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Game Film Review: Furman

Sep 15, 2012; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) carries the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the Furman Paladins at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE
Sep 15, 2012; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Sammy Watkins (2) carries the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the Furman Paladins at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-US PRESSWIRE

We'll go play by play until the 4th quarter garbage time. 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. I may pull a few plays out to discuss the Clemson offense/defense, and if theres anything that you would like to see or have explained, just ask.

ESPN Play-by-Play

FU from 32 - IZ, Crawford got off his block nicely. no gain..Power G, gain of 3..TE in the flats for 8, Breeland just playing about 7 yards off the #1, he goes inside, the TE went outside...Blanks meets the RB off-tackle, gain of 2...Bootleg pass to TE coming across, got lost on the crosser for 18. Weak middle coverage there...CB blitz, Breeland hits the RB at the LOS but still gains 4...Shoot route to the RB, Hall was too far off him and he gets 8...Power G for 5. Grady Jarrett came free inside and had the guy in the backfield...Bootleg, TE in the flat for 8. Shuey too slow...TO...ZR for 4. DE got pinned back inside when he came down...Blitz, Williams hits QB as he throws for 3...Thrown into double coverage incomplete. DeShawn Williams went out here..4th & 3 at the 5. They line up for a FG, but motion out of it to pass. Pressure forces a horrid throw, intercepted by Rashard Hall. Touchback. Hall did interfere with the receiver.13 plays 63 yards, 06:42

We're there to make the tackle, but didn't make the tackle. It also appears to take 3 or 4 of us to bring down Hank McLoud and Jerodis Williams.

They saw on film how weak our LBs are in getting to the flats and the flat coverage is soft. So they're just going left and right and hitting the TE after the receivers clear the underneath coverage a little. That pass across the middle was particularly bad for the LB coverage.

CU from 20 - Bucksweep for 1. Too much penetration inside of Shaq Anthony, bad down angle block..Flats to Sammy for 12...Pitch for 9...Bootleg to Nuk for 16...WR screen to Sammy for 19. Ford put another good block on a guy...Nuk standing underneath the coverage on the sideline for 13...10 yard Toss Sweep for the TD. 7-0 Clemson 7 plays 80 yards, 01:44

FU from 25 - Toss sweep for 6. Bad edge control, we did not get off blocks, and LBs are not scraping and getting into gap...Iso for 2..Toss sweep for 2. Meeks did a pretty good job getting in there but they got a good spot...Pressure forces scramble, hits TE in the flat for 9. That should not have been completed. Blanks should've swatted it away...FB Dive for 2..IZ for 4. We were in a 30 front, Guards went straight at the LBs. Anthony has to attack there...ZR, Jarrett came free and loss of 1..NB Blitz, scrambles and hits a crossing WR for 6, short by 1. Punt. 8 plays 30 yards, 05:35

Doesnt seem like the overall effort level is there on defense.

CU from 14 - Empty, Nuk on a stop for 7. Really dont like going empty there at the 14...Option pass to Nuk for 1..Power O for 3...PA pass to Jaron Brown for 17, great catch. End 1st QTR..Sammy on a bucksweep. 14-0 Clemson. 5 plays 86 yards, 01:09

FU from 25 - Stop for sweep for 2. Watson raped his Guard. Jarrett blew up the other Guard there, and missed the RB. Took 4 guys to tackle him...Iso, stuffed in the backfield. Corico Wright read it and was all over the RB. Very nice for him. 3 plays 9 yards.

CU from 19 - Bucksweep for 2...IZ for 3...Nuk on a flag route for 27. FS was not close enough..PA crosser to Jaron Brown for 17, another great catch...Hot Rod ZR for no gain...Boyd runs up the middle for 8..Blitz, Boyd sacked. Furman had a good call and timed it right up the A-gap. Catman 46 yd FG. 17-0 Clemson. 8 plays 52, 3:08

FU from 25 - Blitz, they hit the slant route right up the middle on Blanks, goes for 45. Blanks should've had inside leverage here and the guy just outmaneuvered him to the inside, and basically outran him 40 yards. Looks like Meeks was way back in 1 High...Blanks makes nice hit on OZ, gain of 1...Checkdown pass to RB, gain of 3...Incomplete pass deep, good coverage. FG attempt and they botched the snap, lost 9. Turnover on downs.

