Far from perfect, not even acceptable really based on the capability of this team's talent, but we'll take the Win. Two years ago we get blown out of this game, and if one call goes the other way it could've meant a loss tonight. This team deserves to drop in the rankings and national title talk can go out the window if they want to play like this.
I'm struggling to find something about this offense's performance that doesn't make me want to throw things through my window. I think the only one might be that Martavis Bryant made up for some poor effort plays with a couple of very nice catches that really showed what he can do when he focuses on every play and reaches his potential.
Everything else was simply off. Tajh pressed and tried for the big play and couldn't hit them when they were open. The OL couldn't give him time for many deeper patterns to develop because they were being raped all night by guys Clemson wouldn't take. Gifford Timothy was destroyed on the first drive and Dabo benched him, then put him back in after the State DL got tired enough so that his molasses feet could keep up. Isaiah Battle capped off the night by being a complete moron and giving an uppercut punch to a State lineman after the game is decided and having himself ejected for a week. Just a fantastic performance up front, so much so that I'd have them hitting the sled again tomorrow morning.
There is no excuse for the performance we've seen from that group since UGA. They don't want their starting jobs. If the backups played harder in practice this week I'd probably demote the whole first team line.
But I think some of the performance of the offensive line goes back to the playcalling. I rarely disagree with what The Chad calls, but when we look our worst, it has been a pattern that his calls aren't helping the problem we see on the field. Tajh gets pressure and we don't go with enough max protect to alleviate the issue. The lack of commitment to running the ball continues to come up when we struggle. He'd rather run Boyd up the middle and take another hit than let McDowell take that hit -- and we weren't bad at running the ball tonight. 14 carries for 67 yards last I checked. If you can get past the front 4, there is not much on the NC State defense to pose a threat to our offense. In the film review this is going to be one of the main things we look at.
The defense had one truly bad drive, but I think that one goes heavily on the defensive calls by Venables. He likes to sit back in C3 and we end up leaving huge swaths of empty space in the middle and underneath. The opponent just takes the checkdown and gets 5-15 yards depending on whether we actually make the tackle (which Travis Blanks still can't do, and he should hit the tackling dummy 100x this week because I'm sick and tired seeing him get dumptrucked).
Interior tackling against the run was fine, but our Linebackers had some issues picking up the correct man in the backfield. State was getting us out of position by their presnap formation shifts and formations. Stephone Anthony in particular was not picking up the motion in the backfield and was outflanked several times. Unfortunately State screwed themselves up with it too. Other than that, and other than the soft coverage calls at times, there wasn't much wrong with our play. Vic Beasley made up for his lack of rush and gap discipline by being in the backfield on every pass play.
Just glad this one is over. We knew this was a game that could give us heartburn and we escaped with a win. Hopefully the team will get their shit together and run over every opponent hereafter.