becoming physically tough on the field by spending more practice time hitting and playing live which will also foster more mental toughness. We simply can't handle getting smashed in the mouth.

It definitely has to include a commitment to recruiting more/better trench players. I think it definitely includes not being the players "best friend" and being more of the "coach". That seems to work well for the top coaches of today as well as the top coaches of the past. It also has to include changes in the coach's mindset on dealing with the big games as more often than not (with a few exceptions - UGA and LSU), the Tigers seem to be woefully unprepared for them. In the big games on the national stage they just fall flat on their face. Being that unprepared in big games is just unacceptable. That falls squarely on the coaches as a whole and particularly on Dabo as the HC.

As a fan, I can handle losing a game if the Tigers show up, give it their all, play a good game and just lose. It can be to a better team that just beats us, a fumble, a missed kick, any bad break as long as we compete. What I can't live with is being woefully unprepared and embarrassing the University and Fans like Saturday night.

I love the Tigers and will bleed orange regardless but it is time to fix this.

@CU_No1Fan: Well said and we are on the same page here. You make great points in your post above. Frankly, we have more skill players than you can shake a stick at, but in the grand scheme of things, without nasty, mean & tough athletes in the trenches, it's hard to throw bombs to Watkins and/or spring McDowell for long runs if the plays do not have enough time to develop due to poor pass protection / run blocking.

Our defense looks like the Steel Curtain against inferior teams, but they were pedestrian at best against FSU. I am not sure why Beasley even bothered to suit up for the game against the 'Noles. His pass rush was as non-existent as Manti Teo's make believe girlfriend.

TigerFan95 writes:

CU & ESSO,
You guys are exactly right and I agree with everything you say. Unfortunately I don’t see the type of changes you speak of happening anytime soon. At least not under Dabo. Look at our recruiting classes the last couple years and you’ll see that we’ve recruited very few offensive lineman. And this year we only have commits from TWO three-star guys and likely won’t get anymore. It’s pretty obvious that Dabo is just like his predecessor and concentrates on recruiting skill guys while ignoring the guys in the trenches. Another issue we have is our offensive line coach. Although a very likeable guy, Robbie Caldwell has never coached at a top-level program and simply is not a big-time offensive line coach.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to CUNo1Fan:

I agree with several above but it isn't just the O line, it is the trench players on both sides. More emphasis must be given to recruiting top quality trench players. Games are won/lost on a teams ability to control the LOS.

The O Line was supposed to be one of our strengths this year - it is not. The O Line simply is not winning the LOS to provide proper pass protection or to establish an effective running game. More than once this year on 3rd/4th and short or goal they have been stopped cold. To be an elite team, those situations should be golden.

FSU IMO dared us to beat them in the trenches on both sides of the ball, we didn't. As a result, on O they established an effective run game and protected their QB giving him time to pass with little pressure. On D, they got pressure with the front line allowing them to shut down the passing game with "extra" defenders and we didn't/couldn't change that with the non-existent run game.

Perhaps it starts with the players spending less time giving interviews and talking to the press and spending more time on the game. Perhaps it starts with spending more time on fundamentals such as proper tackling - I am sick of all the missed tackles because of the "big hit" mentality instead of proper tackling technique. Perhaps it starts with becoming physically tough on the field by spending more practice time hitting and playing live which will also foster more mental toughness. We simply can't handle getting smashed in the mouth.

It definitely has to include a commitment to recruiting more/better trench players. I think it definitely includes not being the players "best friend" and being more of the "coach". That seems to work well for the top coaches of today as well as the top coaches of the past. It also has to include changes in the coach's mindset on dealing with the big games as more often than not (with a few exceptions - UGA and LSU), the Tigers seem to be woefully unprepared for them. In the big games on the national stage they just fall flat on their face. Being that unprepared in big games is just unacceptable. That falls squarely on the coaches as a whole and particularly on Dabo as the HC.

As a fan, I can handle losing a game if the Tigers show up, give it their all, play a good game and just lose. It can be to a better team that just beats us, a fumble, a missed kick, any bad break as long as we compete. What I can't live with is being woefully unprepared and embarrassing the University and Fans like Saturday night.

I love the Tigers and will bleed orange regardless but it is time to fix this.

In terms of local media interviews, at most players are doing one 15 minute interview a week pregame, but it's often less than that and not everybody goes every week. Obviously you have Tajh a little more out there, as he has a regular spot with ESPNU, but all he has is one online class to graduate.

Xander5000 writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

1) Clemson didn't "self-destruct". This is classic Clemson-speak homer reporting. Every time you get dominated it's always because Clemson beat themselves and not because a better team gave them a first-class beatdown. They got man-handled. This was the Orange Bowl all over again. FSU dominated in every part of the game.