If the blitz actually works, that pass may not be completed. We just arent getting the pressure with our 4 versus a 1-AA front and the LB blitzes dont work either

CU from 35 - Bucksweep, they blitzed right into it...Bryant drops a bullet, but should catch that...Nuk on a quick slant, but short of 1st down at our 44. Punt. 3 plays 9 yards, 01:20

FU from 16 - Blitz, Anthony overpursues the TE in the flat and he gains 8...Sweep for 39...Hall comes up on PA, and lets the receiver get behind him for a 37 yard TD. 17-7 Clemson 3 plays 84 yards, 01:25

Terrible drive. Look first at the sweep. We've got 3 guys over the C gap. Nobody outside on the D.

Notice the alignment, its a G-front set to the fieldside. What are they supposed to do? On flow away, the 2i gets the backside A, and Shuey flows to the frontside A. 3-tech has the B between 66 and 70. The LB behind the 3 tech has the A-gap on flow away from him, and on flow to needs to either get into the C gap to make the tackle, or if its obvious that he cannot, scrape further outside and take the D-gap. Barnes is aligned in a 7, and needs to crash into the C-gap immediately.

The DB here is also standing over the C, and BOTH he and Anthony jump into it. He should've been scraping. Barnes has to collapse the hole if possible. Now you can see the DB is basically out of it, but Anthony hasn't done anything but keep his eye on the ball. Barnes is trying to get outside with the hole filled. Barnes could not get outside, and Anthony did not ever scrape.

That is Meeks deep. Meeks stayed outside as best he could, trying to force a cutback to Anthony. I don't see a problem with how he's staying outside because its his job, but he's the only man left to make a tackle and doesnt.

Now the TD, its all Rashard Hall. He was watching the PA and not the receiver, but he's supposed to be about 5-7 deeper.

CU from 25 - Power for 2, no push over RG...Nuk on a post for 25. VERY NICE blitz pickup by AE..Boyd scrambles for 3. Sammy could've blocked for him...Power, gain of 2. Not enough push...Jailbreak screen for 4. Sammy couldnt make the first man miss. Jaron needed to block that better as well...4th & 1 at Furman 39, Sneak for 1st down. Boyd turns around to the LOS, not what you should ever do...Jaron Brown deep down the seam for 28...Option pass, bad throw and decision to pass this ball, should've been picked. He threw it without setting his feet...IZ for 6...Boyd nearly sacked, thrown away incomplete. 22 yd FG catman. 20-7 Clemson. 11 plays 71 yards, 3:17.

Not pushing enough inside.

FU from 36 - Pitch Iso for 6. Wright ran into the gap and the RB went right by him...FB dive for 3.


D = gap control, misalignment, a big bust, and just overall effort. Complete shit. 235 yards allowed: 75 rushing. 4 chunk plays over 15 yards. The lack of pressure up front has let them just dink and dunk passes and churn out 3-4 yards per carry, which let them keep the ball away from our offense. 19:22 TOP for Furman, 10:38 for Clemson.

Furman has had success attacking the flats under the C3 we're primarily sitting in, which is fairly soft. When we switch up to C2 its soft as well, I would've expected guys like Breeland to be pretty tight on a zone 2, but they're well back.

I'm disappointed in the offensive line's run blocking, particularly on the perimeter, and we've missed some shots, but theres no reason to be down about the latter. 298 in the half, 106 rushing, but half that came on the one Sammy TD.

3rd QTR

CU from 29 - Bucksweep call, but Tajh dropped the ball handing it off....Thrown behind Brandon Ford in the flat, incomplete...Blitz comes free off the edge, their CB broke on the pass to Brown over the middle well, incomplete. Punt.

FU from 28 - Steward is in at MLB in the Under set. IZ for 2...Hannon throws it right at Quandon Christian, returned 27 yards.

He was hit as he threw the ball by Grady Jarrett, and didnt get anything on it. The receiver was open about 5-7 yards behind Christian.

CU from Furman 14 - Counter for 8...IZ for 2...Fade to Nuk, caught out of bounds...Power for 3...Power for TD. 27-7 Clemson. 5 plays 14 yards 1:12.

FU from 25 - Toss sweep for 2. Steward was back at WILL here. Chop block called on Furman, they cut Josh Watson down pretty hard...Stop route for 5, Brewer on it immediately...Batted down by Vic Beasley, into Dozier's hands for loss of 5...Comeback route for 11. Punt.

