For Clemson, losing 58% of its receiving yards, 90% of its passing yards, and 77% of its rushing yards meant a lot of unknowns going into 2014. On top of the offensive overhaul, the Tigers were facing life without three of their four most experienced linemen and top defensive linebacker Spencer Shuey. There were a lot of new faces on a team that had grown used to winning.
Growth has been fast. A painful season-opener - where they watched a 21-21 tie at halftime fall to pieces in the second - is already becoming a distant memory. The Tigers were much more competitive by Week 3, taking Florida State to overtime and holding their run game to a miserable 0.5 yards per carry, while freshman Deshaun Watson finally captured the reins by Week 4 and earned himself national quarterback of the week honors with his 6-touchdown performance against North Carolina. The team now faces a stretch of seven very winnable games and a season finale against South Carolina to decide the state's supremacy.
There are still things to shore up - here's looking at you, running backs - but it's evidence of the power of solid coaching and preparation. Just a few months ago, it was easy to say that "the Tigers probably aren't averaging more than 40 points and 500 yards a game for the third consecutive season" - and yet here they are, four games in and two of them against elite foes, averaging 40.3 and 490.3. For head coach Dabo Swinney, though, his 2-2 record is nothing to be satisfied with. For him, it's all about the Tigers.
Dabo: "We're 0-2 versus Clemson. That's the bottom line."— Larry Williams (@LarryWilliamsTI) September 23, 2014
Hitting the Links Plans Years in Advance
The Buckeyes ran 101 plays this Saturday and put up 710 yards. Barrett (409 yards) and Elliott (223 yards) ran the show.
This is a great look at the DC for the Arizona Cardinals and how his defense has exceeded expectations with some outside-the-box thinking.
Alabama has looked increasingly steady
This was a very interesting read, and it points to the necessity of having a good plan in place in those vulnerable transition periods.
Since the SEC West isn't LSU and Alabama anymore, may as well get caught up on how Mississippi State is knocking off top competition.
Mora's spent most of his career in the NFL, and the League is definitely built on moving the sticks and staying on schedule.
Credit to the Terps.
This breaks a draught of almost two months for the Big Ten to get a four-star player. For perspective, the SEC has gotten 8 four-star commits in the last week and a half. Not kidding.
Magnus has some good things to say, and the comments section is interesting. MnB gets mentioned, as well. Also, credit to GoBlueinNYC for some interesting thoughts.
Alabama-Ole Miss, A&M-Misssissippi State, and LSU-Auburn will make this weekend, like every other weekend, one that revolves around the SEC. Until another conference can get itself up and beat them.
Stat of the week: SMU has been outscored this season, 202-12. They face #22 East Carolina this Saturday.