ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29: Garry Peters #38 of the Clemson Tigers looks on from the sideline in the final minutes of their 31-17 loss to Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
In this film review I'm going to pull out various option play footage so folks can see the Counter, Belly, Midline, etc. but I did not have time to talk as much about the scheme as I would've liked. I will give the basics of the scheme and fronts we played and when its apparent I've cut footage out to show it to you, but unfortunately due to time constraints, I can't diagram everything up like I wanted to. That will have to wait til the offseason I think.
See the end for the summarizing thoughts. Please comment and ask questions on what you dont understand, these take a long time to do well. Our goal here is to look for good plays and bad technique. I may pull a few plays out to discuss the Clemson offense/defense, and if theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask.
Note on my shorthand: IZ/OZ= Inside/Outside Zone; IV=Inverted Veer; Power= Power O; Counters we run are mostly Counter-H's. ZR=Zone read, though a ZR handoff is nothing but IZ.
Last year's GT Film Review for comparison
GT from 40, after we kick it out of bounds - QB Keep loss of 1, excellent penetration...Washington drops back, Moore and Andre Branch converge and BT gets in on the sack...Tevin Washington drops back, steps up due to BT pressure and throws incomplete to the flat. Punt.
CU from 17 - IZ or no gain. They blitzed the OLB off the edge, and no hole inside...Counter H for 4...Zone blitz, screen to Sammy and he gets 17. Nice blocks from Nuk and DA...SW Orbit sweep for 7...PA pass to Allen sneaking out in the flat for 6...IV sweep to Bellamy for 13...Blitz, Boyd throws too hard to Mike Bellamy in flat...Blitz, Boyd hits Jaron Brown on the hot read slant for 11...IZ no gain...Boyd throws to Brown in the endzone, falls off his fingertips. Catchable ball, hit his hands...Blitz, Boyd has to step up and falls down for 6 yard gain. 34 yd FG. 3-0 Clemson. 12 plays 67 yds 4:37
They blitzed someone on nearly every play. These were all zone blitzes as far as I can see.
GT from 29 - Veer, we play it right and Willard hits the QB. Chop block called...Dive for 3/4...Dive for 3...Screen, BT gets there and forces him to drop so deep he can't hit the back. Punt.
Clemson is playing the same 4-3 front we played last year, looks all EVEN. We show C4 and drop the Safety on the Field side down within 5 yards of the LOS.
CU from 36 - Flanker Screen, Allen misses his block on the CB and Brown makes a poor one. Loss of 5...Dalton Freeman gets his ass beat by the NG as they zone blitz, good coverage downfield closeby, and Boyd has to scramble and gets a penalty for not getting it back to the LOS...Howard on a swing route dives and fumbles the ball away. Tajh's immediate read was covered. He simply dropped it.
Tech was on the receivers here, but this fumble completely flipped the momentum of this football game.
GT from Clemson 19 - Midline keep for 8...Midline Dive for 4...Dive for 2...Midline keep for 4...QB Sneak for slight loss...Toss pitch to Smith for TD. Meeks got his legs cut out completely by the Wingback. 7-3 Georgia Tech.6 plays 19 yards, 02:58
Meeks read the pitch coming to him, but he was the only man on the 2nd level who could've made a play at all because we had no one further outside. Perhaps if Meeks was aligned with outside leverage on the WB he'd have been able to get wide enough to tackle Smith.
Johnson always goes to Midline when its nut-cuttin time, but our FRONT let them run it. Midline is run to the side of the 3-technique but we had such a wide gap double eagle front (twin 3-techniques) on a couple of these that it made it easy for them to run Midline.
CU from 28 - Bucksweep for 5...Blitz, the Jack comes free totally into Boyd's face, he throws in the dirt to DA...They send more than we can block, Boyd barely hits his hot read to DA on an inside cut...IV keeper, gain of 4...IV sweep for 4 for MB...Fake IV sweep keeper, Boyd tackled for short loss. Price beaten to the inside as the DE read the OG pulling. Punt.6 plays 19 yards, 02:43
Price didn't miss the Jack the first time, they just overloaded and he lets the outside man go. The OL's job is to take the threats inside first and let the QB see the outside man coming. The back could've been adjusted instead. The second time they sent more than we had blockers.
