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NC State Game Film Review

We're going to go pretty much drive by drive here, but not play-by-play on D. See the end for the summarizing thoughts. Please comment and ask questions on what you dont understand, these take a long time to do well. Our goal here is to look for good plays and bad technique. I pulled out only a few plays and if theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask.  I've used TNet vids where appropriate. The animated drive chart is at the end.

ESPN Play-By-Play


Clemson from the 24 - Ace, Sweep into the boundary for 4....Ace, inside zone for about 3....Gun, Bryce McNeal catches a slant in a hook zone for the 1st, then drops the ball and we recover the fumble. Punt.

2 under center, 2 runs. 1 shotgun snap, 1 pass.

NCSU from their 42 - Clemson comes out in Nickel. 4-1-6 sets as well. NC State running a hurry-up offense: all Gun Trips to Field. George Bryan's 17 yd one-handed catch against Brandon Maye was a fantastic catch, but Maye should NEVER turn his back to the Qb. A long pass to Greene is completely uncovered by any Linebacker, and the responsibility (if man) would be Hawkins. If its zone, likely the safety, but play develops quickly. On 3rd & 6, Hawkins commits Pass Interference, wrapped his arm around the guy, then gets yanked for Shuey who shouldnt be in either, and shows it on the TD play. Shuey is too damn slow. TD play is a faked Stretch and the back peels out and Shuey can't scrape over fast enough. 7-0 NCSU, 7 plays 58 yards, 02:32

Same thing has happened all season, when the other team goes hurry-up, and doesn't make substitutions, our guys don't get focused. Usually we don't line up properly but we did here, the underneath coverage just let us down (LBs). I'm surprised more teams have not kept it up against us.

And again a 3rd down penalty nails us.

Clemson from our 15 - I, Power O for 3....Ace, Flanker screen for about 3. Nice block by Hopkins, he missed it a bit the first time and came back to make it....Gun 2B, Marquan on a hook/slant in the face of a blitz. ...Boyd in, Gun, Rocket sweep/zone read play and Boyd gets 2....Gun, McNeal again on the hook in the same place for the 1st down....Ace, Zone for 7. Dalton Freeman made the play work. Took out Irving.... I, delay draw with orbit motion on 2nd & 3. Trying to be cute ....Gun Empty on 3rd & 3, hit the hook again to Dwayne Allen....Ace, PA throw to McNeal, may have had better throw had McClain not gotten his ass beat. Like the call to take the shot deep though....Gun, another flanker screen to Jones for a few...Ace, Zone for about 4. Freeman makes it work again....Near I, Fade pass to Nuke incomplete....Gun, Called Keeper and Parker fumbles it. Pathetic. Not holding it high and tight. ....Then we get a another stupid Delay of Game penalty.....Gun, Wolff got in front of McNeal's face and the ball hits his stomach, incomplete. Jackson missed the 37yd FG, of course. Bad snap but the ball was set when he kicked.14 plays 65 yards, 06:58

Clemson hits the hook/slant where the LB is supposed to be, but he usually blitzes. Wolfpack align themselves in a 3-3 or other ODD look with Nickel, but also EVEN fronts, and sometimes have a LB on the LOS and sometimes put 3 on the Field side and blitz one of them.  Typical Tenuta. #42 for them is not great.

Execution on the drive was very good, and the calls themselves were fine, but again we show preference for running under center and passing from the Gun.

7 under center 4 runs and 3 passes, 7 shotgun snaps and 5 passes 2 runs.

NCSU from their 20 - Brewer too soft in his drop to give up one first down. Tigers went 3-4 and sent Bowers from ILB on a twist with Branch on a 5-man blitz on 3rd & 8, otherwise it was all 4-2 nickel. 6 plays 26 yards, 02:26

Underneath coverage was a little soft with the LBs.

CU from the 13 - Gun, inside zone for 2. No movement by Landon Walker....Gun, Roll out and Parker takes it himself for no gain....Gun, Parker hits Nuke on a Post for 33. Good protection, and #42 for them still sucks....End 1st QTR....Ace, PA, Parker steps up and hits Harper standing in the flats, good checkdown. NCSU playing Quarters and they go with Hopkins leaving no one underneath...I, Iso Hot Rod for 3, Freeman didn't do so hot this time....Gun, Zone McD for 3, #42 gives us offsides penalty though....Ace, Zone McD for 1 on 2nd & 2....I, PA Waggle and Parker throws across his body again to the middle, missing Allen by 10 yards. Awful.....I, Power Harper for the 1st on 4th & 1....I, Diehl falls down and Harper trips over him. ..Gun, Entire OL whiffs on blocks, Parker throws across his body to the middle again and Manning picks it off. Penalty negates the TD return.10 plays 64 yards, 04:17

5 shotgun snaps, 3 called passes and 2 runs. 5 under-center, 2 pass, 3 run. 

