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Defensive Film Review: Clemson vs. Georgia

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Scott Cunningham

This is long and I encourage you to read this in installments as opposed to skimming over.  This is going to be a little more detailed than last year and is going to set the stage for future film reviews.  I'll keep getting better and more concise as I do more and more of these.  I'm going to provide more detail for the big games this year and less for the cupcakes. I'm also making a conscious effort to keep it as simple as possible for the casual fan that wants to learn.  Also, keep in mind that if this were sheet music, it would be AC/DC, not the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.  One of my goals here is that if you're the type who rewatches the game, or even parts of it, you can pull this up and refer to it.  And yes, I know this is the defensive review but the offense and defense are married together and I'd like to lead off here by discussing the offense as well.

Well, if you would have told me that we would have held Georgia to 17 points defensively on the first 11 drives of the game, I would have thought we would have either been in control of the game or in good position to win.  Perhaps Chad Morris felt the same way.

Last year against UGA, our offense was shut down in the 2nd quarter and the defense bailed us out by holding Georgia to 7 straight drives of 4 plays or less (Six 3 and outs). The offense responded in kind and we took over the game.  On Saturday, for 7 drives in the 2nd and 3rd quarter we held Georgia to 3 points defensively.  This time there was no offensive response.

On Thursday night in Columbia, we saw Kevin Sumlin's inexperienced QB, Kenny Hill, show up and deliver a "better-than-Johnny-Football" performance led by an offensive line that was knocking the interior of the SC line back 5 yards.  This dismantling up front forced SC to commit to stopping the run which then led to huge windows in the passing game. That's what a good OL does for you.  Texas A&M's QB dissected the SC defense and embarrassed them on their home field.

Even though I seriously doubted the ability of our own OL, I was cautiously optimistic that Chad Morris would be able to gameplan around that and that we might surprise GA offensively.  That happened in the first half.

Morris called an awesome first drive and during the 1st half, we mixed it up well enough to keep Georgia honest. We challenged all areas of the field in multiple ways.  We took the top of the defense. We converted on short yardage. We had a gorgeous run-oriented 4 minute drill where we marched the ball down the field and left UGA with minimal time to respond.

Then, we went in at halftime and came back obviously less aggressive.  Their punter was playing at an All-American level and contributed to us playing "not to lose."  When we got pinned down deep in our territory, Morris played to stay in the game and, honestly, I would've done the same thing for at least 2 drives.  It is a gamble but down 3 points, it is a sound strategic move. The gamble here is that we would be able to grab a couple first downs and that our defense would continue their solid play.  The problem is that we were going 3 and out over and over and over.  Credit Georgia's defense.  After a couple drives of conservative play, we needed to attack the GA defense or the defense will stop honoring the deep part of the field (i.e., Rob Spence 101).

Now, we're left with questions. We saw a level of ineffectiveness in the 2nd half that can be largely attributed to coaching decisions and OL play.  Is Morris really as good as his contract says he is? While the jury is still out on that, I have faith in the offense to find an identity.  I have less faith in the OL to be good this year.  Morris and the offense have about 3 weeks to iron some things out or we could see a similar final score in Tallahassee.

On a positive note, DeShaun Watson's arm strength is clearly NFL level and he is more mobile than advertised. I don't think I'm exaggerating there. I was shocked when I saw him throw downfield with such velocity and accuracy. His 3 deep balls were just...wow.  The TD pass to Peake was, plain and simple, an NFL level dart and a great read.  If he's got that kind of ability and mastery, he should have been named the starter after the spring. Oh yeah, he got hurt in the spring.  So did he get lucky there or is he really that good? Only the coaches know for sure.

If you noticed though, the thing about Watson's arm is that as soon as he threw his first deep ball, all of the sudden, we could run it.  That's what the threat of a deep ball gives you.  For that reason, and also his mobility, I think he has certainly earned more playing time than he got on Saturday.

Now let's move on to the defense. From my vantage point, a defensive let-up happened on the 13th drive of the game right after Gurley made one of his patented cutbacks for a brilliant TD run.  That was disappointing to see.  We're Clemson and I expect us to mentally stay in the game. We used to have a tradition of fighting when things get tough. However, year after year under Dabo and his predecessor, the team seems to let-up when it appears we're going to lose.  Where's the pride?  I understand the defense was tired but, that's not an excuse to drop your head and flash the proverbial middle finger to the coaching staff, offensive teammates, and supporters that made the trip to Athens.