Don't really like the Keeper call on 3rd & 7 at the 47.
GT from 24 - Dive for 5...End 1st QTR...Quandon Christian PLAYS THE PITCH WHEN HE HAS QB and Washington goes 46 yards. PLAY YOUR DAMN ASSIGNMENT....Dive for 5...Peebles cut Willard's legs out on a Toss pitch and Jones gets 10 outside. Branch did his job there, but no replacement for the Pitch responsibility, and Willard did not engage the cut block properly...QB keep for 2...Smith gets 3 on a Toss pitch, Christian is there this time...Moore beats his Guard quickly on a pass to Hill thrown deep incomplete. FG 10-3 Georgia Tech 8 plays 71 yards, 03:15
Looked like we were playing twin 2-techniques there more, but I don't understand the complete lack of an Odd front. Clemson is trying to overplay the Veer, seems to me.
CU from 26 - Blitz, Boyd hits Watkins on a spot route for 6...IZ, they blitzed into it and no gain...PA dump in the flat, Allen tackled immediately. They read that one coming. Punt.
GT continues to bring someone from somewhere every play. The safety came right up the B-gap on the run.
GT from 20 - Dive for 9, BT got penetration and he bounced off him. They're cutting him now with the Center...3-4 front, Washington throws deep to Hill and he dropped it. He beat Robinson cleanly...offsides...offsides again...Dive for 5 right up the open A-gap...3-4, 21 yd Toss to Jones, and we got outnumbered on the perimeter. Crawford has the QB and took him, but no secondary support. The Safety/CB (sensabaugh or Meeks? cant tell) got cut by the Wingback...Dive for 3...Veer pitch, Goodman has the QB and forces, but Christian did not get over there on the pitchback....Midline Dive for 2...3-4, Toss and everybody got cut blocked. Christian and Goodman taken out of it. Gain of 12...Midline keeper for 5...Another Toss, Robinson read it but got chipped by the WR and missed the tackle in the backfield and gets the TD. Willard taken out by the Wing. 17-3 Georgia Tech. 10 plays 80 yards, 04:19
When we go 3-4, their Guards basically go right to Willard and Hawkins, and neither of them are getting off blocks. We're playing basic 2-gap alignment in that case.
Tech wanted a TO on the TD play because we had the right defense called for it, we were overplaying to the boundary side there, second level took bad angles too. That shows its just not your night.
We got killed by cut blocks on every longer play of the drive.
CU at 50 - WR Pass, Sammy to Nuk for 10....Sweep to Bellamy for 14, and he flaps his gums afterwards...Boyd's pass batted down by Cross...Quick slant to Watkins, slipped and fell for 5...Boyd throws too high for MB. We had Sammy open downfield. FG Missed. 6 plays 28 yards
Mike Bellamy needs to keep his mouth shut, he hasnt done anything to Tech worth flapping about.
I think, had we scored here, we might've gotten back into this game. This was a big missed opportunity.
GT from 22 - Quick pass in the flat for 8. CB 10 yards off...Dive for 2...Midline keep for 4. They ran it to the side of the 1-tech there...Midline keep for 4. Moore did not squeeze the OG at all...Quick pass, Breeland came up and stopped it before getting the first down...QB Sneak for the 1st down...Hill on a Post, beats Robinson again. We walked the Safety there (brewer) up because it was the Field side, and Robinson had no help. You can't give up inside...Midline keep for 7. No squeeze...Midline keep TD, BT ran right into the backfield from a 3-technique and hit the FB, QB walked in right to the hole he left because BT didnt squeeze the Guard. 24-3 Georgia Tech.9 plays 78 yards, 03:45
ON THE MIDLINE YOURE SUPPOSED OT SQUEEZE THE FUCKING GUARD. If he down blocks you PUSH HIS ASS. DONT LET HIM GO TO THE 2nd LEVEL. It doesnt help when youre playing a H2 (or a 3, hard to see) and a 3 and the hole is 2 miles wide.
