This week's exchange is with the guys at Block-C, the awesomest Clemson blog on the tubes. My answers to their questions will appear at their site later today.
1) Clemson's offense has been on fire during the team's four game winning streak. How much of that is thanks to Kyle Parker? Has he turned the corner? How's the cult of Willie Korn doing?
I wouldn't say he's turned the corner as he is still very green. He still makes some huge mistakes and still has the feeling of an athlete rather than a true quarterback (true as he's a stunner for our baseball team as well.) But he is a great, great athlete. Parker has an excellent support system and at this point of the season I'd have to hand part of the congratulations to Parker starting to mature and the other part to his teammates for really pulling him out of some mistakes he's made. WILLY KORN is still the best quarterback to ever grace the South Carolina High School League. He needs a year long break. He'll be back next year after Parker goes to the MLB and we need a new quarterback controversy between him and Tahj Boyd. That or he's going to find himself a home in a nice FCS program.
2) I remember watching the Tigers' baffling loss to Maryland and thinking, "same old Clemson." Things have changed pretty dramatically since then, though. Are there any obvious differences between Swinney's team and Tommy Bowden's Clemson squads? How uncomfortable are you right now with the division seemingly in hand?
Swinney seems to actually make adjustments and meet things head on. From what we understand from our friends that played under Bowden, he didn't address things with the passion, fire, and motivation that Dabo does. Dabo is a Clemson guy. He's from rural Alabama and, much in keeping with previous Clemson coaches, he played at Alabama and "Get's it" in terms of what it takes to succeed at a program like ours. As a fan base we're still really nervous. This is the trap game here. This is the game Bowden would always lose. If we take care of this one, it's a new era. I mean, it's already a new culture, but us beating you guys and BC losing would close the book on Bowden for good. We've got a lot of players that were banged up against FSU though, so who knows.
Dabo would like to tell you somethin'.
3) What have the teams that have had success against Clemson's defense done to exploit the Tigers? Do you guys run more man or zone?
The only real thing I can tell you is quarterbacks can tear us to shreds getting out of pocket and running up the middle. We play a lot of man so it spreads the field way open. It usually takes us to get bit a few times before we spy or start playing a little zone. It's a give and take though: We can give up those yards because we're still making huge plays on passing defense and eventually that quarterback is going to get popped hard by one of our monsters on defense. Christian Ponder found out the hard way. More of DeAndre McDaniel's picks have been in man versus the zone, so expect us to keep on trucking.
4) Is there a more terrifying sight in college football than Jacoby Ford and CJ Spiller on the field together waiting to return a kick? I say no. I don't know what you people had to do in order to earn this sort of luxury, but it was worth it.
Last week they set a record as the best all purpose tandem ever in college football... however you do that... or whatever that means. CJ Spiller is only as good as his blockers and the one guy that usually makes the block at the other teams five yard line is Jacoby Ford. Watching these two play, especially CJ, is something very special that most of us won't realize till they're gone. And we can thank Dabo & co. because both were his recruits if I'm not mistaken.
5) If Danny Ford is God, who's Jesus?
Yet to be determined, but based on the latest Dab-O-Meter that judges the more homerish fans that wear orange, Dabo is approaching dangerously close levels. He's been here one season folks... come on.