We're going to go pretty much drive by drive here, almost play by play. 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 pulled out only a few plays and if theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask. I did end up pulling out more of their plays than ours, and I've used TNet vids where appropriate.
The animated drive chart is at the end.
CU starts at the 11 - Bubble screen to McNeal for 8...Boyd finds Brown on a Slant/Dig route for 23...Bucksweep for a couple...WR screen to Watkins for 5, Brown kinda flubbed his block....I form, IZ for nothing. AE seemed slow to the hole....FB Dive on 4th down, Dwayne Allen completely missed a block. Turnover on downs.6 plays 46 yards.
Wof from 49 - Counter for 0....Dive for a few....QB keep on speed option, he runs right by Christian, and Branch did not force the pitch....Trap right into the hole Thompson opened....On the TD keep off-tackle, Branch got into the backfield on the Dive, but wasn't using his eyes. He should've seen the ball and been on the QB. After he crashed, Willard was there in open field and missed the tackle cleanly. The Safety, Meeks, also missed him cleanly behind that. 7-0 Wofford, 5 plays 51 yards
And that was Sensabaugh getting blocked out at CB.
CU from 27 - PA rollout to hit Watkins for 7...IZ for 9, nice hole between Freeman/Smith...PA Power pass batted in the air by the LB incomplete...Twist by a OLB comes around in between the LG-C to sack Boyd. This is a protection pickup issue....Boyd takes a shot deep to Allen on a Post into coverage incomplete. Probably had the man to the right side open, either Peake or Brown, can't tell. Punt. 5 plays 16 yards.
Notice the LT is uncovered.
Price pass sets, the DT is inside him.
But the LB cut inside and Price can't get over. Everyone else inside is engaged.
Wof from 11 - 3 guys missed tackles on the initial Dive/Trap (hard to see blocking). One was Shatley for sure...Dive for 2. Shatley playing the 3-tech...False start...Thompson blows ups a Dive and Willard stuffs it for no gain. Punt. 3 plays 0 yards.
Played a mix of 3-4 and 4-3 Under there.
CU from Wof 45 - IZ for 3...Martavis Bryant with his first TD on a Go route up the sideline. 42 yards. XP MISSED on a botched snap. 7-6 Wofford.
Wof from 21 - FB Trap for 13. No MLB present anywhere....66 yd TD pass, Robert Smith out of position as the deep safety help. I believe Coty Sensabaugh had CB position on the WR there (hard to see number), but he ran a slant inside and Coty took his eyes completely off the guy and never touched him. Smith was up because of the misdirection PA in the backfield. 14-6 Wofford.
That one is on both the CB and S.
CU from 26 - AE on an IZ for 74 yards. 14-13 Wofford.
Wof from 21 - Speed Option, Christian misses tackle in backfield on pitchman...FB trap stopped for loss by Moore, Thompson also blew into the backfield...Trap/Dive, Corey Crawford blows into the backfield again for a loss. Punt. 3 plays 1 yard.
Excellent penetration, but that is also why theyre running the Trap.
CU from 38 - Boyd throws a step behind Bryant on a drag route...IZ for no gain...QB Draw for 6 yards. Punt.
No push on that Zone on the left side, play killed mostly because Freeman got pushed backward into Andre.
Wof from 18 - speed option for 7 to the corner, Parker pushes him out...BT blows up the Center and it stops the option, no gain...Dabo calls TO with :07 left in 1st quarter on 3rd & 1. I don't know why....Pistol, IZ and the FB runs over Christian for the 1st down...End 1st QTR. Dive for 4...Goodman hits the QB hard enough on a keeper outside that he falls down, but still doesnt wrap him up...QB Draw for no gain. Punt. 6 plays 17 yds.
Thompson is just ripping their Center a new asshole. He's tilting into the A-gap and blowing right past him on every play.
Still a mix of 4-3 Under and the 40 front that Steele likes to play with both DEs in a 2pt stance.
