I'm going to go pretty much drive by drive here until the 4th, offense and defense, not every play but most of them. See the end for the summarizing thoughts. I've used TNet videos where I think they do well, but they are sideline shots and don't show the plays develop. 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.
FSU from 20 - Wildcat IZ for 13...TE in the corner beyond Willard for 21. Clemson is in zone...IZ stuffed...Christian not close enough to the TE, not good coverage, 11 yds in flats...Hawkins and Brewer nowhere near Rodney Smith for 14 on a slant...Zone for 6, our LBs could not penetrate the gaps, all clustered at LOS...Wildcat zone, Willard TFL off the edge...We pressure and the throw to the flat is too wide. Good penetration by Moore. FG, 3-0 FSU. 8 plays 67 yards, 04:37
Clemson basically in zone coverage, base fronts when they go 21/22 personnel, otherwise some Nickel. I'd say this whole drive was on the linebacker play. We didn't match up their patterns well at all, and the coverage was just too loose.
CU from 20 - Tajh almost throws a INT on the first play, did not see the zone coverman underneath Hopkins...Bucksweep for 3...Empty, they blitz and Boyd hits Nuk on a drag for the 1st down. Good job cutting upfield immediately...PA, Martavis Bryant forces a PI because he just beat his man deep. They had to commit the PI. 15 yd penalty...IZ fake sold very well, flat pass to Watkins on a screen for another 1st down. Could've been better blocked outside...Boyd on a keeper outside for 11. DE went with AE totally...IZ for no gain, no movement up front...Watkins on a post for the TD, cover man went outside to double the outside Corner route. . 7-3 Clemson. 7 plays 80 yards, 02:36
Notice that we've run bucksweep on the first drive every week?
This is the same snag concept that we scored on last week. FSU is mostly in Cover 2 and some straight man.
FSU from 20 - Stretch play and Hawkins scrapes over to stop it, good tackle...Greene in the flat, Sensabaugh makes a nice tackle for 3 yd gain...Sensabaugh makes another nice tackle in the flat to the other side. Punt.
Last play was a zone blitz, looks like a mix of Cover 2 and C4.
CU from 23 - IZ for 8....Power for 3...IV Jet for Sammy for 3. Did not get good blocks outside on the edge or WRs...Watkins quick hitch for 6...3rd & 1, Power loses yardage, no movement by McClain at all. Clemson punts, gets a penalty on touching the kicker. Dwayne Allen did not block Joyner...PA, shot deep to Nuk on a Post for 50 yards. Excellent PA fake by Boyd. EXCELLENT. Perfect throw...Toss sweep for 1...QB sneak for TD. 14-3 Clemson.8 plays 77 yards, 03:35
You probably wouldn't notice it, but our Play-action fakes are light years better now compared to Parker's.
FSU from 29 - Crosser gets 6, still not tight enough coverage from Hawkins...Wildcat Power for 8, Hawkins missed the tackle in the backfield...O'Leary on Hawkins, beats him to the corner and cant pull it in, wide throw...Thrown high and incomplete over the middle. Lucky that wasn't picked, if hall was 100% it might've been...Rodney Smith beats Darius Robinson on a Go. Just a perfect throw by Trickett. We didn't set the perimeter in the pass rush either, everyone ended up in a glut. 14-10 Clemson, 5 plays 71 yards, 01:40
Our coverage is just not tight enough, but we did force a perfect throw, which is all you can expect your defense to do there.
CU from 21 - QB keep on ZR for 6...End 1st QTR...Boyd throws a bullet to Allen high in flat, can't catch it...Boyd sees no one open, takes himself for the 1st...Boyd throws a stop to Nuk on the ground for 4...Bryant down the sideline against Cover 1 Press, perfect throw for 33...Hot Rod for 5 on an IZ...Power for 1 by McDowell...Trick play, throw to Cooper forces a PI. Clemson went unbalanced with the TE Sam Cooper as the LT...Option keeper for 1...False Start...Dwayne Allen on a wheel route beats Christian Jones. You can see in the vid how we faked Jones with the motion. 21-10 Clemson, 9 plays 79 yards, 03:43
Boyd does still lock on receivers, and he has to work on the touch on those flat throws. The screens are thrown too low and he has thrown that high uncatchable bullet to Allen several times. Thats footwork and weight transfer.
