Clemson's grades against Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Following each game, each phase of the Clemson team will be given a letter grade. Here are this week's grades following the Tigers' 24-7 loss at Virginia Tech Thursday night:

It was the worst offensive performance for the Tigers since against Florida State in 1998 and the worst ever under Tommy Bowden. Clemson had 10 possessions where it failed to pick up a first down. Quarterback Will Proctor was bad, as was the play calling. Tailbacks James Davis and C.J. Spiller were a mere shadow of themselves. It was just an all-around awful performance.

The defense really wasn't that bad. Yes, Branden Ore rushed for more than 200 yards, but if not for the play of the defense, the game would have been over by halftime. Virginia Tech consistently started with good field position and because of the woeful offense, it also had the ball a ridiculous amount of time, which tired Clemson by late in the game. The injuries and inexperience finally caught up to the Tigers and they were exposed. The one poor aspect of the defense was all the missed tackles.

There were no major problems with special teams against the Hokies, who are known for creating havoc. A few of the punts by Cole Chason were shorter than usual, which allowed Virginia Tech to have good field position. The returns of punts and kickoffs weren't very good, but at the same time, the Tigers held the Hokies in check. It was an average performance, hence the average grade.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and his crew did about as well as they could given the circumstances with the offense and in reality, should probably be commended for holding Virginia Tech to just 24 points. However, offensive coordinator Rob Spence was too conservative, throwing way too many screens and short out patterns and very, very rarely going deep. Proctor never looked comfortable and Spence did nothing to help the situation. So, with Koenning getting a B and Spence getting a D-, the average is a C-.

This ranks right there with the game against Florida State in 2000, the game against Wake Forest in 2003 and the game against Duke in 2004. But even in those games, at least the offense somewhat moved the ball. At least Clemson now has some extra time to right the ship before Maryland comes rolling into town. The Terps will have no doubt watched the tape and will do what the Hokies did and that's try and make Proctor beat them. Top Stories