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Clemson vs Sakerlina Game Film Review

I see few descriptive plays to pull out for this week, but we'll look at some plays from this game and the season through this offseason. 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. The goal here is to look for both good plays and bad technique. If theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask.

ESPN Play-by-Play

Clemson starts at our 27 - I, PA pass to Diehl in the flats for a couple...Gun, screen to Hopkins for 32 yards, nice job by Smith to get out there and set the block....I, Iso loss of 3. Ajiboye comes almost completely free up the A gap..Gun, Nuke outruns 3 guys up the seam with a double move, curl & go it appears. Thats a coverage bust. The safety was nowhere near where he is supposed to be. Excellent protection but it was only 3 rushing. 7-0 Clemson. 4 plays 74 yards, 01:50.

2 shotgun plays, 2 passes. Twice under-center, 1 pass and 1 run.

SC from their 23 - Iso for 6...Sprint Draw for 10, BT missed a tackle in the backfield...QB Trap for nothing. This looked like a busted play up front...Quick pass to the flat to DiMarco for 7...Garcia overthrows Jeffery on 3rd & 3, but Rashard Hall commits a stupid penalty for 15 to give the 1st down...Pass thrown away with Branch coming....Quick In route to Jeffery for 9...Garcia keeper barely gets the 1st down...Overthrow against double covered Gurley into the endzone...Lattimore drops an easy crosser, he wouldve gotten a 1st had he caught this....Bowers and Goodman flush Garcia away and he throws it to the ground. 46yd FG. 7-3 Clemson.11 plays 48 yards, 03:52

Surprised Spurrier didn't run the ball more on this drive, as Lattimore got good yards on the first two plays. Usually when he sees something he keeps going to it.

Clemson is playing C2 and Quarters coverage, Under sets when they go Pro-set, and Nickel/Dime sets otherwise. We've varied the fronts quite a bit over these first few drives.

CU from our 20 - I, Iso, McClain beaten so badly off the snap that Harper had no chance. SC stemmed and blitzed a DB.....Ace, Draw for 7...Gun, Parker throws a streak to Jones who isn't even looking for the football.

2 under center, 2 runs. 1 Gun, 1 pass.

SC from the  41- 3& out. Zone read for no gain. Thompson bats away a pass. Tigers blitz two right up the middle and Garcia throws it to the ground.

CU from the 21 - Pistol, Power O for no gain....Ace, zone up the gut for 6...Gun Empty on 3rd & 4, Parker throws a dead duck to the flat, it was not tipped by a SC player.

Our scholarship long-snapper snaps one over Zimmerman's head.

Pistol? Another one of those plays that appears stuck in haphazardly and never seen again. It didn't reappear during the game.

1 under center, 1 run. 2 gun, 1 pass and 1 run.

SC from the 5 - 1 play 1 TD, DiMarco sneaks out while everybody is jumping around pointing to who they are supposed to be covering, and as usual when that has happened this year, its Gilchrist that gets beat. PAT blocked by Brandon Thompson. 9-7 SC.

I do not see why this confusion in the coverage has not been fixed this year. This is what let North Texas score on us, and every opponent who has caused this same issue has usually beaten us on the following play, and usually against the DB on the slot receiver, which is almost always Gilchrist.

He needs to worry about HIS job, not everyone elses. He cannot take his eyes off the backfield.

9 points given to SC because of our mistakes. The personal foul kept the first drive going, and the botched snap.

CU from the 20 - Gun Empty, stop route to Nuke for 11....I, Power for 4...Gun Empty, Nuke on a nice double-move comeback route for 13...I, Power for 2...Gun, they try to set up a screen and Dickerson gets into the backfield to bat it away. I think Parker took too long to get rid of it....False Start Allen....Gun, Parker just leads Hopkins too much on a Corner route. Nice to see the shot deep. 6 plays 25 yards, 02:22

4 shotgun plays, 4 passes. 2 under center, 2 runs.

