MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Fans of the Clemson Tigers look on dejected against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
I think most people will not want to read the debacle again, so I've decided to only do the textual review of the 1st half of the game. In the 2nd half, I'll review the film and note the players who appeared to quit, if its visible. I'll also be looking at some of the younger guys who got PT late in the game.
Note that I'm calling WV's shovel pass to Austin a Jet sweep, technically it is a pass, but works the same as a jet sweep.
CU from 40 - IZ for no gain, AE slipped...Jet sweep for 2, nice block outside by AE, but couldnt get free....Pass on a deep cross to Jaron is dropped. He was wide open. Punt.
WVU from 23 - Outside zone sweep for 11. We blitzed backside, and they had a good call on....Austin catches a quick hitch/slant for 7....IZ for 4, Branch too slow to get him but came totally free....IZ for 3.5, Brewer came up to make the tackle...Smith throws to a well covered Bailey. Sensabaugh all over him...LB blitz late, Hawkins too damn slow to get to Smith but the earlier throw is way off and incomplete. Punt.
CU from 4 - IZ for loss of 1, WV had a run blitz going on, and a LB bulldozed Brandon Thomas...Nuk on a Spot route, gets 13...IZ for 1.5 or so...Allen up the seam for 15. Their LB didnt even make contact with him...PA, Boyd throws to Brown who can't catch it. This one was tougher to grab at least...IZ for 68 yard TD. 7-0 Clemson. 6 plays 96 yards 1:39.
Antoine McClain actually made a good effort on a block there. WV had a pass blitz from the Field side and got out of their gaps. West Virginia is sitting in zone most of the time and not colliding with any receivers thus far.
WVU from 28 - IZ for 7...Pass rushers get out of their lanes and Smith scrambles for the 1st down...Fieldside blitz from Jenkins forces an early throw incomplete...Devon Brown gets free on a Y-Cross for 33. Anthony (i think its 12) came up a bit too much on a little PA fake, and couldnt get deep enough to help Brewer who was behind his man...IZ for 3, our guys are going every which way and not staying in gaps...Hall is on Buie in a little swing, and doesnt keep him on the ground, he stands up and gets 16...Jet sweep, Branch gets reached, and Austin gets 6...IZ right up the A-gap for the TD. 7-7. 8 plays 72 yards, 02:39
Anthony blitzed right into the A-gap and the LG cut him off, Hall got blocked out on the other side in a run blitz as well. There was no one left at the 2nd level to stop the run.
CU from 38 -ZR bubble to Sammy for 12. Good block by Peake...AE on IZ for 4...Boyd locks on Sammy down the sideline, overthrown incomplete...Quick hitch to Nuk for 8. Nice hands as he was hit at the same time...Boyd overthrows Allen up the seam, he was covered. Had a S on top and the LB was with him...Boyd has a run/pass option, hesitates and overthrows Sammy in the flats...Landon Walker is manhandled and Boyd is forced to throw on early but Nuk catches it on the sidelines. Price went out the first time, D. Smith goes in and Thomas to LT...Boyd on a called QB Power for the 1st down...WV leaves Sammy wide open on a crossing route under the 3-deep and he walks in for 6. Safety slipped but couldn't have stopped the completion. 14-7 Clemson.9 plays 62 yards, 02:16
I think Clemson could've stuck with more runs in this drive after Andre just hit them for a TD. We are running a ton of run/pass options where Boyd has a PA fake on an IZ/ZR and theres a bubble screen on one side.
WV started to really make sure they hit Watkins every play on this drive but they didnt on the TD.
WVU from 43 - Milhouse is wide open in the seam on a crosser for 34. WV went from a bunch set and Brewer let the man get right by him, and the LBs were both coming WAY up on PA....Pass to the corner of the endzone incomplete, too wide...IZ, guy muscles through our DL for 3. He should've been TFL...Whole DL is out of their lane on a bootleg and Smith scrambles for 8 back to the away side. This is pitiful...TO CU...Slant for 4, Breeland gave him too much cushion to stop that one...Zone sweep for 8 yd TD. 14-14. 6 plays 57 yards, 01:49
Defense looks totally discombobulated on this drive. A few guys are where they need to be, but we look totally lost. DL is rushing beyond the depth of the QB or just can't stay in their lanes, and the LBs are even more out of position.
We are of course playing 4-2-5.
