JayDawg's Blog

A Sports Blog about the Georgia Bulldogs, SEC Football, Soccer, and other topics.

18 Feb 3

Way-too-Early Clemson-UGA, Preview and Predictions

Veteran QB Tajh Boyd Leads the Clemson High-powered Offense

What: UGA vs. Clemson

Where: Clemson, SC

When: Aug. 31 2013, Time: TBA, TV: TBA


This should be a premier game on Labor Day Weekend.  It should be nationally televised as the nation will be watching.  Clemson will be losing a few elite players to the NFL in RB Andre Ellington and WR DeAndre Hopkins, but the Tigers shouldn't drop off too much as they return offensive weapons in Senior QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins.  They had a great season, but I didn't know they were truly legit until they defeated #8 LSU in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, 25-24, in Atlanta by a field goal with the final seconds expiring.  Now granted, I don't know if LSU was prepared for that game, but beating SEC power LSU is an accomplishment in itself.  Clemson will be ready and their fans will be pumped as it will probably be a night game in Death Valley.  The Clemson offense is lethal, and Georgia does not need to give them a lead early because they can pour it on.  Georgia is returning one of the best offenses in the nation led by Senior QB Aaron Murray, Sophomore RB Todd Gurley, and the Bulldogs'  deep recieving corps.  Georgia has lost a bunch of starters on D, but they have good depth and have some talented underclassmen.  Sometimes, Georgia is not completely at its best early in the season, but UGA will be prepared and will look to make a statement in its first game of the season.  


Georgia 45- Clemson 32


    good call, losing their kicker and a safety to offseason shenanigans could be costly, especially the kicking game, but although offenses explosive, Clemson`s run game unproven, UGA`s may be the best in country and both teams can pass. Doubt that Clemson or anyone else can stop the play action pass game, should be fun to watch and play.

    Clemson's run game should be fine. Clemson returns 4 of 5 on the OL and honestly gets an upgrade with Ryan Norton now taking over the C spot - Dalton Freeman was solid, but undersized, Norton is bigger, stronger, and MUCH nastier - and Clemson returns senior "Hot Rod" McDowell and junior DJ Howard at RB, and you honestly couldn't tell when especially McDowell was in the game and Ellington left...Howard was more of a change-of-pace power back. Clemson also adds two bigger freshman backs (Tyshon Dye, Wayne Gallman) who were highly recruited and could beat redshirts but they're not likely to rate higher than #3 or #4 on the depth chart as freshmen unless they absolutely kill it in Fall practice because McDowell and Howard are very entrenched.

    Real problem will be at TE, where Clemson lost Brandon Ford to graduation, and projected starter Sam Cooper tore his ACL in the Spring Game. Early enrollee Jordan Leggett is a true manchild who has "future first round NFL TE" written all over him and has turned heads every practice...but he's still a freshman, and you don't expect froshes to make huge impacts in Game 1 of their freshman seasons, so it's probably TE-by-committee against UGA, and none of them will likely be as good as Ford was last year. Clemson is absolutely LOADED at WR - yes, the Tigers lost Nuke Hopkins, but returns Sammy Watkins and Adam Humphries and has some huge, blazing-fast WR's like Charon Peake and Martavis Bryant who have been buried on the depth chart behind Hopkins and Watkins. The same cannot be said for Clemson's DB's...Clemson's front seven really solidified down the stretch last season and should be much-improved this year (witness all those sacks and stuffed runs on the video above against LSU) but Clemson's DB's were a yearlong problem and remain distinctly iffy to start this season...there is a reason Clemson signed a whopping nine DB's in this past recruiting class.

    Clemson's offense will score. A bunch. Clemson's D can pressure the passer and stuff the run and has plenty of depth up front. The real question will be if UGA can get Clemson's young DB's to bite on play-action, because that's where UGA is likely to find success in this game. If UGA can get any kind of success going on the ground, and then go over the top, the game is likely to turn into the kind of shootout you have to mount your head on a swivel to watch.

    I'll grant you that Clemson will bring a lot of offense to the table, but I think you're being a bit generous outside of that. Those highlights against LSU showcase a lot of potential but posted against a very up-and-down team. Clemson will most definitely score points against a weakened UGA defense, but don't think that Grantham will field an unprepared squad.

    You have a lot of faith in Clemson defense to slow down a UGA offense that scored at least 4 td in all but two games including being the one of two teams to do so against Bama. And UGA is only going to be stronger with a more experienced line making holes for now-veteran RB combo "Gurshall." UGA was, and is, considerably better than LSU in the run game. Clemson's losses in the secondary will have a tough time matching-up with UGA's depth at WR even after losing a couple stars. Expect UGA to score early and often.

    UGA definitely has the stronger offense but with an unproven defense, this could be very high scoring. I expect turnovers to ultimately decide this one. Offensively, UGA gave up fewer balls than Clemson in more games against tougher defenses. Clemson's D was only mediocre at stealing the ball. We'll just have to wait and see if Grantham can generate another ball-hawking secondary early this year.

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