CLEMSON – If you are getting ready to hit the road for Clemson, it’s important you remember the football program and university have made a few changes for fans this season.
First, Clemson rolled out a “15 in 15” initiative, which are 15 gameday improvements in 2015. They include faster wireless service, spruced-up restrooms, and a “Cool Zone” along with dollar discounts on bottled water for the first two games, which on these September afternoons will undoubtedly be appreciated.
Also, remember there is construction work going on in numerous places around campus. And most importantly, there are traffic changes Clemson is experimenting with tomorrow and next Saturday, so probably allot a little extra time to account for that.
Joining fellow in-state football teams at The Citadel and South Carolina, Clemson announced Friday its players will wear a helmet sticker devoted to the nine victims of the Emanuel AME church shooting in Charleston.
The sticker is similar to the others — nine doves flying upward from a Palmetto tree — in the color purple. It will be fixated to the back of Clemson helmets all season.
No more in-and-out between the senior veteran and the freshman whiz kid. No more questions about the effectiveness of the running backs. No more individual guy who clearly runs the offense — wait, that is something to address. Deshaun Watson, Tony Elliott, Jeff Scott and numerous other people find themselves in new roles this year. Getting back on a 40-points-per-game pace in the first two games against lesser competition is a must, with Louisville and Notre Dame right around the corner.
Unfortunately, this won’t be a day for Shaq Lawson (or anyone else) to chase down Vic Beasley’s sack record. See, it’s hard to obtain sacks when the quarterback never drops back. There are several new starters who’ve never faced the triple option before, so for just one week, Brent Venables and company have to dispatch of a nuisance before we really see how the unit has changed from last year’s No. 1 total defense.
The last time Travis Blanks took the field in a football game was November 2013, when he tore his ACL against The Citadel — a cut-blocking triple option team from the FCS. Blanks makes his return as the prospective starting nickel back against another in-state cut-blocking triple option team from the FCS. Whether it be dodging low blocks or general game action, the less busy team trainer Danny Poole is after this game, the better.
The games count just as much in early September as they do in early December. While the latter might hold more weight with the College Football Playoff selection committee on the basis of short memories, Clemson can really showcase its talent from the word ‘go’ — remember, Florida State started outside the top 10 in 2013 before ripping Pittsburgh, Nevada and Bethune-Cookman on its way to the title — and prepare to be running on all cylinders come ACC season.
Clemson 56, Wofford 17
— Aaron Brenner