FSU from 20 - Trickett throws a rollout pass right to Quandon Christian. Times his jump perfect.
CU from FSU 20 - Bellamy on a Counter, run out of bounds...PA middle screen and FSU snuffs it out, no block made by McClain on Jenkins...Boyd scrambles, good coverage deep. FG MISSED badly.
Pitiful that we couldn't capitalize on that turnover. Game wouldn't have been close if we had.
FSU from 20 - Stretch for 2...Hall tackles O'Leary at the marker...Wildcat, Power and Goodman/Moore blow it up...false start...TO FSU, almost got Delay...Pressure forces Trickett to step and he almost makes a perfect throw. Safeties were right there this time....TO FSU...Power for 2, Brandon Thompson ate it up. Punt. 5 plays 7 yards.
Tighter coverage, better tackling.
CU from 22 - Nuk on a stop for 8...Power for no gain. Looked like Cloy could not stop his man shooting the gap...Speed option pitch for 8...Now Screen to Watkins for 6...Empty, Boyd throws behind the WR and it bounces off Bradham's facemask. Thomas caught deflection...Boyd scrambles for short gain. Punt. 6 plays 23 yards
They got the pressure on the last two throws. Protection wasn't too bad though.
FSU from 12 - Bubble and Sensabaugh flubs the shoelace tackle. Gain of 6..Sensabaugh is all over the In route and tackles him immediately, gain of 3...3rd & 1, they try a Sneak and Moore/Thompson eat it up. Thompson dove right under the Center's head and stuffed it. Punt.
CU from 37 - Excellent catch on the boundary by Watkins nullified by Hold on Price...QB Draw, no gain...Price beaten off the edge for the sack...TO FSU...Draw for no gain. Punt. We run down the clock and kick it, Joyner comes unblocked totally by Dwayne Allen and hits Zimmerman. Boyd just throws it away under pressure to end the half.
Clean hit to me. Make the damn block Dwayne. He didn't touch anybody. Christian could've made this one too since its the inside man.
Defensively, they're beating us mostly underneath. This is LB coverage. Hawkins did not have a good half. 2nd QTR was better, tighter coverage and tackling. 1st quarter TD was on a perfect throw.
Offensively, the reason for the 2nd QTR slump was more because of well-timed blitzes and pressures and our protection stuttered a little. It wasn't bad, considering the opposition, but was enough in combination with their coverage to force our drives to stall.
It would be nice if we could move the damn ball inside though. Too many guys are being stood up straight by Seminoles. You have to get lower to move somebody.
Clemson - 170 yds passing, 57 rushing. Tajh Boyd 12/15.
FSU - 133 pass, 35 rush.
CU from 20 - Screen for 7, needed to be a better block by Jaron Brown...IZ for 6...Boyd on a keep for 3...Boyd spins out of a Jones sack and stumbles, fumbles the ball into Woerner's hands for the TD. TD FSU, 21-17
Dumb dumb dumb. Gotta tuck that ball and take the sack. This was ruled INT on the review, but later ruled a fumble by Clemson and the ACC on Sunday.