I love how we have 3 timeouts and sit on them when the defense is clearly tired. You dont need 3 timeouts for the offense when they can run it down to 30 seconds. That one is on Dabo. We needed a TO and a breather for these guys.
CU from 28 - Draw for 7...TO CU...Flat throw to Allen nearly picked. They jumped that route....Nuk on a corner route makes a great catch...Flat throw to Allen for 7 with 07 left. Needed to try deeper there..They drop 7 and Boyd can't find anyone open, runs out of bounds.
We got completely killed by cut blocks, the outside guys are reading the pitches but don't attack the pitch. We sit back on our heels and don't press the guy. We take horrid angles and get cut by the wingback every time. Tech wasnt hitting those cuts in the last 2-3 games, and the defense was attacking those wings. If you sit back and let the guy come at your legs he's going to take you out every time.
Looks like we didnt practice cut block evasion at all.
On the midline we apparently forgot to squeeze the guard. I know Steele has told them to do that, but they never do it. We're playing the DTs wider to keep the OT from veering inside cleanly and getting a free hit on the LBs, which effectively takes away the Veer, but they just hit Midline in the FUCKING HUGEASS HOLE we left behind.
We play the CBs so far off so they have time to read the play without getting blocked or cut immediately, since they always suck at getting off blocks. The problem is, they dont use the extra 10 yards to read the play and get underneath the stalk block or crack. It doesnt do you a damn bit of good when you dont PRESS IT AND ATTACK.
Tajh Boyd 11/17 for 76 yards. Bellamy 3 carries for 31.
GT with 187 rushing yards, 57 passing.
First half cuts
CU from 30 - Bucksweep for 4...Nuk on a Corner route for 18... Bucksweep for 1...Sammy for 6. Post route right up the gut of Cover 2. Nice double move. 24-10 GT 4 plays 70 yards, 01:26
Got the answer we needed from the offense.
GT from 23 - 3-4, quick pass to Hill for 2. Nice tackle by Breeland...Midline keep for 1. We squeezed that time and Willard jumped through the gap...QB Draw, FB cuts out Hawk's legs and Washington goes 56...Dive for 6...Dive for 11 yd TD, ran right up the B-gap and through an arm tackle. 31-10 Georgia Tech 5 plays 77 yards, 02:04
We played the Midline perfectly right that time, watch us squeeze the Guard's release. Then later the FB goes right up the gut and cuts Hawkins out, and he's standing there watching.
Theyre getting more than 3 on the dive now.
CU from 11 - Zone, Bellamy made a cut outside and got 18...PA pass to Allen on a wheel route, his feet get tied up with Peterson and both fall...Quick slant to Sammy for 9....Power for 1...PA half roll, threw it up to Watkins and the defender had great position, but the ball was a little underthrown for Watkins...Blitz, Boyd hit as he threw incomplete over the middle. We got a hold called on Walker. Boyd should've seen that blitz coming from the CB...Bootleg pass to Sammy at the sticks, great route by sammy....IZ, Bellamy guts the defense and fumbles the ball.
Bellamy was not holding it high and tight. Too loose. He cant complain about PT when he does that.
GT from 39 - Toss sweep to Jones for 12. Branch got cut, Willard got cutM...Dive for 4...Midline dive for 10...Toss sweep, Christian was late to the corner and got cut....Dive for 7...Dive for 4...Toss sweep for 10. Everybody got cut....QB Keep on option for the 1st down at the 1...QB Sneak stopped....Delay of Game...Toss to Smith, Willard got cut but Hall steps in for the tackle...Moore jumps the snap and forces the fumble.
Moore was offsides obviously.
We were again killed by cuts from the wings on the perimeter on this drive. We're getting outleveraged. The OLB has to get wider than the WB and isnt doing it.
