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Defensive Review: Louisville

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Let's get in-depth about our first real test of the season at Louisville.

It ain't easy scoring against the Tiger Defense.
It ain't easy scoring against the Tiger Defense.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

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

Well, after further review, the offense was not as bad as I thought.  We had some problems but they weren't as schematic as I thought they would be. As I said in the Instant Reaction, the most important thing to remember is that, despite the lack of clean execution by the offense, we did win the game.

We had several problems offensively in this game and here's what I believe they were in order of importance with the most important being #1:

1.   DeShaun Watson's accuracy and decision making. The major problem with Watson is the most obvious and that is that he had an unusual amount of really poor throws. Those throws came whether he was pressured or not.  They came on deep balls, on the run, quick outs, curls, everything. Another problem is that Watson refused to take what the defense was giving him.  If they blitzed off the corner, Watson would not get the ball to the hot route (crosser, hitch, quick out, swing), he would stand in the pocket with his eyes downfield. Now, normally that's the sign of a fundamentally sound QB, but not when the DBs are bailing out deep on him like that. He has to trust Hopper/Scott in the middle of the field 1 on 1 with a LB.

2.   The next problem is that in the first few series, we came in with the plan to beat last year's UL defensive scheme against us and they came in with a plan to stop this year's Clemson offense. Our offensive gameplan was exactly what we needed to do to be successful last year. Last year, they stacked the box, played press coverage, and sent a DB off the corner on almost every play.  Since Stoudt couldn't throw deep and we couldn't move the UL Front 7 off the ball, we were dead in the water.  We did a good job of nursing our lead though, thanks to ST and D, and Morris played conservatively until later in the game. Later on, Morris used Leggett to attack the area vacated by the blitzing DBs and we were able to march right down the field. We still couldn't do much in the RedZone with the tight windows and the safeties up, and we were forced to kick FGs.

3.   Our gameplan was that we were going to (mostly) pound the A gap and throw it deep. I LOVE THAT! I think that's going to end up being our identity this year but, we have to be ready to adjust when a defense takes that away.  Instead, we did exactly what we showed in our first two games, and that's exactly what their defense was trying to stop. In the run game, sweep, jet sweep, stretch/outside zone needed to be run more.  Not only should we have had the jet sweep motion, but we should have run the jet sweep a lot more than we did. We did figure it out after halftime, so credit to ScElliot there. As I say ad nauseum around here, "A great offense will challenge all areas of the field."

4.   UL played a lot of soft coverage and we needed to take what they gave us and get them out of that. They were playing way off the WRs to defend the deep ball and daring us to throw the bubble screens and quick hitches.  We did some of that but, in my mind, the ball needed to be put on the corner until they stopped it.  After that, it's game on!  Also, if it's 3rd and 5 and the DB is playing 10 yards off the WR, he should probably get the ball occasionally.

All that being said, what I learned is that Deshaun Watson is almost scheme-proof. If he is on, almost every play call is a good one.  Even though we called plays into their strength, we had them. Watson just missed so many opportunities in this game that I almost don't believe that was the same guy.

