End of January Ramblings

Another tough loss for the Tigers Saturday night against the #1 ranked Duke Blue Devils in Littlejohn. Plenty of things to be proud of, but plenty of things that made you want to pull your hair out.

What is getting old are the weekly soap operas that surround the basketball team. Last Sunday it was the "internal conflicts", this week it was Larry Shyatt pulling off his best Mike Tyson performance while millions watched on television. Shyatt should be commended, I guess, for taking up for his players. But, his antics make him look like a buffoon to the rest of the league and country. If Shyatt is trying to win brownie points with the Clemson faithful by pulling off his best Rick Barnes imitations, he is fighting a losing battle. Barnes antics wore about as thin as sheath clothing by the end of his career at Clemson, not exactly what Shyatt aspires to do, you would think.

The good news for Shyatt and his supporters is that he still SHOULD finish the year improved (record wise) over last year. The 2000-2001 Tigers were 12-19 overall and 2-14 in the ACC. Even with a 5 game losing streak, the 2001-2002 Tigers already have equaled the conference wins from last year and are only 1 game shy of tying the overall record wins of last year. Winnable games remain against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida State and at North Carolina. Barring a complete fallout, the Tigers will be improved in the win column at the end of the year, thus buying Shyatt another year in Tiger Town.

Tiger In The Super Bowl
Dexter McCleon will be the lone former Clemson Tiger to play in the Super Bowl Sunday night in New Orleans. The former quarterback/defensive back for the Tigers will be appearing in his second Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams.

As another successful recruiting class comes to a conclusion this Wednesday, two pleas from yours truly. First, anybody who decides not to sign with Clemson Wednesday is not the anti-Christ, so don't make him out to be on the message boards. And second, any signee, either Tiger or otherwise, should be given enough respect to not speculate on their grades or qualification status. There is nothing more indignant than those that write articles about how a 17 year old has not made a test score high enough to enroll in the their desired school.

With that being said, boy we could use one or two more offensive lineman!

John Lovett
Tommy Bowden announced Thursday that former Auburn defensive coordinator John Lovett will take over the Tiger defense next year. Bowden hired Lovett after an extensive search across the country that led to at least two coaches turning down the job when offered.

Did Bowden hire the right guy? Who could tell at this point. Lovett has good credentials and Bowden obviously felt that Lovett processed the qualities he would want in a defensive coordinator. While the 2002 Tiger defense was going to be improved over the 2001 version, Lovett will be asked to make that improvement significant enough to allow a team that averages 31 points a game a chance to win.

This offense does not need a top 10 defense, although it sure would be nice to have one. The offense simply needs a defense that creates a few turnovers and slows opposing teams down just enough to allow the offense to wear the opposing defense down. I still contend, as I did before Reggie Herrings departure, that this defense will be much improved next year…and maybe even an asset to this team.

Shotgun Willie
Willie Simmons, the air apparent to the quarterback position at Clemson was arrested this week following a confrontation with the Clemson Police Department. Simmons' car was in the process of being towed because of outstanding parking tickets when Simmons got in an argument, before promptly being taken to jail.

From all indications, Simmons is a great student at Clemson and has had no previous run-ins with trouble. In all likelihood, Simmons will receive a slap on the wrist from the court system and internal discipline via the football team.

While certainly not the end of the world, the incident does get the Willie Simmons era off to a shaky start. Simmons is supposed to fill into a role as a leader for this team, but leaders don't get into trouble. Here is to hoping Shotgun Willie has learned his lesson.

And, maybe…just maybe…we were all a little spoiled by what a great guy/leader/player Woody Dantzler was for Clemson University.

CUTigers.com Top Stories