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UNC Game Film Review

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. We didnt get a good video copy to cut plays from this week, but did find some videos elsewhere.

ESPN Play-By-Play

UNC from 27 - Iso for 3...false start UNC...PA pass on a post to Highsmith, overthrown....PA pass on a seam route picked off by Meeks. Ball was a little underthrown and into triple coverage.

Clemson showed mostly Under C2 on the drive.

Clemson at UNC 38 - Stop route to Hopkins for about 7...ZR keep for 2. I think that was called...QB Power for 4...Screen thrown a bit too low for Allen to grip...Bellamy off a sweep with counter block, loss of a couple. Not good blocking by Sammy outside...Nuk on a stop for the 1st down. Zone blitz....ZR/IZ, nowhere for AE to go...UNC sends 7, we block with 7, but didnt have the right protection called. Boyd slips before he gets hit. McClain picked up the inside man like he was supposed to, Walker didnt go inside though. Andre should've been flipped to the right side in any case....Empty, thrown over the middle incomplete. I thought Watkins was held, but Brown was open at the back of the endzone, so it was the wrong read. 39 yd FG good. 3-0 Clemson 9 plays 15 yards, 03:27

UNC was showing both Man and Quarters on this drive.

UNC from 35 - Inside zone for 5...Iso for 4...OT Power for loss of a yard. Nice pursuit by Branch from opposite side. Punt.

Under and Bear fronts that time.

CU from 17 - Stop to Sammy for 5...Boyd throws too low for Allen, pass is tipped, he would've gone a long way...Boyd forces it to Sammy on a slant. Batted away. Another man was open in the middle. Tajh locked into Sammy too quickly. Punt. 3 plays 6 yds

That drive was Tajh, but they were in position to make their plays.

UNC from 37 - Pass to Wilkins in the flat, Hall can't make the tackle, then Anthony makes the tackle. Gets flagged for late hit. BULLSHIT...Jheranie Boyd up the seam beats S Carlton Lewis deep for the 33yd TD. 7-3 UNC.

I don't know why Lewis widened his alignment that way, he's an upperclassman and knows not to give up the middle when he's in C2. Willard could've done a little better on collisioning the route up the seam against C2 zone, but this was primarily bad safety play.

CU from 32 - Power, gain of about 4...Boyd zips one on the boundary to Nuk for 12. Nuk actually fell down and got up...Toss sweep called back for holding on Allen. That one was legit...Boyd overthrows Sammy on a sure TD, badly badly whipped that CB, and I'm struggling to find the safety...Nuke on a Dig for 26. Caught them in a zone blitz...PA, thrown deep incomplete...ZR, Boyd made the wrong read, but Brown came completely untouched up the right B-gap. That looked like Walker picked up the wrong man...Screen against a Zero blitz, but they played it well and Thomas couldnt get over to block quick enough. Punt 7 plays 30yds

UNC is taking big chances in their back 7. This is something I saw all day, and I could not figure out why they would do it. Their safeties are as unsound as ours, so I wouldnt be taking many chances.

UNC from 17 - Delay of Game, how the hell do you get Delay coming out of a TV timeout?...PA, Crawford couldnt get him down on the sack because he didnt wrap his arms, but drags him down. Came free totally on the bootleg. I think we should've gotten a grounding call here....Power for 2...Again Crawford comes free, and can't get him down because he didnt wrap. MA by their OL. Pass is incomplete over the middle. Punt.

Can't believe Corey Crawford did not get him wrapped for the sack. He got a free shot twice and didnt put the hit on Renner.

CU from UNC 48 - Quick stop to Sammy for 6. CB playing soft...ZR bubble to Nuk for 7. Good read by Tajh of the inside defender...TO CU...IZ, no blocking at all. AE looks like he hurt his foot here...Counter to Bellamy for 10. That one was a little different than the Counter we usually run. Bellamy started outside the OT, so this was more like a wheel counter that we highlighted in the preseason posts....Boyd finds Nuk standing at the 5 on a Corner route and he worked his way in for the TD. That one was on #7 Tim Scott. 10-7 Clemson 5 plays 48 yards, 01:42

CB stopped his drop in C2 Zone, and ends up covering grass. He does have the flat zone, but If no #2 receiver presents himself to you, your job in C2 zone as the CB is to sink with the #1 receiver outside. He must also always make contact with the #1 receiver outside, and didnt even do that.