Our defense is very very tired.
CU from 3 - IZ for 4...Stop route to Jaron at the sticks...IV keep for 6...Watkins on the post right in front of the FS for 28...Blitz, Sammy in the flat on a comeback, steps out of bounds when he caught it....Late blitz, we picked it up, Boyd's pass over the middle too high for Allen, nearly picked off....Dig route to Nuk for 11...Blitz, WR screen to Sammy for 26. Good block by Allen and Brown again...IV keep, Boyd stopped at the 1. Tajh ran into his own man...Power O for no gain, Offsides called...Start 4th QTR...Sneak, Boyd fumbles into endzone and Thomas recovered. 31-17 GT 10 plays 97 yards, 03:39
Defense gave us the ball back like they had to do, and we got the score. Drove all the way from our 3 and exploited the softer coverage by the CB and the seams in Cover 2 zone.
2 score game, need a stop and quick score.
GT from 25 - Midline Keep, Moore killed the QB...3-4, false start...QB Draw for 9. Hawkins stood there and watched the Center dive at his legs...Reverse pitch to Hill, Crawford was all over it. Punt.
Got the stop, won't get the score.
I'm surprised he didnt go for the Dive on 3rd down but I imagine he felt we'd be so messed up now that the reverse pitch would work. He was right to think so but Crawford played it well.
Clemson's defense has adjusted to Midline and is playing much more with BT on the Nose.
CU from 26 - PA rollout, Boyd throws to the inside shoulder to Brown. Sweeting intercepted it out of bounds. Should've gone outside...Allen on a 15 yd slant...Hits Nuk on a drag route, he cuts up for another 1st down...Bryant runs a Go route, Boyd underthrew this ball. If he throws deeper, Bryant outruns the guy. Ball was catchable though...Blitz, pressure forces a bad throw to Bellamy and he dropped it too...zone blitz, Nuk on a drag and he drops it...4th & 10, Chad is looking at the call sheet as if to call a play, but we call timeout...to punt? 6 plays 28 yards, 01:15
I would've gone for this. I don't mind the timeout if you don't have the 4th & 10 call ready, but we're down 2 scores. You could see how the HC would think we might stop them after the recent 3 & out and better 2nd half defense, but I'd have gone for this score. If I was going to punt at the GT 46, I'd take a Delay of Game first.
GT from 15 - Hill comes completely free, Brewer had the Safety assignment and let him go completely free. He scores a TD if Washington hits him, but he sailed a pass over the middle and Hall came from the opposite hash.
CU from GT 9 - Fade call to Sammy, Sammy sees the CB playing off, so he checks the route to a stop. By the time Sammy turns the ball is over his head into the CB's hands.
That is on Tajh Boyd for not seeing the CB. The CB position is his 2nd pre-snap read after the safety.
We got the chance here to take momentum, and we blew it.
Can you detail again what happened on the end zone interception?
Chad: We get it back and have 10 minutes on the clock, and you have the chance to cut it to seven. Huge momentum turn.
It’s a play we’ve called. We’ve repped it, we ran it earlier in the game. It’s designed for a field throw unless there was a press look on the back side or a one (safety) high look. And the safety did roll down weak, which forced his eyes to go back to the boundary. At that point he has the tight end as an option and he has Sammy as an option.
Unless Tajh had checked him to go to a fade concept, the ball should either have gone to the tight end or the pylon of the end zone. But Tajh was so quick to get the ball out of his hand, which is uncharacteristic. Even if you are going to throw (the fade), you read the DB’s turn.
