Well that was a clusterfuck wasn't it? Thats the kind of game you get when the team gets patted on the back by fans all week for how they played against Auburn instead of focusing on their preparation, and they damn sure weren't prepared to play today.
The same problems that we mentioned last week are the ones that showed themselves again this week, and as we have maintained here at STS, mental mistakes go on the Head Coach. I shouldn't need to reiterate that, but since knuckledraggers love to bitch at us for telling it like it is, I pretty much have to. This game was a total mental meltdown from start to finish. This will be a fun film review to do tomorrow, and it'll be pretty damning all-around. For now though, just my general impressions:
- Kyle Parker's first half was one of the worst halves of football I have ever seen from a Clemson QB. He was in front, behind, low, and too high to his receivers. Total lack of execution. To his credit, the 2nd half was far better.
- The reason why falls on the entire offensive staff. 1.) Napier had a shit gameplan today, and actually I couldn't tell what the gameplan really was. I saw no coherent scheme or rhythm in the first half playcalls. There were no screens, no draws, or generally anything in the first half to negate the Miami pass rush, which came entirely from the down 4. 2.) Jeff Scott still plays the WRs who don't want to play football. Ashe can't catch a simple crosser, Dye can't catch again, Jones couldn't catch, and none of those guys can get open whatsoever. They don't have the moves or the technique to CREATE space. 4 years of shitbag WR coaching nets you that. 3.) Jamie "The Skirt" Harper still gets touches on inside runs instead of Ellington.
- I have not seen a Clemson defense make so many bad reads in quite some time. The Xavier Brewer/Coty Sensabaugh combo get picked on each week and they aren't getting it done at all. Rarely are the opponents beating Byron Maxwell. DeAndre McDaniel didn't show up ready to play today. The first TD was NOT on Maye for those wondering, that was DMac in the Banjo coverage that appeared to be on. The second mixup with the back was Maye's key but DMac was his help and wasn't there. Both were man/man schemes. What was a Top 10 secondary is wetting the bed so far this year. They know how to do the things they messed up on today so often, this was mental.
- Zero pass rush in the 1st half. DaQuan Bowers disappeared. Interior pressure disappeared. No blitzes. No pass rush + man coverage = bad, always.
- Poor protection from our OL, not pathetic, but still poor. They might've looked better had Parker had someone to throw to besides Allen.
- Jacory Harris is a pathetic QB. Mark Whipple is worse for letting him throw the ball when they have so much success running it. He cannot look off a safety, he doesnt even know how, so I don't know why anyone would show him anything other than Cover 2 from here on.
2nd Half adjustments that I wanted to see: screens, draws, Andre Ellington instead of Jamie, blitzes, and some damned intensity all around. I saw a fair bit of it.
- In the 2nd, DaQuan showed up. Interior rush wasn't great but the End rush was. The defense blitzed to get pressure and it worked. Until the last TD we basically shut em down.
- Secondary coverage was fine on everyone except Hankerson in the 2nd. We couldn't cover him that well last year, and didn't this year at all. Steele made his adjustments at halftime but the hole was too much, and with the offense giving them back the ball 6 times, I find it hard to put most of the loss on the defense.
- Clemson didn't run the ball enough, and Miami handled Ellington fairly in the 2nd. I could tell you that Jamie wouldn't do any better after his first 5 carries. Sometime someone should tell him that when you tiptoe and dance at 230, it doesnt work. Andre runs like a 230lb back, Jamie like a 180lb back. I didn't notice all the Power plays and Isolations, or much of any running right behind Diehl at all.
- In the 2nd, Napier did try adjusting. He did call the screens and passes to the backs and TE when we began moving the ball. He saw that Kyle needed some completions to get his confidence up, and he tried to get it with the right playcalls. However with Miami unwilling to take the game for themselves, he could not instruct his offense how to take it either.
So now what? Dabo Swinney wasted two weeks of preparation if that was the end product. Mental mistakes go on him and him alone when its the entire team that succumbs to them. When youre not focused, you turn the ball over, so while each individual play may have been the fault of a player, such as Landon Walker not getting that DE's hands down or cutting him, or guys not holding onto the ball after contact, the overall sum points to lack of concentration and intensity, and that goes on him. If he wants to challenge the fans to show up and be loud, he needs to have this team show up and play worth a damn.
There is no excuse for them not feeding the ball to Ellington (20 touches), yet I see Harper getting all these carries (22 touches) even after he clearly dances into each hole. There is no excuse for having 3 starting WRs who cannot get open. There is never an excuse for not catching balls that hit your hands. There is no excuse for letting a Safety with a broken wrist field punts. Harris tried to give us the game on a platter and again we don't have the killer instinct to take it.
Dabo Swinney is 15-10, keep that in mind when you continue to praise him. You are what your record says you are.