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Game Film Review: Virginia Tech

Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

ESPN Play-by-Play

CU from 32 - Shatley just got whipped inside, no excuse for that. Boyd could've gotten rid of that one too though...Wildcat, AE takes it up the middle for 7...Gayle beats Timothy around the corner, because Giff didn't remember to move his feet. Boyd could've stepped up and missed the sack, but Timothy did a poor job. Punt.

Horrible pass protection.

VT from 42 - End around, nobody home and Roberts goes 17. Who was supposed to be home? Malliciah Goodman...Comeback for 7...Dive for 2..QB Sneak and he loses a yard, Clemson interior really bowed up...QB Draw gets it on 4th & 2... Dive for 1. 29 yard Deep cross to Corey Fuller for a TD, thanks to a horrible angle by Jonathan Meeks. The play should've been stopped at the 10. 7-0 Virginia Tech, 7 plays 58 yards, 02:52

Meeks = No arms. Only a Willie Martinez secondary plays this bad.

CU from 25 - IZ for 5...Boyd keeps for loss of 1. Looks like two zone reads in a row, but not really the right read if the 2nd one was in fact read...Sammy quick slant for 7...IZ for 2...Back shoulder comeback to Nuk for 24...Sweep handoff to Sammy for 7...Pass over the middle tipped and intercepted, overthrown ball. 7 plays 44 yards, 2:07.

Fluke interception, but he threw high over the middle, right at the middle Safety. If he doesn't fall down he probably still picks off the pass.

Tajh didn't totally follow through or get his weight over on the front foot on the pass and it sailed.

VT from 13 - Thomas chucks one deep into double coverage, shouldnt have been thrown...OZ for 7. Goodman got reached on the edge...Thomas takes it on a called rush for 3...Coverage nearly forces a sack, thrown incomplete...Read sweep option, Reader stays home, gain of 3...Quick slant beats Blanks inside because he opened his hips to the outside, putting him in bad position to ever adjust when the guy cuts to the inside, then missed tackle, gains 21...Christian blitzes off the edge, missed him, Thomas outran him for 9. Christian looks like he pulls up for the last 2 yards...Robinson reads the screen, nearly intercepts the pass...Outside iso, gets 5...IZ no gain, Watson on it...Quick slant for 12, bad tackle try by Robinson...OZ for 5...IZ for 3..Toss sweep for 1, good read of it by Breeland. Robinson went out here making the tackle...Isolation, stuffed by Corey Crawford. 15 plays 69 yards, 5:19

Not a good drive for us, two missed tackles in a row kept the drive going. Robinson did a good job recognizing and reacting to the WR screen but did not make the play he should've made easily.

But I wouldnt fault Beamer for going for it on 4th & 1 at our 18.

CU from 18 -Bootleg, Brown caught it out of bounds...Quick slant to SW for 12...iZ for 5...IZ for 2...TO CU...Slant to SW for 13...Dumps it off to AE for 8...Downfield throw to Nuk on a 9, he drops a TD. I can't believe he didn't catch that ball...SW jet sweep for a few (this is actually a pass play)...AE off tackle for 26, on a wide Power O. Beasley needs to get his ass over there faster...IZ for 3...Boyd can't read the coverage and throws it away, good call by Foster...TO CU because we ran the play clock all the way down. Why would this ever happen in our offense?...Boyd sails one over Nuk's head, wrong read. He had a receiver open to the right and did not see him. 27yd FG Catman. 7-3 VT. 13 plays 73 yards, 03:02

End 1st QTR.

VT from 23 - Holding called on a completed slant...Quick pass to Davis for 3...Inside zone read, Hall knocks it out, but they got it back...Blitz, Thomas walks through a huge hole when someone left his rush lane for 8...Thomas throws one over his receiver's head, Meeks is there to pick it off. Thomas was feeling pressure from behind and rushed this, and I agree that he may have been trying to throw it away. Didn't throw it far enough.

CU from 39 - SW over the middle for 4...Boyd holds the ball too long, scrambles for 2 after evading a sack. Timothy got beat there to the inside....9 route to SW batted away, good coverage by VT. Punt.

Ball bounced up and hit a VT player, he wasn't aware of where the ball was. Tony Steward recovered at the VT 26.

