3 Keys to Victory

CLEMSON - No. 20 Clemson faces off with Football Championship Subdivision power Furman on Saturday.

TIME TO TACKLE: Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning counted 19 critical missed assignments last weekend against Louisiana-Monroe and even more missed tackles. Sure, some of that can be attributed to the quick turnaround after Florida State but one of the problems with Clemson's defense at the end of last year was poor tackling. That has to stop now for the Tigers to win the Atlantic Division. If contact is made behind the line of scrimmage against Furman's option attack, WRAP UP AND MAKE THE TACKLE!

WAKE UP EARLY: Maybe it was the five-day turnaround. Maybe it was because it wasn't Florida State. Whatever the reason, it took the Tigers 10 minutes into last week's game against Louisiana-Monroe before they woke up. This week, there are no excuses. With seven days off after a subpar performance against the Warhawks Tommy Bowden has challenged his team to improve in all aspects of the game against Furman. That means getting off to a fast start.

BUILD HARPER'S CONFIDENCE Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller have yet to truly explode for a breakout game this year ... but why? Much like what Louisiana-Monroe did Saturday, Clemson's offense can expect to see eight-man fronts throughout its ACC schedule. That means it will be difficult to run the football without proving you can beat opponents through the air first to help loosen up the defense. QB Cullen Harper gained confidence in completing 20-of-26 passes for a school record five touchdowns last week. He'll need to do more of that Saturday to make sure teams know Clemson can move the ball through the air just as well as on the ground. In other words, Harper needs to keep playing well to help keep opposing defenses honest later this season and also on Saturday.

CUTigers.com Top Stories