NC State from their 17 - Clemson is running a ton of line stunts to generate pass rush with just 4. Maye is still lazy in coverage, and Hawkins completely whiffed on a tackle of Russell Wilson at the 1st down marker, then Hall got himself flattened on a stiff arm. Went for a gain of 27. On 3rd & 6, PI is called on Darius Robinson, which I think is total BS. Throw wasn't even intended for the Z receiver. D stuffs the inside zone runs and forces the FG, which gets blocked.10 plays 70 yards, 03:43

Even though we stunt alot today, we are not running ourselves out of gaps, which is an improvement over North Texas. NC State is not taking advantage of the available Zone read play though. These inside zones are called zones. If they chose to run him he would get 5-10 a pop.

Clemson from the 11 - Ace Sweep, Tajh Boyd fumbles the damn ball. His fault for not putting it into Harper's stomach.

1 under center, 1 run called.

NCSU from our 7 - Thompson eats up Washington, blew right by the Center. DMac steals one to save us. 

2 away from Terry Kinard's record.

Steele passes out from fear of DMac and Bowers coming at him.

Clemson from the 20 - Boyd still in. Ace, Zone for about 4...Ace, Zone for 3....Block in back on a jailbreak negates the pass to McNeal for the 1st down....Gun, Boyd steps up and scrambles and caught. Punt.

Then we get another bullshit penalty on kick catch interference, on Byron Maxwell.

Always shooting ourselves.

2 under center, 2 runs. 1 gun, pass is called and a scramble.

NCSU from our 41 - Bowers bull rushes and throws the OT aside, and so does Branch. Bowers was aligned inside at the 0 technique on the Branch sack, collapsing the pocket and letting Branch come up to catch Wilson. Punt.

Clemson from the 18 - With 2:53 you can run some, but with this distance to cover you must throw. Gun, Parker throws too far in front of Harper on a flare...Gun, Flanker screen to Nuke for 10. Well blocked, and good that the OL got out there quick enough to make them....Gun, McNeal wide open and Parker throws behind him, but McNeal must stop his route running against zone....Gun Empty, Screen to Marquan for 8...Gun, Parker rolls out and tosses it to Harper for the 1st....Ace, zone for 2....Gun, Parker rolls out and hits a WR downfield! Damn....Gun, again scrambles and hits Hopkins on a comeback route for 18....Gun, Parker scrambles for gain of 5....Gun, Allen flare for 2-3....Ace, Power O and the Skirt actually breaks a tackle for 9...Gun, Draw for 4...Gun, Parker hits McNeal on a post for the TD, called back thanks to Landon Walker.

Then Parker gets sacked twice. Gun, Parker steps up and doesnt see Harper available, gets sacked.....Gun 2B, Landon Walker gets speed rushed by a ghost weighing at least 50lbs less and Parker sacked. 14 plays 38 yards, 02:53

12 gun snaps, 11 were called passes, 1 run. 2 under center, both runs.

Landon Walker always finds a way to piss me off. I wish he could block as well as he talks on TI. Whenever you see somebody not being moved on a run play, look to see if its Walker matched on him.


Clemson is moving the ball in the air, theres no doubt of that, but we killed ourselves with two penalties on 3rd downs and another on Walker to negate a TD. I wish we had someone to take the top off this defense, because they are not that great.

NCSU is not taking what we give them, and why they don't let Wilson run more is something I can't figure out. He could kill us by himself.

Either team could be up 21 points here, we screw up and then they follow it with an equally-shitty finish to their drives.

Dabo says the team played with "heart and passion" in the 1st half.


3rd QTR

NC State from the 30 - Sensabaugh jumped the quick screen perfectly for force a loss on the play, then Hawkins is again a step late in recognition in coverage on the TE to give up 17 yards. Rennie Moore gets a sack, but Thompson went essentially unblocked on that play. BT just threw the Center aside. On 3rd & 16, Hawkins leaves his spy zone with the underneath receiver and Wilson rushes for 12. Punt. 6 plays 28 yards

Playing mostly Over/Under 4-2-5 and 4-1-6 there. Inside-outside recognition by Hawkins continues to be an issue that nails us.

CU from the 20 - Ace, PA, Parker sacked by the guy that Dalton Freeman forgot to block. Freeman got totally jumped and had no position on him. Fumbled and NCSU recovers.

1 under-center, its a pass call.