Better defense so far.

CU from 31 - WR screen to Sammy for 17...IZ for 4...Post to Jaron for 14...Quick pass to Sam Cooper for 4 in the flat...Ford comes across the formation and basically runs a Go route for 30 yd TD. Nobody picked him up. Thats a coverage bust. 34-7 Clemson. 5 plays 69 yards, 01:16

Tempo was really good on this drive.

FU from 25 - IZ for 2...Shoot route, Steward overran it and didnt' go for the hit, then he takes the ball 21 yards...Robinson makes a nice tackle on a sweep, jumped his cut blocker and made the tackle. Holding called deeper downfield on Furman, then a personal foul on Furman after...IZ for 2...Xavier Brewer LOST THE INSIDE LEVERAGE ON A FLOATER, caught for 33 on 2nd and 33. They yanked him out right after as well...Bootleg, runs out of bounds...Stop for 7..IZ for 1...4th & 1. Brewer held the shit out of that TE and basically pushed him to the ground. 10 yard penalty...Bootleg to the RB, Hall kinda misses the first tackle, Steward was there for the 2nd. 3 yard gain...Christian does well on a sweep, no gain. "better" edge control by Crawford...Scramble, thrown behind the receiver, Christian should've picked that. We left one man on the backside WIDE OPEN in the corner of the endzone...4th down, Back shoulder throw out of bounds. Turnover on downs. 11 plays 55 yards, 06:42

Beasley has to get off that RB block, he's faster and needs to use his hands. If he gets off that he has 2 sacks. Little guy is just standing him up and he lets him do it.

This pass to Culbreath for 33 on Brewer should not have happened. There is NFW the WR should be this open. It looked like Brewer either turned himself around by opening his hips too early, or just lost the receiver by watching someone else. Dabo jumped on Harbison afterwards, and Harbison gave it to Brewer on the sideline.

On the holding call it was Brewer again, but I think he felt like the guy was blocking. QB ran out on another bootleg and the TE was already on the ground, so they flagged us.

I think it has to be said, the game is essentially over, and Furman's body language on the field on offense shows it. I caution against taking too much from this defensive performance from here on out.

CU from 20 - Counter, 1 yard gain. No push on right side...Thrown a little too high to Cooper. Catchable though...Peake on an out route, CB jumped it and should've picked it. Late throw by Boyd. 3 plays 1 yard. Punt.

Cooper was staring back into the sun on the seam route, but should've caught the ball.

FU from 27 - Christian jumped a slant, should've picked it. Nice read...false start...holding...Pass just thrown too hot to the receiver incomplete...Robinson there on a comeback route that was underthrown, incomplete. Punt. 3 plays -15.

CU from 47 - WR screen to Humphries for 7...Jet sweep pass incomplete. Looked like Humphries wasn't ready for it. Start 4th QTR. Humphries out in the flats for a few...PA deep post to Martavis Bryant. 46 yards. 41-7 Clemson. 4 plays 53 yards :50.

Still don't see how Bryant caught this ball.

FU from 25 - Sweep, Brewer cuts his legs out for gain of 2...Iso for 2. Nice play by 48...Breeland held the WR coming across, then Barnes committed a personal foul off-camera. 25 yards on one play...Toss sweep, Christian did a great job setting the edge and made the tackle for no gain...Christian bats a ball away from the RB in the flat...Shuey comes completely free and the QB runs away from him, throws it away. Punt.

Christian came to play in this 2nd half. Again, their energy level isnt there like it was.

CU from 23 - Stoudt is in the game with Zac Brooks. ZR keep for 13, sweep with a botched snap, batted pass. pass to Seckinger for 4. Punt.

FU from 20 - IZ for 6, 98 too slow. Christian gets into the backfield, TFL. Beasley misses a 4 yard TFL, gains 4. Punt.

CU from 27 - Zac Brooks has two big gains on back-2-back IZ/ZR plays, good blocking at POA. Stoudt intercepted because he got too much air under a pass to MacLain right in front of the Safety. That one was on Cole.

FU from 40 - Zone, Christian again in the backfield quickly..IZ for 2...Brewer forces an OZ out after 6. Punt.