On the flipside, there are some concepts I want to touch on that should be real simple.

Eite level defenses like Alabama and LSU are playing about 11 defensive series per game.  We are playing about 14 per game (15 on Saturday).  We hit 11 drives in the 3Q.

So on average, we are defending 27% more drives per game crammed into the same amount of real time.  Advanced Stats flushes this out fairly well but the scoreboard does not.  Think of it as a "scores vs. stops" ratio.  If a top 15 defense is giving up 21 points per game per 11 drives, we should give up between 24 and 28 per game before you even factor in fatigue.  If you factor in fatigue, (which doesn't show up in any stats but shows up in the eye test) that number should go up at least another score (26 to 34 points) and maybe more if our offensive ineptitude is like it was in the 2nd half.

1990 is gone, and for the most part, so are 17-10 games.  In its place are the HUNH strategy and rule changes that help the offense.  There are record setting offensive numbers and scoring in college football across the board in today's game. In 1990, 5 of the 8 teams in the ACC allowed less than 20 points a game. In 2008, 20 points per game was top 30 nationally.  Last year, 20 ppg was top 12 nationally and only 2 of 14 ACC teams gave up less than 20 per game (FSU and VT who play ball control not HUNH).  This year, with more teams jumping on the tempo train, it's likely going to be worse.

Losing one tenth of a second off your 40 time to fatigue is often the difference between making a play, and not making a play, against an evenly matched opponent. When things are going our way offensively and we have the opposition defense gassed this works great.  However, if as a defensive team, you are operating at 90% because you are on the field every two minutes, the possibility for blown assignments goes way up.  This does not excuse poor defensive play, but rather in order to properly evaluate the defense, it has to be factored in.

In this game UGA ran a lot of HUNH at us as well. I can see people saying we held up pretty well and I can see people being upset about the ending.

Let's go to the review:

First, here is a key for my shorthand in alphabetical order in case you see something you don't understand as you read this: Blast = FB lead play in the C gap with a kick out on the DE or seal on the LB. Bullet -ILB A or B gap blitz. Crack- WR blocks down on S or LB.  C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 =  we are playing Cover "x."  Dog (overload)- LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. EM = end man on the line of scrimmage. ET stunt - Tackle shoots outside gap and end loops around on the inside.  Iso = FB lead play in the A or B gap.  IZ = Inside Zone Run, Jailbreak - 7 or more blitz.  man = man to man.  OZ = outside zone run.   PBU- Pass broken up.  Power = FB/RB/HB kicks out EM, backside OG leads into B gap hole. Power Sweep = FB lead to the D gap with OG pulling around. Sky - SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CB and FS take deep third.  Slant Right/Left - DL slants in one direction in unison Smoke- S or NB blitz from the outside D gap.  Soft Coverage - CBs/NB playing well of the WR until he gets to the 1st down line.  Student Body Left/Right = FB lead play to the D gap with all uncovered linemen pulling.  Sweep = FB/ HB lead play to the D gap.  Stack - the 3 LBs are stacked behind D linemen.  Stalk - WR blocks CB in front of him.  TFL = tackle for loss.

Coach/Player shorthand: BV = Brent Venables, Mack = MacKenzie Alexander, Tank = Cordrea Tankersley

Georgia runs a lot of different formations so here is a guide to Personnel groupings. I will include WRs as well to make it easier.  Ex. "123 personnel" would be 1 RB, 2 TEs, and 3 WRs.

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1st Drive, GA 25, 10:46 1Q, 7-0 CU

1st and 10, I twins vs. Under C3 cloud, We go big as Goodson starts at SAM in the Under.

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WR screen to Conley, Jenkins blows up Bennett and he and Mack make the play for gain of 2, textbook by the Fire Ant.

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2nd and 8 - HUNH I twins vs. Under man, Gurley blast, Mack either on a blitz from the slot or has RB in man, No player in the front 7 is driven back. Barnes sets edge and takes out FB to boot...excellent job, Anthony, Beasley, and 5 other Tigers close for a TFL.

