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Defensive Film Review: Georgia Tech

I have three articles in one for you this week. I'll give you an argument for why we could be overrated AND underrated right now and why this weekend will tell us a lot about how good we are. I'll address South Carolina's "state of the program" post-Spurrier and then of course, put a fine tooth comb over the game film from this past Saturday's action.

Clemson's defense was serving sandwiches on Saturday afternoon.
Clemson's defense was serving sandwiches on Saturday afternoon.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

This is long and I encourage you to read this installments.  I'm making a conscious effort to keep it as understandable as possible if you are a casual fan. However, if you want to learn, you still have to try even if it's only a concept or two per week that you fully digest. I'll use pictures for the pivotal plays if you learn better visually.  If you rewatch the game, or even specific parts of it, this can be used as a companion piece.  And yes, I know this is the defensive review but I always like to lead off here by discussing the offense.

This win over Georgia Tech was a sound thrashing by our Tigers. I wonder how big of a favorite we would have been if we had played GT before Notre Dame. ND benefited from stealing GT's mojo after they put on an offensive clinic against two weaker opponents. That GT was ranked 14th in the AP poll when they traveled to South Bend.

I try really hard in the offseason to provide evidence that 1. Bowl games matter and 2. There is no need to judge teams by how bad they beat weak teams.  GT is a solid example of a team that was propped up by an impressive bowl performance and a thrashing of cupcakes. The Notre Dame beatdown of GT (stole that mojo and) was considered to be a big boy win for ND. We now know it wasn't.

The GT win propped up ND, a team that struggled against Virginia and UMass, as the #6 team in the nation.  Our win over ND stole that same mojo that basically goes all the way back to GT's bowl game beatdown of Mississippi State.  So what have we really accomplished by beating ND and GT?  I point this out to make sure that we are all on the same page that the "circle of proof" says that we have not secured a signature win yet.

The fact that we are ranked #6 right now and not #15 is based on last year's results, in particular, bowl results out of conference. What else could it possibly be based on?  The sample size is too small right now to apply the ever cited "transitive property." If you remove GT from the equation, we have beaten a Louisville team that lost to SEC bottom dweller, Auburn, and a Notre Dame team that struggled against UVA and UMass.

So, this notion that Clemson is somehow disrespected by the media is false.  They are well aware of our abilty to beat elite programs (notice I didn't say elite teams) and are rewarding us with a #6 ranking. Any over-opinionated commentary on the subject of "disrespect" is just drivel to create controversy, generate interest, and sell advertising.

So are we really the 6th best team in the nation?

In 2011, when we beat the defending National Champion, Auburn, and then VT and FSU at the beginning of the season, we were undefeated and ranked #6 heading into late October. Sound familliar? At the time, nobody thought of us as a team that was going to get blown out in 4 of our last 6 games...but that's who we were.

I believe this team is different. We are better at every position group except for WR, TE, and RB.  We are obviously a far better defensive team than we were in 2011. We have the same limited depth from 2011, but we are dominant up front and have DBs that can cover on an island. Unlike the "smoke and mirrors" that relied on the "feast or famine" nature of the racecar HUNH, this Clemson team relies on physicality, efficiency, and sound situational football.  The offensive numbers aren't as glamorous, but so far, we are a more efficient offensive team than we were in 2011.

S&P stats from Football Outsiders, largely based on efficiency and level of competition (not raw numbers), back this up.  S&P has us as the #1 team in the country right now (in other news, Tomahawk Nation declares Advanced Stats are silly and inaccurate).  S&P has our offense ranked #10 and our defense ranked #6 overall. Our strength of schedule is ranked 8th overall so far. The ascension of Louisville (#18) and Notre Dame (#7) has helped propel us forward along with our own performance. However, I should also mention that half of the F/+ rankings, FEI, are not available until after week 7.

