clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Clemson - N. Texas Game Film Review

ESPN Recap

For those of you who are new to STS since last season, we evaluate the film each week after the game. The goal is to see who really played well and who didn't, and find out what the major problems were each game, and put it all at a reasonably understandable level to those who did not play football or have no type of X's and O's training. We want you to understand what the problem really is and why so you can be better informed.

I'm going to go pretty much drive by drive here until the 4th, offense and defense, not every play but most of them, because they were all for yards. See the end for the summarizing thoughts. I've used TNet videos where I think they do well, but they are sideline shots and don't show the plays develop. 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 may pull a few plays out to discuss the Clemson offense/defense, and if theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask. 

The animated drive chart is at the end.

Eagles vs Tigers boxscore

First Clemson Drive begins at the CU 40 - Tigers come out in Gun Trips L, with TE motion. WHY? Parker throws a ball after PA to the sideline at Dye's feet on the bootleg. 2nd Play, just a checkdown to an inside zone run play because there are only 5 NT players in the box. Notice the Nickel is blitzing and Ellington zooms by him. Clemson goes up 7-0. 2 plays, 60 yards.


NT drive begins at their 20 - Clemson showing Nickel Cover 1 here, with a 2-high shell, Chavis actually started over Thompson at Tackle.... 2nd down play we only had 5 in the box, Hawkins peeled back into zone coverage and Tune goes up the middle for 6...3rd down play gets 13 over the middle because Gilchrist wasn't with his man. Willard was on the slot and jammed him, and the 2nd slot (trips side) cut across on an In route. Gilchrist wasn't on his back and Willard had little time to react....Dunbar for 8 on a zone read, Hall was charging but both Tune and Dunbar ran up the middle. It appears Branch was just standing there waiting, then some weak tackling followed....Nickel blitz from the backside and Tune keeps it for 1 on a lead option...After the first down on 3rd & 2, Tune fumbles a handoff for a loss...K. Brown hits Tune on a throw incomplete, then Goodman gets a sack to end the drive.

Looks to me that they are just counting the numbers in the box and then adjusting their read option plays, Clemson is walking Rashard Hall down into the box late. Hall is playing to the single receiver side and DMac playing the twins or trips side as a deep cover or coming up in man.

Clemson has opted for stunts instead of blitzes today. On the sack we were playing a double-eagle front with an X stunt by the tackles. Goodman and Brown are just speed rushing off the end.

2nd CU drive starts at the 20 - I-formation, ISO gets 9 yards with 9 men in the box. KEEP RUNNING IT. Diehl put a LB on his ass to spring it....PA pass to Clear, looked like a hitch/comeback, and Parker didn't have it in the right spot where he could catch it inbounds....Power play Left goes nowhere, 73 didnt move his man out of the hole, but gets the 1st down....Gun throw to Clear is well behind him...Zone to Ellington for a couple...Had McNeal open and threw it behind him, Ellington easily open in the flat as well. Punt. 6 plays 13 yards.

Parker 0/4 to start. Accuracy way off.

NT starts at their 28 - Bowers makes two good plays to start the drive, he missed one tackle and recovered to make the play....Tune breaks thru for a 10 yard gain up the middle. The problem here was that Dunbar is Hawk's assignment, and Dunbar peeled off on a flare late. Gilchrist is jumping around telling people where to line up and is left alone up the middle with Hall and neither of them see's him peel out. The DTs are supposed to maintain the pocket in that situation and not let him get past them. Its not Hawkins fault.....Jenkins misses a tackle and Dunbar gets 16 as a result.....LBs stuff an inside run...Offsides CU....3 consecutive run plays get them the extra 5 after that penalty and they went for it on 4th and half a foot. Good job by Brown to force it to the boundary when he lost contain on one play. Jenkins blows up his Center on a Trap play. D forces a punt after that. 11 plays 30 yards.

Just one tackle missed and a penalty led to the extra time they held onto it. DL played well as a whole there, with the one exception on letting Tune free.

Clemson starts at the 10 - Harper on a Power Right, and nobody on the right side blocked. Smith late getting over....Toss Left on the next play goes for 12....holding on CU by Allen as Parker scrambled, which was not needed....End of 1st QTR...Parker rushed out of bounds for a sack. Hairston got outrun off the corner and forgot to move his feet.....Nice screen play to Nuke Hopkins for 16, excellent blocking by Brandon Ford and McClain....Ellington in the flats on a dump flare for 4, but no one else was open and Parker had to get rid of it. The pattern was set up for a quick drop. Punt. 5 plays 20 yards.