CU from 28 - IV jet sweep for 7...Boyd pressured around Walker and throws it away. Someone should've been open with that much time to throw...Quick hitch to Nuk...Boyd has time, sees nothing open, and scrambles for 7....IZ for no gain behind LG, Hot Rod...IV jet sweep for 18. Notice on the vid that Smith didnt hit anybody...HB Pitch for a few...Same play again for a 1st down, but called back on personal foul...Boyd scrambles for 5...Swing route pass to Rod, too high for him. 43 yd FG pushed right.
Boyd's decision making shows improvement there. He did not force anything. However, given the time, someone should've gotten open down field on several plays. The personal foul really stopped us from scoring.
Wof from 26 - Dive for nothing...PA pass thrown out of bounds...FB Trap up the gut, Christian late on a tackle and Hawkins got completely blocked out for 9....Reverse, Branch eats it up for no gain, excellent discipline. Excellent tackle...Speed option pitch, played it well but gets 4...Shatley stops a Dive for no gain. Fake Punt = Daniel Andrews got himself flattened by the lead blockers and there was no safety help out there. Late hit adds 15...Willard all over a Trap handoff, 2 yds...QB Keeper, Hawkins took the FB's shoulder and it knocked him to the ground, gain of 8. Rennie Moore went inside, Hawk out, and the FB flattened him...Christian takes his eyes off the QB on a keeper and allows the 1st down...Dive for 0.5 yd...FB Dive past Willard, into Hawkins, and Christian again not watching the football. TD. 21-13 Wofford. 12 plays 74 yds.
This was sad. Our linebackers were not using their eyes. I could blame this whole drive on the LB play. Corico Hawkins got hit on two big plays and couldn't get off. On the Keep, the Fb just bumped him and he fell down. Quandon Christian wasn't using his eyes at all, diving in without looking for the ball, and he's the best one of the starters. Pitiful.
CU from 28 - Bubble screen in the dirt. Did not follow through...Quick slant to Allen for 6...PA toss to Nuk on a Go route for 15. Nice throw...Boyd sacked because McClain couldn't move his fat ass....Price and Walker beaten to the inside, Boyd scrambles and hits Nuk....Boyd overthrows the slant on a 3rd & 3, but offsides gets 1st...PA shot deep to Watkins over the safety, excellent catch for the TD on a Post route. 2P conversion good. 21-21. 6 plays 72 yds, 1:51.
Wof from 16 - thrown to swing route, incomplete...false start...Rennie Moore pushes the OG aside and tackles the Dive. TO Clemson. Trap stopped for 3-4yd gain by Hawkins. TO Clemson. Punt.
CU from Wof 46 - Back 2 Back sacks. Zone blitzes on delay. These are protection pickup problems. See video... The HB screen was a good call to combat a blitz, but the yardage was too great to recover. Punt.
Obviously Price shouldnt be beaten outside by the 6/7-technique, but the LB comes free because the LT and LG are engaged already. The RB should be in on protection, and/or Boyd should see it and audible to change the pickup. The slant is there as a hot route behind the blitz.
On the 2nd, the RG and RT were engaged, and the RB should be in there on protection but releases freely.
Wof from 6 - Counter for a few.
Offensively, Boyd had a pretty good half. The WRs had some problems getting open, which I find inexplicable, but he didn't do something dumb to force it in at least.
Pass protection - we have pickup problems for sure. They are using fire zone blitzes and we're clueless. One sack was a twist, and another was when McClain couldn't move his feet at all. 2 more here to end the half you can see for yourselves.
So the R side cant protect well, and the L side can't move anyone. Smith and Freeman can't move a soul.
Wofford is mostly in a 3-man front and the only time we really exploited the bubbles was on the 74 yd TD run. AE ran right up one of those bubbles. Yes they are twisting and stunting, but on these run plays we're NOT MOVING PEOPLE. When defenses stunt, it tends to hurt zone runs as opposed to gap schemes. I don't see the gap schemes being thrown at them, and I don't know why.
