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Extra points and observations: Clemson

Before shifting our attention to Florida State here a few of my final thoughts on the Canes' 30-21 win at Clemson:

HOT TOPICS
> The defense has hit another gear...
A week after shutting down Pittsburgh's offense and showing us they're much improved at swarming to the ball and gang tackling, the Canes' defense took it up another notch against Clemson. They forced six turnovers -- by far the most impressive stat in the game. We may not ever get an answer as to when the last time a UM defense created that many turnovers in a game, but it's safe to say it's been awhile. Almost as impressive to me were the quick adjustments defensive coordinator John Lovett was able to make after Clemson found a wrinkle (cutbacks) to have some success running the football in the first quarter. Clemson finished with 162 yards rushing. But aside from his 71-yard touchdown run, Andre Ellington had a grand total of 36 yards on his other 16 carries (2.3 avg). Jamie Harper, who spurned the Canes for Clemson on national signing day 2008, had 57 yards on 18 carries (3.2). Not impressive at all. Kyle Parker? He was 14 off 33 for 149 yards and three INTs. UM broke up five passes, produced three forced fumbles, three sacks and eight tackles for loss. That's great defense.

Jacory Harris> Will Jacory Harris be able to solve his interception woes? Point the finger wherever you want, eight interceptions in three games is still eight interceptions in three games. Harris' two interceptions Saturday simply weren't good passes. "We always keep saying you can't turn the ball over in the red zone," UM coach Randy Shannon told WQAM after the game. "Aldarius [Johnson] had beat the guy. [Harris] saw it, threw it, it just didn't get there on time. The [first interception] was a break off route. [Harris] went to Travis [Benjamin], who was doubled. [Harris] saw the safety rotate, but the safety rotated to the middle and [Harris] threw it to the weak side. It was kind of disguised and got him. [But] he came back threw a touchdown. Anytime you can do that, you'll be okay."

The Canes were okay on Saturday because they got the win. But how much better could they be if every time Harris went back to pass you didn't have that knot in your stomach? I know his receivers, running backs and tight ends aren't helping him much right now. I counted at least five drops Saturday, which probably would have made his final stats (13 of 33 for 205 yards, 4 TDs) look a little better. But there is just something fundamentally wrong with Harris right now. 

790 The Ticket reported Harris could have a torn labrum in his left shoulder. It wouldn't be surprising at all. Harris definitely looked a little more than "nicked" when he took a hard shot at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. There's no doubt in my mind Harris is banged up physically and mentally. He just isn't the same quarterback we saw last year in UM's first two games. And right now, he's worse than the QB who threw for 3,352 yards, 23 touchdowns and finished second in the country with 17 INTs at the end of last year. One way or another the Canes have to figure a way to remedy the situation. Because even though they won Saturday, it was still only by nine points on a day when they're defense forced six turnovers (all in Clemson territory). I mean, how differently would we be talking today if Brandon Harris hadn't made that big fourth down tackle in the fourth quarter at the UM 20-yard line?

> Leonard Hankerson needs to pass along Mark Duper's phone number to the rest of the Canes' receivers... Can you imagine what things would be like if Hankerson had left for pros early? Would the Canes be 3-1 right now? Probably not. Hankerson has been a flat out beast this season. The rest of the Canes' receivers? Not so much. Between the drops, not getting open and just not making plays, the passing game has by far been the biggest disappointment so far this season. Aldarius Johnson had one catch for eight yards versus Clemson. Benjamin had one for seven. LaRon Byrd, meanwhile, did a nice job getting dressed for the game. The production simply has to be a lot better than that. Maybe it's time Tommy Streeter and Kendall Thompkins get a shot at doing more than participate on special teams. 

> Sean Spence is making a case for ACC Defensive Player of the Year... Pretty simple: the Canes have the best defense in the ACC at the moment and Spence is the Canes' best defensive player. He had a career-high 14 tackles versus the Tigers and made a vicious hit in the second quarter to force a fumble. As long as he stays healthy and keeps playing at this level, it's hard to give anybody else in the conference the award. FYI, Spence is currently third in the ACC in tackles per game with 9.5. Only Boston College's Luke Kuechly (12.8) and Maryland's Alex Wujciak (11.4) have more. And I've never heard of either of those guys.

