2008 Clemson Tigers Football Preview
2007 Clemson Record: (9-4, 5-3 ACC)
2007 Bowl: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Auburn (L 20-23)
Clemson Head Coach: Tommy Bowden (69-42 at Clemson, 87-46 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Spence
Defensive Coordinator: Vic Koenning
Returning Leaders for Clemson:
Other Key Returnees: CB Crezdon Butler, S Chris Clemons, WR Tyler Grisham, DT Rashaad Jackson, DT Dorrell Scott, RB C.J. Spiller, LB Cortney Vincent
Key Losses: LB Tramaine Billie, G Chris McDuffie, DE Philip Merling, OT Barry Richardson, LB Nick Watkins
Clemson always seems to be on the brink of something great. But it always seems just out of reach and ends in disappointment. There are some holes to fill this year, but competing for an Atlantic Coast Conference title is certainly a possibility and winning the conference should be the goal. But the holes on the offensive line will be enough to keep the Tigers on the outside looking in, yet again.
James Davis and C.J. Spiller are arguably the best tailback tandem in the nation. Davis eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season and will once again lead the way. Spiller could handle the load on his own, but instead compliments Davis extremely well. On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers return eight starters to a team that only gave up 18.7 points per game and 306.8 yards per game. The pass defense was amazing last year and corners Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor and safeties Chris Clemons and Michael Hamlin are all back to claim their starting positions.
Quarterback Cullen Harper had a great debut campaign, throwing for 2,991 yards, 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions. The problem with the offense was the line which allowed a whole lot of sacks. The fact that Harper, and the running backs for that matter, still had a great year despite all the pressure bodes well for the team, but the line will have to get better if Clemson wants to win the ACC. The Tigers lost four of the five starting offensive lineman, including All-Americans Barry Richardson and Chris McDuffie. Center Thomas Austin is the lone returning starter and players like Barry Humphries and Bobby Hutchinson have to be ready to step into a full time starting role.
The Bottom Line for the Tigers:
When Philip Merling left early for the NFL, it hurt the defensive line, but freshman DaQuan Bowers should fit in nicely. Most had Bowers ranked as one of the top prospects in the 2008 class and he could end up starting right away. The offense has a ton of playmakers and as long as the line can hold up, receivers Tyler Grisham, Aaron Kelly and Jacoby Ford will find the endzone just as much as Davis and Spiller.
2007 Clemson Tigers Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 161.15 (50th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 242.08 (46, 3)
Total Offense: 403.23 (52, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.08 (29, 1)
Rushing Defense: 118.31 (23, 7)
Pass Defense: 188.46 (13, 1)
Total Defense: 306.77 (9, 2)
Scoring Defense: 18.69 (10, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (9, 1)
Sacks: 2.15 (54, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.69 (100, 8)
By Joel Welser
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