I started crafting my wonderful piece of literary work for this article last night and it included all of my adult vocabulary plus some profanity that I believe may not have existed until those keystrokes were entered. After some reflection, that bad boy was edited down because, well, if our staff doesn't give a shit about winning against South Carolina, why should I go out, raise hell, and just get even more pissed? I'll first give credit to South Carolina and Darth Visor. While I wasn't overly impressed with their gameplay and such, the OBC and his staff came out and whipped Clemson with a depleted team. They were able to hold the football for what seemed to be forever and were just tougher than our Tigers.
This football game was a year-long loss from Clemson. We learned absofuckinglutely nothing from last season's debacle. This is my biggest gripe-we have done nothing in strength and conditioning to get this team ready to play big boy football and that was apparent last night. We are a cream puff football team that lacks toughness and gets killed at the point of attack. Period.
Clemson got its ass kicked last night-in all three phases of the football game. I don't want to hear shit out of any of Clemson's players talking trash until they beat South Carolina, period. I also don't want to hear shit out of the Sweatshirt towards The Visor. If we are too fucking stupid to not max protect or at least chip one of the best defensive linemen in the country, we deserve to lose. If you run the ball down the opponent's throat then inexplicably stop, you deserve to lose. If your secondary can't tackle and drops three interceptions, you deserve to lose. If you have no answer for a backup quarterback and a third team freshman running back, you deserve to lose. If you are so fucking hard headed that you won't go out and raise hell to ensure you have a decent S&C program, you deserve to get your ass handed to you...and that is exactly what happened for the fourth mother fucking year in a row. If Clemson wants to be considered a Big Boy program, it needs to put in its Big Boy pants and actually beat somebody. At every one of these IPTAY meetings this Spring, I challenge you to ask Coach Dabo when the hell he is going to sack up and commit to being a Big Boy football team. If we do not make adjustments in the S&C portion of the program, South Carolina will whip our ass again next season as well...Like we've said here before, Swinney is here for at least 3-4 more years and if he doesn't change his philosophy, Clemson will get rolled in its last regular season football game the next 3-4 more years.
Aside from the gameplay, I'll also point out that we are again screwing the pooch on the recruiting trail. Why we are only taking one true HS OL this cycle is beyond me. You must retool this position each year and be committed to bringing in the big boys handfuls at a time. Along those same lines, if we don't bring in a big time DE, I shudder to think that I have to watch this crap for years to come. It is early to get too down here and Coach Dabo is an excellent recruiter, so I guess I need to save all my recruiting concerns (outside of numbers up front) until February. Thus, I'll get back to this game.
Let me say that Tig Willard came out and played hard last night. Catman nailed his one field goal attempt. There may be a couple other bright spots, but I cannot readily spit them out now so if I've missed something obvious, please bring it up in the comments. I will say that the defense largely defended the shorter TE routes we were concerned about well-though it wasn't as big of a factor with Shaw on the sideline and Dylan Thompson committed to getting the ball to Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington instead of all the little check downs that Shaw likes to throw. We also did a decent job shutting down the run and forcing them to pass but, unfortunately, were just not able to get off the field or make the big defensive play on 3rd/4th down.
Here are the specific items that flat out pissed me off:
You probably noticed Dabo calling a clock play at the end of the first half. Why in the hell do you do such immediately after getting a first down? The freaking clock stops with a first down...no need to waste a down and, in this case, cause a stupid procedure penalty. Dabo needs to calm down a bit and either digest the situation or just hang back and manage the overall game, not immediate situations on the fly.
What in the hell was Xavier Brewer doing on his tackle urrr push out of Dylan Thompson? Brewer was standing up tackling high and almost got trucked by a quarterback. Freacking break down, drop your hips, put your helmet in the opposing player's chest, wrap up and drive. These poor fundamentals drive me nuts. Our tackling is pathetic and this is a perfect example of the poor technique we've shown all year. Our secondary tackling is simply unacceptable. Couple it with poor coverage techniques and you have to start blaming coaches as well as just the players.
Clemson dropped three potential interceptions; the last by Xavier Brewer preceded a touchdown pass to Ace Sanders. You make a couple of plays and Carolina goes to the sidelines, not back to the huddle. The safety play was pathetic. Rashard Hall hasn't been the same since his injury and someone should give Meeks a freaking map because he always looks lost out ther. Garry Peters dropped one that hit him in the chest and wasn't impressive. You cannot win games if you do not take advantage of the opportunities given to you, and we clearly did not in these cases. We let a backup quarterback give us opportunity after opportunity and did not make him pay.
We were playing against Carolina's backup quarterback making his first meaningful start. This wasn't Dan Marino yet our secondary made his stat line look ridiculous: 23/41 for 300+ yards, 3 TDs and an interception. Add in his 14 carries for 38 yards (and, yes, those include sack yards) and it is just stupid. Dylan Thompson isn't Mike Vick but somehow his slow ass scampered for quite a few yards against our defense. This poor play has been shown for a couple years now and we've scratched our heads and scratched our heads because Coach Cheese has proven to be a good teacher in the past. I am sure part of the issue is talent (Travis Blanks was the only legit defensive back on the field in orange last night) but this trend is too concerning and I believe we'll be looking for a new defensive backs coach (not named Willie Martinez) this winter.