CU from 35 - PA pass to Jaron Brown diving to the ground, nice catch...Nuk on a hitch for 4...Freeman is whipped but Boyd chunks it deep to Nuk, who gets a PI call...Keeper for 3 on a run/pass option...IZ for 3...Bootleg, Boyd forces a ball into a tightening window to Allen. LB tips it in the air incomplete. Catman hits the 42yd FG. 17-14 Clemson. 6 plays 40 yards, 02:04
Still a ton of run/pass options. A lot of decisions for Boyd to make here, and WV is getting enough pressure from those down 3 linemen.
Clemson is also hitting them hard on the Boundary side. We're not even attempting anything to the Field. Recall WV aligns their Corners and SS/WS to the Field/Boundary.
WVU from 20 - Clemson blew up the RB screen, all over it...Brewer blitzes off the edge and forces an incompletion....Branch and Goodman are both TACKLED, no holding called, Smith gets out and hits Bailey at the sticks....IZ for 8, Thompson missed a TFL. End 1st QTR....Draw for 2...IZ for 2...Coty way too far off to stop a route up the boundary for 15...Devon Brown makes a great catch after our guy slips for 7...Clemson gets substitution penalty for not getting BT off the field quick enough...Jet sweep, Hall takes a bad angle outside, lead blocker cuts one guy and Austin goes 27 for a TD. 21-17 West Virginia. 9 plays 80 yards 2:20.
Can't really do anything right at all on Defense now. I didnt even think it was this bad watching it live.
CU from 24 - Bubble to Martavis Bryant for 6...WV blitzes into a power sweep and tackles AE for loss. Nobody blocked the guy, who came right up the B-gap playside. Smith (?) combo'd with Freeman on the NG...Boyd hits Brown beyond the sticks on an Out...Nuk all alone on the sidelines on an Arrow, Boyd hits for 10. Price goes down again...AE goes right up the B-gap for 39 on IZ...Quick hit on the boundary to Nuk for 7...DJ Howard IZ for 4...Power O and AE fumbles on the 1.
WV returns it 99 yards for 6. 28-17 West Virginia.
Their guy just ripped it out of both of AE's hands. This one play completely killed Clemson's offense the rest of the game. 14 point swing.
CU from 15 - IZ for 2, no movement inside...Slant to Sammy for 5...Boyd throws one without shifting his weight into the dirt. Punt.
Playcalls there are fine, I like that we went right back with Andre.
WV from 35 - Tunnel screen and Brewer is on it for short gain...Moore moved way outside as a 5-tech, gets muscled out of the B-gap and the back goes right into the hole for 8....Branch comes free on a naked bootleg as an OLB, but Smith outruns him to the sideline. That should not happen. Kourtnei Brown got over there faster than Branch did...Sensabaugh swats away a pass on a square In route. Nice coverage, undercut the route. No DL in their lanes though...Hawkins makes a great read on a swing pass and TFL....Sensabaugh on McCartney immediately after a hitch completion. Punt.
That drive was much better on defense but what disturbs me most is that the DL is getting nothing, we all go to one side on a slant call and no one is in their pass rush lane.
CU from 19 - D. Allen well covered and can't pull in an out/hitch....Nuk on a hitch at the sticks...QB Counter for 24...Sammy completely free on an In route thanks to Allen taking the man deeper for 16...Screen to Nuk for 6...Boyd locks on Allen, LB is on his back and no PI called. Bad call, had both arms around....Nuk drops a quick slant. 43 yd FG Good. 28-20 West Virginia.8 plays 56 yards, 01:36
They're making sure to collide with the receivers lately.
WV from 36 - TO WV...RB screen for 17....Brandon destroys the Guard, they barely touched him, and 5 yard loss on a zone...Hawkins nowhere close to Brown up the seam, we had blitzed the man on Brown at the LOS and he came free up the middle on a hot route....Austin screen for 11, facemask on Brewer for 15 more...No one in their pass lane, Smith goes up the gut for 7. Hawkins was supposed to be there, he delay blitzed and took a shit angle...DE took his rush deeper than Smith, who steps out and walks into the endzone. 35-20 West Virginia. 6 plays 64 yards, 02:20
DE there (Branch?, cant see) is supposed to control the C-gap, outside the tackle. You are not supposed to take your pass rush deeper than the QB, because he's just going to step up. DE went around the OT on a speed rush and ended up at the feet of the other DE. Smith just stepped sideways and walked in.
No one is in their pass rush lanes.
CU from 25 - Boyd flips it to Ford, gets no gain...Boyd throws underneath Watkins right into the DB's hands. Horrible throw.
CB cut right under the Post, Boyd threw right at him. Safety was on top and only a perfect throw would hit Sammy there.
WV from Clemson 32 - Milhouse on a Post for 30. Meeks took a bad angle, then fell down...Moore and Anthony stuff an IZ...Jet sweep for score. 42-20 West Virginia.