3rd and 9 - 11 personnel vs. Nickel C2, Wiggins starts at Nickel. RB screen, snuffed out by Jarrett (wow) and Anthony for a 5 yard loss.  Complete domination on this drive. Out-physicaled them. 3 and out, PUNT

They came out in the twins set with the TE on the other side which is smart because it makes us declare alignment and strategy.  We did not give them the initial look they thought they were going to see.  Last year, we left the CB on the short side and put the Sam to the field. This year we moved the CB to the twins side and put Sam on the line with the TE.  There was no robber as the FS lined up 8 yards off the ball over the TE showing man or cover 3 Cloud coverage. Beasley is parked on the blindside.

2nd Drive, GA 43, 7:49 1Q, 7-0 CU

1st and 10, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C1, Jenkins field, Jet Sweep, Wiggins cut by Gurley trying to set the edge, Jenkins manhandled on the stalk, Smith tackle, gain of 11.

1st and 10, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel, false start GA LT (chalk that up to Beasley).

1st and 15, 113 personnel vs. Nickel 5-1-5, power left to C gap. Beasley run out of there by the TE. Anthony goes underneath the OG block into traffic. Freshman RB doesn't wait for his block and allows Steward to make the tackle. If he waits, it's him vs. Smith for a TD.

2nd and 6, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5, play action pass of jet sweep, Mack and Steward bite, Smith has to choose between 2 receivers, pass complete to Bennett at our 23. Good job by Smith to not allow a bigger play there.

1st and 10, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel 5-1-5, WR screen wide side, perfect call by Bobo with Wiggins cheating in, GA freshman speedster Mackenzie thankfully drops it or it could've been a TD.

2nd and 10, HUNH 122 personnel vs. Under, IZ to Gurley suckers Goodson in. At first I was really upset with Goodson losing outside leverage, and it is still his fault as Anthony has to honor the A gap in flow away. However, there was such a nice hole in the A gap where Gurley took the handoff.

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Goodson is supposed to squeeze on flow away but he has got to keep his outside shoulder free for contain. As you can see, most RBs would've taken that B gap for 5-10 yards but he bounces it way outside left. Either his vision is Emmitt Smith level or that play was designed for him to bounce it. I think it's a little of both.

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Then the speed.  Anthony has the angle on him and he runs right by him to the corner. What a run.  We gave up that TD on signing day.   23 yd TD run GA. 7-7

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Terrible defensive series there.  Excellent play calling by Bobo. Better execution by Georgia. Going HUNH messed with us and put us on our heels. The two freshman speed guys have changed their offense dramatically from last year.  They're able to go to the spread and be effective. They haven't challenged us downfield though.  The way Goodson and Steward are playing, we might as well just stay in Nickel. Shuey and Christian are not walking through that door.   Nickel 5-1-5 got hammered. Nickel 4-2-5 C2 Robber would be my call next series.

3rd Drive, GA 47, 5:57 1Q, 7-7

1st and 10, 203 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 C2 man under, Fake swing pass middle screen, they got a lineman 6 yards downfield on and another one 2 yards downfield on the pass.  If you see that as a LB or DB you yell "screen" and haul ass to the RB.  Nobody saw it and we kept getting depth.  Beasley runs him down. Their Freshman drags Beasley and Steward for a 5 yard gain before Reader puts him down. If they miss that tackle (and this is starting to become a pattern) it's a TD.

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2nd and 5, 104 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 man MLB bullet stunt, pass to WR on a curl in the flat, Mack gave too much cushion, good break on the ball and great tackle saves the first down.

3rd and 1, 221 personnel vs Under C2 man underneath, power sweep to the TE, TE blocks Beasley no problem, FB cuts Anthony and he throws his body in the path of the RB, Goodson sets the edge though this time, Josh Watson comes down the line and tackles Marshall for a gain of 3. Nice job Goodson. First down.

1st and 10, 212 personnel vs. Under C3 cloud, Roll right deep post to Conley underthrown, new FS Johnson is in excellent position but doesn't get his head around. PI called. Not sure that's a fair call on an underthrow, but if he gets his head around he could certainly make contact.

1st and 10 at CU 27, I formation vs. Under 2 Robber (5-3 Beasley standing up),  iso play action, ball in the air as Jenkins is still funneling the WR, Jenkins grabs with the left hand, doesn't get his head around, but knocks the ball away with his right hand in the endzone. Late flag for PI.

1st and 10 at CU 11, 104 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 Steward in the slot with zone on his side and man on the other, good coverage, pocket collapses, Anthony knocks the ball away from Bennett on an inside curl.