NT starts at their 28 - Goodman completely botched the first play. Dunbar goes for 27 on a screen, and Goodman is supposed to read and recognize screen after his free release, but instead wants the sack. Anytime you get a free release at End you have to be thinking screen.....8 yard pass to Jackson in a hole in the zone, WHICH SHOULD NOT BE THERE. There are no holes in matchup zone! Gilchrist it appeared....Goodman eats up a busted zone read handoff...Nice open field tackle by Hall for a loss....Punt. 4 plays 32 yards.

Mental mistakes.

Clemson starts at our 11 - 3 & out. Shit blocking on two runs. Cloy didnt move his man on one lead play, and a zone read is well pursued by the backside end...Parker throws to the sideline past Dye, who still isnt trying to get open or make the play. 79 yd Punt.

NT gets it at their 4. - Dunbar for 4, again for 1....On 3rd down we call a weakside Overload zone blitz and Bowers drops back. Gilchrist correctly checks the slot receiver on motion, but doesnt close up the space on him in his route and he catches it right beside Bowers for the 1st down....I don't think either Bowers or Gilchrist is solely responsible, its equal between them.....Another Nickel blitz stops a run....Hawkins blitzes off the corner and the slot receiver catches it where he was standing, Gilchrist in coverage again....After the 1st down, Goodman lets Dunbar right by him again, losing edge containment and he gets 11....Jenkins gets a sack. Looked like they called a draw or screen and it didnt develop.....holding on them....Rennie Moore with a nice play for loss of 4....We get caught in a 3-2-6 alignment and only have 4 in the box. Dunbar goes right up the middle for 20. 10 plays 36 yards.

Gilchrist is being a damn liability on the slot receiver. He jumps around telling everyone where they should be, and isnt on his man. Again the numbers problem is killing us with the running game. If they block 5 and you only have 4 around, you'll get blocked.

Clemson gets it on the 30 - One play. Clear is running a Go/9 route and the intent is to clear the deep coverage for McNeal coming over on a deep crosser. The CB just blew it. The play is intended to hit McNeal. 14-0 Clemson

NT starts at their 34 - Dunbar goes nowhere on a zone read....Gain of 7 in the flat, good tackle by Willard but where the hell was Brewer? Next play on 3rd & 3 is a 45 yard pass to Jackson. The LB Willard is on him, wasn't expecting the speed and didnt make his drop correctly. He was caught flat footed on the quick slant and stumbled. DMac flubbed the tackle and watched Jackson run by him. I swear DMac is just standing around some plays....Branch runs out Dunbar and Bowers gets a sack on the same stunt that netted Goodman's sack earlier....On the TD play, its a double-dig with a Corner route over the top. Its Cover 1 press coverage and Hall is matched on the receiver, and he turns his hips. Once he opens that way its over, but it was a good throw by the QB. 14-7 CU, 6 plays 66 yards.

Clemson starts at the NT 49 after a great return - D. Allen runs a little In-route under the coverage and sprints for 24. Harper with another 16 on a delay draw play, and Parker hits him for the TD. Great catch by Harper because the throw was behind him, Parker must get the touch on the short throws. 21-7 Clemson. 3 plays 49 yards.

NT starts at their 20 - Dunbar for 21 up the gut on a draw. Defense was asleep. 4 missed tackles and it takes 4 damn guys to get the SOB down? DMac isnt even trying here. Hamilton on a draw for 21. Weakass tackle by DMac. Not Hawkins' fault here, it was Dime and he got blocked by the Center. He could not have made the play even if he wasnt blocked since he's covering boundary A/B-gap and the back went out the other B gap. Linemen are just overpursuing and not controlling the gaps....Dump flare pass for 3, then Hawkins on a sack to end the half. A key blitz up the A-gap.

End of Half.

Up until now its been bad tackling and mental mistakes on D. The rushing yardage is a result of the linemen not being in gaps, and generally overpursuing the play into the backfield. If they would hold up their rush they'd stop half these plays.

The rest is due to numbers advantages. We never have more than 6 in the box. I did not make the count but I doubt we had more than 3 defensive plays where we had more than 6 in the box. Several of their longer runs were on plays where they had 5 blocking 4. We match a LB on a slot receiver and he has to leave the box to respect the pass.