CU from 20 - ZR keep for 1...Jaron Brown on a Dig for 13. Was good coverage and the throw was behind him, but Brown caught it...IZ to Bellamy for loss of 1. No holes...Boyd throws one away after Price gets beat...Dwayne Allen held by Bradham, PI. Bradham did push off with his arm and held Allen up...Boyd on a keeper for 5 up the gut...Boyd forces one over the middle and its deflected. That ball should've been intercepted. #4 had it in his hands...Allen beats Bradham on a crosser to the flat for the 1st...Ellington beats the safety on a wheel up the sideline and #4 is beaten badly, AE drops the ball....Boyd high throw to Ford in the flat...Boyd hits AE in the flat for 6...4th & 4, TO called. Dwayne Allen leans forward and can't hold his stance on the next play, killing the drive. Punt.10 plays 41 yards, 03:12
Cannot have that false start on 4th & 4, no excuse for that.
As we said in the preview, Bradham cannot cover Allen in open space. We're moving DA around to exploit that matchup.
FSU from 16 - stretch for no gain. Moore all over it, blew the G back into the RB...Tricketts short checkdown pass to Smith dropped...Blitz right into Tricketts face and the throw was just perfect for 41. Breeland a step behind and Meeks just seemed to be initially a bit too far inside in his alignment to make the play. You have to be able to get to the numbers on that deep ball, you just have to get there...Trickett hit as he throws, Breeland almost picked it. WR ran a drag and hit the umpire...Wildcat, Breeland all over it...Trickett doesnt set his feet and throws too far outside to his WR, incomplete. Punt. 6 plays 42 yards, 02:17
The Deep-Half safety has to be able to get to the numbers from his initial set. Thats a requirement. I've said before that Meeks doesn't seem cut out for a pass-cover safety, his pass instincts are not that good.
This drive was mostly the long bomb as you can see.
CU from 30 - IZ up the gut for 19. Nice block by Freeman and McClain...IZ, 2 yd gain, McClain couldnt move his man...Boyd pressured up the middle, throws high to Brown incomplete...Face mask yanked as Boyd is sacked...Boyd fumbles the snap, Sammy falls on it. Ball snapped before Boyd was ready, wasnt looking for it...PA sweep, hits Nuk on a Dig. Dwayne Allen wide open on a wheel route. Boyd had stepped up and his eyes were shielded by linemen or he may have seen it...Bullet to Sammy on a slant for 16...QB keep for 2...Fake sweep handoff to Humphries then hits him in the flat for 6...Toss sweep gets the 1st down. Ford could've made a better block here and sprung it...Nuk standing wide open on one side and we can't snap the damn ball. They gift wrapped a TD for us. Tajh saw it, Freeman didn't snap it. We waste a TO on it...IZ for 2...Inverted Wishbone zone handoff to AE right up the middle, excellent block by Price. 28-17 Clemson, 11 plays 70 yards, 5:08
Price pancaked his DE and took out the man behind him too. Dwayne Allen shouldve been able to hit his block though.
FSU from 20, only because of a block in back. Horrible KO coverage - They blow TO on first play. Almost got Delay of Game. Thats pitiful on your first play of a drive...Brewer too far from the slant to stop that for 8...Trickett steps from Moore, hits his WR on a short slant/hitch...Goodman tackled by the RB, holding called...Screen to Smith for 6...Checkdown pass incomplete....Go route overthrown incomplete, phantom PI called on Robinson. Really ticky-tack flag....Out to Green and Brewer flattened him...Breeland stumbles in coverage and the hitch route nets 12.. START 4th QTR...Greene beats Sensabaugh in M2M coverage down the sideline for a 30 yd TD. Just beat him. Hall couldn't get there as the single FS. 28-23 Clemson. 7 plays 80 yards, 03:08
Score set up by the big PI, but also loose coverage deep. Just not tight enough coverage. Sensabaugh is not who you want on an island. FSU has given up on the running game totally.
CU from 20 - Bubble screen thrown into the grass incomplete...Thrown deep to Sammy on a Go, well covered by Harris. Ball bounced off the helmet/shoulder of the defender...Bullet to Allen on an In route for the 1st. Great catch, but if he hadn't, its an INT...Jet sweep for 3...IZ for 2...Boyd tosses to Sammy for 62 yard TD. 35-23 Clemson. 6 plays 80 yards, 01:49
Look how Sammy tosses him aside.
