Chart | Further
After head coach Tommy Bowden hung on to his job by the skin of his
teeth, he has turned the team from being a decent ACC fly in the
ointment to a real, live contender for the crown. The overall
athleticism and talent level is there to beat anyone in the country,
and now the experience is in place to be more consistent and win all
the close games.
How close did the 2005 Tigers come from being really
special? 14 points. They lost to Miami in three overtimes, lost to
Boston College in overtime, lost at Wake Forest with :33 to play,
and lost to Georgia Tech after being one play from getting into
game-winning field goal range. In all, Clemson played seven games
decided by seven points or fewer, but this year's team might be good
enough to avoid all the close calls.
Head coach: Tommy Bowden
8th year: 52-33
10th year overall: 70-37
Returning Lettermen: 47
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best Tiger Players
1. DE Gaines Adams, Sr.
2. LB Anthony Waters, Sr.
3. RB James Davis, Soph.
WR Chansi Stuckey, Sr.
LB Nick Watkins, Jr.
6. LB Tramaine Bille, Sr.
7. PK Jad Dean, Sr.
8. C Dustin Fry, Sr.
9. OG Roman Fry, Sr.
10. RB Reggie Merriweather, Sr.
at Boston College
at Florida State
at Wake Forest
at Virginia Tech
Preview 2005 predicted wins
Miami L 36-30 3OT
L 16-13 OT
at Wake Forest L 31-27
at NC State W 31-10
at Georgia Tech L 10-9
Florida State W 35-14
at So Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl
Colorado W 19-10
Clemson is in a great
position to not only do great things this year, but to also be solid for
years to come with a ton of productive and talented sophomores at just
about every position mixing in with a strong group of veterans. The
offensive line gets everyone back, the backfield has four good running
backs, the receiving corps gets Chansi Stuckey and Aaron Kelly back, and
the defense has two potential NFL first rounders in end Gaines Adams and
linebacker Anthony Waters to build around. Throw in one of the nation's
best kickers, Jad Dean, and the mix is just right to win the Atlantic
To finally get over the hump in the Bowden era, the Tigers don't just
have to get past the Florida States and Boston Colleges of the ACC
world, they have to get by the mediocre teams, too. And that's been
Bowden's problem; his teams can beat anyone, but they can also lose to
Last year they lost to a Wake Forest team that didn't go anywhere. In
2004 they lost to Duke a week after beating Miami and lost to the
Demon Deacons in 2003. If Clemson can stay focused for an entire season
and not give any games away, this will be the team to watch.
Clemson isn't going to sneak up on anyone, especially the big boys in
the Atlantic, but it might not matter. It's good enough to get
the job done.
Schedule: It's not that bad. The non-conference schedule is a walk
in the park before the season finale against South Carolina. There's Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech and a road trip
to Temple sprinkled throughout the ACC season. On the down side, the
road games are brutal starting off at Boston College and Florida State
and getting a Thursday night trip to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech.
The second half of the season works out well starting out with the layup
against Temple before getting four of the final five games in Death
Offensive Player: Senior WR Chansi Stuckey. The former quarterback's
transition to wide receiver was more than successful. He finished last
season as the ACC's leader in receptions per game showing an uncanny
ability to always get open. Now he'll have to be even more of a
playmaker with the ball in his hands without Charlie Whitehurst throwing
Defensive Player: Senior DE Gaines Adams. A certain first day draft
pick had he left this season and a likely second rounder, Adams is a
phenomenal athlete who does everything well. He's quick enough to play
linebacker at the next level with great skills as a pass defender, and
he's strong enough to handle himself well on the end where he's a pass
to a successful season: Senior QB Will Proctor. The understudy is as
prepared as he'll ever be. He's not going to drive his throws deep like
Charlie Whitehurst was able to, but he's a good runner and could turn
out to run the attack better because of his mobility. As
good as Whitehurst was, he had problems with interceptions. If Proctor
can simply be efficient and let his ground game carry the offense,
Clemson will be just fine.
will be a success if ... Clemson wins the Atlantic Division. The team is too
experienced and too talented not to play for the ACC title. It's not
going to be easy needing to win two of the four ACC road games against
Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest (who's much better this
year), and Virginia Tech.
Sept. 16 at Florida State. The Bowden vs. Bowden thing isn't that
big a deal anymore since the stakes have gone much higher. Clemson might
have won two of the last three showdowns, but it has only won once in
Tallahassee since 1976. An Atlantic Division title probably won't happen
without pulling this off.
quarter scoring: Clemson 62 - Opponents 29
- Penalties: Opponents 102 for 787 yards - Clemson 57 for 486 yards
- Points off turnovers: Clemson 55 - Opponents 13
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Champs Sports Bowl v. Colorado)
…missed a bowl game…2004
…pitched a shutout…2000 (Citadel)
…was shutout…2003 (Georgia)
…scored 50 points…2003 (South Carolina)
…won a conference title…1991 (ACC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2003 (Charlie Whitehurst)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2001 (Woody Dantzler)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2000 (Rod Gardner)
…had a first-round draft choice…2001 (WR Rod Gardner)