NOTEBOOK: O-line Issues, Takeaways, Injuries

CLEMSON – Other than quarterback, the other big news all week surrounding the Clemson football team was the offensive line and all the problems and shuffling taking place during practice.

Against Furman, the offensive line once again had issues with run blocking and pass protections as starting quarterback Cullen Harper was sacked five times and the team rushed for 60 yards on 33 attempts.

Granted, 47 rushing yards were lost on sacks, but star running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined to rush for 57 yards on 18 carries, which equates to 3.17 yards per carry.

Moreover, after the first series of the game, the two backs carried it 12 times for 17 yards.

However, the linemen and coaching staff believe everything was just fine, minus a play here or there.

"I thought we played really hard today up front," said offensive line coach Brad Scott, who put a gag order on his offensive linemen this week. "I think we played pretty physical up front and that's what I wanted.

We had a real intense week of practice and I'm kind of anxious to see the tape. It's hard for me to comment until I see the tape, but I could see on the sideline that we were getting after it pretty good."

At the half, Clemson had amassed 18 yards on 18 carries. The second half saw the Tigers run 15 times for 42 yards.

"When we chose to run in the second half, I think we ran at will," Scott said.

Barry Richardson said the offensive line was in complete control the entire game.

"I feel like we dominated against a good Furman team," he said. "I felt like we took them down and dominated them."

CREATING TURNOVERS: Despite giving up tons of yardage and the seemingly unattainable task of defending the pass, the Clemson defense managed to create five turnovers against the Paladins, which is something the Tigers have struggled to do in their previous two games.

Clemson's first defensive interception of the year came when Michael Hamlin caught a tipped ball with 9:58 left in the second quarter. Fellow safety Chris Clemons then recorded his first interception of the season in the third quarter.

Sophomore cornerback Crezdon Butler then got the fourth interception of his career in the fourth quarter. The Tigers also recovered two fumbles to give them six takeaways on the year.

"Everybody else had an interception but us," Hamlin said. "We just had to come out and get the job done and get some picks."

COULDA, SHOULDA, WOULDA: Furman had three might-have-been touchdowns that resulted in nothing that could have made the Clemson fans somewhat unnerved.

Facing a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, Furman lined up to go for the first down. Just as the play clock was about to expire, the Paladins snapped it and handed it off to running back Jerome Felton, who rambled up the middle for a 46-yard touchdown.

However, just before the ball was snapped, a Furman coach called a timeout on the sideline to nullify the score. The Paladins went for it again and failed to get the first down.

They also had a kickoff return for a touchdown called back in the second quarter due to a block in the back. In the third quarter, tight end Larry Hedden dropped a touchdown pass.

"I told our football team how proud of them I was," Furman head coach Bobby Lamb said. "We made some great plays and moved the ball down the field. You can't come in here and turn the ball over five times, though."

SPECIAL TEAMS PROBLEMS: Last year, Clemson couldn't defend a kickoff return to save its life. This season the Tigers can't recover an onside kick.

In the last two games, the opponent has tried four onside kicks against Clemson and recovered all four them. Luckily for the Tigers, the two recovered last week were nullified due to penalties.

Nonetheless, it has become a problem that quickly needs to be resolved.

QUICK HITS: Clemson fullback Chad Diehl broke his left leg on an extra point play with 9:49 left in the third quarter. ... Special teams player Chris Wade broke his arm. …

Clemson is now 3-0 for the first time since 2000 and for just the second time since 1991. … The Tigers are now 20-0 against teams from Championship Subdivision (I-AA). … Aaron Kelly has now caught a touchdown in four straight games. Top Stories