Receivers…Young And Old
Tommy Bowden fulfilled his promise, and electrified the Death Valley crowd, by throwing to highly touted freshman receiver Roscoe Crosby on the first play from scrimmage. Crosby was very solid, catching 3 passes from 64 yards (21.3 average) and showing that he can, and will, be a featured part of this offense. Ben Hall received plenty of action and caught one pass for 18 yards. Airese Currie took a ton of snaps as well, but he did not get a catch. Overall, you cannot be disappointed in the freshman receivers, who did everything that was asked of them in Game 1 and should get better as the season goes by.
The veteran receivers, however, were not as impressive. Jackie Robinson did not catch a pass at all in stepping in for the injured Kevin Youngblood. Derek Hamilton caught 3 passes for 13 yards and Matt Bailey caught 2 balls for 14 yards. Hardly impressive by any measure. Some of the lack of productivity from the receivers could be traced to a below average game by Woody Dantzler, which prevents me from giving the receivers a D.
The worst fears about Game 1 were realized in the secondary, as Ryan Schneider threw for 297 yards on 29 completions. The secondary played soft coverage all afternoon, and rarely challenged UCF's receivers at the line of scrimmage. The good news is that the secondary did not get beat deep. The bad news is that UCF had their way with the short and intermediate pass routes. Again, sympathy in grading will take hold for me because this was Game 1, and UCF is probably the 4th best passing team Clemson will face all year. But early returns are not good.
Offensive Play Calling
Brad Scott got his first crack at calling the plays for the Tigers, and it is hard to find too much to be critical about. While execution may not have been crisp, the offense did seem to be less predictable than Rich Rodriuquez's last year. Clemson threw the ball to the middle of the field more Saturday than in the last half of the season last year. The offense did use some I-formation, and a little option, which resulted in the touchdown run for Woody.
The only fault I could see from my seat in the play calling is the sweeps that were run with Travis Zachery. He is a north-south runner, plain and simple. Asking him to turn the corner on any defense is asking too much. If sweeps are going to be a part of the game plan, then Rambert or Kelly will have to be called upon to execute.
Should We Worry About UCF?
Well, if we didn't, we should have. It is hard for me to get pumped up about beating a team that 10 years ago was not playing Division I football. UCF probably would finish ahead of Duke, Wake, Virginia and North Carolina if they were in the ACC. And, they are not too far off from Maryland, NC State, and Clemson (based upon yesterday's game).
However, as I said last week, you cannot suck yourself into feeling gratification from beating a team like UCF anymore than the gratification you feel for beating Duke or Wake. If this Clemson team is truly an ACC Championship contender, then you have to focus on the bigger fish left to fry. A win is a win, and being 1-0 is better than the alternative, but I don't have a good feeling about this win as I sit and type this article.
Rhymer's Grade…Nothing here to grade
South Stand Renovations
While still not 100% complete, the South Stand renovations made their debut Saturday. First, I should say it looks nice. I like the radio broadcast being pumped into the concession and bathroom area. I also will like the TV monitors (when they are installed) to the concession area so you won't miss any action as you get your food and drinks.
As I said last week, the actual renovations look nothing like the pictures that were published. So, everybody's perception of the renovations are skewed because we are not seeing what we thought we would.
Rhymer's Grade…B+ Based Upon How The South Stands Look
Rhymer's Grade…F Based Upon What We Thought It Would Look Like
Next week, the Tigers play host to the Wofford Terriers in Death Valley. Here is a quick look at my "5 Things To Watch" for next week.
You would think that the Tigers secondary will have a much better time of it next week versus the Terriers. Let's hope so.
#2-Woody Being Woody
Woody did not have Woody-type numbers against UCF. Maybe we have been spoiled, but I sure would like to see 200 passing and 100 rushing next week vs. the Terriers.
#3-Will They Come?
A nice crowd sat in the rain versus UCF, but will they come to see Division I-AA Wofford? An equal number or better should come to Death Valley every week, but will they?
#4-Recievers Step Up
Much like the secondary, the Wofford game gives the receivers an opportunity to gain some confidence. As much as the freshman need the snaps, I worry more about the confidence of the veteran receivers.
The Wofford game should give backup QB Willie Simmons the opportunity to get some playing time. It would be nice to see Willie get to play the last quarter and a half. Again, that is assuming the Tigers have a comfortable lead.
Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott is the host of "The College Football Weekend Preview" on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m. immediately falling Tiger Calls on WCCP 104.9 FM. The show can also be heard via the Internet at www.wccpfm.com.
Grading UCF…Looking To Wofford
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