NCSU from our 13 - Screen play is perfectly played by Gilchrist outside, fought off the block instantly and TFL. Branch played WLB again on 3rd down, in a 3-2 front that we first showcased against Auburn, and made the tackle on an underneath receiver to force the FG attempt. 10-0 NCSU 3 plays 2 yards

Can't ask for any more from the defense there, that should've been an easy TD after the turnover.

CU from the 34 - I, zone for 2. David Smith couldnt get any movement generated. Everyone up front got stood up....Ace, outside zone for 3. Dwayne Allen gets bullrushed 5 yards deep....Gun, Parker hits Jones underneath the sticks. Again throwing underneath the sticks. Punt.

2 under center, 2 runs. 1 gun snap, 1 pass.

NCSU from their 10 - Thompson/Jenkins bullrush the Center right into Greene for a TFL. Wilson scrambles for 10 because both LBs went with one receiver across the middle. On a zone read play, Hawkins recovers the fumbled exchange. Wilson made the correct read with Goodman standing there, but Greene didn't handle the ball.

CU at their 22 - Ace, end-around to WR pass, knocked away in the endzone. He threw it inside and it should've been outside. If he had, its the TD..... Gun, flanker screen to Bryce again inside the 10. Brandon Ford's block made it work, he held it downfield perfectly....Ace, Hot Rod on a zone for 0. No movement inside....I, Harper TFL in the backfield as Smith gets his ass handed to him by Sweezy....Gun, Parker hits Nuke on a Post route for the score. Very nice throw. 10-7 NCSU  5 plays 22 yards, 02:09

We cashed in, they didnt.

3 under center, 2 rush and 1 pass. 2 shotgun and 2 passes.

NCSU from their 20 - Bowers sack but its because Jenkins ate up #64.

Wilson rolls out and finds Spencer downfield behind Gilchrist for 31. Marcus just got beat, he came up thinking Wilson would scramble and left his man.... Wilson scrambles and hits Washington in the flat on the next play for another 24, no LB picked him up.... Wilson fumbles a snap and Washington goes nowhere to end the 3rd. Start 4th QTR. Wilson throws a bullet on a slant for a 14 yd gain. Thats just a good play, perfect throw that you can't defend....A 6-man blitz on 3rd & Gl forces an early throw that Brewer bats away to force the kick. 13-7 NCSU 10 plays 70 yards, 04:22

NC State gets yards when they move Wilson around, I'm not able to figure out why they aren't moving him around more often, particularly with the pass rush we're getting. That is pretty much how they got all the yards on this drive.

Gilchrist returns the kickoff 76 yards.

CU from their 21 - I, Power O for 1. Chris Hairston got himself turned around....Ace, Sweep and Harper breaks one tackle but is swarmed. No blockers got out on the edge for him, horribly executed line movement....Gun Empty, Parker rolls when he doesnt need to, and throws it away instead of running it. He could've run the ball himself and gotten half the yardage for the 1st down. Jackson pushes the next one wide right.

Pathetic. Pathetic OL play.

2 under center, 2 rush. 1 gun, 1 pass.

NCSU from their 20 - 3 & out. 3 plays -7 yards. Nice gap filling by Meeks on the first play. A horribly executed draw play on 3rd down and Jenkins continued rapage of the Center forces a punt.

Clemson from their 39 - 9:28 left. Ace, PA and Harper forgets to block, Parker rolls out and runs out of bounds....Gun Empty, Fl screen to Jones for 5-6. McNeal did not make his block and it forced Jones over the middle. Play should go outside....Gun, Parker hits Ford at the sticks....I, Iso and Harper cuts it back into the guy Freeman forgot to block....Gun, PA and Parker hits Marquan on the Out route for 13. Parker had a receiver wide open over the middle, but never once looked at him....Ace, Hairston gets outworked and Parker rolls, throws incomplete....Gun,Parker hits JH on the checkdown wisely. He didn't do that last week....1st & Gl at the 4, Gun, Inside zone TD. Well blocked by McClain and notice Freeman pick up for the Combo block. 14-13 Clemson, 8 plays 39 yards, 03:10

3 under-center snaps, 2 were called passes. 1 called rush. 5 gun snaps, 4 passes and 1 run.

NCSU from their 22 - Wilson rolls and runs around BT/JJ and gets the PI call on Brewer. He didn't need to stop and reset, but BT's pressure forced it. The WR was wide open and Brewer could only catch him because of that reset. I think the PI is iffy at best....Wilson rolls and hits T.J. Graham for 15 on a comeback, soft coverage, took too much cushion...Maye and Christian make the play on the called keeper to force the punt.

