Clemson Tiger Football: Bye Week Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time

Chad HensleyCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers walks onto the field during a timeout against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 10, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Usually teams like bye weeks about 3/4 of the way through the season. But after an embarrassing loss to a young Maryland Terrapins team, it couldn't come soon enough for the Clemson Tigers.

The Terps came into the game without a win against an FBS opponent.  Their only victory came against James Madison University, which competes in the FCS - and that took overtime.

As I said last week, the Tigers have major problems on offense.  But it all starts with the head coach, Dabo Swinney, and his chosen offensive coordinator, Billy Napier.

The thing that was most responsible for killing the early momentum the Tigers had, was when Dabo decided it would be a good idea to play quarterback Willy Korn.

Quarterback Kyle Parker had just led a terrific touchdown drive, and you could tell the offense was in rhythm. 

When Korn came in, that rhythm was destroyed, and the Tigers never got it back.

The Tigers did score three points with Korn at the helm, but he also got lucky on a couple plays.   

It is obvious to anyone who is a dedicated fan that Korn is just not the quarterback that Parker is. It's not close, and there is no way that changes in the near future.

As a fan, I could care less if Korn is talking about transferring if he doesn't get playing time.   The best players should play.  If Parker goes down with an injury, I would hope Korn can come in and do a good job.

Beyond the decision to play Korn, the playcalling was again very questionable. 

For a while, I thought that Tommy Bowden and Rob Spence were calling in the plays.  With the bubble screens, reverses to the short side of the field, and not sticking with the run, it was déjà vu.

The Terps had been destroyed by their opponents all year on the ground, yet Napier decided to throw the ball 40 times and run it 30, with only 18 of those rushes going to their best player, C.J. Spiller.

Why would one want to throw the ball 40 times with a redshirt freshman at the helm, when they have a very capable backfield of Spiller, Jamie Harper and Andre Ellington? 

I am not sure if Napier realizes that it's ok to have minimal gains on rushing attempts, because establishing the run pays off in the end.  

Those two and three yard gains turn into 30 and 40-yard gains in the fourth quarter.  It also helps control the clock, wears down defenses and sets up the play-action pass.  And let's be honest, Parker needs all the time and added protection he can get.

Maybe the Tigers can implement a new strategy, where Kevin Steele's defense allows the opponent to drive down and kick field goals on every drive.

That would allow Clemson to run its best play, kickoff returns by Spiller.

There are plenty of other reasons why the Tigers lost to a team that, up until then, had been one of the laughingstocks of the ACC.  If changes aren't made during the bye week, the Tigers may be wearing that crown.

Fortunately, the ACC Atlantic Division is full of underachieving teams, and the chance to represent the division in the ACC Championship game is still attainable. 

As a Clemson fan, I just want them to beat Wake Forest next Saturday.