I bring the advanced stats up for a reason I think you will find interesting.  The most interesting thing about these S&P numbers is that when we were undefeated at this point in 2011, we were ranked outside of the top 25 (we finished at #41).  S&P correctly deduced that we were a fraud that was inflated by "running more plays" and not by true offensive and defensive dominance.  We were 14th in "Offensive plays per game" back then.  Currently, we are 72nd..  We now employ situational HUNH and pick our spots.  Clemsonman called it "Intermittent Hustle" and I think that term is a fine description. I also think, no matter what you call it, it is more effective. We've changed our philosophy by retaining the schematic aspects that Chad Morris brought here and applied them in a different and more physical way...Auburn used this way to make two National Championship Game appearances.

This week our offense will face the #3 defense in the nation in Boston College. Many of you saw them completely dominate Florida State's offense earlier this year. This should be an excellent gauge of where we are offensively. We also get to see the teams we've already beaten, Louisville and Notre Dame, endure their biggest tests of the season outside of us. Notre Dame plays USC and Louisville plays Florida State.

It's a big week for our perception nationally.  The transitive property says we are being overrated by the media right now. Advanced Stats say we are being underrated.  I can't wait to start finding out which one is right.

Offensive thoughts from the GT game:

  • It took all of 3 plays to get our first TD on a 66 yard TD run with Gallman. I was pretty jacked that Charone Peake showed the aggressiveness he didn't show last week and got the key block to spring Gallman on the run. When your RB goes 66 yards untouched, it is team domination at the point of attack.
  • Charone Peake got a little love on the 2nd drive when we came right back with a hitch to him where he had a 20 yard run after the catch. Two plays later, Peake was thrown a fade in the endzone but it was too high. The very next play was the drop he had in the back of the endzone. I like whoever made the decision to reward Peake by getting him the ball be it a coach or Watson. Peake got another attempt at a deep fade in the 3Q. He got up in the air and made a better attempt at a catch but, couldn't come down with the ball.
  • 4 minutes into the game, we had 107 yards of offense. 11 minutes into the game we had 196.
  • Gallman is becoming a great "one-cut" RB, but he still has vision issues. He doesn't make quick reads or pre-snap reads like many of the greats do. He gets around that by pressing one hole and cutting into another. It's random, but it works because he is so downhill that any false-step by a LB gives him the advantage when he makes contact with them. Sometimes his late cuts will totally lose a LB in the hole or a DB on the corner. He's got his own thing and it's working but, if he ever develops true vision to see blocks before they happen, he will be unstoppable. One other thing I love about him is that he puts two hands on the ball in traffic. Speaking of that...
  • Ray Ray McCloud followed in the long tradition of Jamie Harper by fumbling on his first carry as a Tiger. Hopefully, Tavien Feaster was watching and will break this pattern.
  • Their DL, Gotsis, is really good. I was happy to see Guillermo hold his own in short yardage against him. Gotsis got by Crowder with speed a few times. Hopefully Crowder learned from this and learned that his foot speed needs to get better (ie. push away from table).
  • There was a post in the Instant Reaction that said we have to max protect in order to throw deep. "Max Protect" basically means that the TE and RB stay in to block. Watson threw 5 deep balls against GT and we max protected on 0 of those deep attempts. Watson expertly deciphered when they were going to blitz and did keep a 6th guy in on two of those attempts. We kept the TE in on one deep ball when we knew they were sending 6 and the RB in on another blitz. We completed two deep balls and also had the play where Renfrow drew the PI penalty. GT sent 6 and we blocked with 5 on that play.
  • Artavis Scott was in there but didn't do a whole lot after his shot to the ribs at the goalline. I hope nothing serious happened there that would limit his carrying the ball on bubble screens. It should be noted that he did carry the ball on a jet sweep in the 3Q.
  • Mitch Hyatt plays to the whistle. He's got that mean-streak. He wants a piece of the whole front 7.
  • In the late 3rd quarter it appeared that the light may have come on for Deon Cain. There is precedent for the light coming on around game 5 of their freshman year. Similar style WRs, Nuk Hopkins, Artavis Scott, and Sidney Rice, all saw their production increase around game 5 of their first year.