2nd and 10 at CU 11, 104 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 Steward slot C2 5 under, fake swing to Marshall, WR screen to Bennett, excellent play design, Steward gets double teamed in the curl zone, defeats BOTH blocks and makes the play for a 3 yard gain. Ok, THAT was a 5 star play from Steward! Bennett fumbles late. Incorrectly reviewed to be Clemson ball.  Fumble recovered by Clemson.

4th drive, CU 36, 1:42 1Q, 7-7

1st and 10, I formation vs. Under 3 Sky, power sweep left with Gurley at Shaq Lawson, WR Bennett puts his body on the barbwire and cracks both Smith and Steward. Mack takes out FB Hicks and sets the edge. Steward scrapes and just barely gets to Gurley. Gurley somehow regains balance and jukes Anthony, runs over Johnson on the sideline for a 1st down at the 18. My goodness.

1st and 10 at CU 18, HUNH I formation twins wide vs. Under C2, B gap Iso play action with Gurley, sneak the TE out, Jadar is all over that,  Lawson applies pressure, forces Mason to throw it away without even being able to check it down to Hicks.  Excellent team defense there.

2nd and 10, I formation TE field vs. Under C2, Gurley power sweep to the boundary, Jarrett is off the ball fast and into the backfield and takes out the pulling guard (Awesome!), Mack sets the edge, Bennett cracks Steward and a seam opens up. Nice open field tackle by Smith. Gain of 8.

3rd and 2, 122 personnel vs. 4-3 Over stack 2 shell, BV gambles and it fails, Pass to the curl zone where the Sam would normally be lined up.  Goodson and Kearse tackle him at the 1.

1st and Goal at 1 CU, HUNH 122 personnel vs. Under man, QB sneak. Gurley pushes Mason in for the score. TD.  14-7 GA.

2ND QUARTER

5th Drive, UGA 25, 13:52 2Q, 14-14 CU

1st and 10, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C3 Sky, obvious NB smoke blitz coming as Kearse was creeped up and gave it away, Mason gets rid of it to the TE on a quick out, Kellen Jones tackles him for an 8 yard gain.

2nd and 2, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 Robber, IZ totally blown up by the DL, Jones tackle on a nice playside shed and fill, gain of 1.

3rd and 1, 221 personnel vs. Under Slant Right C2 Robber, Iso to Michel into the slant, hole closes quickly, Williams and Reader doing work. No gain. Punt.

6th Drive, UGA 48, 5:46 2Q, 21-21 (Sudden Change)

1st and 10, I formation vs. Under C2 Robber, Sweep with Marshall to TE, Goodson sets the edge, Reader comes down the line, Smith runs the alley with his hair on fire and shoots and tackles Marshall for a loss with Reader. Well defended.

2nd and 13, 113 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 man NB smoke, Zone counter to Marshall, Barnes sets edge, Boulware scrapes, Jarrett sheds and tackles with Boulware for no gain. Excellent defense.

3rd and 13, 113 personnel vs Nickel C2 Soft Double ET stunt, RB circle route, was going to be blown up by Boulware and Wiggins and dropped it. Great defensive series in sudden change. Punt.

7th Drive, UGA 20, 0:48 2Q, 21-21

1st and 10, 104 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 C2 Soft, pressure by Beasley, hits Bennett on a short in for 4 yards, Timeout GA.

2nd and 6, 0:44, 113 personnel vs. Nickel 2 man under, pass complete to the TE Rome on a drag for 7.  Boulware makes the tackle. Tick tick.

1st and 10, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel C1 Double Bullets, Beasley gets there and forces intentional grounding. Good call, BV.

2nd and 23, 0:21, GA 18, false start GA.

2nd and 28, 0:11, GA 13, 113 personnel vs. Nickel, No snap, HALFTIME.

Halftime thoughts

I thought we slightly outplayed them offensively and defensively in the first half but we obviously were beaten soundly in special teams which caused a 10 point swing in the score in GA's favor.  I thought that would even out as the game went along, but it only got worse. Todd Gurley wasn't the only player GA had that put on an All-American display Saturday. Their punter did that as well.

I was confident that they would come out in the I formation and attack us with power football in the 2nd half.  We showed a lot of vulnerability on the corner and I thought that would get taken care of schematically at halftime.  Most of their damage in the passing game was underneath, so they weren't really daring us to move our safeties back out of robber.  They go to the I, we go to the 4-3 Over Robber look with the Sam/NB to the wide side like we showed last year.  Can Goodson play in space though?

