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Clemson versus Wake Forest: Instant Reaction

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Demon Deacons get exorcized.

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We got a three score lead and controlled the game. This was an overall good effort. We didn't pull away like we should have because of the turnovers. This wasn't championship level play, but it was good enough to beat most of the teams on our schedule. Overall, offensive line needs to get more push, no more interceptions, and hope Boulware is not seriously injured. Oh and try not to screw up on special teams in a big game.

Offense

You get to see the difference Wayne Gallman makes in the running game. The offensive line is not playing nearly as well on running plays without Crowder. Gallman is the kind of back that helps the offensive line to get better push upfront. All of our other backs just get stood up or dropped for a loss. Gallman get yards after contact and breaks tackles--that is what you need for a smash mouth spread. Brooks was fine, but does better when he isn't running between the tackles. CJ Davidson was a disaster. CJ Fuller should be the third guy off the bench, but he was unable to get many yards after contact.

Clemson could take a page from Wake Forest lineman who push the pile consistently, often playing through the whistle.

Obviously the two interceptions from Watson are disconcerting and should hurt his Heisman candidacy (Henry is extending his lead while Fournette and Elliott are stuck in neutral). Watson did throw some nice deep balls, though and wasn't helped by a disappointing running game. 4 turnovers is how you can get beat on the road--we need to go into Columbia focused.

Seckinger continues to be unable to block and looks like a 40 year old man hobbling around on the field.

I got to give a ton of credit to Germone Hopper (as a WR and not a punt returner). He has stepped up his game significantly. Charone Peake had another good day, but had a couple of drops. Deon Cain continues to progress as a deep ball threat, but more importantly as a more complete WR.

Lets talk Kelly Bryant. To clarify from last week, I am not down on Bryant at all. I have consistently said he would be the number two guy at the end of this season going back to his recruitment. But it is obvious that he isn't a polished passer or decision maker and is in the game to give you a wildcat running package. That is fine when you are up by three scores or in the second half--even the second quarter. His play in this game was perfect. He got in and played some meaningful snaps--showed a burst in the running game and then turned around and showed why he shouldn't ever take away real snaps from your Heisman candidate.

Defense

Overall a much better effort. Venables had a great gameplan, essentially playing a 5 man front by bringing a LB on first down and run downs. We gave up a score on a short field from a turnover and sudden change when their running QB got free along the sideline and then Mark Fields didn't locate the football on a nice throw in man coverage. Venables made a concerted effort to get more back-ups valuable playing time to try and improve the depth. Kevin Dodd had an outstanding game with two sacks and a ton of quarterback pressure. We need that to continue.

The biggest storyline could be the injury to Ben Boulware and a chance to really evaluate Jalen Williams. Boulware was done after a major collision with a Lineman in the first half. He was out of uniform with ice on his shoulder/neck area. Hopefully it is just a bruise and not a broken collarbone, but I didn't see him holding his arm the way you would a collarbone break. Hope for the best.

Williams, like Boulware, has physical limitations and is susceptible to getting smothered by lineman on occasion. His blitzing improved as the game went on. Not a bad first effort in extended playing time. He is undersized though and someone game-planning could easily take advantage of him. Dorian O'Daniel finally gets more playing time in the game and I thought looked excellent. The knock on him is that he couldn't handle being in coverage enough to justify him seeing the field (I think last week the defensive staff just missed a chance to get him in the game). He wasn't great in coverage, but he wasn't a liability and his speed and running stopping ability warranted increased playing time over Blanks going forward.

We also saw the return of Ryan Carter after Adrian Baker at CB and Mack at Nickel reduced his need to be on the field. He played good and tackled well. Baker was getting dragged by WR's today and showed that he needs to take the weight room more seriously in the off-season. Yeargin also looked stronger in limited reps.

Ok, ok. I'll write it--one of the twins (Judah I think?) had a nice couple of plays.

Special Teams

Can't have the blocked extra points. CJ Fuller is not a natural kick returner. Teasdall needs to continue to watch the get-off times. Our kick coverage was better, but still, a returner fumbles the ball and we can't get to him before the 20 yard line. Punt returns and muffs continue to be a theme--come on Hopper.

What was the fake punt? Totally predictable and not good execution.

That Wake Forest punter was something else. We seem to have an entire schedule of amazing punters.

How about them Bulldogs...Shawn Elliott obviously didn't do enough pregame pushing and shoving.