Steve Spurrier, one of the greatest coaches in college football history, resigned this week at our rival institution.  This is a positive for SC and the right thing for their program. SC can no longer recruit well enough to sustain the talent level needed to win 11 games in the SEC. This was not going to change and Spurrier was not able to coach and develop well enough to win as they did previously. The downward spiral into mediocrity had begun.  For now, we Clemson fans can breathe a sigh of relief that the "Golden Age of SC Football" is over.  However, by Spurrier leaving midseason, this allows them to publicly search and contact the heir apparent.  SC now finds itself in the same position we were in back in 2008 and the same position FSU was in after 2009.  The only difference is that SC is not the traditional football school that Clemson and FSU are.  Their next hire will be the 2nd most important hire in SC history behind Spurrier.  The cupboard is not as bare as when Spurrier got there.  A great hire can have SC back in a couple years. A bad hire could undo all the good that Holtz/Spurrier did and leave the program in total rebuilding mode.  As much as we would like to see that, I think it's better for Clemson if SC is a national player that adds prestige to our rivalry and legitimacy to our strength of schedule.

Here is a key for my shorthand in alphabetical order in case you need to refer back to it as you read this: 22 Front = Both DTs lineup on the guard. Alley = area between the OT and WR.  BCB = Boundary Cornerback, 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 (quarters) or C6 (quarter, quarter, half) = coverage scheme by the secondary. Dig route = 15 yard square in. EM = end man on the line of scrimmage. FCB = Wideside or field cornerback,  Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. Iso = FB lead play in the A or B gap. IV= Inverted Veer. IZ = Inside Zone or Zone blocked play inside the tackles. Jailbreak - 7 or more blitz.  Hitch route = route between 0 and 3 yards. LOS = Line of Scrimmage. Man = man to man coverage.  OV = Outside Veer or option play where the FB dive hits the B or C gap.  OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle.   PA =Play Action, PBU- Pass broken up.  Power = backside OG leads into B gap hole. Power Sweep = FB lead to the D gap with OG pulling around. Red Dog (overload)- LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. RPO = Run/Pass Option. Sky - SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CB and FS take deep third.  Slant Right/Left - entire DL slants to one direction in unison. Fire- S, NB, LB blitz from the outside D gap.  Robber - S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. Soft = CBs/NB playing well of the WR until he gets to the 1st down line. Stretch = zone blocked run just inside the last offensive player on that side.  Stack - the 3 LBs are stacked directly behind DL.  Stalk - WR blocks DB in front of him. Sweep = TB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap.   TE stunt - Tackle shoots outside gap and end loops around on the inside. TFL = tackle for loss. TO - Triple Option. Trap - playside DT is left unblocked, backside OG pulls to block that DT, RB runs underneath. Twist = one DT crashes on a slant and the other DT loops around and fills the hole he just left. ZR =Zone read option play.

Coach/Player shorthand:  BB = Ben Boulware, BJ = B.J. Goodson, BV = Brent Venables, Car = Carlos Watkins, Mac = MacKenzie Alexander, OD = Dorian O'Daniel, Shaq = Shaq Lawson, Tank = Cordrea Tankersley, War = Christian Wilkins

Thoughts within a play will be separated by a comma (,)

Each plays will be separated by an ellipsis (...)

First downs separated by a paragraph

Comments on a drive will be done in italics

Offensive Personnel will be listed as a 3 digit number where it is listed: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs like 212, which is 2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR.

Georgia Tech comes into the game unranked and reeling after a 3 game losing streak.


1st Drive, GT 20, 13:50, 7-0 CU

Above is our 4-3 Bone look where the DTs are in a 22 look. The DEs are both in 5 techniques. The OLBs are at 3 yards and the MLB is at 5 yards. In our usual C4 coverage, the Safeties have the wings/A-Backs and the CBs have the WRs on their own. They are not running the wishbone here but I am going to refer to their formation as "Bone" so you know the formation above is what I'm referring to.

