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Game Film Review: Florida State

Since the Clemson defense remained in Tigertown instead of making the trip to Tallahassee, and to save my own sanity, I will not do the PBP review of the defensive performance. I will only mention a few things here and there, and then discuss the defensive problems at the end of the review.

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images

Since the Clemson defense remained in Tigertown instead of making the trip to Tallahassee, and to save my own sanity, I will not do the PBP review of the defensive performance. I will only mention a few things here and there, and then discuss the defensive problems at the end of the review.

ESPN play-by-play

CU from 25 - Naked bootleg pass to Cooper for 7....QB Power O for 5...End around handoff to AE for 3...Empty, WR screen and Humphries nor the offensive lineman get there to make a block, Nuk stopped no gain...Nuk Hopkins 60 yard TD right up the seam on 31. 7-0 Clemson, 5 plays 75 yards 1:26.

Nuk ran a double move, cut outside the underneath zone CB and back over the middle. Safety was caught sleeping.

How the fuck did we not have 11 on the field to kick the XP and then burn a Timeout? Catman can't kick the ball another 5 yards?

FSU from 15, due to holding call, kick coverage was poor - marched right down the field, 28 yard rush by Manuel highlighted the drive, thanks to a complete seal of Goodman and no LB play behind him. 7-7. 6 plays 85 yards, 02:40

Robinson comes into the frame once on a 19 yard completion but the underneath receiver wasn't his man, however on a bootleg he left his man. On the TD he fails to get off a block and the RB runs right past him and Anthony. Manuel audibled the play from the right to the left because of a safety blitz read.

CU from 21 - Counter for 3...Pressure forces checkdown, thrown incomplete...Sammy on a stop route for 12..Throwback screen for 39 to AE, incredibly well executed play...Bootleg right into a blitz, Tajh scrambles for 2...Power Jet sweep for 5...QB Power? for 2. May have been a scramble on a bootleg, because the frontside let a guy off the block into the backfield. Clemson fakes a FG, both teams well-executed...TO FSU to challenge spot.....Sammy from the backfield set for 9, looked more like a Dart than Power...IZ for 6 on the score. 14-7 Clemson, 10 plays 79 yards, 3:53.

Timothy did a good job pinning Dawkins inside so Ellington could cut behind him on the score. Very nice drive for the offense, inside/outside attacking and misdirection freezing the LBs.

FSU from 17 - Beasley had outside leverage on the OT, cut inside on a spin move, and let Manuel get outside for 17. Williams had a nice pass deflection. Lack of flat coverage by the backers allowed a key checkdown for 12 that put them in FG range. Hopkins missed the 44 yarder. 10 plays 57 yards 4:20

Pretty evident in this drive that we cannot hold the edge of the line, and the DTs are playing way too high.

CU from 27 - Jaron cut inside for 14, knocked the DB down...Power for 12, cut outside off the TE..Tajh sacked for loss of 1...PA bucksweep sack for loss of 11, Timothy stepped down when the Guard pulled to the left side, and FSU had a twist called with the LB+DE. Timothy let the DE go to take the LB, wrong choice...Scramble, pass thrown short off-balance incomplete to Sammy. Sammy was open but Boyd sidearmed this ball a little. TO Clemson because we couldn't get the punt off. Punt. 5 plays 14 yards.

Timothy's choice put us in 3rd & 22, not much shot of making that.

FSU from 26 - Chris Thompson gets 41 on a stretch play because the backside LB Tig Willard overpursued the play and left the cutback lane open. Anthony got swallowed up by the Guard since the Guard was uncovered. The DB filling in missed the tackle in the open gap, then Brewer looks like an idiot trying to tackle flat-footed. This is the exact same problem mentioned in every film review thus far. End 1st QTR.

LBs let O'Leary get behind them on a deep cross for 28. PA pulled both SA and Willard up, but not so much for Tig, but it was enough to open the hole up behind them. We were in C3, Hall probably should've read the play much better and did not react to the TE coming completely free over the middle.

