It seems as though Clemson fans are asking themselves the same question every week: Why?
Tiger Fans are coming off an emotional 16-13 loss on the road against Florida State, further eliminating a faint hope of ever reaching the ACC Championship that they weren't likely to reach, given their dismal record. Clemson fans could use a myriad of words to describe the FSU game, particularly the offense and the kicking game:
Horrible. Disgusted. Flat.
The only bright spot on offense was Jamie Harper, who truly had one of the best games of his career, rushing for almost 200 yards and a touchdown.
Kyle Parker, despite his passing numbers in the game, continues his downward slump of bad decisions and effort, tossing two interceptions and missing wide open receivers. The Parker stats aren't translating to the scoreboard, and they're not translating to the win column.
Meanwhile, the kicking woes continue, with Chandler Cantanzaro missing two field goals, which turned out, as could have been expected, to be the difference in the final score.
Clemson cannot seem to find an answer to the Parker problem or the kicking problem. Clemson Nation is confused.
A penny for your thoughts: is it possible a search will commence for a new Tigers offensive coordinator?
For the last two years, Billy Napier has been seen as a questionable hire as offensive coordinator for Clemson, given his age (early 30s), lack of exposure at the Division I level and absence of any prior experience as the play-caller of an offense.
Napier was cut some slack, given the Tigers' success last year in the latter half of the season. However, over the course of the season, Napier has become less aggressive and more conservative in his play calling, especially in the red zone.
Rather than run the ball with game-changing running backs Harper or Andre Ellington, he passes the ball when it's unnecessary to do so.
It's possible that maybe Napier is out of his league when it comes to the offensive coordinator position. Napier is a great recruiter, and may just be simply a position coach, not the offensive coordinator Clemson needs.
At this point, Dabo Swinney may need to do some thinking on the offensive side of the ball during the off-season, and maybe hire a more experienced, versatile offensive coordinator who has what Clemson and Swinney need: a physical, yet versatile style of football that can, and will, keep opposing defensive coordinators thinking.
As for the kicking game, Swinney must make a hard decision and move on from the current kickers on the depth chart, unless he gives Spencer Benton another look, since they thought enough to give Richard Jackson and Cantanzaro multiple looks.
Swinney and the staff must find a kicker to sign for the 2011 recruiting class, for that is their best shot at finding consistency in the kicking game.
If Clemson ever wants to have success on all sides of the football, it must learn to deal its cards well.
As the saying goes, it's not the hand the hand you're dealt, but how you're playing the cards. And right now, Clemson is losing hands.