I don't see why it is that Furman always makes us feel unfulfilled after an easy win, but they always seem to do this. Clemson needed another tune-up before the meat of the schedule, and after this game I think we need another one.
Nothing is wrong with the offense, they are ready for the schedule, so long as we don't deal with any more injuries up front. Giff Timothy and David Beasley didn't really play, and Shatley turned his ankle and spent the 2nd half in a boot. I wanted the backups up front to get plenty of PT because they won't going forward if history is any indicator, so we should be happy about that. You can't build depth without getting experience for the backups.
Partially as a result of the makeshift OL, we didn't do well up front in run blocking. We should be dominating an 0-2 1-AA team up front anyway; however, we did not. Ellington did not break 100. Brooks did well late but it was clear that Furman was tired on defense. Kalon Davis is just not strong enough at the POA and does not pull well, but I did see him finishing his blocks. Spencer Region is just too big and slow. We'll need the starting 5 back next week and they all have to bring their "A" game. You have to be able to win the LOS to win big games consistently.
The rest of the offense was just fine but the tempo was off. Tajh Boyd reached 2nd all-time in TD passes, now only behind Charlie Whitehurst. He'll pass Whitehurst midseason. Sammy is himself, but I thought we'd target him more than we did. I'd like to see Martavis Bryant make the easy catch and learn how to be physical as a blocker. He's a foot taller than the guy he's blocking and he looks like he's scared to hit.
In the first half, the defense was complete garbage. Furman took advantage of our rather soft underneath coverage and dinked & dunked themselves right down the field, and combined with horrid interior gap control they moved at will against our defense. However, once we get into the red zone we tighten up that underneath coverage and a penalty here and there killed their scoring chances on an otherwise good set of drives.
Look for our opponents to basically try this same strategy going forwards. They know we're weak in coverage over the middle and underneath to the flats, and you'll see this again. The problem is that some of the future opponents can really take advantage of the poor play over the middle. Furman's QB hit 19-of-29 and they put up 242 in the air, which is unacceptable.
We weren't doing a good job at all of stopping the run early thanks to some bad gap control inside. I know everyone is wondering if its talent or coaching, but I say its experience. We played Watson, Jarrett and Williams last year, and yet they didn't get into games. We've got the best DT coach there is, but they haven't had the snaps. Its on the staff for not playing them last year, which we were harping about at the time.
LB play cant make up for bad interior play, and it wasn't good overall, but Quandon Christian had a nice 2nd half, and Tony Steward did get into the game. He was at MLB for a few snaps and WILL for some 4-2-5 sets. Tig Willard did not dress for the game. I think as the game went forward, Furman lost their energy on offense and didn't attack us as well as they possibly could have, but we did play better in the 2nd half. That was a positive, but I don't think it carries into next week. We've got issues on defense and they may take half the season to really make progress fixing.
The season starts next week folks.