3RD QUARTER

8th drive, UGA 33, 14:56, 21-21

1st and 10, I formation vs. Under C3 Sky, Play action sweep to the weakside boundary, bootleg right, Kearse bit so Jenkins one on one on the outside with Conley, Goodson pressures Mason, dumps it off to the TE on a delay, great call by Bobo, Kearse with a great form tackle to hold Rome to a 4 yard gain.

2nd and 6, HUNH I formation twins wide vs. Under C3 Sky MLB bullet, Iso A gap weak to Gurley, Anthony over-pursues on the blitz Gurley cuts back, Barnes has good contain outside Gurley runs underneath, Steward has to scrape to the A gap weakside Nobody home. Kearse tackles for a gain of 9. He misses that, it's a TD.

1st and 10, UGA 48, HUNH I formation twins right vs. Under C3 CB smoke, we're getting predictable on defense now. Play action off blast to the right, Mack is on a blitz, perfect call by Bobo, Bennett is wide open where Mack is supposed to be and catches it and breaks Smith's tackle, uh oh, then can't get his balance and falls down at the CU 30. Dodged a bullet there.

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1st and 10, CU 30, 104 personnel vs. Nickel C3 Sky, Dive out of shotgun to Gurley, Watson snuffs it out for a gain of 3. He's mobile. Glad he came back.

2nd and 7, HUNH 104 personnel vs. Nickel C2, play action dive to Gurley, WR screen action on both sides, Mason goes to the boundary vs. Steward, Mack, and Barnes. Steward should've spattered that. Solid play for a gain of 4.

3rd and 3, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel slant right, IZ to Gurley out of shotgun away from the slant, Mack doesn't come up to turn Gurley in and creates a huge seam, Gurley evades Lawson's penetration in the backfield and it's off to the races. Anthony and Williams take a ride for a big first down.

1st and 10, CU 13, HUNH 113 personnel trips wide vs. Nickel C2 man under, IZ to Gurley, Mack reads it, forces Gurley into a pile. Gain of 2.

2nd and 8, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 man under, inside give to Marshall, Jarrett holds his own in a double team at the point of attack. Steward has his eyes glued to the ball carrier and green grass in front of him. Junior Seau time!

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(Sorry for the kindergarten graphics)

Uh, the hole is still there and Steward is still standing right in the hole. You're not a vampire. You don't need an invitation to go into somebody's house.  Thankfully Grady Jarrett goes beast mode and makes the tackle with a lineman on his back.

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As you can see, all Steward's help is to the outside, what's he waiting on? Btw, that was some William Perry/Chester McGlockton business right there from a guy without their size and strength in Grady Jarrett. Heart and Desire: get some.  Gain of 1.

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I'm really not trying to pick on Steward, I just don't get it.

3rd and 7, 113 personnel with the TE split boundary left vs. Nickel C2 man under, Mason tries to look off Smith and Kearse but they make the play on a post route. Smith gets the wind knocked out of him.  FG attempt.

Alright, bullet dodged. We were on the field for a lot of plays as they were going HUNH. Way to man up in the red zone DTs and Safeties!

9th drive, UGA 17, 9:33, 24-21 UGA

1st and 10, 113 personnel with the TE split boundary vs. Nickel C3 Sky w/ Steward in the slot on the TE, Mason tried to hit the WR on a hitch but Wiggins has him covered. Beasley gets caved inside and Mason takes off, Gain of 4

2nd and 6, HUNH 113 personnel trips wide vs. Nickel C2?, BV didn't get the call in in time, WR screen right, Kearse is late, Wiggins hurdles a weak cut block attempt by Bennett and then misses the TFL on the FR MacKenzie, geez. Kearse finally gets there and cleans it up. Gain of 7. First down.

1st and 10, GA29, 113 personnel trips wide vs. Nickel C2, WR Screen to MacKenzie again, Wiggins abuses Bennett again and Kearse is late again, Kearse picks up and plants MacKenzie. Gain of 4. Kearse is showing excellent technique as a tackler. Barnes cramps up and goes out.

2nd and 6, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2 slant left, Power left with Gurley, Beasley beats the TE badly, gets held, then misses the tackle in the backfield. No call.

