It wasn’t long ago that we were watching Florida State take down Auburn in the national championship. The recruiting period has passed, now spring is suddenly upon us.
The Clemson Tigers are coming off a special 2013 season; the program won its first BCS game in school history. Coach Dabo Swinney finally has the monkey off his back, and now he’s hungry for a national championship.
If Clemson really wants a chance at a championship, the Tigers will have to beat the
Clemson has high expectations due to the success of last year. We’ll see what this team is capable of on April 12, when Clemson plays its spring game at Memorial Stadium.
With this being said, let’s take a look at the questions that Swinney wants to be answered after the spring game:
1. Who Will Replace Tajh Boyd at Quarterback?
Things are really heating up at practice, and this quarterback battle seems like it will come down to the wire. Senior Cole Stoudt, sophomore Chad Kelly and surprisingly early enrollee Deshaun Watson are all making a case to start for the Tigers in 2014.
Stoudt has the most game experience, but that won’t hold too much weight when the coaches make the decision—mainly because all three quarterbacks are making plays. Swinney has even done something he’s never done before to create some separation in the position battle. During the first scrimmage, the quarterbacks were “live” to see if the pressure would get them. But even with all that, there were no sacks and zero turnovers.
2. Will This Defense Live Up to the Hype?
This should be the best defense that defensive coordinator Brent Venables has had since he arrived at Clemson. The Tigers return a first-team All-American in defensive end Vic Beasley; the defensive line should be the strength of the unit, with Corey Crawford, Grady Jarret, and Josh Watson also looking to make a major impact this season.
Clemson will also have a stellar group of linebackers in Stephone Anthony and Kellen Jones. There is some youth in the secondary, but Venables seems confident that Garry Peters and Martin Jenkins will be able to lead this unit in the fall. Also, look for Adrian Baker and Marcus Edmond to make a play this Saturday in the secondary.
3. Can the Receiving Core Regroup After Losing Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant?
Clemson returns Adam Humphries -- who totaled 41 receptions in 2013 -- but there are still plenty of question marks at receiver this spring. There are several different players that could break out and take these spots, but it remains to be seen who will start in the fall.
Charone Peak, Kyrin Priester, Demarre Kitt, and Artavis Scott are cross training at multiple positions this spring, both slot and out wide. Germone Hopper is a very special talent, but will sit out the rest of spring due to academic reasons. Watch out for freshman Trevion Thompson as well, he’ll arrive in the fall.