2) "Dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed" is laughable. There's no "all but" about it. It's over. You shouldn't be surprised either. You struggled against BAD teams. You win only by 12 at NC State and it should've been 5 if not for the TD called back for the phantom step out of bounds. Then you have to rally in the 4th quarter against BC... at home. You weren't a national championship caliber team before this game and you certainly are not now. Phrases like "all but" make you look dumb as a writer.

3) Tajh Boyd looked awful. He curled up in the fetal position... again.

4) What do Clemson and Louisville have in common? They both got exposed as frauds with regard to the national championship. It doesn't matter anyway b/c the reality is that Alabama is the best team in the country and there's no one even all that close.

1 - Yabba Dabba Doo Doo is exactly the Doo Doo that gets flushed down the toilet.
2 - To the real business at hand....I mentioned the running game was going to be needed. Though it had its moments, Clemson didn't stick to it.
3 - Clemson's O-line has to get better and meaner. FSU's O-line made it mission 1 to protect Winston and they did just that and we should be doing the same for Tajh.
4 - Miscommunications, dropped passes, turnovers, and wrong route running in week 6. That can't happen that many times in a game like that...period.

5 - Mike williams is goin to be special!

6 - Clemson just looked liked they just showed up on the field. Coaching staff and players didn't look like they even did any scouting.
7 - On talking to the media and doing interviews...The media flocked to our players because we were kind of the new kids on the block or the new sexy. Clemson haven't been on this kind of constant stage level in a long time. The times that they were, the media was not then what they are now.
8 - One loss should not kill the entire season but Clemson now needs to ramp it up and finish hella strong and beat South Chickenlina.

33dtb writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

1) Clemson didn't "self-destruct". This is classic Clemson-speak homer reporting. Every time you get dominated it's always because Clemson beat themselves and not because a better team gave them a first-class beatdown. They got man-handled. This was the Orange Bowl all over again. FSU dominated in every part of the game.

2) "Dreams of a business trip to Pasadena all but crushed" is laughable. There's no "all but" about it. It's over. You shouldn't be surprised either. You struggled against BAD teams. You win only by 12 at NC State and it should've been 5 if not for the TD called back for the phantom step out of bounds. Then you have to rally in the 4th quarter against BC... at home. You weren't a national championship caliber team before this game and you certainly are not now. Phrases like "all but" make you look dumb as a writer.

3) Tajh Boyd looked awful. He curled up in the fetal position... again.

4) What do Clemson and Louisville have in common? They both got exposed as frauds with regard to the national championship. It doesn't matter anyway b/c the reality is that Alabama is the best team in the country and there's no one even all that close.

See from your epistle that you're obviously a busy man , but would you care to debate Alabama's recruiting ethics ???????????

33dtb writes:

in response to Bigboots:

Disappointing loss, but not a real surprise given our lack of a running threat and a suspect defensive secondary.
FSU is talented and deep. No doubt about who is the better team.
Maybe Dye will help improve the running game, Alexander will help the secondary, and others will continue to get better.
An offensive right tackle would be nice too.

Need an O-Line and some depth on it.

kellytown writes:

We knew coming into this game we had issues with our O line and defensive secondary!!! Fla. St had a week off and just were coached up and more prepard for us than we were for them!!! Bottom line we still can't play with the big boys when we need to. untill we get an offensive line this is the future of Clemson football win some of the games you aren't suppose to and loose the games that you are suppose to.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to 33dtb:

See from your epistle that you're obviously a busy man , but would you care to debate Alabama's recruiting ethics ???????????

WHY? Really, why waste your breath? You think Alabama is the only program with questionable recruiting "ethics"? Shady stuff is happening everywhere. Look at Miami. Even the NCAA investigations themselves are shady.
The bottom line is that the rules are the same for everyone. Nick Saban just happens to be the best college coach out there and he's kicking everyone's tail.

And you don't need to pretend to be holier-than-thou. I don't see the ethics in this:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008...

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Your head coach is an idiot.

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports....

He's making national news off of his stupid comments. I love it. The stats are the most damning part of it all. They give up 565 yards, 30 first downs, 51 points, and 4 turnovers. And he can somehow say that after looking at film, his team is pretty even with FSU and that they would split 5-5 if they played 10 times.

waran writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Your head coach is an idiot.

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports....

He's making national news off of his stupid comments. I love it. The stats are the most damning part of it all. They give up 565 yards, 30 first downs, 51 points, and 4 turnovers. And he can somehow say that after looking at film, his team is pretty even with FSU and that they would split 5-5 if they played 10 times.

I don't like USC's DooDoo.

But if Dabo did say what he is supposed to have said in the interview, he is delusional.

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