Parker was 5/10 122yds in the 1st half. Xavier Dye seems to be in only for blocking purposes because if you dont throw it right to him he wont try.

Start of 3rd Qtr

NT starts at their 31 - Dunbar gets 5 because the Bowers lost containment of the edge, he may have been held....the next gets 9 because no one held their gap. Clemson is dropping the S down in these first two plays....holding called on the Tackle on Bowers....DMac stuffs a hole on a short gain....two incompletions and a punt after a blitz. Maxwell all over his guy twice. 5 plays 6 yards.

Looked like Steele decided to drop the S into the box more there, and Bowers was definitely held on the first play for 5.

CU starts at the 14 - 3 & out. Ellington inside zone for 4....Bubble screen to Brown, no blocking....Hopkins trapped a ball for the 1st down catch. Good effort, I wish Dye would try like that for a catch. Punt.

Nothing wrong with the calls there.

NT starts at their 26 - GOD AWFUL TACKLING. Maxwell playing about 8 off the receiver on a quick in route, and we need 5 guys to get the sumbitch stopped and still dont get him on the ground?....2 more missed tackles get them 6 yards up the gut. We've got enough guys in the box but cant tackle now....batted ball by Bowers, loss of 5....Tune gets 10 when we blitz both LBs in a 3-2-6, Hawkins flat missed him....Jackson almost catches a deep throw, bad technique in man coverage by DMac....18 yard catch, against Brewer on the sideline. A good play but Brewer wasn't close to him.....Tune throws across his body into double coverage for the INT at our 6.

Same problem Parker has had, you never throw back across the middle when you roll out.

CU starts at the 6 - Delay of game on a change of possession? GET THE DAMN PLAY IN....Harper on a zone up the left side for 49. Nice blocking by Hairston, Smith and Diehl on the edge....PA waggle pass to McNeal in a busted coverage for 30, and Harper on another zone for 11. Just good hard running there....Iso gets 3, no push inside....Zone with orbit motion gets only 1, no blocker on the edge....Parker INT in the end zone throwing to Clear. 6 plays 90 yards.

Parker should not have attempted this pass, but if he had touch and took a little off this throw with some air under it, it would've been 6. Clear had some space on the skinny post. Parker locked on him. I don't see anyone else open on the pattern. Still, it was a good drive.

NT at their 20 - 3 & out. 7 in the box, blitzer stuffs a zone read....Jackson drop....Jackson in the flat for 12. Where was the flat coverage? One NT WR is blocking two Clemson DBs. Punt.

CU starts at the 47 - End Around for Jaron Brown for 18....Ellington zone for 11, good blocks....5 yard zone.. read option on the TD, which isn't the typical zone read. Notice that Parker looks off the DE but the T and C are pulling around. This is more like the TCU play that defeated us last season, an inverted veer option. This is a new one I have not seen us run. 28-7 Clemson

NT starts at their 20 - Soft coverage by Sensabaugh gets them 9.....Smoke blitz off the edge, 7 in the box, they get 4...Again 7, on a Counter Trap gets 5.....Branch gets a coverage sack....End of 3rd QTR. Missed tackle by Corico Hawkins on a shovel pass gets Dunbar 35 yards...Tune gets 11 on a zone read as Branch takes the Back, and there is no LB present for the tackle. He got blocked by the Tackle. TE was on that side too, so this is a numbers issue....3 missed tackles on a 1 yard gain...Dropped pass....6 men blitzing forces early throw, good play by Maxwell. FG 28-10. 10 plays 72 yards.

Bad tackling gave them those points.

CU starts at the 49 - AE for 4 behind Smith who pulled out to set the edge....Iso gets 0....Backups are in up front in some spots. Brandon Thomas is in there....Parker throws to Marquan Jones, Pass Interference. I can't believe we threw to MJ!...Toss sweep for 13....Parker hurried and incomplete....Almost the same play again and they blitz again, but he hits McNeal on a bubble for 4....Jaron Brown in the flat for 12....HB Power Left, TD Harper. 35-10 Clemson

McClain appears to have improved since last year in getting over for that Power O play. There were a few plays with the backups in on the OL. Marquan was only in for one or two plays there that I saw, and I haven't seen him in there as much as McNeal, who is supposed to be his backup?

Now Clemson is putting in backups. This will be the last offensive series we review.