SC from the 15 - Iso for 2...Garcia throws one over Jeffery's outside shoulder, who adjusted to the width of the throw. Maxwell just not close enough.. Zone for 3...Zone for 4...End 1st QTR...Clemson blites up the middle, Garcia rolls right and throws back across the middle to Jeffery for a 37 yd TD, Maxwell again a step behind. Safety needs to be there to help him, and it appears to be C1. His eyes were trained outside. 16-7 SC. 5 plays 48 yards.

Maxwell just isn't good enough to cover Jeffery.

Clemson from the SC 38 - 62 yard kickoff return by Gilchrist, plus a 15 yard personal foul...I, sweep for 1. No push outside and Harper was hit in the backfield...Ace, PA, slightly overthrown to Hopkins on a quick hitch...Gun, Parker rushed and steps up, throws to Brandon Ford and he drops it at the sticks.

Both WRs here were looking downfield instead of at the ball.

Great opportunity horribly squandered. Ford's is a definite drop, Hopkins was high but catchable.

2 under center, 1 pass and 1 run. 1 gun, 1 pass.

SC from their 20 - Garcia keeper for 4. Looks like a keep-pass option. Cunningham beats Maye and Hawkins over the middle for 8...Zone read for 4...Garcia hits Lattimore on a dump pass for 4...Lead play for 6...Jeffery catches a 41 yard pass between 4 defenders, double move route against Maxwell and Meeks flat missed the tackle....Draw for 2...Lattimore for 3...Garcia overthrows one under pressure to the back corner. 25 yd FG. 19-7 SC. 10 plays 72 yards, 05:29

Bad drive for the defense, but good to hold to a FG here.

CU from the 27 - Ace, zone for 4...I,Iso for 5 into a run blitz...I, Power for 2 to get the 1st down...Ace, Power for 1, no movement generated on the DT and McClain did not get into the gap...Gun, AE draw play for no gain...Gun Empty, Ingram blows right by David Smith and Parker throws away. 6 plays 12 yards

4 under center, 4 runs. 2 gun snaps, 1 pass and 1 run.

SC from their 24 - Brewer loses Lattimore in backfield, wheel route for 12...Iso for 1...Sprint draw for 3...Jeffery was triple covered and Garcia threw it anyway on a crosser, but had another man wide open underneath. Punt.

Defense has shifted mostly to Nickel sets. 4-2 and 3-2-6 being shown, but always dropping someone down to help with Lattimore.

CU from the 20 - Ace, PA, Parker throws one too wide for Hopkins under heavy pressure...Gun, bubble screen to Jaron Brown for 5...Gun, Ford falls down on a comeback route.

Pitiful series of Clemson drives. 1 under center, 1 pass. 2 gun snaps, 2 passes.

SC from the 35 - Garcia has all day to throw and finds Lattimore on the checkdown for 7....sprint draw for nothing. Nice tackle by Sensabaugh and Hall...Garcia rolls right and throws back over to Cunningham  on the sideline backside. No LB there on him...Garcia overthrows Jeffery down the sideline. Safety was there to help this time...Goodman badly held, 10 yards...Screen and Corico Hawkins does a great job to chase down Marcus Lattimore. I didn't think he could do that....Garcia overthrows one to Moore, well covered by Brewer. FG MISSED from 49.


Up to this point, Clemson's offense has been anemic. When we run, we don't get push. When we pass, the only thing we seem to consistently try to throw are hitches and comebacks. Parker has been off but his protection isn't so outstanding either. SC is sending guys from multiple angles and doing alot of stemming and stunting.

Steele has thrown just about everything in the book out there. We show 30 and 40 fronts, Under and Over, 3-2-6 and 4-1-6 and 4-2-5. I see a little bit of everything. After the first couple catches by Alshon Jeffery we went with less man/man it appeared, but also less 3 LB groupings. It was pretty much all Nickel from there onwards.