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, PA Counter Option, rolls right, good coverage, throws a deep out, Tank was there, overthrown incomplete...2nd and `10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone Sam Bullet WLB Fire, TO wide, QB pulls but Blanks is already in his face so he turns it up in the A Gap, Goodson gets him for a gain of 3...3rd and 7, Bone (Extra OT) vs. 4-3 Bone, rolls left, rolls back to the middle, throws a 13 yard curl, busted routes, Tank picks it...INTERCEPTED

They look a little panicky on offense already. It would seem our reputation precedes us. They came out with the decision to throw to open up the run.  Ponder that for a second. On the INT, they had 3 WRs in about an 8 yard radius. That's either a severe case of undisciplined route running or an offensive bust. 104% chance that PJ did not draw it up that way.

2nd Drive, GT 16, 11:14, 10-0 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone Sam Bullet, TO wide, Car stunts inside and out of the play (by design) on the Sam Blitz, FB give, Blanks takes QB, Goodson gets sealed by the C and cut by the A Back, BB gets off a block and makes the play for a gain of 5, ILLEGAL CHOP BLOCK GT, the call is legit but that doesn't stop PJ from calling the ref a "stupid f%^&*er...1st and 15, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone Under WLB bullet, TO boundary, A-Back picks up BB instead of arc blocking, FB give, tackled by BJ for a gain of 4...2nd and 11, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone WLB Bullet, TO boundary, A-Back picks up BB, FB give, BB defeats the block to make the play, gain of 3...3rd and 8, Broken Bone 3 Wide vs. 4-3 Over C1, Midline Wide (a midline option is where the DT is left unblocked and optioned with the FB), QB keeps, A-Back whiffs on BJ, Blanks, BJ, and Car stuff the QB for no gain, Justin Thomas got banged up on the play. They should've checked out of that because Blanks did not walk out to cover the slot. Kearse came down from safety to take the slot in man which left Blanks unaccounted for in the box. That is a pass read all the way based on numbers in the box...PUNT

I noticed some people on the gamethread complaining about the FB yardage.  We are determined to stop the QB and A-Backs on the corner and to let the FB have a 1 on 1 with Goodson at about 3 yards. Their FB ain't no Jonathon Dwyer. This is the right move.  The "Under" above  just means that we shifted the DL to the wide side and are playing with a 0 tech, 2 tech, and 5 tech on the wide side and only a 5 tech DE on the boundary side. That is also a dead giveaway that BB is coming on a blitz to fill the bubble on the boundary side. They have prepared for this and have the A-Back stepping inside to pickup BB. BB should win that matchup 2 out of 3 times. We've come a long way since Kevin Steele's confused scheme(s) against GT.

We always seem to start the game by disrespecting their ability to throw. This series reminded me of when we used to walk Shuey out on the slot when they put twins to the boundary. That is the "schematic F-You" I get a real kick out of seeing. Where's Scott Shafer when you need him?  This time we're going to let the DBs cover their WRs with no help. Your move, PJ.

Ray Ray fumbles and sets up GT in the RedZone. Sudden change.

3rd Drive, CU 20, 7:49, 10-0 CU

1st and 10, Bone (Extra OT wide side) vs. 4-3 Bone, Power Option wide, Blanks does an excellent job dragging the OT to the edge and stringing it out, Kearse gets into the pitch lane and then gets the QB, excellent job by TB and JK, a loss of 2...2nd and 12, Bone (Extra OT to the wide side) vs. 4-3 Over, boundary A-Back motions to WR wide, QB rolls wide, Dodd beats a couble to apply pressure, QB throws a fade in the endzone that is expertly swatted away by Mac, gorgeous, incomplete...3rd and 12, TIMEOUT CLEMSON due to a personnel issue...3rd and 12, Bone 3 Wide vs. 4-3 Over C1, straight drop, throws to the A-Back being covered by BB, overthrown, incomplete...FG GOOD

It's a shame that the defense gets charged for giving up 3 points there on a sudden change drive where they allowed -2 yards. Thank Oculus for advanced stats. Total Domination so far.

We get an 80 yard TD drive ending with a Gallman 1 yard run. We have 196 yards of total offense with 2:46 to go in the 1Q.