  • The wheel route to Leggett (that we haven't ever seen before and was picked off early) was seemingly 1. to address any early aggression by their DBs and 2. To take advantage of UL DBs that are expecting Legget's out routes from last year. However, Leggett ran a poor route and, as you saw, their DBs were just sitting back there waiting for the deep ball. It should've never been thrown.
  • Louisville isn't the defense to force balls into double teams either. They led the nation in interceptions last season and they seem well on their way to finishing among the national leaders again this season.
  • The QB Draw play where we sent trips to one side and then ran the QB on the weak side with the RB leading needs to stay in the playbook and be run a couple times a game. It's a much safer play than QB Power and honestly, Watson should've had a long TD run the first time we called it. We just need to run multiple plays out of that formation. We ran it 3 times in the game.
  • We ran a sweep off of a 2 TE look and that worked great against the soft edges of UL's defense. We just didn't run it again. So, we had the outside plays in the playbook, we just didn't run them.
  • We ran a 5 Wide formation that split out the RB and TE and seemed to offer bubble screen options on either side. This was another great counter to what UL was doing. There are lots of options and mismatches to exploit out of that formation. We should see that formation again, preferably with Brooks split out wide.
  • The TD to Renfrow was a great call by ScElliot. It was a combo route with two WRs on the wide side. The outside WR ran a double move up the sideline and the inside WR ran a post. Watson pumped to the outside WR on a double move which moved the safety over to the sideline and gave just enough room for Watson to throw a dart down the middle of the field to the inside WR, Renfrow. It we still had Williams, this play would be almost unstoppable against most teams because of Williams' height and Watson's arm.
  • We ran HUNH before we got a first down a good bit. This is a departure from what Morris was doing the past two years. Do I think it gassed us a bit on defense? Yes. So I think it's worth the trade-off if we are clicking on offense? Yes. Do I think we are close to clicking on offense? Yes.
  • The QB Power/Counter play on 3rd down is such an obvious call and so not necessary in the 2nd Quarter with a lead. As I said all offseason, a first down is not worth risking DeShaun Watson's health. Run the RB who is gashing their defense right now.
  • On the deep ball to Artavis Scott that was intercepted, Scott had a step on the DBs but Watson threw it short. Scott could have knocked it down but he did not keep his feet.
  • I have not addressed officiating since 2009 on this site, since the bogus late holding call that nullified a bomb to Ford against GT.  However, we did not get the calls to go in our favor and I'll speculate and say that this created somewhere between a 0 to 14 point swing in Louisville's favor.

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. Ace = Single RB with QB under center, 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. Diet 4-3 - 4-3 alignment with Nickel personnel. Dog (overload)- LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. EM = end man on the line of scrimmage. FCB = Wideside or field cornerback,  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.  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 = FB/RB/H-B 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 - entire DL slants in one direction in unison. Fire- S, NB, LB blitz from the outside D gap.  Soft Coverage - 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.  Student Body Left/Right = FB lead play to the D gap with all uncovered linemen pulling.  Stack - the 3 LBs are stacked behind D linemen.  Stalk - WR blocks CB in front of him. Sweep = 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 and takes him out, RB runs underneath. Twist = one DT crashes on a slant and the other DT loops around and fills the hole he just left.

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.

Louisville comes into the game 0-2 after a disappointing loss to a Houston team that wasn't expected to be very good this year.

1st QUARTER

1st Drive, UL 25, 15:00, 0-0

Above: Here they are in their Ace set with 2 TEs. We used this formation a lot under Spence.

122 Ace vs. 4-3 Over C1, straight drop, we expect run and their TEs run right by our LBs, Dodd and Shaq can't get home, complete on a curl in front of Mac, gain of 10...

1st and 10, UL 35, 122 Ace vs. 4-3 Over, Iso boundary, Boulware abuses their TE but can't keep his feet (trying to do too much there), Green misses the tackle, BJ cleans it up, UL OL pushes the RB forward for a gain of 6...2nd and 4, 113 Ace vs. Nickel (Carter in) SS Fire, PA Iso, Green is all over him before he can even look up, sack by Green, loss of 10...3rd and 16, 113 Ace vs. Nickel soft C2, straight drop, TE chips Dodd, Shaq and Dodd apply pressure, QB checks down to the TE, tackle by Tank, gain of 3...PUNT

They came out and tried to get matchups that they liked in the passing game: TEs on ILBs and Mac on an Island wide side. The SS Fire is something we haven't shown yet. We brought Green from the wide side, which is ballsy because it leaves Mac all by himself with a ton of green over there.  If they check to a slant or crosser and hit it, it could be 6. However, they never saw it coming. Blanks appeared to be used as the true Sam and Carter as the true NB on this drive.

Watson INT = Sudden Change

2nd Drive, UL 34, 11:13, 0-0

1st and 10, 113 Ace vs. Nickel (Blanks in) slant right, Dive wide, Blanks squeezes, Goodson makes the play for a gain of 2...2nd and 8, 113 Gun shift to 4 Wide vs. Nickel, BB covers the RB wide, 3 step drop, throws the slant, complete on Carter, gain of 7, Carter had Kearse over the top but gave 7 yards of cushion. I don't know if that's because we got beat deep by the slot last year or not...3rd and 1, 221 I Formation vs. 4-3 Over, TIMEOUT CLEMSON, they had jumbo personnel and we didn't...3rd and 1, 104 Ace vs. 4-3 Over C0, Toss Sweep wide, Kearse sets the edge 3 yards in the backfield, Boulware cleans it up with Blanks, loss of 3...PUNT

That Kearse is a bad mutha...shutcho mouth...but I'm talking about Kearse.

