The Same Old Tigers? Only Time Will Tell

Matt ElmoreContributor INovember 4, 2009

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

As I sit at my home and reflect over the season so far I can’t help but seem to have the feeling I have seen this before. As fans we have seen the slow start that is typical of the Clemson Tigers in the last 10 years. We have seen the "Gut-Wrenching Loss" that Clemson seems to endure almost every year. But here we sit at 5-3 and the Tigers hold their fate in there hands. The question is can this team grab the opportunity and hold on or will they drop the ball and fall just short as the team has in the past?

After the Maryland loss you could just feel Tiger Nation drop its heads and say, "here we go again." after a much needed bye week it seemed like there was new players wearing the Clemson Orange. We saw heart, determination, and the willingness to fight for however long it takes to get the job done. After the win over Wake Forest, Tiger Nation lifted its head just enough to see what would happen when the Tigers went to Miami. After the Maryland game I will admit that I was one who hung there head, but I stayed "All In" and am pleased at the outcome I have seen.

The team that takes the field now has a certain "swagger" that the teams in the past haven't had. The unity of this team is unlike any other I have seen in college sports. When you see the team lock arms and walk across the field you can feel a sense of pride, and you know that this is a team that will fight to the end. But can this team do what teams in the past could not?

The answer is YES!! This team has the heart, and the leadership that the teams in the past have lacked, and not just leadership for the players but from the coaches as well. After the Miami game we learned that Jacoby Ford "called" the play. He went to the coaches, told them what he saw, and they didn’t ignore him. They took what he said, drew up a play, executed to perfection, and finished the upset of the then #8 ranked Hurricanes. There will always be doubters for any coach/team, but I am not one of them now. the dramatic increase in offensive production, and a players first attitude by the coaching staff has taken a 2-3 Tigers team before the bye week to a 5-3 team on a 3 game winning streak and in the drivers seat in there division.

Only time will tell if Dabo can avoid the same fate that found Bowden over his tenure, but with his coaching style, and the players behind him, he has all the pieces in place to take Clemson to Tampa.