> The blocking on field goals, punts and extra points has been suspect... Clemson put an end to Matt Bosher's streak of consecutive extra points made at 105. The Tigers' Jarvis Jenkins did a nice job getting his hand up to get a piece of the ball. What concerns me is that Bosher has now had an extra point and field goal blocked in the last three games. And saturday, Da'Quan Bowers came dangerously close to blocking one of Bosher's punts in the first half. So far, none of the blocks has meant much. But it's obvious the Canes are playing with fire.

QUICK HITTERS

> To steal a line from HBO's Bill Maher -- New Rule: Can we please stop comparing players who haven't done anything yet to former Canes greats? Chase Ford is a really nice guy. But he hasn't shown me anything yet that reminds me of Jeremy Shockey. Here are Fords' stats in four games -- 2 catches, 13 yards, 1 touchdown and whole lot of unfulfilled hype. Richard Gordon has 3 catches for 16 yards. Barring some unforeseen changes, we just shouldn't expect much from the tight end position this year.

> Can you imagine how good Ryan Hill would be if he had just played cornerback from the get-go? Two starts, two interceptions and two great games for the fifth-year senior. Brandon Harris is still the best the Canes have at cornerback, but Hill has been very impressive so far. He's helped make DeMarcus Van Dyke better too by moving him to a spot he's obviously more comfortable with -- the third/nickel cornerback. 

> For those of you clamoring for more running, less passing... UM attempted 33 passes Saturday and ran it 43 times. Sounds to me like offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and you are already on the same page.

> Seantrel Henderson still has a ways to go... He's going to be a beast by the end of the season, but Mount Henderson isn't completely ready yet to be trusted on his own. Upon further review, I saw he was beaten at least once by DaQuan Bowers on Saturday on the play that led to Harris' fumble and Henderson's fumble recovery. The real good news here is two-fold: One, it is only the beginning for Henderson, Two, senior Joel Figueroa is no longer being asked to do something he can't -- play right tackle. The Canes should be set for the rest of the season with Henderson and redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson sharing the right tackle duties. There is only room for both to improve.

> The Canes were flagged 12 times for 105 yards -- including three times for kick catch interference on punts. Got to get all of that fixed.

> For those of you still steaming over Clemson's muffed punt turned 15-yard penalty on Streeter, Shannon told WQAM after the game Saturday the rule on a fair catch is that the ball must hit the ground before an opposing team can recover it. That's why officials were apparently able to enforce the penalty on Streeter.

Comments

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Morris is very good and in time will be a starter at the U, but until then who? AJ haven't seen it, Whipple, no experience and you think 8 ints is too much, lets throw these inexperienced guys in there and see how many they throw.

Its speculation that they throw as many or more but inexperience leads to turnovers. Yes or NO?

Jacory is our QB plain and simple.
Do U want clemsons qb or receivers??

Be careful of what u wish for.

I'm with U Jacory.

GO CANES!

smh @ the gu that said JH12 is not a good D1 QB. Wow!!! If you are going to harp on his mistakes why not give him his props for his TDs.. It isn't like he is throwing 3 yard routes & our WRs are out there doing the rest. He is perfect? Of course not, but how many perfect QBs do you see out there?

Marve never got a real chance with randy only letting him play 2 series at a time and then pulling him before he could get into a groove. Then he would put in Harris then put in Marve then put in Harris then.... Well you remember.Marve,Cook,andSmith were not from the right side of the tracks. Whipple ??? I have seen him in practice and if you ask me , he is the best QB we have ,but we will never know because most games are so tight they are scared to play a backup even with 4 INTs.

Actually YES I do believe and Know for a fact that Shannon would and Has and is playing a guy who should not be in there. And if he and his staff have not got a guy ready to go in and play as a backup then what does that say about them? Any logical person with any football IQ would say they are not prepared. Not only that but the thing he preaches about competition applys to all but his beloved J-12 whom gets a pass for his interceptions where Robert Marve only got blame.

