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Game Film Review: Syracuse

We review the tape on how the Tigers trounce the Orangemen pretty damn soundly.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

This week's review will last from kickoff until Sammy's long score, which broke the backs of the Orangemen. Nothing of note, aside from a defensive gaffe and a garbage-time TD, occured afterwards.

Also, only going to go over the longer Syracuse drives. We did not have a problem with their offense and theres not much to review.

ESPN Play-by-play

CU from 18 - Swing screen to Sammy for 6...Same play to AH on Field side, goes for 16. Bad angle of the defender...Boyd finds AH wide open for 60 yard TD. 7-0 Clemson. 3 plays 82 yards 0:38

The DB's eyes are on Sammy running the same swing route to the Fieldside. He doesn't even see AH.

SYR from 45 after an onside kick attempt - 3 & out.

CU from 14 - Seckinger sneaks out of the backfield up the sideline for 18...Tajh sacked. Too much pressure coming up the right side. McDowell did alright and gave an effort, but Seckinger was immediately stood up. Looked like this play was supposed to be a throw/pitch back to Sammy on orbit motion....Tajh flings one up the sideline to Cooper, too tall. He had Hot Rod for an easy checkdown and a slightly longer gain...TO SYR, too many men on the field...offsides...Boyd steps up and hits Sammy at the sticks on a Dig for 11...IZ for 5..IZ for 0..Blitz off the edge against an empty set, ball batted down. Punt. 7 plays 34 yards, 2:27

Tajh has to make sure the protection is correct there on the blitz. I don't think it was. I do think Tajh saw the blitzer, he was trying to hit a hot read behind it as it was tipped in the air. Shaq Anthony initially looks inside to 3 who went inside towards Shatley. I'm not sure he can be blamed for this mistake, its on Tajh first.

SYR from 13 - Hunt pulls one down and runs for 11, mostly because Watson was held so badly...Grady Jarrett nice TFL cutting under a block...Darius Robinson nice instincts and discipline on a swing pass in the flats, loss of 3. Shuey hammers a RB on a screen. 6 plays 4 yards.

Can't believe the Umpire did not call the hold on Watson. He was facing away from the Guard and he had him by the jersey holding him back.

CU from 8 - Power/counter H for 6..Mike Williams hitch up the sideline for 10. CB on him blitzed...Power for 13...Throwback to Zac Brooks for 24. Runs into his blockers or its 6...Boyd steps up and pulls for no gain...IZ for 4...Empty set, Mcdowell bubble route for 15. DBs did not even see him...Power for 1. Either Shatley or Seckinger did not block the right guy...TO SYR...Jump fade pass to Sammy for 18 at the 1...Power for TD. 14-0 Clemson. 10 plays 92 yards, 3:54

Longest punt in Syracuse history couldn't slow us down against a defensive secondary this bad. They are so scared of Sammy that everything else is killing them. They don't play with their eyes.

SYR at 23 - Holding called on first play. Missed tackle by Jenkins allows 3, but he's right on the next two catches. 3 plays 8 yards.

CU from 25 - Counter H loss of 1. Nobody on the left side moved anyone, looked like whomever was at TE on the left side failed to deliver a hit to his man...Boyd steps up and runs for 16...Power for 12...Zone for 6, that time we cut the rushers...AH wheel route up the sideline for 42 yd TD. 21-0 Clemson. 5 plays 75 yards, 1:54.

Again, defenders watching Sammy on a little swing route and nobody looks at AH. If that was C2 I don't think any of them executed it correctly.

SYR from 17 - ZR/IZ give for 17. Beasley played it correct. No one inside got off a block and Anthony was out of position, he overran the hole. Start 2nd QTR...ZR/IZ right up the middle for a 66 yard TD. 21-7 Clemson. 2 plays 83 yards, 0:24.

Notice first the initial alignment, we are in Nickel. DeShawn Williams is on the left in the 2i/backside A. Watson is on 3-tech/playside B. Steward is nested but his primary responsibility is playside A. Anthony's primary responsibility is B-gap backside.


Anthony reads ZR, and comes around the outside to take the QB while the DE Crawford crashes, as they are both supposed to do on a scrape exchange. The Center is uncovered, and he combos with the Guard on Watson, and then directly to Steward and walls him off.


Can you see who is definitely not in the correct gap? Look where the ballcarrier went. Answer in the comments.

A couple things could have been done better, and yes Blanks is out of position, he should be there behind them to fill, but the initial mistake is up front.

CU at 24 - IZ for 8..Power for 1..TO SYR...3rd & 1, QB Power for no gain. They blitzed it. 3 plays 9 yards, 1:41.

Who among us did not think that Chad would call QB Power there? We telegraphed that playcall just by the formation, same one we used on the goal line last week and the week before and before.

