At least it counts as a W. There were some positives that I'll get to, and I'll leave my harsh criticism until after I watch the tape again for the film review. I was hoping I wouldn't have to do one this week (since it takes hours) but apparently we're still Clemson, and we find a way to look awful even when we win by 25 points.
A bad game played on both sides of the ball, but the most disappointing thing was our defense. I was looking for Steele to scheme differently to stop inside zone runs and he did change some things, but with the tackling and fundamentals so awful you wouldn't be able to tell.
If you noticed, Clemson did not blitz heavily in this game. This was something I questioned at halftime because the changes he made with the Nickel package -- heavy stunting -- were not working whatsoever. They were flying around, but right by the RB and the QB. The stunting made the inside Tackles jump out of their usual lanes, and they didn't get to the new lanes to stop anyone, they'd be caught completely flatfooted when the RB was running into a gap they weren't expecting him to.
Stunts are used to halt particular run plays (an inside stunt may stop an inside trap) and also to create a pass rush when you don't like to blitz. Pitt is a team that uses a lot of stunts, since they blitz infrequently. Vic K stunted quite a bit for the same reason. I don't have a problem with it and we'll need it for Auburn, but it didnt work today.
And if you dont fit your gaps up front, the LB play really looks awful. Hawkins played well against Kentucky but he was out of position quite a bit today. Willard was as well, and neither of them were fitting many gaps. It looked to me at first glance like they were continually dropping back into coverage and not reading KEYS. NOBODY READ THEIR DAMN KEYS TODAY. At least two long plays out of the backfield would've been easily stopped had Malliciah Goodman read his key.
I will wait til I watch it again before I get harsher. We got the sacks and turnovers, but we gave up 460+ yards. 3rd down defense was no better than last year. Steele seemed to have his heart set on Cover 0, and that didn't work. Man/man technique was AWFUL. We switched to more zone in the 2nd half and initially it was better, but if you play zone and don't tackle it sucks.
Overall for the D, tackling. It was fucking pitiful. One long run by Dunbar on a Shovel pass would've been a loss if Willard had made the tackle. Several times our secondary tried to arm tackle, and one time we needed 5 guys to make one tackle? Jesus Christ that pissed me off. DMac can hit our own guys and decleat them, but not make a good hard hit all damn day.
As for the offense, I was glad that Dabo left Parker in until the mid-4th, because his accuracy appeared no better than last season and he needs the work. His final stat line: 9/17, 170, 2-1. Thats the same as last year's stat lines. Early on his throws were well off and behind his receivers, but this appeared to get better as the game progressed.
Andre Ellington - Jamie Harper, outstanding. Harper may make a believer of me with his receiving skills that have been unutilized to date. The WR corps left me with a mild sense of excitement. They won't make tough catches but you can see the athleticism and speed we've got. Dye was a non-factor, and appeared to be in for his blocking. Marquan had taken the slot spot from McNeal, but I didnt notice him except for the PI call. Clear looked good and finally J. Brown got some receptions. I've been telling everyone here that Brown will be good.
But where was Dwayne Allen?
OL - Fair to Good. I know some folks are upset about the line play, and there should've been bigger run lanes at times for sure, but they did a fair job. This is something we'll look at on film.
The playcalling irked me. I said earlier that we should come out and run the ball, because our strength is clearly up front and in the RB corps. We didn't do that today. First play was shotgun. FAIL. We shouldve run the ball 35 times today. There shouldve been more play-action, but the passing game looked discombobulated. We hit alot of big plays but not long sustained drives, which was my biggest complaint last year too. We need to have execution and sustain it, not hit 3 or 4 bombs and play D.
Special Teams thankfully looked good, I thought Gilchrist was good, coverage was OK, and NO MISSED XPs.