3rd Drive, UL 15, 5:46, 0-0

1st and 10, Gun 113 Trips boundary vs. Nickel C1 Double X (Wilkins in), straight drop, RB cuts BB, excellent coverage, Goodson gets through and forces the QB to dodge, Dodd and Shaq get the sack, loss of 5...2nd and 15, Gun 113 vs. 4-3 Over, Iso to the boundary, BJ takes on the TE, Blanks makes the play for no gain, BJ forced a fumble but we didn't see it, Blanks has it literally under his hip, but they fall on it...3rd and 15, Gun 113 vs. Dime of Doom WLB Bullet MLB spy, straight drop, BB gets there to knock the ball back in the QBs face...PUNT

Our pass rush is on point.  So far, every time we blitzed we've applied pressure.

4th Drive, UL 14, 2:44, 0-0

212 off set I vs. 4-3 Over, Lead Draw, Goodson crunches the FB, Dodd doesn't squeeze fast enough, Dodd gets the RB for a gain of 8...2nd and 2, 212 offset I vs. 4-3 Over, Counter G, Lawson sheds the TE but can't make the play, OG gets to Blanks, uh oh, WR stalk blocks Mac, BJ gets him by the shoestrings on a scrape, excellent play by BJ, saved a big gainer there, gain of 3...

1st and 10, UL 25, Gun 203 vs. Nickel Tampa 2, straight drop, good pass pro, throws the fade at Tank's side, good read by the QB, Green needs to get over there faster, WR catches it one handed out of bounds, incomplete...2nd and 10, Gun 113 vs. Nickel C2, straight drop, quick throw to 10 yard curl, open but dropped, incomplete...3rd and 10, Gun 113 vs. Dime of Doom NB Fire, fumbled snap, BB takes away the slant, QB falls on it...PUNT

That's the first time I've seen us use a Tampa 2 look. Also the first time we've seen BB run out there and clock the WR on an inside release. 4 possessions and 4 punts for Louisville.

2nd QUARTER

Watson delivers his best throw of the day so far as he's being hit. It's a strike to Hunter Renfrow, who continues to display excellent skills as a WR, for a TD to go up 7-0.  On the KR, they get a seam and almost break it for a big gain. Foreshadowing.

5th Drive, UL 29, 13:12, 7-0 CU

1st and 10, Ace 122 vs. 4-3 Over Double X, straight drop, QB looks at Tank's WR the whole time, little 8 yard stop route, obviously setting Tank up for the fade route later, complete for a gain of 7...2nd and 3, Ace 122 vs. 4-3 Over 8 in the box slant boundary, IZ, Byers, Goodson, and Shaq get him, excellent job by Byers staying low and using his hands to come down the line and make the play for a gain of 2...3rd and 1, Ace 122 vs. 4-3 Over 8 in the box, IZ wide, great surge by the DL, Shaq uses an inside move to get in there and get him, Dodd is there too, no gain...PUNT

Ok, so there we saw a 2 TE look out of UL and us defending it without using Goodson at Sam.  This invites the run from UL.  They had 2 runs to get 3 yards and couldn't do it.  The Front 7 was lethal.  Pass the Jergens. 5 possessions and 5 punts for UL. They tried to power us and it didn't work. Now they've got to try to soften us up and get the safeties out of the box.

QB Counter gets stuffed on 3rd down because they Fire blitzed right into it playside, and their DT followed the pulling guard to the play on the backside.

6th Drive, UL 34, 9:28, 7-0 CU

1st and 10, 113 Pistol vs. Nickel BCB Fire (Bryant in), straight drop, Lawson and Byers with a bull rush into the QBs face that flushes him to the boundary, TE picks up the blitz and seals Tank, slot crosser complete in front of Green for 11 yards...

