Dr. B has other obligations this evening (I don't know for sure, but he may be meditating/working on his Zen to try to get his blood pressure down to a mere extremely above average level after this game), so you are stuck with a little FigureFour post game coverage. If you are squeamish, still slamming a king sized bottle of orange colored Kool-Aid, or haven't removed the orange tinted sunglasses then this isn't the article for you.
I will start this with a non-gameplay related item. I really wish ABC/ESPN would put the Pony out to pasture. Craig James makes my mute button tired. It could be worse (Pam Ward eclipses James here). If you ask Craig, Dana Bible invented the game of football and Clemson is fundamentally sound all around. I am not sure he has watched much football at all this season...at least it doesn't appear as though he has from today's telecast.
I'll go ahead and get it out of the way...not having Sammy Watkins hurt us and offensive line injuries don't help. Still, I don't really care. This is not a very good NC State football team and they simply whipped our ass tonight. NCST has played two good games this season (UVa and UNC) and many, many more bad football games. If Clemson really is a top 10 football team they wouldn't have gotten absolutely manhandled by the aforementioned team.
NCST whipped Clemson tonight, so we need to give them their due before talking about our Tigers. Now, on to the Tigers...There is no area of this team that gets a reprieve (well, I guess we can take positives from the kickoff team and two made field goals, so don't say that I was all negative) and this group has a lot of soul searching to do if it wants to achieve any of the goals left on the table. The only other positive I can draw is that maybe this team and its coach realize that they are not yet elite and have a whole lot of other things that need improvement. I hope they learn from things and I have to come back and say tonight was just a fluke...but here we go.
Clemson has a big, big philosophical problem. We like our staff of assistants and think they are all-well all but probably two-are good coaches and have established themselves elsewhere before each coach's time at CU (it is tough to talk poorly about Elliot at this point either since he is in his first season here). I know Caldwell is an excellent coach but our offensive line was crap today. Coach Cheese is one of our favorites yet our DBs look lost, will not wrap up, and cannot jam the opposing WRs. Kevin Steele has been successful elsewhere yet we look like booty loaf everywhere. The reason we aren't tough is because Dabo Swinney refuses to make this team tough. He would rather yell and scream because of the result instead of fixing the problem. The problem starts with S&C and continues through our practice philosophy. We are not physical enough Monday through Wednesday and it is obvious. You cannot be a good jamming corner without practicing tough. You cannot be a good tackling defense if you aren't going live and getting after someone's ass all week working on the fundamentals.
Want more proof how cupcake this team is look at this: Georgia Tech punched this team in the mouth and Clemson has not recovered. We were very fortunate earlier in the year and that luck has run out. We've repeatedly told you that this team lacks toughness. NC State exposed Clemson tonight for what it is-SOFT! We talked about it all preseason and throughout this year. We are soft because Swinney lets us be soft. We don't practice like we should and don't hold everyone accountable, hence the crap we saw tonight.
Chalk up the first half crap show to Clemson's offensive line, inability to hold onto the ball, and poor special teams play. All the NCST points sans the first TD in the first half go on the crappy play out of the offensive line and complete crap on special teams. Clemson got no push inside (imagine that) and, for a change, could do nothing to keep NCST out of the Clemson backfield. Clemson routinely got beaten up front when NCST only brought four. Pathetic. Our offensive line should be ashamed all around because of this crap. And, no, I really don't care that Phillip Price is hurt...there is no excuse for this piss poor effort.
Tajh Boyd again looked mildly confused, but I would be confused too if my offensive line was as pitiful as his is and your backs completely whiff on blitzing defenders. There is no excuse for a QB getting manhandled the way Tajh was tonight. Otherwise, he had some poor early reads, was confused with seven dropping defenders, and forced the football when he wasn't taking shots from unblocked defenders. The guy is getting worked by a lesser football team.
I will go ahead and point out the obvious now...you cannot give your opponent the ball deep in your own territory (two fumbles and a big punt return during the first half) time after time again and expect to win many football games. This got us in a hole early and we never really recovered. NCST built confidence and Clemson went into a spiral.
Defensively it is more of the same. I am so freaking sick and tired of seeing our defenders not wrap up. Holy Hell it is pathetic. I am not sure our defensive backs have a clue that they can use their arms while attempting to bring a defender down. No, I am not advocating arm tackling-I just want to see Clemson wrap the offensive player up. Don't use WWF off-the-top rope moves to tackle, just put your facemask in the offensive player's chest, wrap up, then drive. There is no other way to explain this poor tackling other than it is not perfected through practice.
The second half of this game was NCST running screens, basic running plays, short checkdowns, CU missing tackles and being out of position defensively. We looked like we threw in the towel and State just kept playing hard and with growing confidence.
We open the second half with a decision to press and give the ball to State near mid-field due to a 4th and 5 defeat that resulted in a drive marred with more missed tackle and no pressure on the opposing QB. This pitiful NCST offense looks like the New England Patriots and we simply look inept. Clemson was simply unable to get a run going as it had in the past and NCST just kept punching us in the mouth.
Again and again, Clemson gets beaten up front at every single position. Yes there are injuries but that is not enough of an excuse for the bad, bad play we saw up front tonight. We were only missing Price early and were still getting drilled up front...well before all the other injuries. I don't think I saw anything positive out of the offensive front five at all. Boyd was running for his life all night because we got whipped all over the place up front. On the other side of the football, the Clemson defensive line looked fatigued and never really pressured the QB after the early portion of the football game. This is disappointing particularly when you consider all the sacks the Wolfpack gave up coming into this contest.
If we cannot increase the intensity and actually block someone up front, we will end the season with nine wins. We sincerely hope this team can get it together, toughen up, and play better fundamental football all around before traveling to Columbia to play a Carolina team that does have a lot of injured players but will whip our OL if we cannot get it together there. Without improvement, we will get drilled next week then against Va Tech then by a 7-win SEC team in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve. The BS we saw tonight simply does not cut it.
Please send Dr. B your sympathy, as he has to watch this crap play by play this week as he conducts his play by play breakdown.