Meeks had Wilder in the backfield on the TD and missed the tackle. Anthony got swallowed up by the Guard and didnt get off. BV had the right call. 14-14. 4 plays 74 yards, 01:21

CU from 17 - IZ for 3..Nuk on a quick slant for 8...Bucksweep for Sammy, he outran his blockers and the defense caught up to him. But play negated due to offsetting penalties...Stop route to Nuk for 8...IZ for 2, AE had a hole on the other side...Fake sweep and Boyd takes it, 68 was beaten by Werner on the trap block...Boyd overthrows pass to Sammy, somebody ran the wrong route here because the MOF was wide open, Boyd didn't see that seam...Boyd pressured by zone blitz and throws sidearmed incomplete. Punt.

FSU fumbles the punt at their 31. Clemson recovered.

Tajh bootleg motion right into the pressure on the right side, scrambles for 4...Power O for 5 off tackle..Fake jet sweep, Boyd takes it up the gut for 5 on a Power...Brandon Ford runs a wheel route and is standing still on the sideline for a 17 yd TD against Rhodes. LB didn't pick him up out of the backfield. 21-14 Clemson 4 plays 31 yards 1:23

Catman actually kicked off following, returned 30 yards. Weak coverage.

FSU from 32 - Actually this was a nice drive by the defense, highlighted by a Breeland sack. Willard had a crushing hit on the boundary. We appeared to be a bit more aggressive and played with some energy. Another hit by Breeland knocked a ball loose but it wasn't ruled in our favor. Inconclusive to overturn it. 8 plays 29 yards 5:20.

CU from 9 - Pass incomplete on a bootleg due to pressure, BF cannot handle Werner on his own...BF in the flats for 9...IV Jet Sweep to Sammy for 3 and a 1st down. Ford again gets Werner and the penetration is what stopped the play...Long trap for 2, Beasley missed a trap block on Werner - wrong angle, went too sharply....Nuk makes a great catch for 12 up the sideline, Ronald Darby went for the INT instead of Nuk...Bucksweep for 6...IZ/ZR for 1...Wildcat handoff to Sammy, throws downfield to a wide open Humphries and misses him. 8 plays 33 yards, 2:44.

Punt was 57, returned 30. Horrible coverage.

I'm trying to figure out why we let Brandon Ford, who is not a great line blocker, get matched up with Werner one on one. We bootleg to the right side (because Boyd is right handed), which is directly towards the weakest pair of blockers on the best DE.

FSU from 31 - We dropped 9 into coverage on 3rd & 4, and still left the checkdown uncovered by about 15 yards, Manuel hit Thompson and he took it 10 to convert. That is pitiful.

Thompson got 31 on a screen because we blitzed both LBs, and Hall/Blanks cant outquick the offensive linemen down field. Nobody in our front read the screen. They threw the fade to Benjamin to end the half, and Robinson is in bad position to do anything if the ball is close. 37 yd FG missed.

Jimbo's clock management is the real reason FSU didn't score here. They were out of timeouts when they took possession at 2:02.


Well our defense is garbage and play tentative, passive defense. We give up yards in big chunks after a good tackle or good play. Theres just too much to say even from the first half. Jimbo is stupid to even throw the ball.

We don't sub much up front that I can see.

We were playing a decent mix of coverages, man and zone, but were essentially in a 3-3 and 3-4 front for the entire half. We're blitzing from everywhere, and Quandon Christian is coming on most plays. I just wonder why, if youre going to blitz the SAM this much, you don't play Lateek Townsend since its basically the only thing he knows how to do well?

15/20 for 181 yards passing allowed, 130 rushing in the 1st half, 8.6 per play. 6 carries and 53 yards for Manuel alone.

Offensively we are getting OK yardage running off-tackle, so the edge is being set well, and the fake jet sweeps with Sammy keep the linebackers honest. When we outnumber them on the edge we have done well, and thats the whole point to a bucksweep or outside Power.

The FSU DTs are not pushing the pocket enough to worry me, but they aren't moving much. Its mostly a stalemate inside. We arent trying to outnumber them with inside power or lead blocking plays, which surprises me because I think as well as the interior OL is playing that we could get some more movement.

My biggest gripe is how they've decided to handle the DEs. Thomas is doing OK on his side, but Timothy and Ford have been asked to handle a DE 1 on 1 several times, and Ford in particular can't do that. Timothy will win some and lose some but Ford is not that good of an in-line blocker. I would've put Shaq Anthony out there instead of Ford or Cooper and gone unbalanced on the right side.We've also failed on some long traps because the LG isn't taking the proper angle: its basically a kick-out against Werner and David Beasley is not executing it.

