Eleven days ago the Tigers were thoroughly embarrassed at Virginia Tech. What was to blame? The short week? The lack of preparation time? A hangover of some sort?
I don’t know. But a second loss in a row has just happened and none of those old excuses work. Clemson lost a football game that it just shouldn’t have. There was ample preparation time. The defense held a 24ppg offense to 13. There were no turnovers. Maryland wasn’t given the field position that they used to beat other teams. The offense even moved the ball fairly well and got almost 400 yards of offense. And the Tigers were flagged for just one penalty.
But somehow only 12 points went up on the board. Against Maryland, that puts Clemson roughly on par with Middle Tennessee State, William & Mary, and Florida International.
It seems that while the coaching staff was busy plugging all the holes, new ones developed. Kick coverage does not seem to be a major liability anymore. Jad Dean looks to have regained his confidence. Those two things killed us earlier in the year. Now the red zone offense has disappeared and Will Proctor looks like he’s never run the ball before in his life.
The red zone offense has been suspicious in its absense before. It just seemed that those bugs had been worked out. And to be fair, the offense did manage to put one in the endzone. It just so happened that Clemson’s lone penalty of the game happened on that same play. Not enough men on the field and the touchdown went away. And yes, this is the same stupid thing that led to a one point loss last year at Georgia Tech.
I hope the team can get itself completely together to beat NC State and Carolina. I’m pretty sure that both of them would love to come to Clemson and kick us while we’re down.