I know I am just a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbia, S.C., but there were a few meaningful takeaways from No. 14 Clemson’s win against Auburn in Atlanta on Saturday. Perhaps the one above all is the number Auburn put on the scoreboard — 19. Out of five scoring possessions, the SEC Tigers kicked four field goals. Auburn offenses of old would have considered that in need of athletic, of not legal counseling. The number of scoring possessions show that improvement still needs to be made. That those scores were field goals and not touchdowns shows that improvement has been made from the running tire fire of last year’s unit. I know from criminal defense, and Clemson’s defense last season was definitely criminal. (can you say SEVENTY POINTS?!?)
“We responded to some adversity in a big-time way,” CU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said to Sports Illustrated. “We were holding them out of the end zone. To hold a team in the opener to one touchdown says a lot about our guys. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to improve, but I just love the tough attitude we showed in the second half.”
But there were problems. Giving up a 54-yard touchdown pass in the first half was one of them, leading one Clemson blogger to say, “We looked absolutely confused at times and gave up big plays. Without those brain-craps last night in the secondary, Clemson wins big. This is unacceptable but correctable. Our defenders looked just as confused Saturday as they looked last season.” Is doesn’t take a DUI Attorney in Columbia, S.C. to see that this blogger is right: Our defenders looked — at times– like they were driving while under the influence!
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged the room for improvement after the game, saying, “But we’re far from satisfied. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
On the offensive side of the ball, there appeared to be a lot of potential left on the field.Even with the biggest star sidelined for Simple Possession of Marijuana charges last year. Running back Andre Ellington put up 231 yards on 21 carries, including a 68-yard burst.
“There’s no doubt in my mind who the best player underneath this roof was tonight — without a doubt it was Andre Ellington,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. “He was on a mission. He was relentless.” No criminal defense needed here.
Adding to that, DeAndre Hopkins caught a record 13 passes for 119 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Considering the yards tallied by the Clemson offense, the team no doubt would have liked converting some of those drives into touchdowns.
The biggest possible upside is that even without multipurpose threat Sammy Watkins (who needed a good South Carolina DUI attorney after getting stopped by university cops and the resulting marijuana possession charge), and even with its own self-inflicted mistakes, Clemson beat a quality opponent. With two weeks between now and a conference showdown with Florida State, there’s reason enough to be optimistic. Hope you join this South Carolina Lawyer and agree. Now, I need to get back to living in the Midlands of Columbia, S.C. and all the Clemson jokes heading my way!
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law.