Our defense is playing more 3-4 than 4-3 Under, and the inside guys are doing alright on the dive but the perimeter is being lost because no one on the edge is consistently using his eyes.
Woff from 26 - Sweep for nothing, good pursuit by Meeks...Burson beats Smith and Meeks for a 61 yd completion. Meeks was going for the big hit and did not wrap up....FB Trap gets nothing...Keep, Tig Willard lets his man get past him for 7...Christian is all over the pitch on the boundary, used his eyes that time. FG, 24-21 Wofford, 6 plays 67 yds.
That completion should not have happened. This is twice in two weeks that Meeks could've stopped a big play if he'd been doing his job. Its twice in two weeks that a Safety has allowed a completion because he went for a big hit instead of wrapping the guy up.
CU from 35 - Jet sweep to Bellamy for 17...Boyd a slant to Watkins right into a LBs hands, incomplete. Boyd didn't really read the coverage. It would've been a pick 6....Same Jet sweep again, 2 yards for Bellamy. Dwayne Allen got pushed backwards and outside, and Bellamy had no cutback lane. Put that one on DA...Jaron Brown on a stop route for 14 on 3rd down...Boyd scrambles as the pocket collapses for 13...IV Jet sweep for Watkins for 6...Boyd throws high to Nuk on a Dig, inc...Swing pass to AE, Wofford all over it....4th & 1. Offset I formation, Toss sweep for 5...TO woff...Wildcat, loss of 3.on a buck sweep. Woff had a CB blitz on....Power O for 2...Boyd pressured as Freeman lets his man by him, runs ahead for the TD. 28-24 Clemson, 12 plays 65 yds, 3:48.
Wof from 20 - Toss is run out by Meeks, who almost made a great play. Good pursuit...QB makes a horrid throw to a wide open man. Looks like the LB's man, going upfield on a wheel. The LB was Stephone Anthony. CB had gone with his man deep to the inside....Trap for 7. 1 missed tackle by a DE...Dive for 5 over Goodman...Pitch for 5 fieldside, guy got clotheslined by Branch...Pitch to fieldside for 5, pushed out by Christian...Counter for 4....BT blows past the G and misses the tackle on the QB, who gets the 1st down...Dive for 1, facemask on Christian for ripping his helmet off. Dabo had a word with him, but I like the meanness...Trap and he carries Goodman 4 yards with him. Hawkins just not fast enough to get around the OT....False start...Goodman flushes from pocket, fumbled out of bounds....Moore blows up a Dive but misses the tackle FL. Gain of 2...thrown inc....Wofford rushes out for a FG, so you know it was a fake call, but Clemson has a guy on the WR set outside, and they call TO for a real FG. FG, 28-27 Clemson, 13 plays 60 yards.
The fake they wanted was the same one GT got on us with Bebe Thomas. WR standing just on the edge of the sideline, but we had someone on him.
Just weak tackling on this drive by starters. We can't stuff them on 3rd down.
CU from our 42 - IZ for 2...Walker beaten around the edge badly, sack....Walker beaten again but Boyd hits Nuk for 14 on a comeback...bubble screen, again in the dirt...Smith beaten badly, Boyd hits Brown on a slant....Allen standing open in the flat for 9. End 3rd QTR.
Walker hinged, beaten twice in a row 1 on 1. Smith barely touched the DT who ran right up the A-gap.
IZ for 3...Boyd finds Nuk behind the safety on a Post on the TD. Nice route, nice throw. 35-27 Clemson. 8 plays 58 yds.
Wof from 16 - Pitch man taken out by Meeks for 3. Allen throws horrible pass up over the middle, right to Kantrell Brown. Returned 46 yds.
CU from Wof 17 - We should score here easily. We can't do it.
IZ for 4...IZ for no gain, left side (Cloy, Price) didnt move anybody...Thrown too tall for Allen, incomplete. Then Dumbo calls a Fake FG. Moron. A 3 pointer here makes it a 2 possession game.
