Clemson University

Eagles stay wary of Tigers

CLEMSON — At the ACC’s preseason media kickoff, Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski said Clemson possessed the most gifted team in the league.

Three months later, Jagodzinski stands by the statement, even though he has yet to watch the Tigers play.

However, it is fair to assume Jagodzinski did not think he would have to tell his team to be leery of overlooking Clemson on Saturday.

It is hard to be certain, because Jagodzinski cut off the question before it was finished.

“Let me tell you something, they have as much talent as anyone in the ACC, maybe more so,” Jagodzinski said during a teleconference Sunday.

“Regardless of who is coaching them, they have a ton of talent. I think they’re a dangerous team.”

So this is what Clemson (3-4, 1-3 ACC) has been reduced to in a season that began with high expectations: the league’s spoiler.

Maryland and Florida State, predicted to finish fifth and third, respectively, lead the Atlantic Division by a game over Boston College (5-2, 2-2) and Wake Forest.

Considering the division’s unpredictability and parity, things might have been different if the Tigers held on to one of their three consecutive blown fourth-quarter leads.

Instead the Tigers are a win against North Carolina State shy of the division cellar and find themselves needing four wins to earn bowl eligibility.

Interim coach Dabo Swinney had just four days to put his fingerprint on the offensive gameplan before Clemson’s 21-17 loss to Georgia Tech more than a week ago.

Jagodzinski said the Tigers’ bye week likely afforded Swinney the chance to install more new material — although the Tigers practiced twice. After a three-day weekend, the team returns to practice today.

“They’ve had two weeks to prepare for us, so I’m sure we’ll see some things they haven’t done,” Jagodzinski said.

The one thing Clemson could do to cause Boston College trouble is something it has not accomplished to date — create turnovers.

Two weeks ago, redshirt senior quarterback Chris Crane got away with surrendering a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in a 28-23 home victory against Virginia Tech.

But the Eagles were undone by turnovers in Saturday’s 45-24 loss at North Carolina.

Crane threw three interceptions — one hauled back for a score, another returned to the Boston College 1-yard line. The three picks led to 21 UNC points.

Jagodzinski did not rule out turning to athletic redshirt freshman quarterback Dominique Davis, but he seemed to place as much blame on protection issues as he did Crane.

“You have to take care of the football, and you can’t do that to the defense,” Jagodzinski said. “Our defense is playing pretty well. ... So if we make (an offense) play the full field, it will make it difficult to put points on the board.”