FSU from 34 -PA out route for 16, Brewer just not tight enough...Pass incomplete to O'Leary, behind him...Brewer is all over a drag route and deflects it...Trickett sacked by Thompson/Moore. Punt
CU from 26 - IW, zone for 1...PA pass to Watkins in the flat, no gain but Bradham pulls facemask...IZ for no gain. Cloy/McClain didnt move a soul...Throwback screen and FSU blitzed right into it, sacked...Draw for loss of 2 on 3rd & 14. Punt.
FSU from 22 - Trickett scrambles for 11....Low snap, Trickett rolls out and hits Greene who beat the safety to the outside (Zone) + roughing passer penalty....Sensabaugh beaten in space, out of position to make tackle, gain of 9...Sensabaugh beaten to the inside on a slant for the TD. 35-30 Clemson 4 plays 78 yards 1:20.
Lack of focus I believe. Sensabaugh was inside on that TD, still got juked. Roughing the passer penalty killed us.
CU from 20 - 7:21. PA pass to Brown thrown wide and incomplete. More of a throwaway...RB screen and FSU was all over it, DT read the screen perfectly. Thrown away...Allen on a Post route behind the Tampa 2 LB (Williams wasnt looking, he turned his head away from QB and you can NOT do that) for 34...Jet sweep for 5...IZ for 8...Counter H for 2...IZ gets 1, no holes inside...Boyd flushed and gets 5, needed 6...TO CU...4th & 1 at FSU 23. Clemson calls a toss sweep that worked earlier, loses a yard. Brandon Ford could've tried to make a block, his man walked right by him into the backfield. Turnover on downs. 9 plays 56 yards, 04:32
I know a lot of people question the 4th down call, but this play worked earlier and you havent had success against their DTs at all, so go with something outside. I personally wanted to run a Power O at the time.
You kick from 23, its over 35 yards, not sure I'd go with Catman and Dabo didn't. Not questioning that call.
You have to get 1 yard when you need it, but our OL still can't. They could've moved someone else so Ford's missed block wouldn't have killed the play, and didn't do it.
FSU from 24 - 2:49 left. Completion to the flat, no DB near him. Looks like safe quarters or C3 zone...Deep throw to Shaw and he got skeered of Hall coming right at him, dropped it....Breeland beaten on a slant inside for the 1st down, gain of 6...Trickett nailed by Branch, almost picked by Coty on a Dig...Slant incomplete. Wr couldnt pull it in...Flushed, Breeland makes the tackle on a crosser shy of the marker, good tackle....False start on 4th & 4 after a TO, thats bad...Sack by Moore.
Clemson kneels to finish.
I imagine people thought that we really opened up the playbook a lot for this game, but we didn't. We did show some wrinkles, but the offense is still not completely in there. There is even more motion, as evidenced by the Tulsa footage we watched this offseason, in the offense that we are not showing. If you noticed, we haven't added any new rushing plays. Its still IZ, a Jet Sweep with IV look, a Power O, one or two zone reads, and a Counter/H or two. None of this stuff is new to FSU; it was all on tape.
One thing we did open some was the passing game, but the snag we hit for a TD with Watkins was the same one we hit last week on Auburn. Last week the 2 DBs were on it and both took a bad angle. This week the FS went the wrong way. Watkins long TD wasn't complicated, and we've shown the wheel route for the TE before in combo with a Dig. We used a few more double move routes which are a Malzahn/Morris staple, but I don't see much different from the last 2 weeks in terms of scheme.
Interior blocking by our OL was bad, but not in the MA area. We just don't move people because we stand up. If the DL gets lower than you, you don't have much chance of moving them. Pass protection was pretty good.
