I was worried about Mike Glennon versus our secondary coming into this one, and felt that this was a true trap game for us since we always lose to one team that we should not, and he's one QB capable of beating our secondary's asses. Well he did, and we know that our back 4 is absolutely terrible.
We cannot play Cover 1 against anyone because we cannot properly JAM A WIDE RECEIVER to save our lives. When Breeland was beaten on the 2nd long TD, he failed to jam the WR at all in M2M coverage. We cannot play Cover 3 because our deep 3rd safety always wants to jump the underneath route when HE IS THE SAFETY. Garry Peters cannot jump that Out cut when he is the last line of defense, its his job to stay over the top of it. The underneath defender has this flexibility, the deep guy does not. The same thing happened against Duke two weeks ago.
We play Cover 2 and the damn safety always jumps the underneath route instead of keeping his head on a swivel and protecting the Post routes and seams in the defense. They lock their eyes on the first thing and jump it instead of actually looking at what the offense is doing. They always bite on play action, hard.
This is just pitiful, and though we like Coach Harbison, its time for him to go. It is not working. I believe many of our pass defense problems the last few years have been with complexity of the scheme and the checks they have to make. You would always see someone not lined up right and/or waving his hands around to the other DBs trying to properly adjust to the formation. This hasn't been the case this season and that problem appears to have been resolved. However, we still have a basic problem with fundamentals, and that one has steadily deteriorated aside from a couple players who excel on talent alone (like Breeland). Footwork is awful, and no one who knows anything about defensive back play can argue it. We open our hips too early and don't look for the ball in the air. This means youre playing the receiver and not the football.
What bothers me the most is that we are playing more spot zone drops, which is easier to teach than the match zone we had run with the M2M scheme, and yet we're worse. As the front 7 has improved this season, even taking into account the competition, the back 4 really has not improved fundamentally.
Charlie Harbison is just not getting the job done here, and should accept a position elsewhere next year. We need a new direction in recruiting philosophy and coaching at the defensive back positions.
If NC State had some WRs today that could pull the ball down, I don't want to think about how differently this game could've turned out. This was horrid. Why they didn't just chuck bombs deep instead of running the ball 35 plays, I'm not sure I can ever understand. It was good to get some real adversity before SC, so that is a positive....
It looked like Clemson would run away with the game early on, but once NC State got rolling our offense started to drop a cylinder. All it takes to fix that is to call a screen or two, give the ball to AE, and let Tajh run it once or twice. Once that happens, he lights off and starts ripping up defenses.
Our offense put up another performance that we have seen here only once before. The 754 yards of total offense is 2 shy of a Clemson record. Tajh Boyd hit 30 of 44 passes for 426 yards and 5 TDs to go with 18 carries for 103 yards and 3 TDs. The two INTs should not have happened, but 8 TDs is obviously a Clemson record. Andre Ellington had 22 touches for 124 yards and Hot Rod had 83. Theres no way to complain about putting up 328 rushing. i also loved the last drive the most of them all, we just took the ball with about 7 min left and iced this sucker.
This was Clemson's first 10-regular-season win season since 1981, and the first 7-win ACC season since 1983.
Needless to say the film review will not be particularly pretty, what with 1350 yards of offense combined and about 190 plays total in the game. Its unlikely with the holiday that I will get it posted this week and will follow the next.