Thats your game synopsis from me this week.
What is there to say after a performance like that? We put up the best run since 2000 and end it with the worst loss in Swinney's tenure. As I was telling FF last night at halftime, this season feels just like 2000. We were killing people with Woody, TZach and Gardner, and our defense looked like hot garbage the whole time. He and I knew once we faced a good enough defense that we'd lose, and GT had a good enough one then, and George Godsey lit Reggie Herring up like a Christmas tree. The team fell to pieces after that loss.
Will this 2011 team do the same? Theres a good chance. I see the same issues we had in Week 1 creep back in slowly over these last few games, and now theyre all worse.
Our defense is certainly the worst I've seen since Herring left, but I think this has to be one of the worst defenses in my memory. There is no excuse for their performance over the season. Last night wasn't totally on them, because we had shit field position, but when the other team can just line up and bulldoze you, and your DBs are all completely lost out there, it doesnt make the defense innocent.
Our LBs have grown progressively worse over the entire season, this with one of the best LB coaches around running the show. They sit back and wait for plays instead of pressing gaps. They don't collision receivers going up the seam of the coverage, and when they blitz, they walk right up to a OL and just stand there. It feels like paralysis by analysis.
Our DEs get reached on every outside run play, so we don't set the edge on anyone, ever. They look slow and tired. Goodman got OUTRUN to the sideline by Glennon last night, when he started out in good enough position to make the play in the backfield for a loss. Branch was completely ineffective. Who will save this DL next year?
DBs never get off blocks, which we've bemoaned here for years, but when you play press coverage and don't even have your hands in position to make a jam on a receiver, how the hell are you going to deny him a release? We show inside leverage, and then the guy just runs inside the CB without being touched. That is pathetic. You put your hands on his inside number and deny that inside move when you have inside leverage. We spend the whole time handsignaling and yelling at each other, and by the time we know who to cover, the offense has snapped the ball and the receiver is open. Gilchrist did this shit last year at the Nickel and he'd get killed inside because he was looking at Hall and checking the coverage instead of his slot receiver, now they ALL do it.
This scheme is NFL-based, but clearly either these guys cannot handle it, or our coaches cannot teach it. Since I know these coaches have coached with the best there are around, and know how to teach something, I can only put the blame on the HC's practice philosophies and the idea that they are being given too much information to make decisions off of.
We show 10 fronts, and it needs to come down to 2 or 3, because these guys don't know how to hold a gap and sometimes don't even know which gap to hold. Brad Brownell should've proved what we say all along: if you have good fundamentals you can get more and more complex, but if you don't, you have to KISS. If you get complex with no damn fundamentals, you get Clemson defense. Saban's defense is highly complex, but his teams have good fundamentals to start from, and he/Smart can simplify and teach his defense. Our coaches don't have a chance, and its because they have taught pisspoor fundamentals from the start.
If you want to learn how to tackle, I can teach you. You get in your stance, and you hit the mufugher across from you over and over. You put your head under his chin, wrap up and drive through. Get up and do it again. Once you do that, you go to full speed hitting on bags and work on your damn pursuit angles. You can tackle on a mat, or pillow bags, but you have to hit somebody. Thats the old school way to learn, Steele knows it, Dan Brooks knows it, and thats clearly not what we are doing. We have some the worst angles I can recall from a CU defense, and we can't wrap up at any position on the defense. We play pattycake in practice.
Learning to run block is 90% effort. There is technique to run-blocking, which we haven't had in a decade, but you have to WANT TO move a man against his will. Our OL does not grasp this fact. Dalton Freeman would just come out and say "We were confused by what they were doing" when we lose, and then Walker would say how much pride we take in run blocking. Bullshit. They play pattycake in practice.
I want people to go back and watch your game tapes from this year if you have them, and tell me how many teams we blew off the ball. Compare that to how many we should blow off the ball.
Tell me how many times you see a Clemson lineman not touching anyone when the whistle is blown.
Tell me how many times you see a Clemson lineman with his pads low enough to make an effective block on somebody.
Tell me how many drives Antoine McClain killed by not blocking a soul.
Tell me how many times we run a bucksweep where you don't see Antoine block anyone at all.
If Phil Price, the walk-on, is our best OL, we have a problem here. We lost him and the whole line went to crap yesterday. He doesn't have half the athletic ability of someone like Thomas, or the strength of McClain, but 10x the WANT TO of any other lineman.This Charmin Softness starts with the S&C coach that sees and works with them 365 days a year, the same one we've had since Bowden, and the end responsibility is on Dabo Swinney for not seeing and rectifying the problem. If he let the team have less contact by request, then he needs his ass kicked first. I want Morris to take over our OL this week and put boots to asses, otherwise SC's DL will eat them for lunch.
Dan Pearman is approaching Jack Hines territory. Thats all i can say about our Special Teams.
I didn't like some of Chad's playcalling yesterday, and I'm sure most had similar complaints. I understand the need to force Tajh to take checkdowns, but you still need to push the ball. We have speed, let them use it.
I understand that he wants to make Tajh a run threat, but he does it by forcing a playcall instead of running a read option play. I'd rather try the read option on a short yardage situation (2nd & 5, 2nd & 3, 3rd & 3) and see what happens. I don't think Tajh will be anything more than an effective runner here. He won't be a big threat to a defense like a Dantzler, and only needs to be able to scramble for 5-7 here and there to be effective. I don't see the need to force it. I don't see the need to force the inside zone for effect and abandon the Jet series either.
For this offense to be effective again, we need guys that will learn to hold the ball the right way and receivers who work to get open, because I didn't see that from many yesterday. We need Tajh to get his head right and focus on making his progressions, but most of all we need an OL that shows up to play football. I don't think any offense can go further than the OL can take it. If we can MOVE PEOPLE inside, then they can't drop 8 into coverage.
But I put the full blame for lack of energy and focus in this game, and the previous few games, on Dabo Swinney. That is his job to handle. He sets the tone in practice all week. This loss doesn't go pn the OL, the defense, lack of Sammy, or Tajh's play. It goes to Dabo. I don't want to hear him tell TOB that he's happy for him or that he's proud of Paul Johnson. I don't want every game to be like winning the Academy award either and give the coach a gatorade bath every damn week.
There will not be a film review of this game. First, theres a holiday, and second. I have no impetus to watch that shit again.
Its Hate Week, let the hate flow.