Coming into the season, Bowers was considered one of those guys who might never reach his potential. Widely regarded as one of the two or three best overall prospects of the 2008 class, Bowers failed to break through in his first two seasons at Clemson. That's all over now: this year, Bowers leads the nation in sacks, is widely regarded as the nation's best defensive lineman, and is regarded by NFL scouts as a sure-fire first-round pick if he comes out this year as a junior. He's arrived. Bowers is a dangerous player who could make life very difficult for Stephen Garcia if Carolina can't protect the QB. He's the kind of guy you worry about forcing game-changing fumbles.
2. Playing It Safe in the Passing Game
Going up against a formidable Florida defense known for producing devastating takeaways, Carolina played it fairly safe in the passing game. We threw lots of screens and short jump-ball fades to Alshon Jeffery, with only a few throws further down field, one of which was, not coincidentally, almost picked off. The passing game seemed to be largely designed to soften up the defense and get it to back off the run blitzing and stacking the box. It was a well-called game and worked to a T. I'd like to see more of that against Clemson, a team with defensive talents and strengths that are similar to the Gators'.
1. Run the Football
We've been harping on this for a few weeks now, and why stop now? Teams that run the ball well between the tackles win big football games, as we've learned over the past few weeks. Teams that don't against Clemson have to worry about the Tigers talented secondary picking off errant passes and about Bowers getting around the edge unchecked and knocking the crap out of the QB. Carolina doesn't need to put itself in this situation. Establish the run and the rest should follow.