GT from 20 - Dive for 4...3-4, Toss and Branch/Moore play it correctly. 3 yd gain. Brandon comes out because of the knee...Midline keep for 3. Shatley did squeeze but moved too far inside...Dive for 3...3-4, Dive for 4...Toss sweep, Sensabaugh either read it coming or blitzed, got cut blocked, and Christian cant stop him from the 1st down...Dive right up the B-gap, drags Branch 5 yards. BT was back in...3-4, Dive for 2-3...Midline Keep for 6. Shatley didn't play it right...Dive for 5...QB Keep, busted play, short gain...TO GT...3-4, Midline keep for 7. Shatley went down with the down block from DE but didnt make the play...TO CU...Dive for 1. We went with a 5 DL front there...Keep for 1. Another 5-4 look up front...Midline keep for 1. Another 5-4 look...TO GT on 4th down...4th & 6, QB Draw for 5, barely. Turnover on downs.16 plays 58 yards, 09:04
Worst drive of the day by the defense if you ask me.
CU from 22 - PA out/hitch to Nuk for 12...Blitz, Boyd throws in the dirt to wide open McDowell. He could've gone another 15 yards...Thrown too high to Allen in flats...Blitz, thrown too high to Nuk standing on sideline, to CB's hands behind him. CB was playing well off and Boyd threw it right to him.
Tech kneels on it.
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We might do another post this weekend about the defense's performance here.
Clemson came out with essentially the same alignments we used last season at home. Our 4-3 front was EVEN in the first half, with either a Heavy 2/2i or 3-tech on one side, and a 3-tech on the other side. That leaves the Center uncovered. We align the OLB outside the WB to get outside leverage, and the MLB was aligned from 00/10 to what looked like a 20 or 30, and about 5-7 yards off.
When you go Even like that, youre saying that you want to prevent them from running inside Veer. That did work, because they didn't run ISV that much. They had more success with a reverse Toss sweep and OSV.
The coverage was 4 across, which is fine. We ran 4-across last year. Its a strong coverage for run support from the Safeties, which is what you want here. On the Field side, we generally dropped one Safety down within 7-8 yards to help on the pitch. That is also a good idea.
If you want to know what others were doing to Tech, it was very similar to this front. Miami actually played the same alignments in their 4-3 with their LBs, with a little more Odd front. The difference is they have Sean Spence at MLB and we primarily stuck with Hawkins, and Spence was everywhere in the Miami tape I watched. Miami played more C2 to Boundary and Quarters to Field. Maryland also showed them this front alignment. UVa showed a similar front alignment.
Here is last year's front, which is the same.
Pitch scheme, which again they did not run much of, looked to have all 4 DL on Dive first, DEs take Dive-QB, OLB on QB-Pitch, then MLB is either supposed to get over there (which is what Miami did with Spence) on the Pitch or the Safety comes up to take him. We never had that extra man in the Alley, and I never saw Hawkins get his ass over there in time.
At halftime, we did check to more Odd, probably as a result of our bad play of the Midline. We had BT as the 3-tech alot, and they ran it mostly to him, just like Maryland ran their Midline (spread version). Midline is generally run to the side of the 3. Brandon played with great effort but did not play this right. He has to squeeze the Guard's release, and didn't. He wrecked them on the first 2 drives, then they started running this at him. If you can't block a guy, then you option off him, and thats what they did. Johnson made the right call. In the 2nd half, you notice they run a little less of it because we are playing Odd and they have to run it to Moore, who played it better.
Now as to the reason why I felt we lost: we played timid, sissy football on defense. We tried to read the option, instead of attacking the option. We were not mentally prepared. I said last week that your #1 priority is stopping the Dive, which we did OK with in the first half. The 2nd-5th priority is to knock the QB's fucking head off, and we never did. I see aggression out of Brandon and Rennie, but not anyone on the next level. Tech brought the intensity and mental preparation, we did not. Tech played one of their best OL and WB blocking games of the year.
They outleveraged our OLBs with the Wings, and they always got cut. Our defense, especially the 2nd/3rd level, looked like they have never seen or faced cuts in their life. I know they practiced it this week, but it did not show. That is on coaching. Our practice strategy must be changed in this regard. Coaches don't like to practice cut blocks because its so easy to hurt someone, but something needs to change.
I think we stuck with 4-across too long, and I'd have checked down to a 2 Press more as the game went on. I see why Steele chose it, but they just got to run 10 and then block the CBs instead of doing it at the LOS. Our DBs sucked at getting off blocks, but if you read us daily then you already knew that.