One thing that you must give great credit to them for is their tackling. Its been exceptional, even for Brandon Maye.

Nuke Hopkins came to play though, 4 catches for 99 yards in the 1st half.

3rd QTR

SC from their 29 - Zone for 3 and again for 2. QB Draw for 10, no LB in the B gap there. Iso for 2. Backside blitz forces an early throw incomplete, but Garcia took a hard hit on the play from Maye. Great coverage forces Garcia to throw one away incomplete. Punt.

D did what they needed to do there.

Clemson from the 8 - Gun, screen to Harper for the 1st....Ace, Zone play and Harper busts one through for 18....I, Iso for about 3....Gun, Parker rolls right and throws it up, pick 6. 26-7 SC

Ball should never have been thrown, he wasn't even looking at that defender who had perfect position on it, and it was a very weak throw that occurs when you don't set your feet.

I think Kyle Parker quit on us here, and didn't react well when Dabo yanked him.

2 Gun snaps, 2 passes. 2 under center, 2 runs.

Clemson from the 20 - Tajh Boyd in at QB. Gun, roll right and thrown to the ground in double coverage...Gun 2B, finds Jaron on a little slant in a zone hole...Gun, pass to the flat is low and tipped at the line.

3 gun snaps, 3 passes. Game is essentially over in my eyes at this point. CU is now in obvious pass-only mode.

SC from their 43 - DeAndre run blitzes and hits Lattimore for a loss...Hawkins and Brewer are there on a screen and make sound tackle on Latt...Jeffery open for 15 on a Dig, Gilchrist and Meeks playing zone and neither one is close, Gilchrist's man to pick up going up the seam....Thompson blows up the Center again to stop Latt for -2...Again BT stops Latt for a loss....Bowers flushes Garcia and he scrambles for 3, badly held and pushed to the ground and still got up to nearly catch Garcia. Perfect inside swim move. Punt. 6 plays 8 yards, 04:01

DL is playing pissed off on this drive.

Punt drops down at the 1. Gilchrist had to let it go inside the 5, and does a good job of trying to sell it to the coverage, but its just a bad bounce for Clemson.

CU from the 1 - Ace, QB Sneak...Ace, PA thrown downfield to Jaron Brown fairly well thrown but not caught. He get shielded a bit by Whitlock (see pic above) and had the chance to get it....Ace, Zone for 8. Punt.

Like the 2nd down call to throw it deep, he just has to catch the ball.

3 under center, 2 rushes and 1 pass.

SC from our 39 - Garcia rolls right, throws down the sideline to Jeffery in double coverage. Tipped away just enough by Maxwell....Rennie Moore stops Latt for loss...3rd & 10, Maxwell wrestles with Jeffery for PI, Alshon initiated the contact. Maxwell obviously frustrated but you have to commit PI rather than give up the TD here...Iso for no gain, stopped by BT...BT offsides...BT again on the tackle of Lattimore...Jump ball to Jeffery thrown too high. FG 29-7 SC 6 plays 20 yards, 02:49

Brandon Thompson is playing his ass off and just raping the Center. He's all over Lattimore.

Again the D is put in bad field position and does their best, but I also think Spurrier has decided to not really attack our defense. He has basically run a few zones and told Garcia to just chunk it to Jeffery.

CU from the 24 - Gun, Boyd sacked...Gun, bubble screen for minimal gain...Gun, Boyd's rope to Marquan is tipped away, thrown late. That ball needs to be there as soon as he cuts back on the hitch. Punt.

3 gun snaps, 1 sack and 2 passes.

Start 4th QTR.

SC from their 46 - 3 & out. Lattimore comes out of the game, Garcia throws a dead duck to the flat incomplete.