End around to SW, drops the pitch back from AE. Loss of 10...Bucksweep for 22...ZR keep, loss of 1. Boyd had the wrong read, should've given the ball off...Bucksweep Hot Rod for 4...IV keeper for 10..QB Power for the TD. 10-3 Clemson. 6 plays 26 yards, 01:53

VT from 18 - Called QB OZ for 3...Reader evades a blocker and stuffs an OZ...Thomas evades Reader, throws it away. LG just whiffed on Reader completely. Punt, bad snap and gets it off for 26. 3 plays 4 yards.

Can't believe we didnt get that punt.

CU from VT 43 - Power for 5...Power for 1...Boyd sacked, had enough time to get rid of that ball. Breakdown on inside protection. Punt. 3 plays -2 yards

Pitiful, we got that short field and got no points out of it.

VT from 15 - OZ for 1...Slant dropped...Stop route, missed tackle by Peters, and he gets 39. Played way too far off him, took the wrong angle, and missed a tackle. Should've been a 10-12 yard gain...Thomas throws it out of bounds backwards, loss of 2...ZR, Thomas keeps and loses a half yard. Crawford played it well...Thomas sails one, its a wobbler right into Meeks' chest. 74 yard return for 6. 6 plays 38 yards, 2:22. 17-7 Clemson.

VT from 25 -Thomas takes it himself no gain...Dumps it over the middle for 11 on a drag route..Draw for 12, two missed tackles. One was Hall...Meeks gets in there on a tipped pass to Fuller...Fuller sitting alone in space, goes for 22 between 3 orange jerseys. Safety should've eaten that...IZ for no gain. Goodman actually made a play...ZR keep for 6...QB keep for 1...TO VT..40yd FG. 17-10 Clemson


Our tackling is awful, but we're winning some battles up front. They really aren't doing well running the ball inside with anyone but Thomas.

O'Cain's development plan for Logan Thomas appears to be: give him one read, maybe two, and then take it himself. That is pretty much all he does. He does not read the coverage well, and locks on one guy.

Neither QB is hitting fairly easy throws, and Tajh is just not seeing the open man. They are there for sure, but he looks unpoised in the pocket.

137 total yards for Clemson, 14 points off 3 turnovers.

Clemson's defense is showing a lot more C2/C4 looks in my eyes.

Start 3rd QTR

VT from 16 -Thomas scrambles up the middle for 13...Chucks one deep to a WIDE OPEN Roberts, who ran right by Peters on the inside move...Stop route for 10, after a missed tackle...IZ no gain...Double Screen called, timing is all off, we get good pressure and Shuey got in there, loss of 3...TO CU, looks like we couldnt get the call in there to adjust. Thats not a good timeout to have to call...Thomas scrambles to the right after a blitz, late throw batted away by Blanks. Offsides called. Punt. 6 plays 24 yards, 01:59

Garry Peters must have thought he had safety help, but there was no one to release that one to, and it appears his eyes were not locked on his receiver in M2M coverage.

The timeout is indicative of communication issues that have hurt us all year and could continue.

Missed tackle gets them 10 on what should've been 4.

CU from 34 - IZ, no gain...Drag route, Sammy drops it. Too high a throw and too hot. Its a 15 yard gain if he catches it...Comeback screen to Nuk for 7. Punt.

Sammy catches that one and we're in VT territory. 4th 3 & out in 7 drives.

VT from 21 - End around and we were home for it, Shuey should have him in the backfield and Knowles evades him, reverses field and is knocked out of bounds for a 10 yard loss. I think VT completely botched this play up front, we had 3 or 4 guys come basically unblocked...WR screen for 4...Thomas throws deep into double coverage, Hall bats it away and should've intercepted it. Punt.

We should've been called for PI on Marcus Davis. Robert Smith did commit it as Hall was playing the ball.

CU from VT 47 - IZ for 2. No push in the middle...Tajh throws deep to Nuk, and ball is just out of reach. I don't think Tajh should've thrown this ball...Overthrows Sammy again on a crossing route. Punt.

We should've stuck with another running play here. Tajh shouldn't be throwing it deep when he's not comfortable, and they were with Nuk. The crosser is just indicative of him not following through on his release, and it was almost as much a gimme as the previous drive's crosser.

Chad probably should've called a screen or something very easy if he wanted to hit a pass, or something that makes their High Safety choose who to cover. I don't think he's any good.

Again though, start in VT territory and no points.

