The Master of Strategerie, Dabo Swinney, had a plan for today. 1). Rock the camo, because we're fucking hardcore like that. 2). He decided to let Tribble Reese lead the Tiger Walk with his ladies so he could make us a joke on a sitcom as well as on the football field. 3). Call a fake FG to demonstrate his genius. Somehow the domination by Wofford will look less embarassing, at least thats the plan.
After that it was just a shitshow. Wofford shouldn't be anywhere close to Clemson at the end of the game. Clemson has more athletic ability at every position. There is one thing that is noticably different about Wofford, and that is that they aint SOFT. They dont have great players but they are coached well and they were prepared to play this game. Clemson was not.
Again we saw the Charmin Ultra Soft Tigers unable to move anyone up front on inside running plays. Again an opponent showed us delayed Fire Zone blitzes and we could not pick them up. Again we could not tackle in the open field. Nothing pisses me off like seeing problems that don't get improved or corrected. We chalked some of this up to jitters and youth on the field last week, but that excuse is over. We played starters for most of this game. This has to get fixed right now, or else we'll be 2-3 very fast.
What do you think Gene Chizik and Ted Roof are going to be thinking Monday when they look at film of our protections in 2 games? To borrow a line from a friend, they're going to be watching it with Jergens and Kleenex. Bud Foster will fall off his chair laughing when he sees our new Matador, Antoine McClain, just letting guys go untouched to the QB because he CANT MOVE HIS FUCKING FEET. McClain does not belong on the football field right now, there is no person up front who fucks up his assignment more often, there is no person who forgets that blocking requires you to MOVE YOUR ASS quite like him. Mason Cloy should be starting RG, or put a freshman in there. I'd rather watch the freshman miss his assignment and grow with him than see a Senior who has consistently screwed up the most of all 5 linemen continue to play and whiff. But Dabo wont do that because Dabo loves his Bama boys.
As for the pass protection issues in general, the blame still gets spread around. Both Troy and Wofford are using Fire Zones, which are nothing more than overload blitzes from one side with zone behind them, and we are not using the right protections to handle them. This job is the QB's job. The QB must read blitz and check the protection so he has time to throw it. He has to let the RB know that he must stay in to block when they send more on one side than you can block. Going from memory, the two consecutive sacks from the L/R side, which were delay blitzes up the B-gap, were because of this. Both the G and T were engaged and the C had gone to the other side, and they sent a LB on a delay blitz. You cannot put those on the OL. The best way to handle that is a draw play or hit the hot route, or change your protection to keep the back in.
I feel like the protection will get better, but if the inside run blocking does not, then this will sink the offense. We have enough athletes to score points, but if you cannot run the ball inside in an offense that is based off power running inside, then you really won't be able to do anything consistently. Thats not the plays, not the calls, its not the QB, its David Smith, Dalton Freeman, and Antoine McClain. We run simpler schemes up front now. Wofford played mostly a 3-man base front and we couldn't exploit either bubble in that front. That is pathetic.
Tajh's decision making was fine, and his completion percentage was again good enough. He shares blame in his sacks, and he has to be more effective as a runner in this offense to make them play back. The TD scramble was nice, but he needs to do it just a few times more per game. I didn't see him force but one ball late on a slant that should've been picked. It appeared to me that Morris took away some of his reads in the run game, as we ran read option-type plays (IV, ZR) fewer in this game. Perhaps this was a simplification for him in practice this week.
Defensively, tackling, tackling, tackling, tackling. We did not tackle in the open field better. We did not play with our EYES any better. When someone runs option against you, you have a job to do. One man has QB first, so you hit the mufugher on every play no matter what. One man has the pitch back. Everybody inside has the Dive. Well we couldn't get them down on the ground at all because we can't tackle, and we weren't in position to get them tackled because we weren't LOOKING for the ball. We lost edge containment so many times that I was about to have a stroke watching this garbage. All the perimeter play, mostly by Linebackers and support, really mucked up a great performance by Brandon Thompson. Wofford had no answer for him. Their Center was swatted aside like a rag doll from the 2nd quarter forward. Branch played his assignment well enough, but I was not happy with anyone else on the edge or on the 2nd level in the middle.
Inability to stick with assignments shows lack of discipline, and since this game had our starters on defense in there late, I'm quite worried about them going forward. Yes, we stopped Wofford in the 2nd half better, but they should not have been able to convert on 3rd downs either.
This weekend's film review will be FUN FUN.