UNC from 34 - Renner steps up and hits Dwight Jones in front of Coty on an In crosser. Man coverage. Coty let him get too much separation but he made a good catch...Willard too soft on the TE option route for 15 more. Gotta make contact there. Zone coverage..End 1st QTR...Meeks all over Highsmith on a stop, bats it away...Willard makes good tackle on TE, gain of 5...Meeks jumps an Out route on 3rd down...4th & 4, Anthony allows too much separation in the flat for gain of 16. They cleared the safety with a deep route on the CB, but Anthony has to hustle to pick up the quick out and didnt get over there...IZ, Branch eats it up. Holding called anyway....TO UNC...Empty, Renner scrambles for 7...Two missed tackles get Bernard 5. Willard missed the first one...Can't get Renner down on a sack with an open shot, he dumps it off to the TE, we missed the first tackle but swarm him for gain of 2. Delay called on FGA. 32 yd FG. 10-10 9 plays 51 yards, 05:54

Clemson went to primarily Nickel to adjust to the matchup issues they were giving us.

CU from 20 - QB Counter, Boyd hit hard on gain of 2...Rollout, Watkins dives for the catch coming back. Great effort. Gain of 14...Quick hitch to Allen for 11...IV Jet sweep for loss. DE pushed it too far back...Empty, Boyd thrown behind Bellamy. I think Bellamy ran the wrong route. Ran and IN, should've been an Out...Boyd scrambles for the 1st down...PA bullet thrown to Nuk for 12. Snuck right behind the CB in C2...PA, hits Bryant on a beautiful pass over the shoulder for TD. CB broke from his backpedal and opened his hips too quickly and FS was occupied by DA. 17-10 Clemson. 8 plays 80 yards. 2:32.

UNC's DBs have no idea how to play C2. If they are trying to play match zone, then it looks even worse.

UNC from 24 - Crawford bats down first pass...Moore gets Renner down as he scrambles. Gain of 2...Jones whips Jonathan Meeks badly, but ball is overthrown too far to be caught. Punt.

Meeks widened too far just like Lewis did earlier. These bunch-set routes are confusing the hell out of our defenders.

CU from 27 - IZ for maybe 3. No movement...Nuk rips a bullet out of the air for the first down on a quick slant...Ball thrown too high to AE in the flat...Empty, Boyd overthrows Sammy on a Post. Would've been 6...Screen, pass thrown too high on back foot to Bellamy. Punt.

UNC from 25 - IZ for 1, Brown and Shatley and Stephone...Kourtnei Brown intercepts pass with one hand and returns for the TD. Outstanding play.

The vid has both of KB's TDs.

UNC from 27 - Power for 1...PItch, Shatley misses first tackle. Hall, Breeland, and Branch all miss tackles, he finally gets brought down for gain of 14. Fumbled the ball, Robinson dropped it and they got it back...Renner steps up and Boyd gets free from Coty on 58 yd TD. Safety was not deep enough. 24-17 Clemson. 3 plays 73 yds.

Another bunch-set, quarters coverage, FS jumps up on the #2 as is his job, but Coty Sensabaugh not in position with inside leverage to stop the post route. He was playing off and outside, not inside. Boyd ran right between the bracket.

Again the wide side Safety (Hall) was aligned too far outside, but this didnt affect the play.

CU from 31 - DE bats down pass....C0 blitz, Boyd misses Allen in the flat due to pressure...Again, Nuke beats the CB on a stop, bad tackle. Gain of 15...Blitz, hits Sammy dumpoff for 3-4...Boyd throws it away against another blitz...Zone blitz-bail, Boyd underthrows it a little, almost picked. Punt.6 plays 19 yards

UNC is bringing 7 guys, going straight Zero on us. Paid off this drive but no way would I do that against these receivers.

UNC from 15 - Pitch, we make the tackle this time. ..Bubble screen and Highsmith breaks first tackle attempt, his knee bumps the ball and he just drops it. Rashard Hall recovers it.

CU from UNC 47 - Boyd forces one deep to Watkins, makes Scott commit PI or get beat for the TD. No safety help...Tunnel Screen, Watkins for 8...Boyd throws away due to blitzer. AE made a really good cut block on a LB. Good coverage by their safety on DA...Delay Draw, loss of 6...TO CU. Missed the 46yd FG.

Why the hell would you put Scott on Watkins 1 on 1 with no safety?

UNC kneels on the ball to end the half.


48 plays in the 1st half for the offense. 200 yards passing on about 50% completion (17/32) and only 15 yards rushing. The play count is good but Tajh is not sharp and we can't move the ball inside. I expected better ability to run the ball than that, even though UNC's front 7 is the best we've faced.

UNC did have some success with a few Cover 0 blitzes and a 2 Fire Zone, but they are leaving themselves in a predicament with those young corners one on one with Watkins or Hopkins. No way would I do that on Sammy.