4th & 1 on the CU 43, too far for a FG kick and your offense has been stifled all day, and only 3:42 is left on the clock (at the end of the play). I personally would go for this because I don't know that I'd get into our CU territory again, and my team has had success moving Wilson around to create plays, and my defense just gave up the go-ahead TD.

We screw up, they screw up, story of this game.

CU from the 39 - 3:18 I, Iso for 6. I, Power O for 3. I, Power play loses a yard. Smith got hit low (weak TE block) and it pushed him wide enough that Manning could make the play.

3 under center, 3 runs. Obviously killing clock.

Great play by Zimmerman to save this game, shitty snap again from our scholarship long snapper.

NCSU from their 15 -  They hit the first pass and then the D shuts them down, helped by a crucial drop. Great defensive zone coverage. Gilchrist played the Smash play exactly right and Brewer gave the correct cushion.

CU takes a knee to end it.


Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

Summarizing Thoughts

I was losing my mind watching the first half of this cluster. Neither of these teams really deserved to win it. Our defense is the only reason we won and they did an outstanding job shutting down a potent pass offense.

Most of that credit goes to the DLine. After the 1st quarter we ripped them apart up front. Brandon Thompson and Jarvis Jenkins ate their interior linemen up all day. The only NCSU lineman who I thought played well was the LT on Branch most of the day. Bowers took a couple plays off but he's still playing his assignment and lit his man up quite a bit as you saw. We completely stifled their run game and they abandoned it, which is all the more impressive considering we played with 6 in the box for most of the game. With the run game stopped and the DL getting pressure so easily, the zone coverage we employed held up enough to completely stuff them.

What I don't get is what NCSU is thinking with Wilson. I don't see what backup strategy Dana Bible has. They have had success moving him around with waggles and zone reads, but for 2 years now they don't take full advantage of it. Do you think that we'd have stopped him on a zone read?

I'm wondering why we didn't redshirt Justin Parker more and more each week. I did not see him at all today. If he's not getting 15-20 snaps by this part of the year, our staff wasted the year for him.

None of our LBs can get over to cover the flat routes. Some are just too slow, sometimes its them not reading their key quickly enough or letting the inside-breaking receiver take their attention away from the key.

To Brad Scott:


This OL looks like dogshit. They play pattycake all week in practice and hit like little girls against a DL that was NOT IMPRESSIVE.  Watching Landon Walker get stood up again and again just cements him on the OL Who Pisses Me Off Weekly list. If he blocked half as well as he talks in interviews he'd be All-ACC. Whenever I see the right side not moving, I always see Walker getting stood up by some little guy.

Dabo said they played well today, he's full of shit if he thinks so.

Parker's passing was not awful if you look at the whole game. 20/29 is pretty good, but he still made 3 really stupid throws that he knows not to make and what appears to be a lack of coaching there and lack of focus by he and this offense attributed to just 14 points and a total of 260 yards offense. Thats pathetic. This defense is not good. Our defense is not good enough to be put in these kinds of positions week after week and still win.

Boyd got his shot, and I would've left him in even after he fumbled as well. I would've put Parker back in the game after a series or two, and we may not have won this game without him in there. Going forward, you still have to give Boyd a series or two per game, but I do not support changing QBs during the series.

Other than Harper's inability to lower his shoulder and take on a hit consistently, I don't have much of a problem with him today. He didn't have anybody who felt like blocking for 60 minutes. Our lack of success in the red zone this year is directly attributed to the line play and not running the football well enough. 8 quarters without a TD is pitiful, which is where we were coming in. 56 times we've rushed inside the Red Zone, for a total of 134 yards in ACC play. 2 ypc in the red zone today.

WR corps played very well I thought. Bryce could've caught the ball in the endzone, or not fumbled the other. Marquan Jones went from 100% invisible to 75% invisible. For the most part their blocking was pretty good.

The playcalling itself doesn't give me much issue, as for down/distance and situation. What does irritate me is the formation selection. You can see above that we still go Gun when we want to throw, and run from under-center formations. This week there was an effort to throw more from under-center, but I don't see any reason, as a defensive guy, to not just drop 8 into coverage and play C3 against Clemson whenever they show me shotgun or put 8 in the box against any under-center formation.

In the 1st half, we went shotgun 26 snaps, and intended to throw 21 times. We went under center 19 times, and ran it 14 of those. In the 2nd, 9 gun snaps and 8 were called passes. 14 under-center snaps and 10 were called rushes. I am counting scrambles and sacks as called pass plays, though they officially count as runs.

And I still think that TDP tries to get this man a big buyout and extension.