I wish we'd have audibled out of it, or that we'd run something different out of this formation to cross up our opponent's film study.

SYR at 27 - Jarrett another TFL..Quick slant against Jenkins gets 14. Martin lost his inside leverage...Breeland bats away slant pass...false start, then Breeland picks off an underthrown pass at the 32.

CU at 32 - PA dump off to Seckinger coming across in the backfield again for 13. Same play as earlier...IZ for 6...Bryant slant for 14. 15 yard foul on Roughing the passer called, which was a bad call...Bucksweep for 3. Davis has to keep that head on a swivel...Seckinger up the sideline for 17 yard TD on a wheel/out&up. 28-7 Clemson, 5 plays 68 yards 1:32.

SYR at 20 - 3 & out. Shaq Lawson TFL on a ZR/IZ give. Sack by Reader FINALLY.

CU at 44 - IZ for 3...PA pass to Sam Cooper sneaking out in the flat for 13...Bryant just outruns the guy up the seam for a 40 yard TD. Safety wasn't even looking and it was C2 on that side. Bryant ran right at him. 35-7 Clemson. 3 plays, 56 yards, 0:52.

Just terrible secondary play.

SYR at 25 - Jarrett blows up another IZ, loss of 2...Quick In picked off by Robinson. Just jumped the route.

CU at SYR 30 - Pressure, Boyd scrambles and hits GHop in the endzone but he's out of bounds...Hopper up the sideline on a 9 route, CB had great coverage on him, tapped away incomplete...Blitz, Boyd sacked. Davis and Thomas were both beaten with inside moves...Delay on us, couldn't get the TO called. Punt. 3 plays -10 yards, 1:13.

Chad had to take two deep shots, if we'd have run the ball once I think we at least get 3 here.

Took far too long to get the FG team out there. TO could've been called much earlier if someone had been paying attention to the clock.

SYR at the 5 - 3 & out. 3 plays, 3 yards. Nice play by DRob on another slant.

CU at SYR 49 - Screen, they were all over it. Loss of 4. That was not well executed on the perimeter...Bryant a 9 route for 25...IZ for 2..ball thrown over Mike Williams' head, safety was back there and picked it off the tip. 4 plays 23 yards.

That one is on Tajh, but also a good play by defender.

SYR at 4 - Beasley gets penetration and a TFL on a zone..3 plays 4 yards.

CU at SYR 35 - Jet sweep for 5...Mike Williams finds a hole in the zone for 25 up the sideline...Boyd rolls and pulls it for no gain..IZ for 3..Again for loss of 3. Left side blocked down hard and they came in from behind....TO CU...4th & goal at the 5, sacked. Boyd had a run/power pass option. We pulled the LG and the blitzer came right through his hole. Turnover on downs.

Don't like the play call, dont care for the decision to go for 6 when you just got stuffed for not being able to block.

Cuse runs the ball to end the half.


Should be 49-7, two short field opportunities and got nothing.

A lot of the issues with the run game appear to point towards the TEs coming in to block, and an inability to pull into a hole and move somebody.

Halftime stats - 76 yards rushing, 363 passing and 9.0 ypp. 20 first downs.

Defense allowed 4.3 ypp and 114 rushing yards, to go with just 25 passing. Most of what we ran was C2 zone and Cover 11 Robber.

Start 3rd QTR.

SYR from 18 - Hunt scrambles up the middle for 8...IZ for 3...ZR/IZ for 4..Broyld beats Jenkins again up the seam for 32...Sweep for 8. Needed to set the edge better...Hunt steps up into Shaq Lawson's arms for a sack...ZR/IZ up the middle for 28 yard TD. 35-14 Clemson. 7 plays 82 yards, 2:29.

Jenkins has not had a great day in coverage. Nearly everything they are hitting is against him.

Nothing special about these Zone Reads they are running, not that I can see. We're not playing it well in the middle. I think they are catching us in a certain alignment that makes it work better for them.

Again, look at the presnap gap alignment. Shuey is walked out leaving Anthony to two-gap the A-gap to the RB and B-gap Fieldside.


Center is uncovered and combo blocks Jarrett with the Guard. Williams is also combo blocked as the DE is the optioned defender. He sits, and that dictates the handoff.



Anthony read it correct, he went to the clear B-gap, but the Center handled Jarrett enough and flattens him, allowing the Guard to come off the zone block to hit Anthony. After that, Smith is not in position to make a play due to the angle he took from a shallow initial depth alignment.


CU from 25 - Bubble to GHop, gain of 1. AH didn't have the right angle to block I think...IZ for 3...Defender comes free off the right side forcing an early throw behind Bryant. Punt. 3 plays 4 yards.