Clemson's defense is playing C1, C2 and Quarters. We're in the Under a good bit to start the half but going to more Nickel sets as the half progresses, but we are showing an 8-man front quite often. No wonder UNC can't run the ball. Tackling is mostly good, and the ones we miss don't get too much further. I'm not happy with the pressure we're getting and these bunch-sets are causing us a problem just about every time they show it.

Renner is 10/18 for 187, 2 TD and 2 INT.


CU from 39 - IZ for 4...Swing route to AE for short gain, good play by UNC....3rd down pass to Allen too wide, was well covered too. Punt 3 plays 6 yards, 01:15

UNC showed the 7 man blitz/bail into C2 on 3rd down.

UNC from 20 - Toss sweep for 5. Bernard should've bounced it out...Xavier Brewer is on an underneath quick slant for 4 out of the bunch set...Renner's pass to Boyd a little underthrown, but well covered by Brewer. Punt.

CU from 34 - Power for no gain...Allen in the flats gets to the sticks. UNC was playing off too far...Reverse pass to DeAndre Hopkins down to the 13. Boyd was lined up at WR, sweep fake to Sammy and reverse pass. Brandon Thomas went out here with the shoulder again, Smith in...Boyd walks into a sack, but gets facemasked...QB Power to the 1...QB Sneak for the TD. 31-17 Clemson. 5 plays 66 yards, 02:20

UNC fumbles the KO return, forced by Robert Smith, recovered by Garry Peters.

CU from UNC 12 - IV Jet PA, pass batted down at the line...Brandon Ford comes across on a sweep and wheels out for the 12 yd TD. Nice back shoulder throw. 38-17 Clemson.

UNC returns kickoff for 51 yd TD. Bad lane discipline all around for the Tigers, huge lane to walk through. 38-24 Clemson

CU from UNC 45 - Counter H for Bellamy for 9...They Zero Blitz and the ball too far ahead for Bryant in the endzone. We picked it up well..QB Sneak for the 1st down...Jet fake keeper for about 3...Price gets whooped and Coples knocked it loose, Ford recovered fumble...Watkins runs a 42 yd streak for the TD, no safety back there at all.  45-24 Clemson. 6 plays 45 yards, 02:24

UNC showed a shallow C4, then bailed but did not bail quick enough to help their CB.

UNC from 44, after another bad KO return - Highsmith on a quick slant, Willard nice tackle for 4...Power, loss of a couple. Sensabaugh jumped into the backfield, good read. Renner needed to check out of that play. 8 man front...PA, Moore hits as he throws incomplete. Moore lined up outside there. Punt.

Much better coverage in the 2nd half.

CU from 21 - Offsides UNC...Jet sweep to Humphries for 3-4...Quick pitch to Howard, gain of 8...Counter H for 7...Pass to Allen in the flats too wide...Again to Allen, leaping catch. Same play and pattern for Allen as last...Boyd steps up, has all day to throw, and finds Allen on a 10 yard Dig at the sticks....Counter H for Bellamy for 7... Martavis Bryant standing still in zone, gets down to the 10....Pitch to Bellamy, slipped and fell untouched. Loss of 3...Low throw to Allen in flat for short gain...Allen runs a basic hitch and is sitting in a hole at the goalline for the TD. LB completely dropped the ball there. 52-24 Clemson. 11 plays 79 yards, 03:47

UNC just did a mass substitution on that TD play, they weren't set.

Notice our success on the Counter in the 2nd half, we're crossing up those LB's keys.

UNC from 19 - Dumps it off to Bernard, gets to the 36. LB too far off...Swing route incomplete...Draw for 4...Rashard Hall comes free on a C-gap Zone Smoke, Renner fumbles and Kourtnei Brown takes it in for the TD. 59-24 Clemson

We were playing backups on the DL this drive, but starters in the Secondary.

UNC from 26 - Highsmith stiff arms Jenkins to the ground and gets the 1st down. Start 4th QTR.

Now that we're basically sticking in reserves, I'm stopping the review. Erik Highsmith lit up the 1st/2nd string secondary on this drive which ended in a tipped ball (by Brown) intercepted by Darius Robinson at our 3.

Bellamy just dropped the ball on the next drive, recovered by UNC at the 8, and taken in for the next TD. They didnt strip it, he dropped it.

Everything else was against mostly 3rd string players. DeShawn Williams, Jarrett and Justin Parker caught my eye.