VT from 15 - Bad throw on a slant, incomplete...ZR keep for 12. Bad defense all around. No one in their gap and overpursuing...IZ for 3...Good penetration stops another IZ...Josh Watson gets a gift sack for a loss of 4. Punt. 5 plays 10 yards, 02:41

Bad call by the refs against VT on the sack. That wasn't a sack.

CU from 48 - Sweep for 2...Slant, Sammy dodges the defender and gets 9. He fumbled that ball. I guess they didnt overturn it because there may not be conclusive evidence that his butt/elbow werent down, but it looks like a fumble to me...Bucksweep for 3. Not great push on the right side at all...Boyd sidearms one to Ford, but Beasley held the DT badly. Just manhandled him after he got beat inside. He had to hold...QB Draw for 11. Just the call we needed...Sammy down the sideline for 27, outside shoulder throw. Perfect throw...Hot Rod sweep for loss...IZ for AE for 12 yard TD. Good block by Thomas. 24-10 Clemson. 7 plays 52 yards 2:53.

Whenever Tajh Boyd gets to running the ball with success, he's usually on in the passing game. He hit that draw for 11 and then a perfect throw to Sammy to set this up.

VT from 22 - IZ give for 1...Jet sweep, Shuey ate it for loss of 4...false start. Looked like they audibled and had something called on the outside where we had fewer numbers...Blitz, Thomas evades and gets 9...Delay called on a Punt? Their people were on the field at 24 sec on the play clock. Punt.

Terrible for VT. How do you get a DoG on a punt?

Conservative playcalling and Thomas scrambling is their only weapon. #O'Cain'd. We're doing very well up front.

CU from VT 47 - Jet toss sweep for 8...Same IV sweep play but Tajh keeps for 2 and a 1st down...Nuk on a 9 route for 37 yard TD. Perfect throw against good coverage. 31-10 Clemson. 3 plays 47 yards 0:50.

Run the ball, run Tajh, Boom.

We basically run an IV/power read with a sweep coming from the backside/readside, but it does not appear to always be a read option. Its called.

VT from 25 - Dump pass, missed tackle gets them 6-7. Should've been no gain...Slant for 24. Christian beaten inside badly, you cannot lose that inside leverage at the LB spot. He caps it off with a missed tackle at the end that gives them another 5 yards...Start 4th QTR...Goodman beats his man around the corner for a sack. HOLY SHIT. Thomas had time to get rid of that...Draw for 4...3 man rush, Thomas holds it too long, scrambles for 7...4th & 4.Blitz by Brewer, hits Thomas as he throws incomplete. Turnover on downs. 6 plays 36 yards, 2:45.

Blown protection at the end, two guys went in different directions as Brewer blitzed free off the edge. Either the RB or TE should've picked him up.

Two missed tackles gives them about 10-12 yards.

Thomas would make a wonderful TE. He's a shit QB. His OC is worse.

CU from 39 - Howard reverse toss for 11...Tajh keeps inside for 3...Tajh steps into a sack as Shatley is beaten...Bootleg, missed block by Beasley and Timothy, Boyd sacked on his shoulder. Punt.

Both of those were on the OL. Timothy got beat by playing pattycake with the DE, then Beasley couldn't pick up the guy because he had no leverage to even start. David probably should've cut blocked him.

VT from 39 - Curl route for 14, soft coverage. IZ for 6...Isolation cutback for 7, Brewer facemask call...QB Draw, Logan Thomas jogs in from 19 out. 31-17 Clemson, 4 plays 61 yards, 1:13.

Nobody was defending the middle of the field. Not a soul.

CU from 25 -Power for 1...Boyd keeps for 10 opposite the sweep...IZ no gain. This call is good on 3rd & 1, we just can't block. TO CU. Punt. 3 plays 9 yards, 01:35

VT from 25 -Scrambles and throws late to Davis for 8...OZ for 1. Shuey another good job getting out there...QB Sneak for 3...DOuble pass, Xavier Brewer picks it off and returns for 12 to the 41.

Dumb throw back across the field into coverage. Bad blocking to protect that WR throwing the ball back across too.

