Clemson Football: To Lose Patience, Is to Lose the Battle

Tomorrow is the next, extremely important, step towards accomplishing Dabo Swinney’s team’s yearly, stated goals. They lost the first game, so that one was a miss. The next goal is to win the division, and the march towards that one starts tomorrow with Georgia Tech.

As I’ve stated recently, not sarcastically, I will take the long view with this, the 2021 edition of The Tigers. To believe in a seamless, inherent transition from last year’s team, isn’t quite fair.

It’s no secret, this defense has the potential to be counted among the best to ever wear the Orange, Purple and White. The super senior members give this unit grounding leadership and set the standard for the “young ones” to follow and learn. Even with that, the backend of the defense has some lingering questions and the only way to answer those question is to line up and play…tomorrow.

The offense was touted, pre-season, as potentially unstoppable. That proved not to be the case against Georgia. I won’t rehash the specifics, that’s old, tired news. It’s sufficient enough to say, they are a unit looking for their own identity by improving every play, every game, every day.

Many, myself included, have asked…”what’s going on with DJ?” I will attempt to answer that question by saying he’s a young man, in his late teens, trying to lead by accepting the responsibility for the offensive “hesitation” on himself. That says a lot about who he is as both a man and a leader.

He needs to find a way to get out of the shadow of those that have gone before and just be himself. Some speculate he’s believing the Heisman hype, that he’s distracted by the NIL endorsement deals and worst of all, he just doesn’t have “it.” Maybe all are true? I tend to believe it’s much simpler than all of that.

I feel he’s trying to wear Trevor’s cleats and at this point in the season, and those might be a little too big. So, he needs wear his own, they’re comfortable and in time, they might even become bigger than all the others. Hopefully we’ll see the beginning of that separation …tomorrow.

As with every season, every coaching job that comes open, one or both of our coordinators are listed on those ubiquitous list of the “pursued.” I have no sources to confirm nor deny anything.

However, out of the two, Brent Venables seems to be here for the long haul. He’s happy, successful and getting richer by the season. He seems to have found his “Happy Place” in Clemson and that’s a great thing. Tony Elliott seems to be fulfilled in his situation as well but out of the two, in my opinion, he’s the most likely to leave at some point but…not tomorrow.

Finally, without the benefit of a crystal ball, nothing definitive is a foregone conclusion. Sure, in this game, with the overwhelming talent disparity between the two teams, Clemson certainly has the obvious edge.

The best outcome will not only be a hard fought victory but of equal importance, to show real improvement, it’s that simple. That is the hope, the only expectation of most Tiger faithful but all will have to be patient and wait until…tomorrow.

Enjoy the game, safe travels to you and your family and try to soak in every moment and find joy in the experience. Any day spent in the Valley is a great day! Never look too far ahead, worrying about future games. The only game that really matters is Clemson versus Georgia Tech…tomorrow.

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