CU from the 16 - Gun, Tajh scrambles and fumbles the ball, holding it like a QB does. Thats more than once he's coughed it up this year taking a hit...Gun, thrown just a tad behind Brown on a hitch, but could be caught...Gun, PA, rolls right and finds Nuke sitting in the zone for 16...Gun, quick out to B. Ford for a few ...Gun, bubble screen to Marquan for no gain, no block from the OLineman scrambling out downfield. Good play by their D..Gun, bullet to Marquan on a Dig for about 15...Gun, draw for 5...Gun, Smash pattern, Brown catches the Flag for 16...Gun, blitzed outside and Boyd scrambles and tosses it away...Gun, Jamie Harper flat out misses the blitzer coming up the middle, Boyd sidesteps but gets a couple...Gun, Boyd on a Draw for 1...Gun, Dalton Freeman whiffs the block on Cliff Matthews completely, pisspoor effort, and he sacks Boyd, who fumbles the ball again to SC.12 plays 41 yards, 04:41

Two fumbles on one drive by Tajh, this may be a problem next year.

12 plays, all shotgun snaps, 2 appear to be called runs, assuming Boyd was told to tuck it on that apparent draw.

SC from their 43 - SC is just running the ball and the clock now. Rennie Moore offsides...Iso for 5...Holding called...toss sweep for 3...Zone lead play for about 15...excellent penetration by Hawkins and Jenkins gets a 2 yard loss. Punt.

CU from the 6 - Gun, Nuke catches an out/comeback for 6, then a personal foul call on Gilmore...Gun, Boyd throws one over the middle low enough to be tipped, but its a good throw...Gun, another quick out to Dye for about 6...Gun, Boyd takes it on a called keeper for 2. Punt.

Game is over at this point with 3:50 on the clock, SC just runs the clock out on the next drive. Clemson gets the ball back once more at the end, with the highlight being McDowell's draw for 39 yards. Then Boyd is sacked again.



Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

Summarizing Thoughts

Steele came into this game with the mindset that Marcus Lattimore would not beat us, and he didn't. Most teams paid for their poor tackling fundamentals against him this year, but we came prepared to stop him and we tackled excellently.

The only thing that we obviously lack is a shutdown corner. Maxwell has done his job all year but he just isn't as talented as Alshon Jeffery, so I'm not going to be hard on him. I do question the choice to play him man-man though, or to not bracket him. He's quite difficult to bracket as well however.

Spurrier's gameplan was vanilla, we were down quickly enough that he didn't have to show anything. He just ran Iso and Zone with Lattimore and threw it up to Alshon, then said "I can beat you with Justice Cunningham" and did so.

One guy who didn't get enough mention postgame and hasn't since is Brandon Thompson, he completely destroyed the interior line of SC all day. He's in the backfield on nearly every down played in the 2nd half. Our Linebackers did a pretty damn good job during this game too. Maye made his reads and made the tackles he should've made, Hawkins too.

Bowers' motor didn't seem like it was on full speed, but SC called some screens and draws and zone reads to take him away, and blocked him well. I'm not seeing as many double-teams come to him as I thought had to be the case.

On offense its the opposite story, as you already know. Nuke Hopkins again showed why he's such a special player but no one else did.

The OL got tricked numerous times by the games SC played with their fronts, and when they didn't they just made some pisspoor efforts on blocks. At times protection was good, but that was more when SC dropped 8. At least they didn't get serious pressure with 3 as often as BC did.

Tajh Boyd has a cannon, but has to be more careful with the football.

Playcalling wasn't so much an issue to me, not specific plays anyway, but the tendencies viz. run/pass or gun/Ace-I are still evident:

In the 1st half Clemson had 14 shotgun snaps, 12 ended up as pass plays, and 2 rushes. We had 14 plays run from under-center, 11 were run plays.

In the 2nd half we went into pass mode by the 2nd drive, so its unfit for good comparison. However until the final possession we had 20 shotgun snaps and only 3 were called rushes. 5 plays under center, and 2 were rushes, and both of those were  when we started inside our 1 yard line.