CU from VT 41 -IZ for 2..Power read keep for 16. Good block by Martavis Bryant...IZ for 1..Speed option from Pistol, kept for 4...Power read keep again for 17 on the backside of the sweep. Boyd fumbled that ball, recovered by Brandon Thomas in the endzone for a TD, but refs didn't see that...Sneak, no gain. Looks like the ball crossed the plane to me...Counter no gain...QB Power for no gain...QB Power for the TD. 38-17 Clemson 9 plays 41 yards, 05:22

I wish Ed Cunningham would shut up about his shoulder. No Tajh shouldnt be in there but I don't have to hear it on every play Ed.

That sweep is killing VT and we're not even giving the ball to Sammy. Tajh sees no one home on the backside, pulls it down and runs it behind the pulling Guard and it eats them up because the LBs aren't even close.

VT from 25 at 1:33 - IZ for 4...Keeper for 12, holes everywhere...Power for 16, angles...IZ for 2.


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Summarizing Thoughts

Clemson's defense played one of their better games of the year, holding VT to 158 yards in the 2nd half after being ripped for 250 in the first. In the 2nd half of every game since FSU, we've gotten a little bit better with halftime adjustments. Our 3rd down efficiency and red zone efficiency are shockingly still good.

Our DL disrupted VT up front, and did a pretty fair job overall. Its not what I'd call good by any means, but its been improving inside. Crawford is starting to show up more and hit harder. Goodman is stuck on my shit list because all he knows how to do is get reached, but he played a bit better today.

Spencer Shuey played a great game. One of the better we've had from MLB in a while. He's suited for VT because they play so damned slow. His instincts help him and he's aggressive, which is probably why he's playing over Anthony right now. Eventually his coverage ability will get exploited though.

DJ Reader can be another Brandon Thompson, IF he applies himself. That means baseball is not going to work out for him long term, and that he needs to focus himself on reshaping his body and getting stronger for football. Now, if he plays for Jack I'm certain he won't stay fat, because Jack only creates more Jack Leggett-type athletes, but baseball training is not football training. Reader makes the most number of plays per snap of anyone and he should be on the field twice as much.

Those are all good signs for the defense.

But our overall tackling and angles in the secondary are not. Now, we've lost Robinson from an already-bad pass defense and will be forced to play Cortez Davis, who I do not think can do the job this year. He's not fluid and doesn't show the instincts you see in natural CBs. Walk-on CB Dante Stewart has more snaps than Davis. Peters did not have as good a game as he did at BC.

Meeks cannot tackle, but give him credit for the first pick. Hall had a chance at a similar one and missed it. The 2nd was thrown right at him.

Our tackling is the #1 problem from this game if you look at the tape. We gave up a ton of yards after contact. We also can't bring down Thomas on the first hit, and his big slow ass beat us on the zone read bigtime. I think this was their only run play that had any success, because we beat their OL on everything else.

My thoughts on Thomas are that he would look better with an OC who had a brain, not someone who can't be aggressive at the right time and sticks with a too-conservative-for-his-OL-play approach. If your OL stinks this bad, just throw the ball. Wouldn't you do that against Clemson?

Tech's WRs are good enough to win 1 on 1 matchups against us, and yes Thomas didnt hit them when they were open, but O'Cain doesn't call good plays to get them going in a groove. VT is just too predictable on offense. You know what they're going to do before they do.

If Virginia Tech wants to win football games, they will fire Mike O'Cain and Stinespring after the season, and go find a young recruiting guru to complement Shane Beamer. The overall talent on this team is not what it was 5-6 years ago, and it shows at the skill spots and all over the defense.

Tajh Boyd did not play to his usual level, that is obvious, but he didn't have much help from his front 5. VT has a bad defense, and they played their asses off up front against us. Given that our OL play has deteriorated markedly, you can make your own conclusion about who really did the best/worst.

Our protections did not do well, but I don't think Tajh got pressured so much as a result of MAs as guys just being beaten with moves.

Andre Ellington does not look like himself still, but Chad abandons the run when its not working to his liking. I think he does so too quickly. We need to be able to run the ball, so force it. He forces the pass calls to certain players at times so why not Andre? Some plays we saw vs. FSU have disappeared. This is just like late last season. Where is a long trap? quick trap? Why do we only run Power, power read/IV, buck, or the inside zone handoff?

Overall I don't think that Morris called a good game here. I'm sure he does change things as a result of self-scouting, but if you need to call Power 10 times in a row to establish the line of scrimmage, then call it. If Tajh is changing plays based on numbers in the box, take that ability away from him and force the run like you do the pass.