1st and 10, UL 45, 113 Ace vs. Nickel, Draw, Bryant pushed out of the play wide, BB with great outside leverage to compensate and gets him for a 3 yard gain...2nd and 7, D is showing signs of fatigue, 212 I Formation vs. Nickel BCB bullet, PA Iso, looking at Tank, turns back towards Mac and puts it up on a fade, Mac is beat but the WR drops the sure TD, incomplete...3rd and 7, 113 Gun 5 Wide vs. Nickel C1, straight drop, Lawson with an inside move and gets tripped by the LT, complete on a crosser on front of Tank, gain of 5...4th and 2, running QB in for UL, 221 Diamond Pistol vs.  4-3 Over 10 in the box, Blast Wide, Shaq hits him in the backfield but he breaks the tackle, stopped by Kearse for a gain of 5...

1st and 10, CU 42, 221 Diamond Pistol vs.  4-3 Over, ZR, QB keeps, RB and WR get a seal on Green, BB gets caught looking at the RB on the fake but gets the QB after a gain of 7...TIMEOUT CLEMSON, that was a fatigue timeout, we're a little tired, good call by Dabo...2nd and 3, 104 Ace vs. Nickel SS Bullet, Draw,  BB reads it, turns on the jets and burst through the line right by the OL sent to block him, WOW, no gain...3rd and 3, 221 I Formation vs. 5-3 Bubble, Counter G, busted play because playside HB goes the wrong way, BJ with a great scrape and OD and BJ get him for no gain...4th and 3, Diamond Pistol vs. 5-3 Bubble, FALSE START UL...PUNT

We dodged a bullet there with the WR drop on that fade. The play that BB made on the draw was simply awesome. 6 for 6 on forcing punts.

We had to punt on a promising drive after Gallman dropped one on 3rd and 4. Teasdall pins them inside the 20 though.

7th Drive, UL 15, 2:45, 7-0

1st and 10, Gun 014 vs. Nickel, straight drop, incomplete to a crosser, ROUGHING THE PASSER on Shaq, not much there but definitely late, you can't give teams a break like that...

1st and 10, UL 30, 113 Pistol vs. Nickel NB Fire, blitz picked up, straight drop, throws a DIG, batted away by Tank, nice play...2nd and 10, Gun 113 vs. Nickel NB Fire BCB Fire, blitz picked up again, Green picks up Tank's man, deep fade ball is complete, WR just out ran Green with a burst at the end, gain of 55...

On the bomb, Green had to hide that we were blitzing by lining up at normal safety depth. He had to come up late and had his momentum working horizontally. When you have a 6 man blitz on, the last thing you want to do is give up a hot route. Most of the time the WR will recognize the blitz and sit down in his route anticipating a quick throw.  Obviously, that did not happen. The WR was past Green's cushion almost immediately. Then, both the DBs we blitzed got picked up. That's the gamble in blitzing. We got the better of them last year and got a TD with that BCB blitz and they got the better of us this year. We had given up 56 yards in 27 plays until that throw.

1st and 10, CU 15, Gun 113 vs. Nickel C2, quick out in the flat for a gain of 3...2nd and 7, HUNH Gun 113 vs. Nickel, Power Sweep boundary, Green gets in there for the hit behind the LOS but the RB spins off and gets 3...3rd and 4, Gun 113 4 Wide vs. Nickel WLB Bullet MLB Spy, straight drop, BB gets to him but can't bring him down, rolls right, throws it away, incomplete...FG is Good

Halftime Thoughts

In week 3 last year, we went to FSU, dominated the game, and made enough mistakes to let them hang around until they hit a fade route on us and tied it up.  This 1st half reminded me a lot of that game.  Our defense is playing lights out except for the one deep ball and it seems like the only thing stopping us from being up 2+ scores is ourselves.

3rd QUARTER

We get the ball first and throw a deep ball to Scott that gets intercepted.

8th Drive, UL 42, 14:23, 7-3

1st and 10, Gun 014 vs. Nickel WLB "Green Dog"(explanation below), straight drop, BB gets a free run to the QB and bats the ball down, incomplete...2nd and 10, 212 I Formation vs. 4-3 Under (Blanks at Sam), PA iso, crossers out of the WRs wide to run off coverage, RB delay swing complete, Green gets crushed trying to run it down from behind, RB lowers the shoulder and bowls over Blanks, physical play by UL there, excellent play design to counter BBs blitzing, gain of 12...