I have no clue what our offensive gameplan was or why it was chosen. We spent quite some time discussing ways to mitigate the play of a good defensive line and ends. We wrote entire articles about conflicting the end and using screens and such to slow down aggressive pass rushes. None of that was implemented. We cautioned all week that we'd need to give the tackles some help with either a TE or by chipping the end with a back. Instead, Clemson did nothing to even try to slow down a couple very, very good ends and the result was Memorial Stadium records being set by J.D. Clowney.
This was probably the worst called game we've seen out of The Chad since he came here. We were able to come out early and run the football. Then we just quit. We did a poor job of getting Tajh settled down/in a rhythm and really got our ass killed up front on both sides of the football. Dalton Freeman spent time talking trash about Clowney on the radio this week and you see how that worked out for us. I was particularly pleased to hear him running his mouth after the football game as well. Clemson refused to max protect or chip the ends even after they were getting after Tajh Boyd's ass play after play. We didn't run little screens to put the ball in our playmakers' hands near the LOS or screens to the backs/TE to slow down the Carolina pass rush.
Why Clemson refused to commit to running the football is mindboggling. Ellington averaged nearly five yards per carry and Hot Rod got cranked up several times last night. Instead, more designed Boyd runs were in order-some at inopportune times. When you can run the football, damnit, line up and run the football. Where was Sammy Watkins last night? We didn't get him the ball off the little motion carries (jet sweep or otherwise) we've used all year and completely abandoned the WR screens that put the football in the playmaker's hands at the LOS and avoids giving the opportunity to pressure your quarterback.
We've been very lenient with our staff criticism and are through full season four of the Swinney era. We got over the ten win plateau with a very questionable conference schedule. Now our metrics must be reevaluated because the shit we saw last night was unacceptable. If you don't win the ACC, you sure as hell better get after Scar's ass-and losing four in a row is unacceptable. There are still a bunch of changes that have to be made at Clemson for this program to get where it needs to go and we are keeping tabs on the proactivity in completing these tasks as well.
I don't know what else we can do here at STS to push forth our vision of a much better football program. It seems as though we are a broken record-pointing out the same fallacies and issues over and over again. What I really don't understand is how this staff gets so little out of our players. I honestly think Clemson has one of the better staffs in America yet our fundamentals are extremely poor. All of the veteran coaches on staff are well thought of around the coaching communities. We have done a piss poor job filling spots along both lines through recruiting strategy, that is certain. I also understand that it takes some time to undo some of the things Brad Scott poorly implemented in Tigertown. Poor tackling and such are inexplicable. Other fundamental deficiencies are mind boggling. If it isn't the assistants, what is the issue? You would think that Dabo would know how to run a practice-he did play for Gene Stallings. A change is definitely needed in the S&C area. We are not tough and that point cannot be argued. This soft football team is a function of the guys at the top along with offseason weight and conditioning activities. Until Clemson becomes a tough football team, get used to the crap you saw last night when playing a more physical team that understands the importance of repetition S&C tactics.
Around the horn:
Let's start by giving a big round of applause to the ACC. Again, this conference got its ass handed to it on the biggest stage. Clemson got rolled, FSU spanked in the 4th quarter, Wake being Wake, and Tech getting absolutely bitch-slapped in Athens. No wonder the pollsters and the rest of the media piss all over this conference. Kind of makes you reevaluate all the in-conference victories.
Has Gene Chizik been fired yet? The rumors have been out there for a while now. Really, you cannot blame Chizik. He was hired as a mediocre head football coach to come in and follow orders. He hired a fantastic offensive coordinator and toted the company rope. The result was a MNC. It was all built around that one year and I believe Auburnfan now realizes such and wants someone to come in and legitimately build a program. I thought they were making a huge mistake getting rid of Tuberville, but we all know that he butted heads with a lot of influential people on The Plains. You think Eagle fans would gladly welcome him back now? He is a good coach and really does things the right way.
Well, the Georgia Tech game was flat out terrible. Georgia simply beat their ass and there is little excuse for the Yellow Jackets other than they are a bad football team. Their defense is pathetic even without Al Groh and I just don't believe that they have the athletes they need to compete. I have no problem with Paul Johnson's offense but he absolutely has to (A) find some way to improve a pathetic defense and (B) find more ways to get talent on his team. Others have speculated the difficulty in recruiting players with NFL aspirations to run the Flexbone, so I won't regurgitate their takes. Hopefully Alabama hands Georgia their ass next week.
Florida State got manhandled in the first half, fired back with a great third quarter, then made too many mistakes against the Gators. I thought that the ‘Noles big return and the multiple touchdowns that followed were going to push the momentum so far in their favor that they'd ride it to victory. All the Mojo, though, wasn't enough to overcome E. J. Manuel. Fisher kind of threw him under the bus in the post-game interview but I do agree. They get to beat up on Ga Tech next week before a trip to the Orange Bowl.
Bama gets to beat the shit out of two teams en route to another national championship. I won't lie to you, I am excited about seeing them whip Notre Dame and probably more jacked up about this week's Georgia game. I cannot believe that Georgia players would go out and say their guys were better than Bammer. There is little more that I enjoy than watching the Dawgs get rolled on national television, though watching the Domers get rocked will be almost as enjoyable.
So far as Clemson goes, we've got some time on our hands until the Peach Bowl. I'll be interested in looking at the participation numbers to see where we gained experience and where we wasted potential redshirt opportunities. If we play LSU, we'll get to talk nonstop about the isolation play, the power, and such. I am sure Dalton Freeman will talk shit about their defensive line as well.