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Clemson Defeats Georgia Tech: Instant Reaction

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Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Kraken

Clemson came out and kept rolling this week.  We dismantled a reeling GT team by jumping on them early and often.  The Final Score was 43-24 and it was not that close.  Kudos to Dabo and the coaching staff for having the team prepared to come in with a business-like manner after a huge Notre Dame win.

Offense:

Almost immediately we established the run with an 80 yard TD run by Wayne Gallman.  It was a play where Hyatt, Leggett, and Peake asserted their manhood and gave us that explosive play we have been missing since Appalachian State. We were able to matriculate the ball down the field with explosiveness and efficiency.  It was not a perfect performance. Peake's dropped TD, Watson's interception, and Ray Ray's fumble were negatives in an otherwise stellar day for the offense.

This just in (pushes in ear piece): DeShanun Watson is still DeSHAUN WATSON.  The cover is back on the panic button.  We saw the DeShaunny Football throwing the ball that we haven't seen yet this year.  DW connected on deep balls, read defenses well, and showed that he can still make the difficult plays he was making last year.  Now, this still wasn't the "perfect" Watson that we saw last year, but this is great news moving forward.  He has room to improve, so hopefully, he will continue to go up from here.

We controlled the line of scrimmage again up front and we seem to get better every game on the OL.  Zac Brooks was the 2nd RB in the game to all of our relief and showed some speed I don't remember him having on his long TD run.  Another new thing was the Wildcat package with Bryant. It looks like they are trying to find him some reps and save Watson from taking hits on QB runs.

We had a Trevion Thompson sighting this week, which was great.  You can really see his athleticism at there. He just needs reps to fix mental mistakes like awareness of where the sideline is and to follow your blockers on a tunnel screen.  Hunter Renfrow continues to impress. He does something every game to show off his very non-walk-on ball skills and speed.  When he's drawing these pass interference penalties on go routes, he's separating from CBs.  The light is coming on for Deon Cain as well.  I thought today was his coming out party and that we swathe full package of his exceptional athleticism for the first time.  Charone Peake brought  his lunch pail and came to work today so I thought I'd mention that since he drew my ire last week.

We ran a 2-minute drill for a TD at the end of the first half. That was another positive form the game. I had no problem with us running it twice in a row the way our OL was dominating them.  I'm biased though because I miss the days when Danny Ford would run a 2-minute drill with all run plays.

The negatives were that we handed GT 10 of their points with Ray Ray's fumble and the high snap/fumble in the redzone. Thankfully that did not happen last week or we would've been in trouble.

Defense:

For about the 17th straight game, we won the battle up front on defense.  You have to have that happen to beat GT and, by Oculus, we sure got it.

They averaged 1.7 yards per carry. That's all you need to see to know how this game went.  It was a physical masterpiece.

The defense played much better than the 24 point score would indicate. This was domination with 2 busts in the secondary and 10 points off of turnovers.

We had tons of tackles for loss in this game, applied pressure on passing downs, and allowed one 3rd down conversion all game.

The Kearse hit on the pitch was just awesome and I hope somebody has a gif of that ready to go at some point.

I'm glad they tested Mac on a fade this week, just so we could see the majesty of his technique and ball skills swatting the ball harmlessly to the turf.  Also, I'll never complain about our WRs again after seeing 3 of their receivers in a 5 yard radius on Tank's interception.

We crushed a lot of arc blocks today, so that was good to see.

Special Teams:

I thought Teasdall had his best game punting this year so far.  I hope he is coming of age for us.

Ammon Lakip got some points on the board for the first time this year.  Do you guys think he should be allowed to compete for the kicker job this week?

We had good kick coverage this game. Not one time did I have any anxiety on a return this week.

Their punter was atrocious and helped us out a few times today.

Summary:

We got a big win over a team that usually causes us problems.  We got some meaningful reps for our 2nd string in on both sides of the ball.

The film review for this one should be fun, if only to see Paul Johnson's meltdowns in the game.

Great job, Tigers and Tiger fans that made the trip!

QT

Apologies for the delay in getting this out. Kraken was ready but I seem to have blacked out from euphoria. I seriously hate playing Paul Johnson and GT in general. I still have nightmares about Megatron's emergence, Bowden failures, and Kevin Steele defenses. It is time for me to put those to bed (I will completely if we can put together this kind of performance on the road!).

We dominated the line of scrimmage again. Dare I say on both sides of the ball. Playing Wofford was a great scheduling move because we obviously have been preparing extensively for this matchup. I don't think I've seen Paul Johnson demonstrative and distraught on the sideline. Paul Johnson tears taste like magical dreams. It was obvious from the outset that GT didn't have an A-back good enough to get to the corner and break plays with any consistency. No weapons at wide receiver to stretch the field at all. Another great day to be a Tiger!

Negatives

Not many. Uncharacteristic fumble from Ray Ray and Watson not seeing the LB for a bad INT. Another bad snap, which resulted in a TD (not sure if that was on back-up Center Falcinelli or Watson). A couple of times where the offensive line whiffed and gave free hits on Watson. Charone Peake continues to look like a good player, serviceable, but not a great receiver that is going to take over games. Peake still doesn't have that alpha mentality and drive to go up, high point the ball and win one on one match-ups consistently. Very good to see Cain start to emerge. We need him to be a legitimate threat as we round into games against FSU and Miami.

We had a couple of major busts on defense. Just complete busts and bad communication. Both resulted in scores and both were on first team defensive guys. Tech puts a lot of stress on the safeties in particular to be able to read run/pass options so it is understandable, but something we will need to continue to clean up.

We finally get to see some of the back-ups. Dane Rogers is a body and not the future or answer at the position. Unfortunate that Bryant couldn't go today to get more experience. Huggins still doesn't have the needed pad level. Yeargin struggles to hold up against the run.

I got nothing else.

Positives

So much. We opened up the play book and allowed Watson to sling it around. He looked sharp and reminiscent of Watson's performances from the early part of last season. It is so important to come out fast and get the lead over GT early--changes the dynamics of the game. ScElliott have done really well scripting opening drives. We wanted to pass the ball and get the younger guys involved.

The offensive line had a few hiccups in pass coverage, but largely controlled the line of scrimmage. We again ran the ball. Gallman continues to progress and Brooks looked so much better than the other backs (how was Davidson the #2 guy again?), showing a great burst to complement Gallman's toughness.

Deon Cain shows why he was such a highly regarded prospect. He is still struggling a bit with some routes but he has open field ability (wiggle) that Peake just doesn't naturally have (Peake looks nowhere near a 4.3 with pads on and the ball in his hand). He also high points balls exceptionally well and fights for catches. More Cain please. Thompson also looks like he just needs more reps and seasoning. Renfrow continues to impress.

Dorian O'Daniel. What a game! Really hope he can earn more playing time against other teams because he looked very athletic and played with a great motor. Relentless in pursuit. Alexander again looked great in coverage and was much more physical in run support. Tank was impressive and had the pick.

Good kicks and punts. Lakip got some in the endzone!

This is another positive--Dabo goes off on David Hale of ESPN for asking about "Clemsoning" (in fairness the question wasn't really that bad but Dabo used it to tee off on the media). Wrong question at the wrong time...