1st and 10, CU 46, 203 I Formation vs. 4-3 Over, Power Sweep to the boundary (our old friend), OG cuts Dodd, RB gets the edge, gain of 7...2nd and 3, 212 I Formation vs. 4-3 Over, TIMEOUT UL...2nd and 3, 212 Offset I vs. Nickel, PA Blast, Pagano gets no pass rush up the middle, Dodd and Shaq would've had him if he did, TE Drag route is complete, tackle by Blanks, gain of 8...

1st and 10, CU 31, 212 I Formation vs. 4-3 Over Slant Left, PA Iso, Shaq gets there to force a throw out of bounds, PERSONAL FOUL HANDS TO THE FACE on Shaq, bad call and all 3 announcers agree, he did not hit the QB late and did not put hands near his face...

1st and 10, CU 14, 113 Ace vs. Nickel, IZ, Pagano gets pushed back on the double team, BB fills and gets him for a gain of 4...2nd and 6, 113 Ace vs. Nickel 22 Front MLB Bullet, OZ to the boundary, great seal blocks on Carter and Shaq, Kearse gets him down in the alley, gain of 6...

1st and G, CU 3, Diamond (Jackson at QB) vs. 5-3 Base (War in), Blast boundary, RB cuts it inside, BJ and War get him for a gain of 2...2 and G from the 1, Diamond Pistol vs. 5-3 Base, Blast boundary, RB tries to jump over the pile, rejected by BJ and Blanks, gain of a half yard...3rd and G from the 1, 220 unbalanced Offset I (Bolin in) vs. 6-2 Base (Robinson in), Iso boundary, Robinson gets moved two yards deep in the endzone and wants to fight after the play, War almost gets his legs, BB hits him but can't stop his momentum, RB gets in,  a gorgeous brunette Tiger fan is concerned in the crowd, TOUCHDOWN LOUISVILLE

So, the interception + the penalty on Shaq proves costly and puts us in a hole to start the 2nd half.

Ugh, Jesse Palmer just used the term "Green Dog" and confused all of America.  Alright since you heard the term on TV, I will explain it.  A "Green Dog," and you see this more in the NFL, is where you have man to man coverage and the man you are covering is either not there in the formation or stays in to block. If that happens, you read your keys and then you blitz.  In this case, BB had the RB in man but, there was no RB in the formation. So, instead BB attacked the LOS in a delay blitz.

Hey, Blanks got run over in the open field. It's been a couple years but, we used to see that on a regular basis. The hit on Green could have been called a clip. That was a judgement call for the referee. Most of the contact happened in the back of green.

The playcalling just went up a notch for Petrino. I think that was by design and part of stellar halftime adjustments. After the first play, he basically called every play I would call) against our defense in succession (I listed these plays in my schematics preview: run several plays to boundary strength, get RBs and TEs matched up on LBs, delays to take advantage of our aggression).  This is what veteran old-school playcallers do. They aggressively attack your weaknesses with simple, executable plays. Then when the defense starts overcompensating, all of the sudden, everything starts working. Their offense has been over-matched in this game but they just got a schematic touchdown. Now, we play from behind and we have to address some things.

Their defense has been off the field for about 40 of the past 45 minutes of real time. We come out and put the ball on the corner in 4 of the first 5 plays and get 50 quick yards. Ok, so we adjusted as well....props to ScElliot for that. We go back to the middle and the drive stalls. We get a FG to tie it up.

9th Drive, UL 24, 6:57, 10-10

1st and 10, 113 Ace vs. Nickel, straight drop, Byers shoots the gap and gets by the RB, QB flushed the boundary, stops and throws a fade with Dodd in his face, knocked away by Tank, great job by Byers and Tank there, incomplete...2nd and 10, 122 Ace vs. 4-3 Over C2 WLB Bullet MLB Spy, IZ, BB gets picked up, BJ forces a cut back behind the LOS, BJ and Green finally get him down for a gain of 9, HOLDING UL on Pagano on the cutback...2nd and 20, 113 Gun vs. Nickel Double X, straight drop, BB get through and crushes Bolin as he throws, complete on a three yard curl, immediately tackled by Tank, gain of 4...3rd and 16, Gun 113 vs. Dime of Doom Fire (Red) Dog,  straight drop, Lawson with a speed rush gets the sack, holding penalty declined, loss of 8...PUNT

They come right out, anticipate some adjustment on the boundary side to stop the run on first down, and throw deep at Tank. Tank is right there to pin his hip and make the play. Great fundamentals. Better ball skills. Good job. That put them off schedule and played into our hands.