I would've put and kept Brandon on the backup Center as well. Steele was more afraid of the Veer and with good reason, because it would've killed this group of LBs with the way they got cut outside, but I'd have put Willard on the side of the 1-tech and brought the FS/SS down. Might not have worked as badly as we played, or they may have gone to OSV, but I want BT on the backup Center.
In the 2nd half, we did play better defense overall. We did play Midline better and Steele did adjust, but we were tired. Watch it again and you'll see guys reactive and passive, and with hands on hips the whole time. Unfortunately, like in 2009, we had just dug ourselves a hole and they dont need to take risks. This time with turnovers instead of stupid special teams mistakes.
Your thoughts on the struggles after seeing the film?
There were a lot of factors, and we don’t have enough time to cover all of them. Some of them we had control over, some we didn’t. Not going to talk a lot about it. Hey, they won the game and out-executed us. Physically did what they had to do when it was time to do it.
We had some guys play really, really well. There were some guys you could make clinic tape on it. The problem with the option is it’s assignment football, and it doesn’t take but one guy. They found that one guy, then we corrected that. Or two guys, whatever the number.
You have somebody standing there. Don’t chase the pitch, you have the quarterback. What can I say?
Christian is one he's talking about. Christian played a horrid game, Hawkins is another. I noticed Steele set Hawkins off to one side more in the 2nd half than the first (i.e., a 20 or 30 technique) so he'd have better leverage on a Center cut or Guard block, but he still sucks at getting off them.
Did you feel you had a good week of practice?
Good week of practice. Every singe play on that tape, take every one of them, and you can find multiple reps in practice with that play versus that call executed correctly.
I believe him. Tech didnt show us things they don't run much of. Midline is a staple, and that Toss Sweep is something they tried on us a lot last year. It is in our film review last season.
When the other team starts having success, is that when the discipline breaks down?
It breaks down for different people. For some people, it’s eye discipline. Some people, physical discipline. You react to same situations different than I do. But we don’t have enough time for me to psychoanalyze all the reasons why.
Who did play well?
We start getting into that, we get into process of elimination. I’m not an idiot.
I will say this: Brandon (Thompson) and Malliciah (Goodman) – Malliciah was a clinic tape. It was really encouraging to watch that. But you know, he had that last year against them.
Did they just stop running the option toward the middle once they realized they couldn’t block Thompson?
Well, a lot of people talk about – it was big plays. They ran the same play they got the 46-yarder on eight more times in the game and had two to three yards. Ran the quarterback draw for 50-some yards and ran the post play that they ran for 46 yards, they ran it to the other side and ran it for 21 yards.
We don’t have that this year, they run for 200-some yards. Oddest thing about it, though, was their longest gain was not an option, it was a quarterback draw.
What were you trying to do in using corners Xavier Brewer and Coty Sensabaugh as safeties?
Just speed factor, discipline factor, Rashard Hall a little banged up. It’s not like we decided on Wednesday to do that.
In short, the problem on defense was not scheme. It was guys not doing their jobs, and when its teamwide I put it on coaching. I consider the 2009 Thursday game to be on Dabo Swinney's head for the stupid 57 yd Fake FG/Pooch punt that got returned for 6, and the illegal FG fake that got 6 more in the 30-27 defeat (and Tech got two phantom holding calls on Austin), plus El Matador Corey Lambert being left in to be sodomized by Derrick Morgan. The ACCCG is all on Steele. Last year is a win for Steele, we outplayed them. This year our defense shit the bed.
Boyd did not lose it, and I thought he did play well enough to win it for us. Tajh messed up on the INT to the endzone, and didn't handle pressure well enough. He's got to get quicker in reading and checking to his hot read. He has the same mechanical flaw with his front foot that causes throws to sail high to the flat or in the dirt. That won't get fixed this year if it hasnt already, so he has to work on it next spring. There were a couple drives that would've done a little better or not been stopped if he could get a better ball to his backs. Dwayne will not be here to catch a 7 foot high ball next year out there.
