After finding themselves 8-0 Clemson traveled to Georgia Tech and the Yellow Jackets stung the Tigers defense all night. when faced with situations where they could make a come back the Tigers could not stop Georgia Tech from eating up yards and time on the clock. Combine this effort with their offense sputtring for the first time all year and Clemson was exposed with weaknesses that would be highlighted in five of the final six games.
Clemson finished the year losing four of their final six and the only game that was positive for their defense was the A.C.C. championship game versus Virginia Tech. Virginia tech's Logan Thomas is considered by many to be a Heisman candidate, but his two games versus Clemson where they accumultated 13 total points along with the departure of David Wilson makes me hesitant in naming Thomas a favorite for College Footballs most prestigious award. Clemson was able to defeat Virginia Tech for the A.C.C. championship, but the Clemson defense against West Virginia we saw a team that resembled a defense that was closer to a lower tiered team that a team you can run to the title with.
|Built by the MandMsportshow|
The question for this year will be can Clemson's defense turn around to help the offense on occassion when it is not clicking? Dabo Swinney hired Brent Venables to come in and change the culture of the defense to match the high powered attacking offense Chad Morris runs. Venables joins Clemson's staff after spending the previous twelve years at Oklahoma where he was the defensive coordinator since 2004.
Venables will have to improve a defense that gave up 29 points per game, and considering the ACC is deep at the quarterback position Clemson must improve or any chance at winning the ACC or a national championship will be moot.
The Tigers start the season with Auburn in the Georgia Dome on September 1st in the kickoff classic. If the Tigers want to be considered as a team worthy of title consideration Venable's defense will need to be good right of the gate. The ACC Atlantic division could be decided in week for when Clemson travels to Florida State. After this game the tigers will have to get past Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, but each of these teams are in the Coastal division. The next test in the Atlantic division will be at home versus NC State on November 17th. If the Tigers defense can improve in a minor way they should be in the ACC championship game for the second year in a row.