Summarizing Thoughts


Not a good first half accuracy wise for Tajh, some of it forced by UNC's 6 and 7 man pressures. I don't think anyone expected them to try a Cover 0 blitz, much less a dozen of the looks. Finished 27/46 for 367 and 5 TDs. Still wish he'd get that front foot set right and bring down that pass to Allen from the clouds.

OL - One sack is really on Tajh, but another on a protection pickup problem and Price got beat once by Coples. In the 2nd half they did do a better job of picking up extra pressure. I'll take that against this front 7. Run blocking was nonexistent until we started hitting the counter play in the 2nd half. 36 carries for 77 yards is not good but its better than the 1st half stat.

AE: 7 carries, 5 yards. Came back from the ankle turn and probably shouldnt have. I don't think he plays as much at GT as we're led to believe. Look for McDowell to be in more because of his pass blocking.

Sammy may have finished with "only" 91 yards, but if you were at the game you saw him open a lot more. The pressure they put on Tajh blocked his view a good bit and we just took the shorts. Nuk was usually sitting open closer to the LOS and Tajh hit him all day.

Do you feel you’re starting to tap into the full extent of the offense?

Chad: As a coach, you have to be careful – and that’s what I told our offensive staff – you have to be careful coming in and thinking just because we’re mastering something and executing what we’re asking them to do, it’s only human nature you want to add. And that’s the absolute worst thing we can do right now. Because we’re playing with some confidence and we have answers to different things defenses can do to us. We can’t confuse them. Players that play confused play tentative and have to think too much and play slow. And we can’t have that. This offense is built around speed.

Are we going to continue to grow this offense? Yes, we are. We’re about 70 percent into it. We just have to get good at what we do.

You’ve had 626 snaps, most in the country. Right where you want to be?

It is. Then you look and we had seven three-and-outs against Virginia Tech. Two last week. You look at, if you could just cut those in half, what could you be at right now.

We have to continue to press on. We could have gone faster the other day. Granted, we did play a slower pace in the fourth quarter.

They’re excited about (leading the country in snaps), I can assure you that. I shared that with them today. They were high-fiving each other because that’s a goal we have set for ourselves. We want to push the limits. And they’re starting to see that with the success they’re having in the second half.

You look at it, we’re a second-half football team right now. A lot of that has to do with the fact of the tempo we’re putting on them in the first half. We snapped it 48 times in the first half, and our players were coming in at halftime and telling us they felt like they had them gassed.

Even though you didn’t have overwhelming success running the ball, did you sense in the third quarter they were wearing down?

We knew coming in we weren’t going to be able to come in and knock them off the ball for 3 yards. It wasn’t going to happen. They’re too talented up front. So we had to do a good job of passing the ball to set the run up.

I think you saw it the second and third quarter as we started chipping away at them a little bit. Again, our players were communicating that to us on the sidelines.

Were you surprised they sold out on so many blitzes there for awhile?

What you saw was they were doing a few things to see if they couldn’t disrupt us. They had some success with a house blitz early on. And then we missed a few opportunities to get them out of it.

He was dialing something up, saw some success with it and stayed with it. And from that point, it was a chess match.

What’s your assessment of the offensive line right now?

They’ve really come along over the last five weeks. They’ve taken a lot more pride in it. Where they graded out the best the other night was obviously pass protection. Tajh (Boyd) gave up a sack on one of them, and the other two were on the offensive line.

We missed some assignments in the run game and didn’t play as well as I wanted to play and as they wanted to play. So we have to get back into that and figure it out. We weren’t targeting the right backer a couple of times.

He’s had a penchant for throwing high recently.

We always talk about a front-pad throw, which means put the weight on the front pad of your foot to keep the ball low. When he sails a ball, he’s usually telling me before I can tell him, so he recognizes it. And that’s all you ask as a coach.

It’s that or hey, the grip on your throw is too tight. He’s trying to squeeze the air out of it. Relax. And there are times you go back and don’t want to say anything. Just let him get over there and figure it out.



Kourtnei Brown was really the player of the game. 2 TDs, batted balls, and good assignment play from the senior.

Overall tackling was ok for the 1st team front 7, but pressure could improve. UNC did a good job picking up our pressure. 3rd QTR defense was lights out, 4th QTR defense was bad altogether. No it was not all backups everywhere, because the secondary was still mostly starters (Robinson, Hall, Breeland, etc.).

In adjusting to their bunch sets, it looked like we just decided to drop everyone and not pressure, but the blitz by Hall was a zone blitz that resulted in a TD. I think we just got so far ahead so quick that it took them out of anything.

Dwight Jones, 2 catches 16 yards for someone who says he's a "better technical WR" than Watkins.

2/12 on 3rd down is always good.


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