Anon: been watching the Fins, sorry; looks like championship chimed in too. You're right, thesere are all my opinions, based on what little inside knowledge I have and observation. Randy has put us in this position with his poor QB recruiting. You're right, we're stuck with him, but I don't have to like it. There's a great article in Bleacher Report. Sums my feelings up nicely. And just because I am critical of J12 and Randy doesn't mean I don't love the Canes. Go Canes!! More tomorrow

Anon: Ur RIGHT ; all my opinions based on what I've read here and elsewhere (articles, scrimmage stats,etc) and observed. Just like most of your points were opinions based on what you've seen. There's an article in Bleacher Report that sums my position up nicely. No matter my criticism, I love the Canes always. But J12 needs to be pushed in some way if he is ever gonna get better and lead this team where we know they can go.

Hey Anonymous Cane it was the idiot shannon who didn't do a better job of recruiting quarterbacks. There was a young man named Andrew Luck who was in the same class of 2008 as Harris and he is going to be a first round pick. Please stop protecting Harris just like Shannon is. By patronizing Harris you are not helping him!!!! This is the U!!!! You either perform or you get lost!!! That goes for Harris, Shannon and anyone else on this team. NO MORE EXCUSES!!!! Losers make excuses and winners blame themselves when they don't perform. It's time for little Jacory to leave the nest and be a man and start to be accountable. Unfortunately he doesn't have a very good example in his head coach who has always passed the buck and made excuses for his shortcomings and failures. Enough talk from Harris and Shannon. Time to win the ACC and the BCS bowl game. Man up and win out!!!!!

Posted by: clemdtrain | October 04, 2010 at 05:19 PM

Wow, only one visit from the Gator Troll all day, and he pretended to be a Clemson fan....

How sad....

BTW, great to see real discussion on here again, even with guys disagreeing, without someone stealing an ID and ruining it. Keep it going guys!

GREAT ASSESSMENT ONCE AGAIN MANNY. I TO AM ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE USE OF TOMMY STRETER AND KENDAL THOMPKINS. ALDARIUS KNOWS WHAT HE HAS TO DO. HE'LL BE JUST FINE. I DO HAVE A GREAT CONCERN IN REGARDS TO THE SPECIAL TEAMS. I SAW SEVERAL PUNTS THAT IN MY OPINION WERE ALMOST BLOCKED. WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL. FLORIDA STATE HAS A VERY FAST TEAM AND WE NED TO ENSURE THIS BALL DOESN'T GET BLOCKED. E'LL DO FINE THOUGH. I'M CONFIDENT. PSALMS 91

I THINK ICE IS A VERY GOOD QUARTERBACK, BUT I BELIEVE HIS CONFIDENCE WOULD BE HIGHLY ELEVATED IF ON SOME SERIES. HE WAS ALLOWED TO CALL HIS OWN PLAYS. THIS YOUNG MAN CALLED HIS OWN PLAYS IN HIGH SCHOOL WHICH RESULTED IIN TWO UNDEFEATED STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS AND ONE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. GIVE HIM SOME SERIES AND ALLOW HIM TO CALL SOME OF HIS OWN PLAYS. IT MIGHT AMAZE WHAT HE CAN ACCOMPLISH. PSALMS 121

Oregon QB threw 2 Ints in the first half against Stanford...One screen right to the DT which led to q qucik Stanford TD and the other that killed their last drive of the half and ledt to a Stanford FG. Luck of Stnaford threw a nice INT in the endzone...Nobody mentions those INTs but J12's INTs are on the tip of everyone's tongue....WHY? Not to mention Ponder is having a very medicore year so far and I expect that to contue for at least another week. And yes I would take J12 over Ponder any day!

AnonyCane: You're right, these are all my opinions, based on what I've read here and other places (articles, scrimmage stats, etc.) and my observations. Just like all of your points are your opinions based on what you know/have seen. We're stuck with J12 due to whatever circumstances led to it, but those circumstances were controlled by the head coach. So its ultimately on him, whether he consciously decided to do so or not. My problem is the kid has not improved, seems to have regressed, and is not being held accountable. There's a Bleacher Report article that just came out which sums it up perfectly. And just because I criticize Jacory and Randy, doesn't mean I don't love and fully support the Canes. I just expect better from this program. In the end, Jacory needs to be pushed if he is going to progress and take this team where we know they can go.

The U sucks and it will get killed by fsu and duke.

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