CU from 11 - 3 & out

FU from 35 - 3 & out.

Clemson runs the clock out with Zac Brooks.


Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

Summarizing Thoughts

Furman's strategy was obvious. They wanted to play keep away. If a team can do that, and force us into a few 3&outs, then you suddenly have a bad day.

They saw we were playing mostly 3-deep zones and some C1, and that our LBs were not sharp in getting to the flat or picking up guys in M2M, and they hit us with it. We couldn't stop the run well enough to force them into something different until the 2nd half, and I think a big part of it was just the effort. Guys were not playing hard or smart. This is the kind of thing that separates Clemson from reaching the level we want them to be. They have to bring it every week and not play down to the opponent.


Offensively I just think we were not crisp. Tajh had a good day, but it wasnt as sharp a day as before. He made at least 3 throws that he shouldn't have. We weren't as high on tempo as we should've been, and the OL did not do well enough running the ball.

We were starting 3 guys up front who did not start against Auburn, however our 2nd string should still be able to knock an 0-2 Furman team off the ball.

We still have to improve in perimeter blocking. WR blocking today needed some work. Edge blocking and blocking on the bucksweep plays was not very good.


Tony Steward did well. He was in his gap. I thought at times he was a little tentative, but he was there. He should get a few more snaps but he’s not better than Willard at this point, and definitely not ready for heavy duty against FSU. We have to go with the most dependable one for a big opponent, and that is not Steward. Once he's not tentative, and maybe in a little better playing shape, we'll see what we get. If he can progress from here though he may be starting or at least platooning by late October.

I wish Shuey was faster. If he was, I’d press for more PT for him. He’s just not fast enough.

Blanks was getting himself into problems in the first half with not being able to set the edge on run plays consistently, and Christian ended up playing more in the 2nd as a result. Christian had a considerably better day today as well, it was probably his best day since his freshman year. This was the level of play I expected to see from Christian last season.

Furman's body language on offense tells me that not all of our 2nd half improvement on rushing D was just us.

Xavier Brewer, as I’ve said all along, should not be moved around too much. I don’t think he’s a good safety and never have. I think he can be adequate at CB, but only with reps there and not reps everywhere. He is no Darrell Crutchfield, and definitely not yet to the Amityville Horror level of the Ford twins, but when he gets moved around week to week he’s horrible. Two years ago he was weak to start off at CB, and we burned Robinson’s redshirt as a result, but he came around down the stretch. Robinson ended up with almost no snaps and a wasted year. Last year we started moving him around, because Jenkins was playing better, and he got worse. This year we’re moving him and he’s bad. Put him at CB/Nickel and leave him.

We have to get better at Safety somehow. It is too important to be strong up the middle and have such sporadic Safety play. Meeks has been invisible in coverage, which is generally a good thing for a DB. The less you see him on TV the better he's playing, but we still need a play. The other S spot has not been invisible, and its been bad.

As for what we’ve seen schematically thus far, its been mostly base defense. Over/G front Cover 3 and some mixing in of Under C1 and C2. We have thrown a good number of zone pressures. Will we see more things against FSU? Of course. However, its going to be high risk/reward. We’re going to blitz more, because we have no choice. Our pass rush from the down 4 is abysmal. Malliciah Goodman is at best a run stopper and nothing more. Corey Crawford hasn’t put it together. Tavaris Barnes hasn’t either. Vic Beasley is a big risk in run situations. These guys up front need to just do their jobs.

As you should know by now from listening to the Chad, you don’t throw the team more than it can handle if you want them to execute it worth a damn. If we stink in our base defense, then you should not expect us to be any better when we throw out more looks against FSU. New looks up front and blitz packages don’t change the fact that DTs are being washed out, or linebackers are not where they are supposed to be. It doesn’t change the fact that DBs take crap angles and lose the proper leverage. When you show more looks, you bring in more opportunity for confusion in gap control and potentially huge problems in lining up right against a formation you have not seen.

The counterpoint is that Manuel still relies on his athleticism instead of making better decisions. He's a great athlete but an average QB. If you can pressure him, he’ll screw up. Florida State’s pass blocking left something to be desired against Wake Forest. Venables confounded them last year in Tallahassee, and I’m confident that we’ll throw some nasty things against them, but Clemson fans need to realize that when we do this, we are setting ourselves up for a bomb on the back end.