Clemson Primed for Title Run It's tough for a 10 win season with a bowl title to feel like a disappointment, but that's exactly how the Clemson coaches and player feel. At ACC Media Days Coach Trey was asked about last season, "I feel like we could have accomplished more. Offensively we were the best passing team in college football, defensively we were the second worst in the country. Our defense didn't perform how we thought they should and it let us down." The offense switching to a more run based attack should help the defense from being on the field as much as last season. If the defense improves the Tigers could challenge for the ACC title, and the BCS Championship. The Clemson offense looks to be even more explosive than last season. There is speed at every position, and an offensive line that seemed to gel late in the season. Clemson will return 4 starters on the o-line. There are still some position battles going on, but most of the depth chart is set. At QB, (RS) Sophomore Chad Kelly will open the season as the starter. Kelly has 6 snaps of college football experience. He is a mobile QB, and will be able to keep the chains moving with his legs. He doesn't have a particularly strong arm, but he is very accurate. His immediate backup is Cole Stoudt. He will play the backup role, but true freshman Eric Owens is redshirting, and if Kelly goes down for a significant amount of time look for him to lose his redshirt. The RB will play much more in tandem this season, so the #1 and #2 on the depth chart are largely irrelevant. DJ Howard and Zac Brooks will take the majority of the snaps. Howard is a much better overall back, but Brooks has exceptional speed and acceleration. Both should expect carrying the ball frequently, but the coaches are on record saying they will play the hot hand at RB. When Sammy Watkins decided to return for his senior season the cheer from South Carolina could have been heard in Philadelphia. Watkins looks hard pressed to put up the same stats this season, but if he can come close he will assure himself a very high spot in the draft. Charone Peake and Germone Hopper will play the #2 and #3 roles. Hopper will play from the slot in 3, 4, and 5 WR sets, but will be paired with Watkins in 2 WR sets. Hopper and Watkins, are blazing fast, and will stretch the defense all game long. The OL returns 4 starters from last season, and the left side looks to be much better than the right with (RS) Sophomore Jay Guillermo and Gifford Timothy at guard and tackle. The middle will be held down by Ryan Norton at center. Shaq Anthony will play the right tackle spot; joining him on the right side is mammoth (RS) Freshman Tyrone Crowder. Crowder goes 6'3" 350 pounds, and shouldn't have any trouble pushing DT out of the way in the run game. Defensively Clemson will be defined by their front 7. The DL is fast, athletic and big. The LB are fast enough to play sideline to sideline, and strong enough to hold up in the run game. At DE Vic Beasley and Corey Crawford will start and Josh Watson and Tavaris Barnes will back up. Beasley is small at 227 pounds but Crawford makes up for it at 6'5" 272 pounds. Barnes steps in around 270 and Watson tips the scales at 287. The Tigers will be able to rotate all 4 players in and have experimented with a NASCAR package like the New York Giants. There is no talent drop off on the interior either. Grady Jarrett and Deshawn Williams can be as dominating as the outside guys. Jarrett recorded 9 sacks last season and is an exceptional rusher as a DT. Williams could equal him this season though. He is an exceptional athlete at DT, and excels getting off blocks. Neither one is huge, but quickness and speed make up for it. Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony are back to quarterback the defense. Anthony will play at MLB and Steward will play at the LOLB spot. RS Freshman Dorian O'Daniel will slide in at ROLB and his speed will help him make up for his youth and inexperience. Anthony and O'Daniel are very fast for LB and will help keep the opponents passing game in check as well. Steward and Anthony look to be high picks in next seasons NFL draft. At DB Bashaud Breeland, Mackensie Alexander, and Dante Stewart will lock down WR from CB slots and Travis Blanks, and Robert Smith will play safety. It's a seasoned group with 2 Seniors and a Junior, but Alexander is a freshman seeing his first college action. If the front 7 do their job the DB could put up some exceptional stats. Watkins will return kickoffs again, but Hopper will return punts. Watkins was electric on his way to the best return man award. He hopes to channel his inner Desmond Howard and use his return stats to boost his Heisman candidacy. Hopper has the potential to be explosive on punt returns, his acceleration should help him tremendously. The Tigers have as much talent as any team in the country, the offense will be one of the country's op units again. If the defense makes the improvements they should the Tigers should be in the running for the BCS Championship. Clemson will have to shake off the critics who say they'll "Clemson it up." If they do Clemson will be very tough to beat.