Bellamy did OK aside from the way he holds a football. Howard did not run with the authority that I've seen from him earlier this year.
We had to give up on the run due to the lead they had, but I was not happy with the OL at all. Our guys never got to the 2nd level against a 3-man front. Thats horrid. Freeman did not have a good game, and neither Guard really did either. We couldnt get either McClain's lazy ass or Thomas/Smith to the LBs.
They read our protections on film and attacked the same way Troy and Wofford did. They zone blitzed the shit out of us, and when they blitzed they played GREAT zone behind it, not the shit M2M UNC tried.
You have to give them credit for the way they played defense. They knew what plays we like to run, and Groh did a better job teaching them this week than Steele did. They fought off blocks better, they played rather good coverage overall, and their LBs played 1000x better than ours.
Looking back, what happened to the offense against Georgia Tech?
Turnovers, No. 1, that’s what stands out. We turned the ball over four times. Obviously the last turnover was desperation trying to get something done. But that (turnovers) is something we haven’t done. We talk about protecting the football every day.
I don’t care who you are, it’s hard to beat a good middle school turning the ball over four times.
Second thing was, early on, running the football, while we did have some positive things happen early ... the second series, we made two bad mental mistakes back to back. One of them was a read play we should have handed the ball off and instead threw it out in the flats. So we had some mental mistakes early on we haven’t been making as of the last few weeks. All of a sudden you have three or four series where you’re not moving the football, and they’re chewing the clock up.
There were just a lot of things that went into it. … But we have to find a way to put the ball in the end zone.
And you have to give them credit. Their game plan, looking at us, they had to feel like No. 1, they had to keep the ball from us. And No. 2, they had to play extremely well, pressure Tajh and create some turnovers, to have a chance. Second series of the game, we give them a chance.
Their defense played better than normal, showed a lot of discipline …
They did a good job. They brought a lot of pressure and playing over the top of Sammy. I thought they had a good scheme. But we’ve seen it before. I said it all week long, you have to be able to run the ball early in the game to establish what we wanted to establish.
We’re a second-half football team. We have been all year long. There was no panic. We knew the first four minutes of the third quarter were as vital as any point in that game. We went right down the first minute and boom, we were right in it.
But we knew time wasn’t in our favor. You didn’t know how much time you were actually going to get, so we had to do some things. We threw the ball in the second half more than I really wanted to.
What did you make of the offensive line’s mentality, and do you think Georgia Tech came with more of an edge?
Number one, Georgia Tech played like a team playing for their life. They had their back against the wall and were in a must-win situation. They played that way, watching their defense. They played aggressive, took a lot of chances.
For our offensive line – overall, I thought we pass-protected well. But I would have liked to have seen us run the football. Series three and four, one stands out in my mind: We throw a pass to Sammy on first down for 6, then on second down we’re smashed, gain of zero, now it’s third and 5 or 6. It always seemed we were playing behind the stick.
I was very disappointed in our overall mentality of how we approached things. I was disappointed in some of the mistakes we were making.
Not having Andre (Ellington) obviously hurt. While Mike (Bellamy) and D.J. (Howard) did a good job, you didn’t have that leadership in there. When we did run the ball in the second half, and coming off the goal line, Mike was effective.
It’s been this way the whole year with our young guys. You have to protect the football. It’s no secret.
The one thing I really liked about Mike, he gave us that spark. I felt at any given time he was a step away from going the distance. He had some great runs and was able in the second half to get us in the momentum drives we were able to have. But then we turn it over.
Like I tell Mike all the time, protecting the ball is so vital to our success. In any hurry-up offense you deal with, when you turn the football over and are limited on number of opportunities you get, you can’t have that. We can’t give them anything.
Did Martavis Bryant lose the deep ball in the lights?
I asked him that, and he said no, it was just right over here. He just missed it.
Again, I may do another post this weekend on the option.