This week, I will highlight the 5 Keys to Clemson repeating as the ACC Champion in 2012. The 5 keys are in no order of influence, merely put together as they came to my mind during the offseason.
To read my 5 keys from last July with updates on each, click the jump here:
5 Keys From 2011
Much of that focus will fall on Tajh Boyd, who self-destructed at the end of the season with turnovers after being almost perfect through the first 8 games of the season, throwing only 3 interceptions heading into the Georgia Tech game in late October.
Boyd proceeded to throw 6 interceptions in the next three games and finished the season with 2 against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. In total, Boyd threw 9 of his 12 interceptions after the Tigers had zoomed to 8-0.
Boyd was not alone, however, in the increased turnover woes late in the season. In addition to the interceptions, Clemson lost 7 fumbles on top of the 9 interceptions during that same stretch of games after the Tigers had started the season 8-0. Clemson, as a team, became careless with the football and the result was destructive.
Regardless of what Chad Morris says about protecting the football, if you run as many plays as Clemson wants to run on offense, the obvious byproduct of that is an increased chance of turning the ball over.
Clemson playing error free football may be the goal and expectation of Chad Morris, but it’s hard for me to see that as a reasonable expectation.
What is reasonable, however, is to minimize the mental mistakes and avoid making the silly turnovers that will break the back of even the most seasoned teams. Many of the turnovers late in the season were crippling, and avoidable. That has to end in 2012 if the Tigers are going to repeat as ACC Champion.
At a minimum, Clemson has to be a much different team in the turnover department than we were at the end of the 2011 season. And if the Tigers can be more like the team that whizzed through the first 8 games of the season almost error free, then it is hard to envision Clemson not making another major run in the national rankings.
I’ll cut the difference and hope for somewhere in between. Overall, the Tigers finished the 2011 season ranked #57 in the nation in turnover margin. If Clemson can finish the season in the Top 25 in turnover margin, the Tigers will once again be in Charlotte with a chance to win the ACC Championship.
As always, you are welcome to agree or disagree by email or on the Tiger Pregame Show social pages, which are listed below.Tomorrow, I’ll have Key #3 to the Tigers repeating as ACC Champion.
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