That one was all on Shaq Anthony, why he never looks outside, I don't know. He's always looking inside on the snap and from their alignment, he should not have. 30 front with an edge blitzer and a 3-technique is the only man with a down hand? You look outside and let Shatley take the 3. If he engages he's fine, he just doesn't look out there.

SYR from 28 - Again, interior gap control allows a 9 yard gain, and Stephone Anthony forgot to try to hit the QB on a ZR pull that went for 11 on 4th & 1...Vic Beasley gets a sack because Hunt doesn't get rid of the ball. Hunt was hit as he threw on a twist blitz and hit Robinson for the interception. 7 plays 14 yards.

Really nice catch by DRob against that seam route.

CU from 38 - Boyd throws one a little behind and over Seckinger, DB makes a good play to intercept it...Refs allow us to snap the ball and start a play before stopping it.

So whats the whole point of the rule saying that you can't review a play once the ball is snapped again? I think they follow it when they want to.

SYR from CU 46 - Hunt keeper for 18 on a run/pass option. DE and DT were on a stunt, DE crashed hard and we had no one able to cover the C-gap/alley. Not sure Jarrett could've done much better but he needed to step laterally and try to force it back inside...Power sweep for 11. NO one set the edge, got reached...Beasley nice TFL, jumped right past the Tackle for a 3 yard loss...Runs right past the LT again to get a sack. QB barely got a knee down or thats a pick 6 for Wiggins. 42 yd FG Missed. 5 plays 21 yards.

We are not focusing on defense. Mentally we are not in it up front.

CU from 25 - Power for 6..Power for 2. No movement on right side initially..Boyd takes too long to get rid of it, sacked. He had Sammy on a quick sit route past the sticks, didn't pull the trigger. Punt. 3 plays 2 yards.

I'd like to see us run Power and actually see the Guard get his ass into the hole and bulldoze somebody. Either they are slow getting there or we can't get enough initial movement to the playside for there to be a hole for him to hit.

SYR from 42 - Hunt walks up into DeShawn Williams, should've been a sack...Broyld beat Jenkins again inside and drops the pass...Punt fake for 38 yards. We get suckered by not reading the formation of the punt team...Beasley misses tackle, allows 3...Breeland nice play in the corner of the endzone, but would've been negated by holding anyway...Drive ends up with a turnover on downs as Breeland is all over a quick slant.

This is twice now that we get caught because the opponent sets his punt formation strength and we don't adjust. I'm willing to bet there will be a 3rd time.

CU from 13 - Bucksweep, backside can't control the line enough to prevent penetration. Loss of 4...Sammy beats the CB right down the field for 91. CB had no idea where Sammy went, he can't let his man get out of his reach. 42-14 Clemson. 2 plays 87 yards, 0:48.

Sammy speed but terrible technique from the CB.

Syracuse gets the ball back and does nothing to end the 3rd quarter. Not much point in going further.

Summarizing Thoughts

Seckinger had a very good day in the passing game, but its more and more apparent that he's a liability in the run game. He doesn't hit hard enough, mostly because he's not low enough. He flubs probably 30% of his blocks. He's not a pass protector. He looks very much like a converted WR. If i'm a defensive coordinator, I blitz from the right side every single time I see him on the right side with Anthony. Tajh can make a play sometimes but I'd get a sack or TFL pretty often.

Maybe Darrell Smith can't do it in the passing game, but we have to get better here somehow or another. This weakness stands right to anyone examining our film.

We lined up under center a lot more in this game. There appeared to be more put in to set up the jet sweep that has disappeared from our playbook. It looked like it wasn't repped enough in practice though. I suspect this is to get something ready for FSU and afterwards since we're not getting enough inside. Perimeter runs may open up more holes inside.

It seems to me that The Chad is limiting the playbook otherwise in the run game. We aren't doing much schemewise. If a different play, e.g. a Dart, is called, its called once and never seen again. He's done this his entire tenure here. Seems like we're sticking with the exact same formations as well, which lets defenses set their alignments during the week without much need to adjust on gameday. We're so predictable in short yardage now that we really have to make some adjustments.

Defensive backfield was not challenged aside from Martin Jenkins, who was matched up against a bigger WR in the slot and lost leverage quite a bit. He was in zone a lot, and there was not adequate help inside to stop a few of them. Tampa 2 will do that because the MLB drops further back over the middle. Nearly everyone else at the CB position had a great day. Hunt is not a good QB right now and doesn't have help either.

Front 7 had a quarter or so where they mentally dropped off. Just not focusing with the big lead and they killed us on the zone read as a result. We did not have the Center covered much and his ability to combo on a DT is the primary schematic factor, along with their formation forcing us to walk out the WLB, but I think its more mental.

The Safeties get one more week of work before their midterm exam against FSU, and I'm not thrilled with either spot in angles and run fits. I can't make a judgement in the passing game because they really havent been tested since UGA.