As a South Carolina fan, just wanted to give you guys a heads up on what you'll see if you visit Atlanta. Not all Clemson fans are bad. They have just all made bad choices in life. I have a lot of Clemson friends. They are currently just in shock after their last game with us. So largely, you won't see the type of guys that come over here to talk smack and post stuff on Youtube. But still, they have a good share of obnoxious people that you'll need to be prepared for, and here are some main things to keep in mind.
1. Dabo cares about optics, first and foremost.
You will hear Clemson fans talk a lot about 110%, but the truth is you need to go no farther than their last game with us to see that Dabo doesn't really care about that. He punted with 3 and a half minutes left in the game, down by 10, when his offense had around 15 total plays in the second half. To say that he actually believed he could stop us, get the ball back and score twice at that point is laughable. The only thing his team really had going for it this year was the offense anyway, so punting at that point was even more telling than usual. He punted because we would've gotten the ball on their 30 and the Tigers would've lost by 17 points to us, again, and that is something he didn't want to occur. Instead, he punts, basically gives up any slim chance of winning the game so they could have a moral victory of only losing to us by 10 points this year. Based on their own rules, Dabo should never touch the rock again. If that is 110%, keep it. Which leads me to the second point.
2. Expect the moral victory chatter shortly after the game.
When Les Miles decides to play some of his younger guys for experience after the game is well in hand, Clemson will probably get a few quick scores. They may get another 14, and end the game only losing by 12-14 points. As they are leaving the stadium, you'll hear "Hey, we only lost to LSU by 14 with a bad defense, that's not too bad." Of course they conveniently ignore the fact that they scored a lot in junk time, which Dabo is the king of. Despite this...
3. Highly paid assistants get blamed rather than the head coach.
This one is beginning to turn, but I think it was spurred on by denial. It is strange to most college football fans to see this, most of the time when a program has a glaring weakness the head coach gets the lion's share of the blame. Dabo has largely managed to avoid this with some misdirection and a showcase of what he does do well. He is well known for being a good salesman as that is what he did before he actually started coaching. Because he's good at sales, he does well in recruiting, very well actually, especially to skill positions. He also does well at fundraisers and pumping up the faithful with staged rants that he coordinates with local media. This makes it convenient to blame coordinators, specifically the Defensive Coordinator given recent performances on the field. But it's started to bleed over, even Chad Morris (who they once thought could do no wrong) is getting hazed for our game with us for "abandoning the run" or "panicking" when most fanbases would actually blame, you know, the head coach for that stuff. And sure, maybe Dabo doesn't call the plays, but the head coach can set the tempo and demand a certain gameplan be followed. At least, you'd think he could. More and more Clemson fans are beginning to admit Dabo is just a "figurehead," and they've used that exact word to describe him. That tends to be a recipe for long term disaster in my opinion, but we'll see. Regardless, when they lose to LSU, you will be shocked at how much other people besides Dabo are blamed.
This post was edited on 12/5 at 9:01 am