We also have run some plays that I've expected to see long before now, but have been held back the last two years. They could all be posts separately down the line.

13/18 with 195 yards passing and 58 rushing in the 1st half, 6.5 per play.

Special teams coverage was not very good at all for us. Punts themselves weren't so hot either, aside from the 57 yarder.

3rd QTR.

FSU from 16 due to a holding call, but coverage was again bad - Nice drive for the defense, stopped the run and the passes were affected by pressure. The last pass could have been intercepted.

CU from 33 - Orbit counter for 5...Counter again for 4...Boyd for 4 up the gut on a Power...WR screen, Jaron and Ford didn't block well for Watkins, gain of 2...Double Pass from Watkins to AE for 52 yard score. Very well executed. 28-14 Clemson. 5 plays 67 yards 1:23.

Good success running the ball off-tackle again by outnumbering them on the edge. Power inside outnumbers them at the POA too.

But the WR blocking today is pitiful.

Pinion kicked here for the touchback, Benton had kicked the KO at the half.

FSU from 25 - Jet sweep pass for 64 yards, and Clemson does a horrendous job of tackling on the perimeter. Arm tackles and shitty angles from the secondary. Blanks could've had him in the backfield and let himself get stuffed by the RB. Manuel takes one 17 yards on a bootleg, and the speed option that beat us two years ago scores the TD. DE took the QB, but there was no one there to take the pitch once the FB cut the force. 28-21 Clemson, 3 plays 75 yards 1:39.

CU from 36 - ZR keeper for 3...Quick slant to Nuk batted away...QB Draw for 14 up the middle...Counter option pitch for 5...bucksweep for 5...Reverse to AE for 2, he slipped or he'd have had another 3-5...PA pass to Watkins in the flat incomplete, they had good coverage and a hand in Tajh's face...Timothy beaten and Tajh evades sack, scrambles for 2. Timothy just didn't keep moving his feet to force Werner to widen. Catman hit the 50 yard FG. 31-21 Clemson. 9 plays 31 yards 3:02.

Yards are there to be had on the perimeter. More man coverage in the secondary.

Joyner returns the Pinion kickoff 90 yards. #29 missed the initial hit and he's the one that ran all the way down the field to finish the tackle. Thats good effort from him.

FSU from Clemson 10 - throws it right in for the score over Breeland. 31-28 Clemson.

CU from 25 -Wildcat was the call, and we let the play clock run out and had to call TO...Tajh back in, Shatley beat bad inside and Tajh has to throw it away...Swing route to AE stopped for 1 yard gain...Tajh misses Sammy Watkins just enough for it to be incomplete. Christian Jones had a hand on him but it wasn't PI. Ball needed to be thrown with more air under it and it would've been caught. Punt, and not a very good one.

How did you not have the call situated after a TV timeout and kickoff? 3 passes and a punt. FSU has switched to more 2 man.

FSU from 36 - FSU called the same play twice and got 18 on them. We had two guys dropping into the same zone. We missed about 15 tackles on one TD score called back for holding. Smith scored the TD because Robinson could not find the ball, interfered, and still let him catch it. 35-31 FSU, 7 plays 64 yards 2:41.

If you're going to interfere with a guy, you hammer him. You never let him catch the ball.

CU from 25 - Looked like a busted play or botched assignment, can't tell, Tajh ran for 2...LG beaten, Tajh scrambles for 4...Empty set, Nuk ran a slant and the ball was thrown behind him. It was a 1st down if its caught, DB didn't have leverage inside. Punt.

Not certain on the call for the first one, but the next two were passes. This is where we really needed a first down.

FSU from 23 - Starting to see our defense look gassed or emotionally out of it. Robinson gets another PI call because he's beaten up the sideline. Doesn't turn his head around for the damn ball. No more pass rush now. Wilder takes one 35 because the backside LB overpursued again, and finishes the drive with the score. 42-31 FSU. 7 plays 77 yards, 3:08

CU from 25 - Thomas gets holding on the first play, was legit, barely, on a screen where Ellington would've had a 1st down. Whats bad is the play went to the other side from the screen...Empty set, sacked...Thomas whipped outside because he turned himself, toss away to AE for a loss...Timothy whipped outside and Tajh evades sack, thrown away. Punt.

