Clemson Football 2023 Questions ? Questions ? and More Questions ?

By Lisa Lasky

It may be 100 degrees outside, but there’s no question Clemson Tiger football is in the air in the upstate. The annual debate has begun. Will Clemson again contend for National Championship, or for a 3rd straight year miss the playoffs. Can this Cade Klubnik led squad defend their ACC Title and bring the trophy back to Tigertown for a 9th time in past decade. Can Dabo Swinney lead his team to a 12th straight double digit win season ? Question abound all around as the Tigers hit the practice field and open fall camp in 4 days.

The excitement is heightened by the re-emergence of the possibility of a actual rivalry again after Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks reminded the Tiger Nation why we don’t games are not decided in the press or on an xbox. With the 2023 Gamecocks feeling confident coming into this season.. after stopping the Tigers 31-30 inside Memorial Stadium. Tking down the nation’s longest undefeated streak (40 Games) and breaking a 7 in a row in the rivalry since 2014. Is the pendulum starting to swing the other way? Let’s play the games and see where it all lies. Clemson looks at last seasons 11-3 record and ACC title as not representative of the way this program finishes.. With 2 losses in the last 3 games of the year.. the sails where lacking wind in December when the Tigers lost to Tennessee in a game the Clemson could not find hold on as the Volunteers made easy work of this squad in Mami. Alot of questions to be answered… Spot the ball!

There’s no question that the future of Clemson Tiger Football is bright. Is this the year that they will shine like a supernova or will Clemson fans find themselves in the shadow of FSU as the pundits and media have pointed to the Seminoles to surpass the Tigers for the first time sine 2014 and claim an ACC title..

Meanwhile Clemson legends are convening under the paw. Lightning has struck as former Clemson star James Davis has joined C.J. Spiller, Thunder, on staff. Jeff Scott and Chad Morris are back.

New Offensive Coordinator Garrett Riley brings offensive changes that should make for on-field excitement. Tempo, Tempo and more Tempo has been the 2022 assistant coach of the year’s mantra all spring and summer since he installed the offense. The offense will look to be more “balanced” and at same time find a go to big play wideout. The passing game since 2020 has been limited to how they can attack opposing defenses. Can Adam Randall be that guy that high points the ball on 50/50 throws and brings that and “back shoulder” throws WRU lived on back in the gameplan ?

Can the supporting cast continue to develop? Can the Offensive line find continuity early in the season. Can Tristan Leigh be that Left Tackle he was projected to be when committing to Clemson 2 yrs ago. Seeing a pattern here ? “Questions Abound” need to be answered and fast. This years schedule does not allow for this team to take its time gathering steam and building depth and being efficient are keys early on. Also after 6 years of the best kicker in Clemson history, who steps up and tries to emulate the success of BT Potters body of work while he was here?

In 2023 MLB implemented new rules changes, adding a pitch clock to manage and decrease the length of games .. This season the NCAA has followed suit with their own rules changes. The new running clock rule will be one to watch. Icing the kicker is a thing of the past with the banning of consecutive timeouts. Watching coaches manage the last 4minutes of a game now will be a game (Chess) in its own.

There’s no question that Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has done well adding pieces to the staff. And another great haul in recruiting has several freshman ready to get significant snaps. Can Peter Woods be the next Christian Wilkins? Who backs up the Nation’s top LB duo? Can the secondary be more consistent ? The defense took a step back last season finishing 22nd over all and where exposed on the back end by both South Carolina and Tennessee. Notre Dame was able to control the game and clock and force the Tigers into turnovers in worst places on the field. That has been the Tigers M.O. on defense for over a decade.. but at times last season the defense was not representative of the Clemson’s standard. And the offense was inconsistent week to week. With the lack of a playmaker that can take the top off a defense and make Safeties play deeper in the zone. Last two years missing that much needed ability to stretch the field, the Opponents realized this and it resulted in safeties walking up into the box and having extra body to attack the run. In Past if anyone walked the safety up it was a given Clemson’s QB and WR’s would make them pay. That needs to return and fast or the same strategy will play out again this year making it harder to attain the balance needed to keep defense’s honest.

The question everyone is asking is simple. Is the magic back? Can the Offense return to old form ? Can the defense live up to the expectations? Can Clemson restart the home wins streak and show the ACC and Nation Death Valley is once again a “No Win Zone” for visiting teams.

Stay tuned to CSN for the every twist and turn throughout the season as we cover all things Tigers from right here on campus in the press box in Memorial Stadium and Stadiums all over the ACC.

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