CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tiger catches a pass for a touchdown against Lamarcus Joyner #20 of the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Outstanding performance today by Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense carving up the 5th-rated Seminole defense. We've won 2 of the 3 game stretch that we thought would define our season and the staff deserves their praise tonight for finally doing what we know this group of players can do. I know that many of you, like me, thought that we'd find a way to lose this game with the way it went. We didn't, and we're 4-0 going to Blacksburg. To win there would mean we're looking at a 10-win season.
I'll say this, Chad Morris can coach the shit out of a quarterback. Rarely do we get a chance at Clemson to heap tons of praise on a football coach because we screw up so much, but Chad Morris is the real deal. Tajh's decision-making, aside from the bonehead INT, was outstanding. He missed a few again today, one being Dwayne Allen on the wheel route wide open in the 4th, and he throws a few bullets high, but his decision making and execution of the offense has steadily improved each week. He's much smarter with the football than he was in the Spring and even the Troy game. He carved up the Seminole defense all day long.
Our WR corps + Allen busted their asses again today against a far more talented and disciplined secondary. We told you in the preview that no one besides Christian Jones could match with Dwayne, and even Jones was beaten on a TD by Allen early. None of their other LBs could match with him, and if he doesn't dive out to catch the 3rd down pass, it likely ends up in the Safety's chest for an INT and turns the game over. Sammy Watkins will not be at Clemson beyond his Jr season, there is just no way he won't end up a 1st round pick. Doing it against Auburn is one thing, but against a defense this good is something else. Nuk Hopkins was said to have also tweaked his hammy in the postgame, but is expected to be fine.
Andre Ellington was clearly not 100%, and had no holes to run through, but just gutted it out today with 71 yards on 23 carries. I wished that Bellamy would pick this offense up faster, and learn how to block, so that we could sit Andre today to get his health back. I don't think we can sit him next week either, so we'll have to hope he can heal this week. D.J. Howard was needed too, with the amount of tough yardage that needed to be gained today.
Clemson finished with 455 yards on 86 plays. Clemson finished 9/17 on 3rd down, 111 yards rushing and 344 passing on a 23/37 completion rate.
Our OL did extremely well for 3 quarters in pass protection. It seemed to me that FSU didn't zone blitz quite as much as Troy (out of fear of our WRs), but when they did it was picked up well. Philip Price played far above my expectations against Woerner and Brandon Jenkins was held in check as well. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for our line in run blocking. FSU wasn't selling out to stop the run inside, our guys just didn't move anyone. Chad did not call as many Power/Counter series plays as he has been, it seems that Chad thought we wouldnt get them and decided against it. The same goes for the sweeps -- he must not have thought we could set the edge because we really didn't try them. Sammy got 3 carries for 13 on Jet today. Clemson must get better in the run game inside so that we can put games like this away. Auburn couldnt defend anything outside so we hit them with power sweeps (outside runs) in the 4th last week, but we couldnt do that today.
However, our defense was not good. The tackling got better (aside from KO coverage), so at least one problem seems to have improved. We stuffed the obvious runs from the Wildcat and Brandon Thompson and Rennie Moore played their asses off. What I saw in coverage today though was pretty damn bad, especially against a freshman QB on a team with no running game and half their WRs out. Coty Sensabaugh plays hard and does his job in run support (usually) but he's not good on an island, he's a better zone corner. I think we may need to move Brewer back outside and bring Coty inside. Darius Robinson is someone I thought would be considerably better by now. We're just getting beat too much on big plays. Even accounting for Trickett's multiple great throws today, theres no excuse to give up 336 yards passing to a freshman on a one-dimensional offense.
So again, we have issues we have to get corrected, but this is a good team. I feel confident in saying that we're playing like a Top 15 squad right now. I'd open up my checkbook if I were TDP and pay Chad Morris whatever the hell he wants.