26 October 2006


VT 24, Clemson 7

We were outplayed in every facet of the game. We were outcoached. I think they painted their field crisper than we do ours and their turf is probably fantastic and soft. Their stadium foods and beverages probably rival that of the cuisine from the finest French chefs. I do not believe they donned their pants one leg at a time, as did Clemson, either.

We learned several things tonight and several things we’ve been pretty sure were truths were hammered into our heads. The neckbubble is especially powerful on Thursday nights. Rob Spence is a feast or famine play caller. Tommy Bowden will never pull a quarterback, no matter how poorly he is playing. Teams that buy into their own publicity often tumble as magnificently as they ascended.

For the record let me state that while the officiating wasn’t awful, it was incredibly one-sided and the overturned fumble by VT in the 3rd quarter was phantom horseshit. It was anything but irrefutable. I’m refuting right now. See, refute, refute. Not that it does any good to whine or wonder what would’ve happened if we had the ball in their territory.

More on Spence. He has mastered exactly five plays. Bubble screen, run it up the gut, bubble screen, a pass play thrown to exactly 3 yards behind the first down marker, slant. When these plays work well, as they have all season, Clemson looks like a worldbeater. When they fail, he becomes the most stubborn force on the planet and gravity is more likely to reverse itself than he is to make adjustments. If running it up the middle didn’t work the first 20 minutes of the game, why would it succeed the following 40? The VT defensive coordinator looked like a genius tonight, but in all honesty you could’ve replaced him with a bowl of gravy and seen the same result. No adjustments are needed against a dense OC who refuses to adjust himself.

While VT proved me wrong by shutting down our running game, I was right on the money by stating how frightening the prospect of Proctor passing proved to be. Proctor sucked, plain and simple. This is suckage and subsequent refusal by a coach to bench said sucking player not seen since Charlie Whitehurst’s disappointing junior campaign. In Proctor’s defense, there were multiple pass drops by our receivers. I had complained during our cupcake stretch prior to GT that we needed to pass more to oil up that cog in our machine, but Spence’s playbook is about as diverse and flexible as that of Jeff Bowden. Proctor’s passes were often just amazingly off the mark. Was this the same quarterback who looked so good versus Florida State? Did Brandon Streeter sneak in the locker room and suit up?

I don’t know what to take away from this game. I think we won’t know until the next three games, none of which will be easy. Perhaps tonight we saw that, while I think we are a great team, we are not yet a great program. We’re on the way there, building facilities, gaining recruits, refining our coaching, but the performance tonight, or lack thereof, should be a warning sign that all the pieces aren’t yet in place. Much like in 2000, just when Clemson was receiving the most positive national press and respect, we absolutely bomb. The difference is the victory over Georgia Tech, which now seems so long ago. A four day turnaround from a game that big obviously took its toll on Clemson. Let’s hope we can get back on track and f*ck up some teams in red.

Perhaps our greatest accomplishment was gently aiding Ore down the field.