Terrible series by the offensive line. Why the hell do you go Empty against their DL inside your 20. Why didn't we adjust the protections because they were coming after him on the last drive harder? No TE in to help?

No dump pass over the middle?

Couldn't run the ball after the holding call put us in 1st and 20.

FSU from 33 - They hit two passes and Manuel fumbled the snap on our 22. Nothing at all coming from our DL in penetration. 6 plays 45 yards, 02:22

CU from 22 - bucksweep for 1, nobody sealed back the DE? WHY?...Tajh drops back right into pressure, throws an INT to Waisome on the opposite sideline.

FSU from our 27 - Thompson takes it right in for the score. Defense looks like they've given up. 49-31 FSU.

CU from 25 - Sammy falls down on a crosser, 1 yard...Tajh steps up under pressure, didn't see open Jaron Brown at the sticks, gains 3...Pass a little off the mark to Humphries, but good coverage by the LB. Punt.

3 passes and a punt.

FSU from 28 - The defense bows a little, but I think Jimbo called em off. 3 & out.

CU from 31 - Rollout throw incomplete to the boundary...Tajh hits Ford going up the sideline on a wheel route, 40..OZ for 5. See?...Pass incomplete on an Out route to Ford, missed the throw...Tajh dropped back and took it into the hole they present up front for 7. Hard hit and goes out for a play....Hot Rod IZ for no gain...Power cutback to Sammy up the very middle for 13...IZ for 1...pass deflected incomplete...Thomas beaten, Tajh carries up the middle for 3...4th & goal, great throw across to Ford, which really should not have been thrown that late. DB read it but Ford caught it anyway. 2 pt conversion failed because of the snap. 49-37 FSU.11 plays 69 yards, 03:08

FSU recovered the onside kick and ran it out.


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Summarizing Thoughts

I've addressed Clemson's defense in an earlier post today, and decided not to review each play because they're simply the same problems over and over, being made by the same individuals.

9 yards per play means everybody fucked up, period. Nobody had a good day on this defense.

Offensively, we had considerable success running motion in the backfield that froze the linebackers. They always had to respect Watkins coming across in a sweep, and when he wasn't getting the ball we could get some movement inside.

We also had more success on inside plays that bounced, and we set the edge better than I thought we did when I watched it live. You're not going to get 10 yard chunks against a good defense but we were able to run the ball here against them and they never really stopped those plays. For whatever reason we got away from them and when we're down, Chad seems to stick to the pass, and then the DL pins their ears back.

The same thing happened last year against GT and NC State in particular. We go down, stop running, then go 3 & out and get beat by the pass rush..

My only complaint about the pass rush was the way we did not appear to scheme to handle the DEs well. Thomas appeared to get worse at the end, but I think that may be a function of Carradine just being fired up. Timothy won some and lost some, and is certainly not a Corey Lambert, but he needed extra help outside and we didn't appear to scheme to give him more.

And then sometimes Brandon Ford was set up one on one with a DE, and thats a lost cause. Brandon has improved his blocking down the field but he'll never be a great blocker on the line. I think we should have put in an extra tackle-eligible/unbalanced formation or two to put another blocker here.

The number of bootlegs to the right were called to offset the rush, but Tajh walked right into the pass rusher. That would be fine if we schemed to take care of him better. He has to go right because he's right-handed.

WRs were not on the ground the whole game, as you might believe if you just listened to The Chad's comments, but FSU switched to more 2 man press in the 2nd half and know how to jam.

Recall how FF and I constantly harp on our inability to properly jam a wide receiver when we play press? FSU did it and did it correctly, and rerouted the quick passes and the timing routes. You basically have 5 free yards to hammer the guy, and Clemson does not do that. If they weren't physical in press then they'd have been beaten. Conversely, if our WRs were more physical and stronger then they may have defeated the press coverage.

The MOF was open and we never got in there to hit it.

The Chad broke out several variations and new plays I thought we had in the book but had not shown. The Dart appeared to be two of the calls, Inverted veer was called, and a couple long traps which did not work well. We've switched up some schemes on the counter/trap for the sweep blocking.

Overall I just think we lost because we could not control the line of scrimmage, which is what usually decides big games. We had the chances even without that, but lost momentum after the kickoff return, we did not call the right plays and others didnt work because of the pass rush. We have to become more physical and bulk some guys up.