No one set the edge. Goodman got reached. Everybody else is just looking like theyre going through the motions. Moore driven off the ball, Anthony can't get a good angle, Brewer up and gets blocked, nothing looks right. Too much space up the middle in this defense.
CU from 14 - Boyd scrambles and Bruce Irvin comes from behind to knock it out. No 3 points of contact, holding it too loosely from his body.
WV from Clemson 18 - Meeks cant stop a pass to Brown on a crosser for 9...Buie right up the middle for 6. Both DTs not where they should be...Branch charges into the backfield for a TFL...TO WV...Quick out to Austin for 4 to the 1...Alston walks into the endzone because there was no DL on that side where they should be. Jenkins should not be tackling him from behind. 49-20 West Virginia.
You might think we had no gameplan for Smith's scrambling. You would be wrong.
Steele had Hawkins coming on delay blitzes up the middle to keep Smith in the pocket. He was basically a Spy. What happened was that the DL would run themselves so far from where they should've been that Hawkins was sealed off by a OG and couldnt react fast enough. He's too slow and too reactive. Had DLinemen stayed in their rush lanes/gaps, Smith gets sacked and Hawkins would make a few.
If we stick with our fits there up front, I think we force a couple more punts in the first half.
Another major problem is angles, we don't know how to take them. I can't believe I see the same problem in January that we saw in September.
Altogether the problem is just lazy technique.
Sensabaugh is playing hard, he's where he should be. I think the kudos stop there for this game. Breeland is doing OK in the 1st half but he really got picked on in the 2nd half because he couldnt keep the separation down and he looked really bad on several plays.
Clemson-WV combined for most points in 1st QTR of the Orange Bowl: 31 and WV set the OB record for points in one half:49. Together we set NCAA records for points in a half: 69. The 70 is an NCAA bowl record.
For the 2nd half, I only looked at who seemed to care, as I think its obvious that the defense was completely clueless. I don't need to call out the DBs who never made collisions with WRs or weren't even looking at the WR they had an assignment on. I also don't need to call out who let themselves get cut blocked without any idea how to handle the cut. I think we know already. Most people want to level that blame on Harbison, but when the scheme is too complex for players, this is what happens.
Quandon Christian looks like he hasn't the slightest idea what to do, worse than the other 10 out there. Stephone Anthony completely vacated a hole where a WR took it 37 yards for one TD, covering a guy who was already covered, and I don't know WTF he was doing.
As far as effort, I think that on several plays the defense as a whole gave in. The linemen are just standing up and not using hands to get off blocks. I'm probably most disappointed in the line, and that goes for all of them. Even the kids that came in late.
The LBs are not pressing gaps, and the DBs are so late that they can't help. I see some of the sorriest tackling that I've seen in my life. JV HS teams tackle with better form. Steele's face looks like mine when I rewatched the Georgia Tech film.
A primary cause for the OL problems was losing Price, because Thomas and Smith both got abused. Price, who has probably the least true talent of the 5, has twice the fire of all 5 together. The one group that I thought as a whole that wasnt giving full effort in the 2nd half was the Offensive line. Guys werent moving their feet, they'd try to block just with their arms, and then when they saw someone get by, they just stopped caring. It is shameful what I see on the OL in the 2nd half, because they are only rushing 3 guys. Kalon Davis gave good effort in his limited play, but the rest of the backups were....meh.
I'm sure some will pin this on Caldwell, and the rumors of him and Morris not seeing eye-to-eye are true, but this season is not his fault. The inability to move smaller teams around up front, or the ability to get by with eating McDs and Waffle House to gain 10-20lbs of fat during a season is on Dabo and his S&C choices.
Nuk Hopkins never quit playing hard, I can confidently say he gave effort all night. The rest of the offense seemed to lack energy, but I can't pinpoint other players as having given up. Tajh didn't give up, but he didnt take the checkdowns you have to take when the opponent drops 8. He tried to squeeze the ball into windows and sometimes threw it nowhere near his receiver.
I don't think Chad's calls were a problem, other than giving up on the run a little too quickly. When he see's Tajh screw up, he goes right back to him, and normally that wouldn't be a bad thing. Unfortunately when Tajh's brain goes empty, it stays there a bit, and it looks like he can't do anything right for a while. He didn't from the 2nd quarter onwards.
So thats this game, not much need to go further from me specific to the game when articles on Batson and Steele's difficulties will cover the problems. I'm sure Dabo will call us all out for being nonbelievers somehow or another, and then log on the internet and do what everyone tells him to do, because if he doesnt, then these two will get him fired.