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FOOTBALL: Breaking Down The Beat

Sports Editor

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

For more on Saturday’s game against Clemson, The Heights got the Sports Editor of Clemson’s student newspaper, Robbie Tinsley, to answer a few questions on the team. Here’s The Tiger editor’s take:

The Heights: Clemson is coming off an emotional dog fight against Florida State. Do you see any chance of a let-up game against Boston College, or are the Tigers hungry to get back to their winning ways?

Robbie Tinsley: With Clemson, there is always a worry of a let-down game, especially when they go on the road to a sleepy environment. Everything we have heard out of the team this week is that they are ready to get back to their winning ways, but talk is cheap—it’s actions that pay the bills. You can have all the closed-door meetings you want, but when the lights come on and you walk on that field, you have to be ready to play from start to finish, especially against a team as physically imposing as BC. This week will go a long way to showing how the culture around Clemson has changed.

The Heights: How can defenses stop the three-headed beast of an offense that is Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, and DeAndre Hopkins?

RT: Florida State was supposed to lay the blueprint for this last Saturday night, and, to some extent, they did—if you bring pressure on Boyd, you make things a lot more difficult for Chad Morris and this offense. The problem is if Morris knows you are bringing pressure, he can always think of a play to use your pressure against you. This offensive line did enough in the Auburn game and through the first part of the Florida State until the third quarter riptide, but the worry is still there. If you let Clemson get going early, it is very difficult to stop them, but if you force Boyd into passing downs when he knows he has to make a play, he is very susceptible to mistakes.

The Heights: What will the Clemson defense be doing to try to shut down Chase Rettig through the air?

RT: Whoosh. You tell me. Within the fan base, there is not a lot of faith in the Clemson secondary right now—maybe more so than any unit on the team. There is talk of a shuffle amongst personnel, but the biggest thing the Tigers can do to shut down Rettig is the same thing the Eagles will do to shut down Boyd—don’t let him sit back in the pocket and read the defense. The defensive line has been challenged all week to step up, so I think they could rise to the occasion this weekend, and if they cannot, look for Venables will dial up the pressure from the linebackers and secondary.

Player to watch – Andre Ellington, RB: After a very good game against Auburn, Ellington has been very quiet in the past couple of games. He has scored two touchdowns in each of the last three games, but has not eclipsed 60 yards in any of those games. I think Morris will try to move back into a more balanced attack this week.

Prediction: There is a definite sense of unease around this game. For the Clemson team that I have grown up around, this game has “trap” written all over it. However, I think coming off the loss in Tallahassee and knowing that their season hinges on keeping the pressure on the Seminoles, the Tigers find a way to get it done this weekend, on the back of Ellington and a revamped defense. Clemson 28 – Boston College 17

Robbie Tinsley: Boston College has had a one-dimension attack through the first part of this season, with most of their yards coming through the air. What will Doug Martin do to mix in the run, or do you think he’ll continue to rely on Chase Rettig to make the offense go?

Greg Joyce: The one-dimensional attack has not been ideal, but Martin has been kind of forced into using it. Chase Rettig has made incredible strides and is starting to look like the big-time quarterback he was projected to be out of high school, but the reality is that he can’t do it all on his own—or at least he hasn’t been able to so far. Martin and Spaziani would love to go 50/50 with the passing and running game, but the problem has been that the backs have been ineffective. Plagued by untimely fumbles and the inability to hit the open hole when it’s there, Deuce Finch, Andre Williams, and Tahj Kimble have been unable to help out the offense as a running back trio. None of the three has stood out to be the dominant running back, and they have combined for just under 100 yards per game. Defenses have picked up on BC’s inability to depend on the run, and so they’re better prepared to take away parts of the passing game. Rettig is doing all he can, but a better running game will help him even more.

RT: Luke Kuechly has moved on to the NFL, but BC always seems to have another dominating defensive player on a conveyer belt for when one leaves. Is there another player on the Eagles’ defense who will be a household name soon enough?

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