4th Drive, GT 28, 2:46, 17-3 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Jailbreak, TO boundary, give to the FB, Pagano pushes the OG into the ball carrier, BB leaps over both to get to the FB, no gain...2nd and 10, Bone Twins Wide vs. 4-3 Over FS Fire, Toss Sweep wide, HELLO KEARSE!, Kearse beats the A-Back and the WR stalk block to hit the RB right as he catches the pitch, beautiful, loss of 5...3rd and 15, Broken Bone with Twins and A-Back Wide vs. Dime of Doom C2 Robber, straight drop, Dodd pressures QB but loses contain, QB rolls wide, War loops around to pressure the QB,  QB runs out of bounds for no gain...PUNT

We came out in 4-3 Over instead of 4-3 Bone this time and looked like we were expecting them to throw, and then Venables calls a Jailbreak blitz on 1st down out of it.  Little things like that show you how he can expertly dial up confusion in blocking assignments.

GT has a bad snap on the punt. The punter picks it up and kicks it right into JJ's hands behind the line but he drops it.  The ball gets batted around until it goes out of the back of the endzone for a safety. Strange play. The GT punter should've just fallen on the ball.

On offense, we get a busted play on 1st down with Kelly Bryant that puts us behind the sticks. Crowder and Leggett ran into each other in the backfield.


On 3rd and 10, we complete a deep seam route to Hopper. GT blitzed 5 and we picked them up without max protecting. Two plays later we hit Leggett on a wheel down the sideline for a TD (no max protect).

5th Drive, GT 25, 13:56, 26-3 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone (Rogers, Byers, O'Daniel in), Power Sweep Left, Rogers gets sealed and cut, Green sets the edge, Green and BB make the play for a gain of 2, FACEMASK CLEMSON on Dane Rogers...

1st and 10, GT 42, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, TO boundary, DL surge is excellent, BB knifes through but QB runs around him, Rogers forces the pitch, Tank gets kicked out, nobody on pitch, Kearse gets the RB after a gain of 11, we changed our call right before the ball was snapped and it looked like Rogers might've missed the assignment because of that...

1st and 10, CU 46, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, TO Wide, FB give, Car sheds and gets the FB for a gain of 2...2nd and 8, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, TO Left, FB give, BB hits the FB on his way to the QB and he goes down, gain of 2...3rd and 6, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, quick hitch to the boundary, Tank makes the tackle for a gain of 3...4th and 3, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, DELAY OF GAME GT, couldn't draw us offsides...PUNT

4th and 3, ball inside our 40, down 26-3 and they don't go for it? OK.

Watson makes a bad read on 3rd down (his first of the game) and we have to punt.

6th Drive, GT 25, 9:12, 26-3 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone Sam Bullet (Yeargin in), TO Right, FB give, OD is right there on the blitz but misses the tackle, Green finally gets him down after a gain of 12...

1st and 10, GT 37, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, TO boundary, FB give, Pagano and Shaq get him for a gain of 2...2nd and 8, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, Counter Option Wide, Kearse forces the QB to pitch and then tackles the pitch man 4 yards deep in the backfield, amazing, loss of 4...3rd and 12, Bone vs. Dime of Doom, TIMEOUT GT...3rd and 12, Broken Bone 3 Wide vs. 4-3 Over, Dive Boundary, they get the OG and OT to the 2nd level but War rides the C into the legs of the FB, good job from him, gain of 5...They take a FAKE PUNT around the edge for a first down, OD almost had him in the backfield, geez, you gotta know that's coming.

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, Counter Dive boundary, weird play, they pulled the guard and the A-backs wide and then ran the FB into the hole where the guard came from, Pagano wasn't fooled, gain of 1...2nd and 9, Bone vs. 4-3 Over C4, PA Sweep, A-back seam route, wide open, complete, TOUCHDOWN GT

What was Kearse thinking there?  The play action fake was not convincing and flow was away from his side. What did he think they were trying to do? You can see Green bailing out with urgency in the right of the picture. Kearse should've done the same thing. Instead, we have two guys covering the A-Back off the sweep fake. Goodson is doing the right thing by letting the A-Back run by him.  This is what coaches mean when they say, "Do your job."  Everybody on the team depends on the other players doing their job. You don't stop doing your job and look around to see how well everybody else is performing; you do your job. One mistake by one person and GT doubled their total offense on one play.

