Thursday, September 17, 2009

BC-Clemson preview

Any BC fan who has made the trip to Clemson will tell you how great their gameday experience is. It probably didn’t hurt our fans' reflections that BC won both games at Death Valley in dramatic fashion. Since we’ve joined the ACC, all four BC-Clemson games have been classics. The teams have been evenly matched and there has been back and forth. Hopefully we will see that again (with BC winning of course).

Narrative talking point that you’ll tire of by the end of the game.
“BC doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Clemson.” This theme has been bantered about on the message boards, the video clip of Herbstreit and Fowler, and even HD pulled out the old "speed" cliche in her picks today. I will acknowledge that some of Clemson’s playmakers have blazing speed. But this isn’t a track meet. BC can scheme around the speed. If Spiller doesn’t get in space or Ford is chucked at the line at every snap, their 40 times become less relevant. Speed is secondary after scheme. Just look at Jeff Smith. He’ll probably be the fastest guy in pads Saturday yet has never repeated the impact he had in his first Clemson game.

Three Simple Keys
1. BC’s interior linemen containing Jarvis Jenkins and Brandon Thompson. Clemson’s DE Ricky Sapp tends to get more attention from the media, but the two big DTs were the ones who finally slowed down Georgia Tech. Richman, Tennant and Claiborne will need to control these guys if we expect to run the ball effectively.
2. Contain Spiller. I know this is easier said than done. I think the key is having LeGrande shadow him throughout. LeGrande has the size and speed to at least slow him especially if he gets help from the safeties.
3. Stretch the defense. Kent State loaded the box to stop the run. I expect Clemson will do the same. Whoever is our QB needs to hit the long passes in order to open up the run game and move the ball.

Gambling Notes
--Since this series became a conference game, the underdog has won outright each year.
-- Swinney is 3-0 as a home favorite
-- BC is 3-1 in its ACC road openers
The current line is BC+7

In the last four meetings BC has scored 91 points. Clemson has scored 90.

Scoreboard watching
I am interested to see how Florida State fares against BYU. Although it is not a conference game, how the ‘Noles play will be a good indicator of their chances within the division. If BYU pushes them around, it could send the ‘Noles into a tailspin.

I hope to see…

The defense looks as good as it did against the JV squads we just faced. The front seven remains the question mark. The LBs are young but have looked good. The DLine has experience but looked sluggish early. We need it all to come together Saturday.

BC is in trouble if…

We cannot run the ball. I expect mistakes from the QBs. He need Harris and Haden to offset that by grinding out first downs. If we cannot run, it could be a very long afternoon.

Bottom Line

The forecast calls for rain. I hope it pours. A soggy, wet day with a hushed crowd will help our young guys hang in there. I think Tuggle plays well enough, the defense steps up and we squeak out another win at Death Valley.
Final Score: BC 20, Clemson 14


conlonc said...

"Ford is chucked at the line at every snap,"

When was the last time a BC defensive back did this? I'm used to seeing our guys 13 yards off the line and I somehow expect it'll be the same Saturday.

mod10aeagle said...

That was one of the things I was most pleased to see in the NE and KS games -- the BC DBs playing close to the line of scrimmage. I don't know if they'll do that against Clemson's speedier receivers, but it was certainly a welcome change from the past. Could it be that Spaz and McGovern have decided that they finally have sufficient DB speed to do it?

PHL BC Eagles said...

I am already tired of hearing about the “speed” of Clemson.

OK, they’ve got 2 or 3 guys that have been clocked in the 40 like they have a shuttle booster coming out of their butt. What about the rest of their team?

In as much as people say we are going to lose because of speed, I say we are going to win because of the breadth of talent across our entire team.

Thomas said...

I say we'll win because we're undefeated when we play on the road when the humidity is 74-77% on the 11th day after a full moon in a head coach's inaugural season if said head coach has already celebrated his 60th birthday.

Sounds just as ridiculous as the speed argument, IMHO.

Big Jack Krack said...

We have to suck it up a little more now.

Frank Spaziani has listed starting right defensive tackle Damik Scafe as “doubtful’’ for the game.
“It’s neck/shoulder,’’ said Spaziani yesterday. “He got hurt in practice on Sunday.’’

TheFive said...

Yeah, so the speed not ridiculous. CJ Spiller has over 500 total yards against BC, and he is one of the fastest RBs in college football. Two of our LBs are true freshman who will never have seen anything like him.

BC has a chance to win the game, particularly if our O and D lines can dominate. Judging by GTech's ability to do so -- at least on D -- against Clemson, we should be okay in that regard.

But our lack of speed, essentially, spots Clemson a TD. Just look at what Spiller has done 2 of the last 3 games against us -- 40+ yard TD on a broken play. That's not impossible to recover from...see our winning ACC record against them...but to laugh it off as talking-head idiocy is, well, idiotic.

Patrick said...

The speed argument has some justification but it is not the sole reason as to why Spiller is so good. As far as pure speed, Jeff Smith is faster than Spiller. Smith's personal bests in track are equal to or at least comparable to Spiller's and all of Jeff's times are from his senior year of high school. Speed obviously plays a factor in what makes Spiller and Ford so good, but it is just as much their vision among other things that make them such dangerous weapons.

CT said...

I agree with Patrick.

Speed is ultimately the difference between the elite programs--USC, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas, Oklahoma, etc--and the rest of college football. Coaching, too, for sure, but when you can cherry-pick the fastest, most athletic guys, like those programs often do, you meet with more success.

Speaking of which, if you watched Miami beat Ga. Tech last night, you could see how Miami's defense appeared much faster than Ga Tech's assignment-oriented blocking scheme. We're not just talking about RBs and WRs. Watching LSU destroy Tech last year in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, one could see the difference in elite speed vs. above average speed.

It makes a big difference.

Is it the be all, end all? No.

Is it a disadvantage BC has to address in many of its matchups? You bet.

There are always ways to beat faster teams--and BC does team defense, for example, quite well--and I can understand why reading and hearing about it is tiresome...but until BC gets faster, it'll be a storyline to almost every game. So?

And dismissing it against a team like Clemson, with Spiller, who has really hurt us in the past...not wise.

Having said that, I think Gunnell can play every bit the part of speed merchant on Saturday that a Tiger can. If, you know, we decide on a QB sometime this season.

Thomas said...

Either there's two "Patrick's" posting here or you're making both sides of the same argument. Obviously you can't completely disregard speed, as you won't win too many games with a team of 6 second 40 yard dash runners. There is, however, this thing called football IQ that can make up for a lack of speed, or, when combined with speed, can make for an especially lethal combination. Obviously there are other factors as well(height, weight, vision,"instincts," etc.), but there is a reason that football rosters are not carbon copies of a school's track team.

Brett said...

On the topic of speed, what's the solution? Expand recruiting? It's always been a puzzle to me that "fast kids come from Florida." How is that? Does the New England gene pool lack speed genes? Do kids in Florida grow up racing each other everywhere? Let's see some regression analysis, Prof. Baum.

eagleboston said...

Speed kills. End of debate.

CT said...

Well, Thomas, I'd pick
CJ Spiller or Percy Harvin (recruited as an "athlete") or William Green speed every day and twice on Sunday over anyone BC gets. Including Jeff Smith.

It's not the "only" thing that matters. But it's the biggest difference maker.