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Good job ACC refs. Tomahawk Nation would have had a rally outside ACC headquarters if this happened to FSU during a loss. We're trying to flip the field position and a 10 yard penalty turns into an 18 yard run. Should be 2nd and 16 on the GA 23. Instead...

1st and 10, CU 48, 113 personnel vs. 5-1-5 Nickel, IZ play action, pressure by Lawson, Reader vacates his gap, Mason takes off up the middle, tackle by Anthony, gain of 9. Beasley comes off the field with cramps.

2nd and 1, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel 4-2-5 C3 Sky, Student body left to the TE, Lawson sets the edge like a champ, He and Reader make the stop for a loss of 2. Illegal chop block called, 15 yard penalty. Defense is huffin' and puffin' now.

2nd and 18, 104 personnel vs. Nickel C2, good coverage. Late pressure by Anthony, Mason gets rid of it.

3rd and 18,  113 personnel vs. Nickel C2, Audibles by both teams. We show C1 now. FS blitz C gap strong side, WLB blitz A gap weakside. IZ weak (perfect call by Bobo), blocked well. Lawson sets the edge but nobody home inside. Anthony gets there late, Freshman RB Chubb breaks Anthony, Lawson, and Smith's gang tackle attempt, Kevin Dodd rips his helmet off to stop the play.  Tell tale sign of being tired there. Gain of 13. Punt.

Ok, signs of fatigue are apparent and we just lost 2 DE. Somebody in the coaching staff needs to communicate that to Dabo now. We need a 1st down in a bad way...trick play, a play you've been holding on to, you're best play, misdirection, something. Gurley sat out last series and will be fresh next series.

10th drive, UGA 40, 5:11 3Q, 24-21 GA

1st and 10, I formation vs. Under C2 Robber, Iso play action, TE is wide open on a seam route but Watson get through and Mason drops the ball, gets his own recovery, loss of 4

2nd and 14, 113 personnel vs. Nickel odd front C3 NB smoke, Gurley picks up Wiggins on the blitz, Mason hits Conley on an in route. Gain of 12.

3rd and 2, HUNH 113 personnel TE split boundary vs. Nickel C1 NB smoke, Boulware runs out to cover the slot, IZ to Gurley, Blownup by Dodd and Beasley. Loss of 2. Yay, the punter.

11th drive, UGA 33, 2:13 3Q, 24-21 GA

1st and 10, I formation twins field vs. Under C1, Fake Iso boundary quick pitch field to Marshall, Beasley gets him for a gain of 1,

2nd and 9, I formation vs. Under C2?, confusion in the secondary to start the play, Toss Sweep to the boundary, Goodson takes out the FB and sets the edge but he's just a little too far upfield and leaves a seam for Marshall to run, Marshall breaks Boulware's poor tackle, tackle by Watkins gain of 5

3rd and 4, 122 personnel vs. 4-3 stack, Mason throws to the TE Blazevich who sat down in the zone between Boulware and Tank. Gain of 8.

1st and 10, GA 48, I formation vs. Under C0 jailbreak, Everybody downhill at the snap, Power Sweep to Gurley, Kearse blows up the FB, Boulware scrapes but poor tackle again and Tank has to clean up the mess. Should've been a TFL but instead gain of 2.

2nd and 8, 203 personnel vs. Nickel C2 5 under, Mason throws to RB Michel out but he's not paying attention, incomplete.

3rd and 8, 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2, Mason audibles after Anthony shows blitz, Zone Blitz Left w/ Beasley dropping into coverage in the middle, Mason gets rid of it. Punt.

HUGE stop right there. At this point, the defense is playing some of its best football of the game even though the offense has yet to get a first down in the 3Q.

4th QUARTER

12th drive, UGA 18, 12:56 4Q, 24-21 UGA

1st and 10, I formation no TE vs. Nickel C0?, Power to Gurley right, cut back left, tackled by Smith and Reader, gain of 2.

2nd and 8, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel C2, IZ handoff to Gurley...cut step to the left, Beasley posted up and dominated by the FB (might've been held),Steward fills the hole but is crunched by the OG who releases off his double team. Nobody Home. HUGE hole.  Kearse saves the TD by (what?) running Gurley down?  Both guys can fly.

1st and 10, CU 42, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel C3, IZ to Michel for 7, tackle by Lawson.

2nd and 3, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel C3, busted play, Mason for 1.