3 and out by the offense as Roof dials up a couple 6 man blitzes. We should be able to adjust and kill that.

7th Drive, GT 22, 4:32, 26-10 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, TO Wide, Dodd takes the dive away, big hole for the QB, BB and OD close on the QB for a gain of 4...2nd and 6, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, they motion the backs wide, QB RPO wide, QB keeps it, gets the first down and gets out of bounds, gain of 7...

1st and 10, GT 33, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Mike Bullet, straight drop, good pressure by Dodd, sacked by Shaq, loss of 12...2nd and 22, Broken Bone 3 Wide vs. 4-3 Over, straight drop, immediate pressure by Car, QB tucks and runs, brought down by BJ after a gain of 5...3rd and 17, Broken Bone vs. Dime of Doom, TIMEOUT GT...3rd and 17, Broken bone 3 Wide vs. Nickel Double bullets, straight drop, Shaq and Dodd are on the QB before he can set up, rolls left and throws it away, incomplete...PUNT

70 yard two minute drill is aided by a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a 15 yard PI penalty on GT.  Perfect pass to Leggett on a GT blitz gets a TD.  33-10 at halftime.

Halftime Thoughts

It's very apparent that we have matchup advantages all over the field on both sides of the ball.

They do not have the talent at A-Back to put the ball on the corner whatsoever.  The dive is pretty ineffective as well.  Their only chance is to turn us over a few times, get a defensive TD or two, and another long TD.  They just don't have the type of offense that allows them to erase large deficits.

Except for one play, the defense has been completely and totally dominant. The physicality level and athletic disparity is so big that they are going to need our turnovers, some trickeration, and busted assignments to score.

According to Football Outsiders definition of "garbage time," the start of the 3rd quarter will signify the beginning of garbage time in this game.


8th Drive, GT 19, 15:00, 33-10 CU

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, Lead Option, they've got something here but the QB tries to make the first man miss instead of pitching, OD is that man and he tackles the QB for a 6 yard loss...TIMEOUT GT...2nd and 16, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Sam Fire, FB Blast, we blitz right into the play, nowhere to go, Goodson gets the FB for a gain of 1...3rd and 15, Broken Bone 3 Wide vs. 4-3 Over, TO boundary, Pagano's pad level is up and the double team moves him 3 yards off the ball and allows the OT to come off the block and get BB, FB give (obviously), Dodd can't get there, Pagano and BB get him for a gain of 5...PUNT

They come right out with 2 plays we haven't seen yet and they get a combined -5 yards.  They are now 0 for 8 on 3rd down conversions.

They get a sack on an overload blitz where Gallman picked up the wrong guy.  That mistake forces a 3 and out.

9th Drive, GT 23, 11:27, 33-10

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone WLB bullet (Byers in), TO Wide, FB give, Byers got ridden out of there but still makes the play with BJ for a 3 yard gain...2nd and 7, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone WLB and Sam Fire, TO wide, War gets knocked down, FB give, they had a nice hole there but the FB just falls down for a gain of 3...3rd and 4, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, TO boundary, FB give, Byers gets through on the backside and gets the FB's legs for a gain of 2...PUNT

We were not clean there. That stop was basically poor execution on their part. Down 23 points, 5 of their first 6 plays are to the FB and 0 pass plays have been called.

After a couple of first downs, Watson gets rushed because Fruhmorgan gets beat by the DE and throws a bad INT over the middle. He forced that one. He should've gotten out of the pocket and thrown it away. SUDDEN CHANGE.