We come out with our first jet sweep for 6 on 1st down. 4 of 5 plays on the corner before the trick play for a TD. Again, great job by ScElliot. This was their schematic TD.

10th Drive, UL 25, 2:37, 17-10 CU

212 I formation vs. 4-3 Over WLB Bullet, PA Iso, they try the fade on first down at Tank again out of a run formation, underthrown, INTERCEPTED by Tank...

Did we just see the light come on for Tank?

We tried a couple "nail in the coffin" home run plays there. One of which was the deep ball to Hopper that could've been called a PI. The LB was a touch early on the contact but there was no call. If he wasn't double covered, maybe we get that call. 2 guys miss the tackle on the PR after the punt and we give up a big return. PR fumbles on the return but they get it back.

11th Drive, UL 27, 1:20

1st and 10, 122 Ace vs. 4-3 Under (O'Daniel in), Power Sweep Wide, OD beats the OG and makes the play for a loss of 4...2nd and 14, 113 Gun vs. Dime of Doom NB Fire, straight drop, Kearse gets a hand on the QB's foot but loses contain, rolls left, when the QB presses the edge it freezes Carter who is the only man that can stop the QB from running for a 1st down, throws  to Carter's man on the run and complete, great catch for a gain of 37...end of 3rd quarter

4th QUARTER

1st and 10, CU 38, Gun 113 vs. Nickel, rolls wide, throws too high on an out route, Carter was all over him anyway, incomplete...2nd and 10, Ace 113 vs. Nickel C2, draw, Pagano gets moved out on a double team, Shaq shed the OT and makes the play for a gain of 3...3rd and 7, Ace 113 vs. Nickel WLB spy MLB blitz, straight drop, throws the fade at Tank again, out of bounds, incomplete...4th and 7, Gun 113 vs. Dime of Doom ET stunt MLB Fire WLB Bullet, straight drop, BB applies the pressure, throws the quick out which is thrown too high to the WR in front of Tank...TURNOVER ON DOWNS

Great stand by the defense there after the big play to end the quarter. Time for the offense to step on the throat.

We attack the corners again on offense and march right down the field into the redzone with ease. Then we call 3 run plays into the interior and have to settle for a FG. C'mon ScElliot! Poor playcalling at the end of that drive.

20-10 Clemson.

KR Touchdown for Louisville. 20-17 Clemson. My technical analysis for this is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

We come out on offense and run 5 straight plays into the A Gap and start running Watson as well. We get 2 first downs. Then we throw a Bubble screen where Hopper and Legget are blocking...loss of 5. What the hell is that? Then Watson short-arms the seam to Leggett and we punt it away.

12th Drive, UL 14, 6:41

1st and 10, 113 Ace vs. Nickel, PA OZ, boot wide, throws on the run to an out route in front of Carter, shades of Rodney Williams to Terence Roulhac there, gain of 15...

1st and 10, UL 29, 113 Gun vs. Nickel Double X, straight drop, quick hitch is complete in front of Tank for 4 yards...2nd and 6, HUNH Ace 113 vs. Nickel Tampa 2, straight drop, curl to the slot in front of Kearse, gain of 5...3rd and 1, Diamond Gun (Jackson at QB) vs. 5-3 Base, PA Blast, quick out to the HB, wide open, we sold out for the run and they caught us, huge balls by Petrino, gain of 15...

1st and 10, CU 47, Gun 113 vs. Nickel Double Bullets, straight drop, blitz picked up, 7 yard out complete, nobody home over there because Carter busted an assignment, gain of 13...

1st and 10, CU 34, HUNH Gun 113 vs. Nickel C3, straight drop, Shaq gets by the LT, QB hit by Shaq as he throws, Intercepted by Kearse, DEFENSIVE HOLDING called against Tank on an inconsequential play, tough call but Tank grabbed the jersey on a double move, the throw would have never gotten there because of Shaq's hit on the QB, and because Tank left his hand on the WR's hip all the way down the field they probably had to call it. Just bad luck on our part.

