Clemson struggled a bit offensively in the first half before lighting UNC’s secondary on fire in the 3rd quarter to put up 35 points and stomping the Holes 59-38. Since I was at this game, and haven’t watched the tape again yet today, I only have a limited set of things to talk about tonight.
I’ll start out with the negative, so we can end on a positive note. Our pass coverage is purely shit. There is no nice way of putting it. You might want to point out that UNC has 2 really good WRs, and you’d be right, but I watched the coverage all day and these guys are clueless. I had projected before this year began that it would be our safety play that saved our young corners from being roasted one on one. I think now that it’s the other way around. Double moves badly beat both of them all day, which you don’t always get to see on the TV camera. UNC hit us with hitches and quick passes early, but the Post is the Safety’s #1 responsibility and our guys all got roasted. It looks like they don’t know where to go or who to pick up, whereas Breeland or Robinson at least pick up the right guy. Even Rashard Hall, playing with one good knee, is nowhere near where I’d expect him to be. Everybody looks confused.
The 2nd issue I have is the tackling, as you all know. I was glad to see some football parents in my section complaining about the same thing. Our front 4 did a good job against Bernard, though I think we took UNC out of their run preference, but I have a tally of ten missed tackles/bad angles today that let plays go for plus yards. We couldn’t get enough pass pressure with our DL either, and that let Renner have far more time than he should’ve.
Then the backups gave up a ton of cheap points to UNC. I may or may not review the film of the 4th quarter to highlight their mistakes.
Other than those things, I thought the defense did great on 3rd down, which shows improvement in something. We also forced big turnovers and capitalized on them, especially Kourtnei Brown.
I think it may be time for Steele to go into simplification mode. If we can’t tackle, then there’s little point in practicing 5-10 different fronts and blitzes. If the DE lets Renner out of his clutches on a clean sack because he wouldn’t wrap up, or several passes go for extra yards because of bad angles and the inability to wrap up, then we have problems. This has to be corrected now, because even though GT’s offense is sputtering, it can still kill a defense that won’t wrap up.
Offensively, Tajh didn’t have his sharpest day on throws and decisions early but he cranked it up after the half. I think their pressure was a big factor in his slow start. Our OL did not have a good day at all, after having its best day against Maryland. I expected Coples to have the better day of their Ends, but I think Price did well enough against him today. It was the others that didn’t generate any push or give Boyd much time to get rid of it. We ran the ball very poorly today, no matter what we tried. That was not unexpected given UNC’s front 7 talent, if you read the preview. Once the offense got clicking in the 3rd quarter with some big plays though, it was all over for UNC.
I would like to ask Everett Withers WTF he was doing in coverage today. UNC was in a lot more C1 and Zero than I expected, and we lit it up. They did use the C2/C4 combos, but whenever they went Man on Watkins or Hopkins or Bryant, we roasted them. The TD Sammy scored in the 2nd half on the post route was with no safety over the top. Why would he put Tim Scott on Watkins and think something good is going to happen with no safety over the top? Withers doesn’t have a soul over there that can cover Watkins 1 on 1. Clemson didn’t hit it as much as we could’ve, because they went without a safety on Sammy a lot today. UNC coaches may have laughed at our offense last year when they looked at the tape, but I think ours will be laughing at them for those coverage calls.
Now to prepare for the option which may be an even tighter shootout. Steele needs to light a fire under some asses this week.