State Recap…North Carolina Preview

The offensive play calling in Raleigh was as good as I have ever seen by a Clemson coaching staff. Brad Scott, Mike O'Cain and Tommy Bowden deserve major kudos for completely manhandling the Wolfpack. With that said, it will take the same effort against North Carolina to continue this season's success. Here is my quick recap of the N.C. State game, as well as my 5 keys to victory for this weekend's homecoming matchup with the Tarheels.

Random notes from the Tigers 45-37 victory over NC State last Saturday.

Woody is now officially a Heisman Candidate. For all the preseason buzz Dantzler created, he has now stepped his game up on the field to warrant serious consideration for the prize.

The offensive play calling in Raleigh was as good as I have ever seen by a Clemson coaching staff. Brad Scott, Mike O'Cain and Tommy Bowden deserve major kudos for completely manhandling the Wolfpack. If there was ANY doubt about Scott and O'cain running the offense in Rich Rodriquez's absence, it was erased Saturday. Rodriquez never called a game even close to as good as the game plan Saturday…period.

I like the purple pants… but then again I like the Woo-hoo chant…so take my opinion for what it is worth. I can even dig the purple tops with white pants at home. But, please leave the purple tops and the purple pants worn together in the closet.

Now let's take a look at my last weeks "5 Things To Watch" and how they graded out in Raleigh.

#1-Keep The Mo
It was almost as if the Tigers did not miss a beat, carrying over the enthusiasm from the Georgia Tech win. In addition, give credit to the coaching staff for breaking out the purple pants as another motivational tool to have the Tigers ready to play. Whatever was the overriding factor in getting momentum, it worked brilliantly as the Tigers were as ready to play as any game this year.

Rhymer's Grade…A

#2-Restful or Rusty?
As I said last week, you really never know how you will be affected by the off week. There is a definite fine line between being restful and rusty, but the Tigers had little rust as they marched down the field for a touchdown on their first possession. A team that seemed to be hitting on all cylinders against Georgia Tech continued to look impressive against State. If the offense continues to click like it has the last two weeks, the sky is the limit for the rest of the season.

Rhymer's Grade…A

#3-The T Zack Attack
While Travis lived in the shadow of an incredible performance by Woody Dantzler, he was once again very solid statistically. Zachery rushed for a paltry 43 yards on 15 carries. But he added 81 yards on 5 catches for a total of 124 yards. While he may not have been an integral part of the win as he was two weeks in ago in Atlanta, he certainly had another solid day.

Rhymer's Grade…B

#4-Wynn Will Kopp Help?
Because of the offensive explosion, the punting game by Kopp was limited to 2 kicks. The bad snap was not Kopp's fault, and he did a nice job of falling on the ball and preventing State from picking it up and scoring. His two punts averaged 45 yards, much more like what Tommy Bowden expects from his kicker.

Rhymer's Grade…B+

#5-Defensively Speaking
Again the defense never took control of the game. Again the secondary gave up some touchdown passes. Again the defense had way too many penalties. But again, the Tigers won. While there is still plenty of improvement needed on the defensive side of the ball, every game the Tigers can win gives the defense more experience. Losing these games would have made the experience gaining much more painful. What the defense is going to have to do at some point, however, is step up and become an asset to the team instead of a liability.

Rhymer's Grade…C

Here are my "5 Things To Watch" for next weeks game in Clemson versus North Carolina.

#1-Hold Em Up Front
Carolina has a tremendous amount of talent on the front line, led by All-Everything Julius Peppers. It will be a huge challenge for the offensive line to give protection for Woody in the passing game and to open holes for T-Zach in the running game. This may be the biggest part of the game Saturday.

#2-Grab A Turnover
The defense could save Reggie Herring a little heartburn if they could come up with some big hits and fumbles and a couple of interceptions. While the defense did intercept Philip Rivers once, it was on a desperate deep pass near the end of the game. UNC is not the most prolific offense in the country, so here is an opportunity to step up on the defensive side of the ball.

#3-More Air Currie
Airese Currie showed his blazing speed by running under Dantzler's pass in the 4th quarter last Saturday. That kind of play will drive defensive coaches crazy if the Tigers can do it successfully a couple of times a game. Currie had to build confidence with the performance in Raleigh, and he may be the speedster that makes this offensive unstoppable.

#4-Kick It Through
The Tar Heels are the best defense the Tigers have faced so far this year. It is too much to expect the Tigers to be able to get touchdowns most of the time they are in the red zone. In comes Aaron Hunt, an almost ghost these past two weeks because of the offensive success. Hunt will be called on more this Saturday, and he needs to be ready to nail a few field goals and possibly win the game for Clemson.

#5-Rattle The Rams
Homecoming, and a good football team, will bring the masses out to Death Valley next Saturday. The Tar Heels looked lost against Oklahoma in Norman, partly because of the crowd noise. The crowd could play a huge role in rattling the young Tar Heel offense into some mistakes and help grab the momentum the Tigers way.

Scott can be reached at

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 Top Stories