1st and 10, CU 23, 3:48, Gun 113 vs. Nickel, straight drop, excellent coverage, QB is swarmed by War, Dodd, and Car, sacked for a loss of 4...2nd and 14, HUNH Gun 113 vs. Nickel Double X, straight drop, takes a shot downfield, overthrown, if it would've been on then Kearse has a good shot at an INT...3rd and 14, Gun 113 vs. Nickel C6, Straight drop, RB screen to the boundary, BB defeats a block and makes the play for a gain of 5...MISSED FG.

They missed a 38 yard FG after a cardiac-type drive of emotional swings.

We can't convert and the refs miss a facemask call, so we have to punt.

13th Drive, UL 37, 1:19

1st and 10, Gun 113 vs. Nickel soft C4, straight drop, completes a comeback in front of Carter, we'll take that every play with the clock moving, gain of 2...2nd and 8, 0:47, Ace 113 vs. Nickel C4, straight drop, throws over BJs head and completes it to the TE, Tank pushes him out of bounds after a gain of 24...

1st and 10, CU 37, 0:38, Ace 113 vs. Nickel, QB unprepared for the snap and it goes rolling backwards, recovered at the 50 inside the left hash, thrown away immediately with no receiver in the area, ok, incomplete...2nd and 10, Gun 014 vs. Dime of Doom, straight drop, great coverage, Dodd wraps him up for the sack, loss of 5, 3rd and 15, 0:10, Gun 113 vs. Dime of Doom, Hail Mary, Jadar Johnson with the game ending interception, get your ass down on the ground!

DEFENSIVE SUMMARY:

Stats:

3.8 yards per play allowed in this game by us. I'll take that every time.

We only ran 70 plays in this game which is slightly below what we ran under Napier per game.

National Rankings

Scoring Offense: 36

Scoring Defense: 11

Total Offense: 50

Total Defense: 12

"Yards Per Carry": 74

Yards Per Carry Allowed": 20

"Yards Per Attempt": 51

"Yards Per Attempt Allowed": 18

"Yards Per Play": 64

"Yards Per Play Allowed": 9

Total Plays: 45

Sacks: 29

Tackles For Loss: 8

Turnover Margin: 61

Kickoff Touchback %: 110

Punting: 116

Opponent First Downs: 5

Opponent 10 yard+ plays: 13

Kickoff Returns: 9

Opponent Kickoff Returns: 120

Individual

Wayne Gallman, 37th in rushing yards per game.

DeShaun Watson, 38th in yards per attempt.

Artavis Scott, 89th in Receiving yards per game.

Artavis Scott, 53rd in Yards per Punt Return

Greg Huegel, 45th in FG %

Greg Huegel, 70th in Kickoffs

Shaq Lawson, 40th in Sacks

Shaq Lawson, 21st in Tackles For Loss

T.J. Green, 35th in Tackles For Loss

The eye test says...

  • TOO MANY CARRIES FOR WATSON! We are playing with fire. He took many hits in this game for my taste.
  • In my preseason schematics article, I talked about how "if I'm an OC, the first thing I'm going to do is put strength (TE) to the short side of the field and run behind that strength a lot because I can take advantage of all these disadvantages Clemson may have at once." Well, Louisville did that a lot in this game and I thought we handled it well.
  • Mac was all alone on the wide side a good portion of the game. I would expect Fuller from ND to try to get that matchup as well. Will we allow Mac to have Fuller all by himself?
  • For that reason, I'm glad they tested us with fade routes deep. That's what you see when you run C4 and it just so happens we're facing probably the best deep threat WR we're going to see all year in our next game.

PLAYER REVIEW:

Game Ball: Ben Boulware (He is the straw that stirs the drink on defense)

All American Level Performance:  None

All ACC Level Performance: Shaq Lawson, Ben Boulware, B.J. Goodson, Kevin Dodd

Good: Cordrea Tankersley, Jayron Kearse, Rod Byers, Christian Wilkins, Carlos Watkins, MacKenzie Alexander, T.J. Green

Solid: Everybody else except...

Less than solid: Scott Pagano (pad level was up a little bit more this week), Austin Bryant

Past Game Balls: Scott Pagano (Wof), Ben Boulware (ASU)