Hope and concern: Clemson

The hope and concern series continues today with Clemson:

Biggest reason for hope: Defensive talent

Although only five starters return from last year’s stingy defense, there is plenty of talent returning and Clemson has also lured in some of the nation’s top defensive prospects in its 2011 recruiting class. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is one of the underrated assistants in the ACC, and his group should be even better now that they’re entering the third season in his system. Despite the departures of Da’Quan Bowers and Jarvis Jenkins on the defensive line, Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson are veterans. The addition of true freshmen linebackers Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony should give that position group a boost.

Biggest reason for concern: Offensive overhaul

The Tigers have a first-year starting quarterback in Tajh Boyd, a new offensive coordinator in Chad Morris, a new offensive line coach in Robbie Caldwell and an entirely new offensive scheme and philosophy to work with. The key to Clemson’s entire season rests on how quickly the players can adapt to the changes. The schedule doesn’t allow much room for error, as the Tigers will face defending national champion Auburn in Week 3, followed by back-to-back games against defending division champs Florida State and Virginia Tech. On second thought, maybe the schedule is the biggest reason for concern …

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