When we zone, we just go wherever the DL wants to go, and somebody gets beat in the gap he's supposed to block for. We never push them back.
Wof from 23 - Pitch, Steward late on the pitch man....Dive, Brown eats it up...Dive stopped for short gain...4th & 2, Kourtnei Brown misses the QB tackle and he goes 31 yards. Brown tried to play both pitch and QB, instead of his assignment which was QB. Shatley was the DT on the Dive, and he had his man.
The Dive, Shatley comes off to hit him:
Brown is off his blocker, he's got position to hit the QB, but his head is pointed between the two. He thinks the pitch is coming.
It wasnt. He needs to let the LB (not in screen, that is Meeks behind him on screen) handle his blocker and take the pitch.
Keeper, Christian and Hawkins are on the QB this time...They were running a pitch and BT knocked down the QB for loss...Branch goes with the wing on a wheel route and bats the pass away. Its a great play, but yes this is Willard's man to pick up, not the DE's. Quick punt. 7 plays 38 yards.
1 big MA made all the yards on the drive.
CU from our 3 - IZ for 11...IZ for 7...IZ for 11...Howard in for AE, IZ for 2, left side no blocking (Smith/Price)...Bubble to Sammy for 5...IZ for 2 up right side behind McClain. Punt.
Woff from 22 - Both DTs destroy blockers, but Dive still gets 3...Dive for 3...Dive for 3. 4th & long 1, only got 0.5 yd. Moore tripped him. Turnover on downs.
CU from Wof 31 - We could score here, but don't throw. I dont know why we didnt throw here in their territory with 3:30. AE just takes a Power and a long counter sweep, then we kneel on it.
Lots of people are trying to explain away the defensive problems we see in this game.
We didn't play a bunch of freshmen up front in this game. We played experienced players and could not stop their option in the 1st half. The guys like Shatley, Moore, Goodman, Branch, Thompson are all experienced, and they played most of the snaps. Don't let anyone tell you that it was all the Barnes', Jarretts, Williams' playing in there that caused our problems with the FB Trap.
We didn't really give the backup LBs many snaps (< 10). The LBs were a big problem in this game early, along with the DEs, in setting the edge and controlling the perimeter.
Our schemes were the same as we played GT in the game last year, but we showed a few extra different fronts. The players did not carry their assignments out. I've been hard on Steele in the past with his scheme, but this one was fine, the players did not execute it.
The youth we played on D was in the secondary. It bit us on two big plays. Sensabaugh played the whole game, but Robinson, Breeland, Robert Smith, and even special-teamer Kantrell Brown played. Secondary guys are on outside run support, but that changes based on the coverage call. You cannot always blame them for guys getting outside on the veer, its the DE/LB's job to set that edge.
- Brandon Thompson was a total beast for Wofford's OL. I felt sorry for that Center. He couldnt do anything with him, so they trapped away from him and it took him out of the play.
- The FB Trap killed us in this game. Paul Johnson noticed. Here is our version, so you can see the blocking scheme:
Otherwise the problems are all detailed above: missed tackles, and not being on your assignment.
Offensively, what can I say, my postgame impression was correct. Sissy play up front. Some of the zone blitzes are protections, but even then we get beat inside by Wofford players and our RT hinges and allows a sack.
Andre Ellington played too much in this one. He was tired. I am all for giving a guy 30 carries, but you can't have them in there 60+ plays in this kind of offense. Pro-style system? sure, but not a HUNH. He blocks, he runs routes, then runs it. We need to at least spell him more.
Bellamy still needs a few more touches.
WR play was fine. We can work on blocking. Dwayne Allen can work on blocking.
Tajh's decision making improved, but he's going to have to get rid of that ball with this OL a little quicker.
You can see we're only running a few run plays, expect to see more variety out of necessity this weekend.
Steele this week in his presser:
How much tackling is done in practice?
