Winston Journal #9

Eric Winston offers his thoughts on the Clemson game and college football in his most recent journal entry.

Hopefully all of you found a way to watch the game this weekend. Trust me, it was a lot more interesting than watching OU get it handed to them again. (No disrespect to the Sooner Nation.)

If you haven't heard we beat Clemson in triple overtime. Yes, TRIPLE OVERTIME.

It was an interesting game from my perspective and I know it was interesting from a fans perspective because my parents called me after the game and claimed they had a heart attack two different times.

From my perspective, it was a game in which the whole team showed a lot of character. By the end of the game they scored 10 points in five minutes and had all the momentum and 86,000 fans in Death Valley on their side. We didn¹t quit and battled all game to get the job done. On offense, we started off slow and managed two field goals before halftime despite the fact that we had good field position that carried throughout the game. At halftime, the offense decided to step it up and finish the drives off with touchdowns. We moved the ball effectively for most of the second half and ran the ball down the field, while completing key third downs along the way.

Our key play during the second half and in overtime was a power running play in which we pulled the backside guard and led with the fullback into the hole between the guard and tackle spot. The formation we ran the play out of was an unbalanced line. Instead of having a tight end we switched him with me. So we were in an I-formation running behind two tackles and a guard on one side of the offensive line.

Usually teams will adjust to that and that is when you throw the ball or run it the other way. Clemson, though, decided not to and we ran that one play out of that formation probably 15 to 20 times. I guess if it's not broke don't fix it. The great thing was we were getting four to 10 yards a carry almost every time.

The best thing that came out of the game could be the way the offensive line asserted itself upon Clemson¹s defensive line after the first half. I think it gave the guys up front a lot of confidence knowing that, they knew what was coming and still didn¹t stop it. We didn¹t pass protect the way we wanted and it's definitely still a work in progress just like all aspects of our team, but it¹s a point of emphasis in what we will do and what we have been doing. I think as long as we keep improving every day we'll be fine.

Most of my journal entries have been about just our team so I figured I would look around college football and give you my thoughts on what is going on.

If you are wondering if college football is the only thing I think about, the answer is mostly yes. I was a huge college football fan growing up and when we are not playing I am watching games. The biggest thing that has stuck out to me this year, and for the last couple years, is the amount of parity. With current scholarship limits and recruiting being an inexact science, it gives many teams a chance to land good high school players and develop ones that might have been overlooked by other schools.

There are good teams everywhere, and it's not just your traditional powerhouses, for example, Louisville has really come on the last four years and Iowa State won a huge game against rival Iowa a week ago.
'bR> That's why the ACC is so much fun to be a part of because you¹re in for a game every week. That's not to say the Big East wasn't tough but the ACC teams have attacked us in different ways and it has been an adjustment to stop that.

Against about 75 percent of the teams we play, I am honestly happy with just winning because people do not realize the caliber of those teams that once were considered mediocore, are now legitimate contenders.

That's why I came to the University of Miami, to play in big games at tough stadiums. I've played in so many great stadiums since my freshman year and Clemson's Death Valley is one of those places that can be really tough to win at. The most underrated aspect of college football is momentum and when you have 86,000 fans behind you on every snap, its hard to lose it. It can't be measured but I guarantee you, it¹s worth points at the end of the game.

This journal is getting long so I better wrap it up. I'll talk more about these issues as the season continues.

Eric Winston is working with Christopher Stock who is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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