3rd and 2, HUNH 113 personnel vs. Nickel C1 NB smoke, IZ to Michel, all gaps accounted for so he bounces it outside, Tank loses leverage covering a crosser but we've got the angle on him in pursuit. We're tired though and he gets the corner for a gain of 16 yards.

1st and 10, CU 18, I formation 2 TEs vs Under C2, Power Sweep to the TEs, Steward doesn't fill backside, Gurley cuts it back for an 18 yard TD. Helluva run.  31-21 UGA.

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That gap is clear as day and Steward's job is to fill it backside.

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So, with 10:30 in the 4Q, we're in a 3 point game.  1 play later, we're down 2 scores in the 4Q with no offense in sight.  About a minute later, our defense is back on the field. Dabo is seen yelling at the defense "gotta get a stop," "got to have the ball back."

Drive 13, CU 46, 9:05 4Q, 31-21 GA

1st and 10, I formation 2 TE left vs. Under C2, Student Body Right weak/wide side to Chubb, Bennett cracks the DE Barnes (who is looking slow and tired and wasn't going to get there anyway) and nobody is there to set the edge, Chubb breaks Anthony's tackle and turns on the jets, TD GA. 38-21.

About a minute later, our defense is back on the field.

Drive 14, GA 49, 7:44 4Q, 38-21 GA

1st and 10, I formation 2 TE right vs. Under C3, Student Body Right Strong to Gurley, Boulware FILLS BACKSIDE (I'm about to pass out), doesn't matter as Gurley runs through 3 of our guys at the LOS, 51 yard TD, 45-21 GA

Ok, I've seen enough.

The Eye Test says...

I thought we played some of best defense in the 3rd quarter even though the statistics say we were better in the 1st half. There was some confusion in the 2nd quarter where we seemed to need a  TD saving play from someone on multiple occasions. In the 3Q, we were a lot tighter and really stood strong right to the point of the epic collapse.

Venables called a decent game considering we do not have a Sam as athletic as Quandon Christian on the roster. This is certainly why we switched to 4-3 Under.  We can't put Goodson in space and BV wants to keep Beasley on the blindside.  Bobo got outclassed by BV last year, but not this year. Bobo called a fantastic game and sometimes seemed to know what blitz we were going to run before we ran it.  He did a good job of nullifying Beasley in this game as well.  Bobo and Mason never really tested our DBs deep and they didn't have to because we had so much trouble with their speed on the edge.  How Bobo used the Freshman speed was the biggest difference between last year and this year.  I think Bobo just moved to the top of my list to replace Morris.

Tavaris Barnes and Jayron Kearse have improved greatly. We missed Crawford from a depth standpoint but, not from an ability standpoint.  Barnes might be our best edge setter but after the cramp, he was not as effective.

Another positive is that I did not see a mental bust out of Kearse and he showed great speed, range, instincts, and tackling.  Robert Smith also seemed to have improved from solid to irreplaceable as well. It looks like we might have us a Safety combo!  The DBs in general held their own and were not a liability at all in this game.  The DL was stout but nowhere near as dominant as they were last year against a very cohesive GA OL unit. The SC matchup against that OL in a couple weeks is going to be very interesting.  Our LBs were average at best.  No wonder we've oversigned at the position. Stephone Anthony was solid but Goodson is still learning and lost contain on the first Gurley TD run.  Goodson is tougher and stronger than I thought he was though. He's more of a Over WLB than an Over SAM from what I've seen.

Player Review:

All American Level Performance: None

All ACC level Performance: Grady Jarrett, Robert Smith

Solid: Beasley, Reader, Kearse, Anthony, Barnes, Lawson, Jenkins, Watson, Goodson, Dodd, Jones, Williams, Johnson, Tankersley

Needs Improvement:  Tankersley, Boulware, and Steward. Tank is young and should learn. Boulware needs to get bigger, faster, and stronger and get better at tackling.  Steward has no such excuse. I just don't see the football IQ you'd expect from a guy that's been in the program this long.  It's sad.  He's dealt with a lot of stuff here and my heart goes out to him.  He's got the size and athletic ability but he struggles in read/reaction time and tries to get in position to make the tackle instead of doing his job and taking his gap. When do you pull the plug?  This is a coaching failure for BV right now. I would start Kellen Jones next week and split their snaps evenly.

That is all. Observations, critiques, and questions are welcome in the comment section.