You’d be surprised. We go out to practice now and there are 15 spring practices. Used to be 20 and unlimited before that. You tackled every day. Well, we get to go out there the first three days, two in shorts and the third you can’t tackle. Out of the 15, you can only tackle three days.
You really don’t get to do as much tackling as you think you do. There aren’t many teams out there going out during fall camp and tackling. Not because we wouldn’t do it, but the offensive coaches aren’t going to agree with that.
Tackling’s tackling. Go run, step on their toes and step through them. Does all that have anything to do with our not tackling well through the first two games? No. Is tackling different in modern football than it was 20 years ago? In my opinion, yes. Because we had the same rules last year and we didn’t have the same problems.
Recall the most physical practices you’ve witnessed?
I wasn’t a good player. But the head football coach where I played, (Tennessee) Johnny Majors, I missed a tackle one day in practice on a screen pass and he himself kept me after practice.
I tackled offensive linemen for 38 tackles. So the next time I had an opportunity to make a tackle, I had a little more sense of urgency to apply the technique properly. The head coach sat on a dummy and watched me. I was so angry, I don’t remember how I felt. No, actually, I was pretty excited the head coach paid attention to me and knew my name.
Was the tackling issue something that reared its head in camp?
I saw it coming. Let’s leave it at that. We’ll get it fixed.
You’d be surprised if you broke it down. It’s a select few. It’s not mass. This guy’s got one, this guy’s got two, then all of a sudden who have eight, nine, 10. You have to be careful saying the whole team’s tackling poorly. I can name five or six starters who have none or one through two games.
Steele estimated Wofford gained an additional 140 yards of total offense last week because of missed tackles alone.
Is being tough and being aggressive work hand in hand?
Toughness is a mentality. Until we change that mentality, we’re going to talk about this for week to week. That’s what we have to address. We have to coach with a tougher mentality because obviously the mentality we’re taking to the field right now isn’t getting their attention.
I’ve said it since beginning coaching, and even dealing with my son playing little league football. You either like to hit or you don’t like to hit. If they don’t bite as a puppy, they don’t bite as a big dog.
I don’t want this to come across as negative, but we have to get that nastiness – not nasty play, by no means – but a nasty, rugged, rough approach.
Can you coach toughness?
Yeah, you can. You have to demand it. And therefore you spend all your time coaching toughness instead of trying to get things going and expanding on your offense.
Our players want to be tough, they really do. They’re struggling with it right now, when to turn the switch on, when not to. They’re trying. They’re down. We’ve got some up-front guys who are down, wondering why we’re giving up these sacks, what happened. So there is a genuine concern, and I appreciate that. I would be concerned on Sunday if none of them came over here.
They understand we have to get tougher. But again, you’re two weeks into it. Have we gotten any tougher? I would say yes. Not quite as big a gap from Week One to Week Two as I was expecting. The time to critique yourself is in a win.
You can coach toughness. And you can recruit toughness, too.
Everybody can identify the problem, but who can identify what to do and correct the problem? Let’s not sit in a room and gripe and complain. We’re going to challenge some guys and move some guys around. Whatever it takes.
Will you hit more or make personnel changes?
We’re going to have to hit more during the week, a lot more.
Mason Cloy, he got 15 snaps the other night and did some good things. We hope to see Mason taking on more of an ownership role.
You keep hoping Brandon Thomas will come on, and we have to figure out something to jerk him through the knothole. I don’t know what it is yet. He’s talented and looks good, but that don’t mean a whole lot right now. He’s a guy you wish would come on and turn it loose, but he hasn’t done that right now. He’s been given every opportunity in the world, and we’ve been wanting it more than he does, and that’s not a good thing.
Those are two guys you’d love to see jump in and compete and challenge some guys.
This is a recurring theme at Clemson for years. Any thoughts why it has taken so long to rectify?
I can’t answer that question, outside it being an overall mindset. I don’t know. I’ve watched film on them in the past and they were in a pro-style offense. You would expect a pro-style system to be a whole lot tougher than a system that would require more wideouts in and out of the game.
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