Mike Bellamy needs to get his act together mentally. This offense is not complex. If you can't figure out where to stand with a limited subset of plays, then you have a problem. He'd still play more if he could block (and AE was in there as a blocker most of the time), and if he held the ball better. He doesnt even know where he's supposed to be, and I have to point more to him than anything else.
I do think FSU missed Reid in M2M coverage. They were in Man more than I expected them to show. Most of the time they were nickel, Cover 2 and some Tampa 2 in 4-3 sets with one LB walked out (Jones). They overplayed some stuff underneath and we exploited it, along with their LB coverage. As I said in the preview, we were not scared of these guys in space. DA messed them up underneath all day.
Bud Foster will only rarely go Cover 1.
Tackling did get better, but our DBs need to work on it in space. 29 yards rushing is not all their OL suckage, though they are underwhelming. Thompson and Moore came to play ball.
Our DB's are not missing assignments. They are on the guys they should be today, but they are not tightening up the zone coverage. We pattern read and we aren't doing a great job of matching up on the pattern. If youre more than an arms-length away, youre too far to make a play. The ones getting beaten are Sensabaugh (Sr), Robinson (So) and Breeland (True Fr). We warned you of this in the preseason, young CBs always get lit up. Be thankful the ACC isn't the Big XII-all-passing-league.
The edge wasn't being set well in the previous 3 games, but this was also done better. FSU gave up and really didn't run any sweeps. I would've tried them if I were Jimbo.
Clemson's defense still isn't in the base set 3-4/4-3 that often. Wofford is a special scheme of fronts, so throw that one out. When you saw FSU go I-formation, we could go to our base. When they send out 10/11/12 personnel, we're in Nickel. Quan Christian also seems to have lost his Money-Backer spot beside Hawkins in Nickel, its all Willard now. That disappoints me, because I felt like Christian would succeed big time this year. Willard isn't flashy but just does his assignment. Hawkins is a guy we'll see get phased out a little more for Anthony now that we're playing pro-set personnel teams again.
Look at the big plays. This is killing us. The first FSU drive was all chunk plays. Their 2nd TD was a 57 yard pass. In the 3rd they hit a 41 yarder. Another score on a 30 yarder. Thats ~130 yards of just chunks. The last TD drive was set up by a pass + roughing. We eliminate the chunks and we're a Top 40 defense, and I think you'll see that come about eventually.
Steele this week:
How close are you to being the caliber of defense you’ve been in recent years?
We’re not anywhere close because the expectation is high. I said two weeks ago we weren’t very good at that time. We’ve improved a great deal, but you look at the total body of work, you still see the same thing. You see 55 very productive plays then 5-6 plays that skew the whole thing, either by double move or great throw.
Now, this past game, there were no chunk plays in the run game. But we still had the two, three pass plays that gave them the big chunks. If we can eliminate the chunk plays, we’ll be closer.
The object is to keep them out of the end zone, no scores. Last year we went seven straight games giving up one touchdown a game. So our standard’s pretty high.How is Steward's knee progressing?
Good. Actually what happened with Tony and Stephone – and I was a little bit upset with myself – they have to play more than they played last week. They were actually put out on the field – at the start of a series, we put regular, nickel and dime out there, then people come off rather than exchanging people. He actually went out there a couple of times, but their personnel grouping dictated we were in multiple DB, so he came off and at the end of the deal, didn’t play.
He’s practicing very well and probably the last two weeks is where he’s hit his groove.
Same with Stephone. That’s on me. Stephone should have played a little more this past week because he plays on nickel and dime.
Before the season, you noted the defensive line – depth in particular – being your chief concern. What’s your assessment through four games?
I think it’s what we thought it would be. Rennie Moore's given us good snaps, Brandon Thompson’s given us good snaps, Branch has and Malliciah has.
What if one of those guys had been hurt? Then we’d be posing a different question. I’m not sure we’re ready for one of those to have to not be able to play. But we’ve made progress with the other guys