10th Drive, GT 48, 8:25, 33-10

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Bone, TO Wide, the FB has a hole but they put it on the corner, Shaq and Kearse force the pitch, OD makes the tackle for a 4 yard loss...2nd and 14, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Sam Fire, Lead Option Wide, Dodd gets into the backfield to force the QB to cut it up, BB just crushes the QB in a sandwich of OD and Dodd as well, ouch, loss of 2...3rd and 16, Broken Bone 3 Wide vs. Nickel, QB rolls wide, Car pressures immediately, Dodd sheds the OT and throws him to the ground, sack by Dodd, love it, loss of 2...PUNT

The safety that Gallman ran over did not return to the game. The QB, Justin Thomas, took a huge hit from BB and got up in obvious pain with a limp. The OT that Dodd threw to the ground had to be helped off the field and didn't return.  Physical dominance, while not pretty and doesn't always register with fans, is a beautiful thing.  It's part of a personal challenge and the most important mental and physical test that this game provides. The line in Any Given Sunday, "We will fight for that inch," is so often the difference between winning and losing.  If you have a coach that doesn't instill that mentality (Tommy Bowden), then there's only so much a team can accomplish.

What we are seeing now is a demoralized group of 18-23 year-old GT students begin to tap out.  We saw the same thing with Procise last week. This is what Ralph Friedgen meant when he said about Clemson, "Punch Clemson in the mouth and they'll lay down."  That was true then.  Now, we are the punisher and the game is so much more fun when you're the hammer and not the nail.

Zac Brooks comes in some fresh legs and gets loose down the seam for a TD run.

11th Drive, GT 20, 5:00

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over (Byers, Robinson, Yeargin in), QB Lead, Robinson shoots the gap and forces the FB to block him, BB blows through the A-Back's block, QB cuts into Robinson who misses the tackle, BJ and the right side of the line get him for a gain of 1...2nd and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, straight drop, looks left and throws right to a 15 yard curl in front of Tank, complete, gain of 22...

1st and 10, GT 42, Bone vs. 4-3 Over (War and Rogers in), Outside Veer wide, Rogers takes FB, OD takes the pitch away, nowhere for the QB to go, swarmed by BJ, Yeargin, Rogers, and Robinson, loss of 2...2nd and 12, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Sam and WLB Fire, straight drop, looks right all the way, slant is well covered by Tank, ball knocked down at the line by OD, incomplete...3rd and 12, Bone vs. 4-3 Over MLB X, straight drop, throws to an A-Back stop route at the sticks in front of BB, gain of 11...

1st and 10, CU 47, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Sam Fire (Watkins in), straight drop, throws to a 8 yard WR curl, overthrown incomplete...2nd and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, TO Wide, FB give, blown up by Car, loss of 1...3rd and 11, Bone vs. Nickel Double bullets, straight drop, trying to set up a screen but too many Tigers pressuring too fast, ball knocked down by Byers, incomplete...

We're playing soft on the outside and content to let them throw and catch short routes if they can. The screen play is always a good call against our aggressive defense. Byers knocked the ball away but, if the RB catches it, he might've scored.

Watson is still in. Ok, with a 30 point lead late in the 3Q, let's get Watson out of there, please. Holding penalty moves us back 10 and then a bad snap by Falcinelli/non-catch by Watson goes into the endzone. Watson gets trampled and they fall on the loose ball for a GT TD. Why is Watson in there with the #2 OL?   33-17 CU now.

...and Watson comes out with the #2 OL again.


We get a couple first downs. On the 2nd one, Hopper hits the CB on a bubble screen to Ray Ray and the CB goes down and taps out. If Thompson follows his blockers we score on the drive, but instead Lakip comes out for a FG.

12th Drive, GT 26, 12:03, 43-17

1st and 10, Bone vs. 4-3 Over Sam Bullet (Huggins in), QB D-Gap Counter Wide, three guys have him hemmed up in the backfield and miss the tackle, run out of bounds by Mac, gain of 8...2nd and 2, TO Wide, FB give, OG gets under Huggins pads and the FB gets through for 5...

1st and 10, GT 40, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, TO Wide, Yeargin takes the FB and forces the QB to pitch, Mac is right there for the TFL, loss of 6...2nd and 16, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, PA TO boundary, straight drop, they complete another wheel route in front of Kearse, gain of 26...

