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Looking back to Saturday

September 15, 2008

Clemson 27, NCSU 9

There are some days you can’t wait to type up something about a game. You’ve got an idea, a thought, that you think encapsulates what went down and you want to share it with the Blogosphere as soon as possible. The words flow from your fingers effortlessly.

This is not one of those days.


In fact, I couldn’t want to write something about this game LESS than I do right now. The reason being, I can’t really think of much that wasn’t painfully obvious, or that hasn’t been written already a thousand times prior to this weekend.

Our offense is bad. Our offensive line is worse. Nate Irving is a beast. The rest of the defense is average. We haven’t scored an offensive touchdown against an FBS opponent since November of last year.

The end.

I will say that, having watched the whole game, I’m not as bleak on things as some State fans are right about now. I still am aware of the fact that we’re missing about 50% of our weapons on offense, that Russell Wilson just played his first complete game in college, and that our depth overall, particularly along the offensive line, is razor thin. I get all of that, and it’s tempered my opinion on things.

But I am concerned about how vanilla our offense continues to be given all the pieces of the puzzle that are missing. Dana Bible seems hellbent on running between the tackles 30 times a game when we just don’t have the personnel for it. I’m not asking for triple reverse halfback passes every down, but I do think we need to mix the playcalling up a bit more to keep opposing defenses honest and out of the box. Even if we had 85 healthy, skilled players on our roster, you still can’t play smashmouth football when five linemen have to block eight defenders.

I still can’t get a read on how good or bad Clemson is. They beat us, and definitely have more skill at every position, but I get the feeling like they should’ve dispatched us by a good bit more. They were playing at home in their first conference game of the year, and it just seemed like they couldn’t put us away when they had the chance to. Cullen Harper looks off at times, missing wide open receivers more than the preseason ACC player of the year should. C.J. Spiller is out of this world, but James Davis looked merely good against us.

As down as the ACC is, they could still run the table and win the title. But it’s no longer a given, and the Wake Forest game could be a very tightly contested affair.

So it’s back to Carter Finley, to face one of the hotter teams in the country in East Carolina. Ever the (foolish) optimist, I think State can repeat the stunner we pulled on the road last season and spoil the Pirates’ dream season. But State’s going to need some help from the men holding the dry erase boards. East Carolina’s defense is legit, and the Pack will need to score not just one touchdown on offense but several to make this game competitive.

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