Five questions for Clemson as the Tigers begin fall camp today:
How will the team survive post C.J. Spiller?
C.J. Spiller isn’t the kind of guy you replace. He’s one of those guys that can do things not many other people on the field can. That being said, Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper are both very good backs and should be able to handle the load. What Ellington and Harper don’t have is Spiller’s “homerun” ability. Every time Spiller had the ball he was a threat to score. That big play ability, especially on special teams, will be missed.
How good is the Clemson defense?
I think this defense it going to be very, very good. Kevin Steele is in his second year running the unit and he has a lot of really good players to work with. DeAndre McDaniel is one of the top defensive backs in the conference, Da’Quan Bowers could have a breakout type season and I also like guys like Rashard Hall, Brandon Maye, Jarvis Jenkins and Marcus Gilchrist a lot. You never know how a unit is going to gel, but I would guess this Tiger defense finishes the season ranked as one of the best in the ACC.
Who is going to be the go-to wide receiver?
This is actually a really tough one. We talked about losing C.J. Spiller, which is a huge loss for sure, but we also need not forget Jacoby Ford. Ford’s speed enabled him to get behind defenses and make a lot of big catches for the Tigers. Like Spiller, there really isn’t anyone on the roster that can duplicate the things he did. Xavier Dye will have a chance to catch a lot of passes. Terrence Ashe should get a lot of looks too. My wildcard is redshirt freshman Bryce McNeal. The word is the kid can really play. I know this is cheating since the question was about reciever, but I suspect tight end Dwayne Allen is going to be a big part of the offense this year.
What should we expect from Kyle Parker?
Kyle Parker told Dabo Swinney he didn’t come back to Clemson to lose. He turned down a lot of cash to play another year of football, that’s for sure. Parker did lose his two biggest weapons in Spiller and Ford and that is going to make life tougher. He does have another year of experience under his belt and an offensive line that should be pretty darn good. Outside of Florida State’s Christian Ponder I don’t think there is a better quarterback in the ACC. Nothing seems to rattle Parker and his poise and raw talent combined with the year of experience should set him up for a solid season.
Will the Tigers repeat as Coastal Division champions?
Obviously getting Kyle Parker back enables us to even ask this question. That salty defense is enough to make one give it serious thought too. That being said, I am still taking Florida State. The Seminoles are starting to resemble some of those really fast and athletic teams they used to have. Clemson has what it takes to make another run, but the Noles are the team to beat.
CLEMSON KEY GAMES:
9/18 @ Auburn, 10/2 Miami, 10/9 @ UNC, 10/23 Georgia Tech, 11/13 @ FSU, 11/27 USC