1st and 10, CU 40, Bone vs. 4-3 Over, Toss Sweep Wide, OD blisters the Arc Block and makes the play in the backfield, loss of 6...2nd and 16, Bone (Extra OT) vs. 4-3 Over Sam and SS Fire, rolls right, blitz picked up, throws to a WR Go route, wide open, TOUCHDOWN GT

I think this one is on Kearse. I just don't see a reason for Mac to leave his man and not charge the LOS. He might've done that if he was worried about the QB run. Instead, he picked up another player that crossed his face and entered his zone. Therefore, this was almost definitely C2 and Kearse was to blame again for this one. Even if it was C3 or C4, Kearse should be conscious of the outside WR and should have noticed him running down the field alone.

Dr. Schuess is in. Cain gets up and high points the ball for a big 3rd down conversion. We run a steady diet of power plays and then get a fortunate call on a fade to Thompson to give him a long coach.

13th Drive, GT 3, 0:21, 43-24

Their backup scrambles for a first down and that's the ballgame.



52 plays for GT yielded 120 yards. The two pass play busts yielded 96 yards.

FYI, Football Outsiders would say that the entire 2nd Half was played in "Garbage Time" and they would filter it out when comparing us with other teams.

Advanced Stats

F/+: 1

S&P Offense: 10

S&P Defense: 6

National Rankings

The number is where we are ranked nationally, not the stat. Those rankings in the top ten and over 100 are bolded.


Scoring Offense: 33

Total Offense: 48

"Yards Per Play": 46

"Yards Per Carry": 48

"Yards Per Attempt": 39

Plays Per Game: 72

10 yard+ Plays: 83

Turnover Margin: 62


Scoring Defense: 19

Total Defense: 13

"Yards Per Play Allowed": 19

Yards Per Carry Allowed": 7

"Yards Per Attempt Allowed": 73

Opponent 10 yard+ plays: 6

Sacks Per Game: 32

Tackles For Loss Per Game: 2

Opponent First Downs per Game: 9

Special Teams:

Field Goals: 50

Punting: 105

Punt Returns: 114

Kickoff Returns: 16

Opponent Kickoff Returns: 107

Kickoff Touchback %: 107


Rushing Yards: Wayne Gallman, 32

Passing Yards: DeShaun Watson, 67

YPA: DeShaun Watson, 44

Sacks: Kevin Dodd, 18

TFL Per Game: Shaq Lawson, 8

Fumbles Forced: Ammon Lakip, 73

All Purpose Yards: Wayne Gallman and Artavis Scott, 80

Total Offense: DeShaun Watson, 49

The eye test says...

Georgia Tech is really banged up at A-Back but this was domination that we have not seen against a Paul Johnson offense in long time.  GT averaged 1.7 yards per carry which is the lowest yards per carry for GT since 2008. Against an offense predicated on running the football, this was a better-than-expected performance by the Clemson defense.

This is one of those games where I can see people watching it and saying that "Clemson was so good, I don't know how good they are." It was a mismatch like we were playing Wofford. In fact, Wofford managed 2.73 yards per carry. We have seen a level defensively that shows us that when the starters are focused and want to play, they can be very dominant.  It is the lull in focus and the issue of letting up in garbage time that appears to be the major obstacle for these guys.

The kickoff coverage was much better this week. I hope we have finally found the right combination of guys to limit opposing returns and make plays.

Moving forward, I believe it is going to take a team with a great run defense that can rush the passer and a team that can generate these explosive plays (or get lucky).  The two teams that best fit that bill are our opponent this week, Boston College, and Florida State.  BC comes into the game with the best run defense in the nation. If they are able to get a couple blown assignments for TDs, we could be in a dogfight.


Game Ball: Dorian O'Daniel (Can OD gets some more PT?)

All American Level Performance: None

All ACC Level Performance: Dorian O'Daniel, Ben Boulware, Kevin Dodd, Shaq Lawson, MacKenzie Alexander, B.J. Goodson, Carlos Watkins

Solid: Everybody else.

Less than solid: Jayron Kearse (I hate to do it because he had a couple highlight reel plays in the first half and was very strong in run support but, he also gave up 14 points by himself by being undisciplined.), Albert Huggins,

Past Game Balls: Scott Pagano (Wof), Ben Boulware (ASU, UL), MacKenzie Alexander (ND)