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Tigers Collapse in Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29:  Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a call during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 29: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a call during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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After the first quarter I thought to myself "Georgia Tech wants this game more than our guys do" and it turns out that this thought turned out to be reality. Clemson lost all hope of a national title tonight in Atlanta, but I wasn't expecting us to get to that level anyway. The truth is, we're still within reach of all the major goals we have for Clemson football. We can still win 10 games and the ACC.

We didn't pull a Clemson tonight, we just got beat. Pulling a Clemson would entail losing to Wake, NC State and SC. Beat WF and NCSU, and we win the Atlantic and 10 games for sure. That would be a good season to me.

People like to bitch at us for bringing up problems with the team's performance. We simply think like coaches. We see the problems with this squad and want them corrected because we know that these things are what will get us beat. Every issue we've pointed out contributed to tonights defeat.

We have young RBs who can't protect the football yet people constantly ask me why they dont play more, do you not see now why the coaches don't trust them more? 3 points of contact, always.

We have pointed out Tajh's footwork issue that leads to his throws to the outside being high. The Chad mentioned it in his press conferences several times. If he brings down two throws to the flats, we might convert two more 3rd downs. Tonight's loss is not his fault, but this footwork issue must get corrected because in games like this its necessary to hit those swing routes. Dwayne Allen is not going to be here next year to catch a 7 foot high throw.

Our WRs got jammed so bad that they got pushed out of bounds. Our DBs can't get off blocks on the perimeter. Why do you think it happens to both sides of the ball? Answer: because they don't practice it enough. Why don't LBs get off blocks? Because they dont practice it enough. Why cant we attack cut blocks? Because they dont practice it enough.

Then theres the defense....which I've complained about all season. Its bad, and tonight you saw it. We played the option instead of trying to attack the option. What did I say this week? HIT THE FUCKING QB...but we didnt do it. We aren't disciplined and don't tackle well. We don't have good fundamentals at all. This is coaching, because the youth argument still comes back to the decisions of coaches. Quandon Christian isn't young anymore, yet can't follow his assignment. Corico Hawkins isnt young anymore, yet he stands still and watches the Center come out and cut his legs out. Andre Branch was a total non-factor. Secondary support appeared nonexistent because we apparently don't practice a Machine Gun Drill (cut blocks).

I don't think tonight's performance was a scheme issue, but a lot of idiots will say that is the only reason. Clemson played the same scheme we showed last year, and our 40 front was the same one Miami, Maryland, and UVA used. The difference was in how our players played. DE takes Dive-to-QB. The OLB has QB-to-Pitch and the MLB comes outside to help Pitch or the Secondary picks it up. Theres nothing wrong with that scheme.

The one scheme problem I have with tonight is that we continually left the backup Center uncovered....Why the hell did we do that? You have an NFL NG up front against their backup Center, and then you left him uncovered so Hawkins could watch him jog 7 yards to cut his legs out? Why would you move Brandon Thompson or (LOFL) Tyler Shatley in a 2i or 3 and play a double Eagle even front?  You didnt want BT on the backup C as a NG? He'd completely dominate him but you put him on the Guard? Tech just ate our ass with the Dive off of that. If both DTs are playing 3, then they can run the Midline to either side, and they did. If they dive at your legs, you grab the guy's head and push him to the ground, then jump over him. You don't step back 3 yards to avoid a cut block, you must attack it. After the first two drives it didnt even look like we practiced against this offense this week.

I don't think any offense on the schedule can light our defense up like this again, so there is some hope, but we will be very scathing if these fundamental problems continue uncorrected.

I'm not putting it entirely on our defensive play. The offense got a dose of what Troy and Wofford showed earlier this year. Groh sent a variety of blitzes early and often, and we couldn't give Tajh Boyd enough time for anything vertical to develop. You can't throw deep when you don't have time to do it.  Our WRs got jammed and the RBs fumbled two balls away and a communication issue blew our shot at closing it to 7. The offense had their chance to win and did not do it. Tech's defense played an outstanding game, which I give them credit for, but they were more physical than us at the LOS in every phase and thats why Clemson lost.

A bye week could not come at a better time. Everyone is going to be pissed for two weeks but remind them that we're still far ahead of where we thought we'd be this year, and that all our goals are within reach. If Dabo is a good coach, he'll right the ship and we'll take care of business against our upcoming opponents.