Horrible return coverage & tackling gets them the ball at the CU 49 - Backups are in up front. Shatley, Brown, Moore, Goodman, Shuey. Some starters are still in secondary. Christian makes a good tackle on a sweep....30 yard completion, DMac ran into Brewer in coverage, and Brewer was still well off his man (Zone). THERE ARE NO HOLES IN MATCHUP ZONE! Shuey runs him down from behind, DMac sleepwalking....ZOne read is well played by Goodman and Christian. Thats exactly how we are supposed to play the zone read, just a scrape exchange....Incomplete pass....They call TO and Maxwell intercepts a pass. Notice Maxwell jams his receiver out of bounds so the fade wont work. 6 plays 32 yards.


We'll stop there in the review. Tajh Boyd looked totally lost on his throws on the next series.

Summarizing Thoughts

Defense - Very vanilla. Mostly Cover 2 shell that rotated into Press 1, Press 2, and some 2 Zone. I counted only 3 or 4 times that we sent 5 guys on a blitz, and only one time did we send 6. Steele opted for stunts instead of blitzes all day.

Stunts are designed to stop particular plays and generate pass rush from just using down 4 linemen, but it wasn't working today. Steele seemed to back off the stunting a little more in the 2nd half and play more zone, two things that I had wanted him to do while watching it live.

NT has the philosophy, today at least, of spreading us out to run and the only consistent success they had was hitting the slot receiver Jamaal Jackson on little slants against a LB or Gilchrist. I expected MG to play better.

Why did they eat us up on runs?

1. Shitty tackling. Several big chunks of yardage are due to awful tackling, and then the secondary not coming off the coverage to stop it downfield. DMac looked like he wasn't into this game and didn't get a good hard shot all day.

2. Numbers. Clemson dropped the SS into the box a few more times in the 2nd half, giving us 7, and that helped. When they got through it was because of tackling deficiencies.  Also, with 6 in the box and them going Empty set, the LBs have a coverage responsibility that they were taking first. If the LB has man/man, he has to respect the pass and when they would send Dunbar/slot WR off on a route, Hawk/Willard has to go with him. This leaves only 4 men around and the DTs are not holding the pocket in shape. With Hall and DMac in deep cover 2 they wouldnt be helping.

3. Stunting led to bad gap control. Linemen have gap assignments. You stunt them, which is a gap exchange, and they don't get where they need to be to stop a run. Most stunts showed a 2/2 look with the tackles. 

4. Dunbar is legit. He's a good player. He's going to get some yards.


Played tentatively. Unsure of themselves, I won't put the blame of all the runs on them other than some bad tackling. You cannot expect the LBs to be there when they have man/man coverage on a back and the QB runs up the middle. They cannot be in two places at once. In coverage, Willard had a tough time on some slot receivers. Hawkins was fine.

I will say that as a whole, people were not reading their keys today on defense and the lack of focus on 3rd downs is disappointing me the most.

Good and Bad Day?

Bowers played really well. No one else on the DL stood out as being exceptional or bad either, but the DTs were not in their gaps.

In the secondary, Maxwell played really well. For the most part the deep middle and boundary coverage was good. Unfortunately, Gilchrist and Willard had a fit with the slot receivers. Gilchrist spent too much time signaling and yelling at people about who they cover and it made him late on his own assignment. He is supposed to communicate and he knows this defense well, but he has to take his assignment more seriously and let the other guys handle their own.

Brewer was tentative all day, bad bad day for him. Too late on breaking and just not good in man/man or zone. I was quite disappointed.

Goodman was hit/miss. He needs to work on his containment and reading his keys.

Offense - Playcalling was good. No WTF moments after the first play. I don't like that we threw the ball as much initially as we did, the extra possession time afforded by running it would've gotten us into a groove I think, and then we couldve still thrown the ball 20 times.

Napier Postgame P1, Part 2.

Passing  Game - Parker needs work. He needs reps but this is correctable. There is no timing right now. No big drops but Xavier Dye can TRY to play football for once please. Some questions though...

Where was Marquan Jones? I saw McNeal more. He's going to get Jones' spot by the end of the year.

Ashe? Not in there much.

Otherwise I'd say we have some really good talent at WR.

Rushing - Outstanding. Blocking was good, not exceptional. McClain finally made it through a game without pissing me off. Allen can do a little better setting the edge. We can get some better push on inside runs and Walker can start moving people, someday. I believe David Smith was in the game more than Cloy and played well. WRs did a much better job blocking than at this time last year.

I did not see Kalon Davis play. Price was in there and pulled around with Freeman on Ellington's TD late.

Drive Chart