clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clemson Victorious In Tallahassee: 1st Quarter Film Review

New, 47 comments

Clemson’s 1st quarter against FSU was nearly flawless. Here’s how it happened.

Clemson v Florida State Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

These close games have me halfway in the grave already, but at least I’ll die happily ... right? FSU showed why many expected them to be a top 5 team and for more than a few moments in the second half, I thought the wheels were about to come off and Clemson would unravel. Deshaun Watson opened the door for FSU with more awful (and now alarmingly characteristic) mistakes, but once again more than made up for them with his unfailing play in the clutch. Is there anyone better with the game on the line? I doubt it, but let’s hope for no more drama in the regular season; we’ve had enough.

My lasting impression from Saturday night was utter amazement at just how good Marion Hobby and Dan Brooks are at coaching defensive ends and tackles, respectively. Clemson loses linemen to the draft every year and never seems to drop off. Without a doubt, the defensive line had already saved Clemson’s season in previous close games, but Saturday was on a level I’ve yet to see this year. The entire front six was phenomenal and I thought Kendall Joseph had his best game in the biggest moment. Can’t say enough about the front six and their performance.

Shorthand

Alley = area between the OT and WR. BCB = Boundary Cornerback, Bullet = ILB A or B gap blitz. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) or C6 = coverage scheme by the secondary. DIME OF DOOM = 3rd down 3-2-6 havoc formation. FCB = Wide side or field cornerback. Fire = S, NB, LB blitz from the outside. Green Dog = man blitz when your man stays in to block or is not in the formation. 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.OZ = outside zone run or zone blocked play off-tackle. PA = Play Action. PBU = Pass broken up. Red Dog (overload) = LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber = S or LB moves to take away crossing routes. C3 Sky = SS moves up two yards, takes flat, CBs and FS take deep thirds. Soft= CBs/NB playing well off 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 = RB/QB run, often FB/ H-B lead play to the D gap. TO = Triple Option. ZR = Zone read option play.

Format

  • Thoughts within a play are separated by a comma. (,)
  • Each play is separated by an ellipsis. (...)
  • First downs are separated by a paragraph.
  • Comments on a drive are in italics.
  • Offensive personnel listed as a 2 digit number: # of RBs, # of TEs, # of WRs; 11 = 1 RB, 1 TE, 3 receivers; 22 = 2 RB, 2 TE, 1 receiver, etc.

Play by Play

Clemson ball, 14:54, Clemson 32 yard line

11 shotgun (Scott stacked behind Williams) vs nickel (FS in box), IZ handoff to Gallman, finds a narrow gap inside of Hyatt and pushes the pile for 5 yards, no real movement or hole but Gallman creates yards...empty shotgun vs nickel, RPO, no linebackers stayed in the box so Watson tucks on a draw, lane off the right tackle but Gallman and Fruhmorgen can’t hold their blocks, Watson met hard after a gain of 3...empty shotgun vs nickel NB fire man under cover 1, quick slant to Williams complete for a gain of 8...

11 shotgun (Williams to field, Scott boundary) vs nickel, fake jet sweep IZ handoff, Gallman wrapped up in the backfield by boundary corner McFadden, who blitzed when Scott motioned, good defensive scouting, loss of 1...11 shotgun vs nickel man cover 1 robber, looks right to Williams deep and Renfrow underneath but both are covered, steps up in a collapsing pocket and gains a yard...11 shotgun vs nickel FCB blitz, Watson quickly checks to it and hits Williams on the quick curl, slips the tackle and rumbles for 10 yards...

Ironically, FSU baited Watson into an interception later in the game by faking a similar corner blitz.

4th & inches, 22 I-form vs 5-4, power handoff gains 2, Guillermo and Fruh did an excellent job pushing back the right side of the line while Crowder pulled outside...

Empty shotgun vs nickel cover 2 zone (surprising call), Leggett wide open behind the Mike who didn’t drop deep enough, gain of 40...

11 shotgun vs nickel BCB blitz, fake jet sweep handoff to Gallman, drags a defender into the endzone from 2 yards out, TOUCHDOWN.

Beautifully called and executed drive. Happy to see Clemson go under center in short yardage even if Lawrence and Wilkins were on the sideline. Leggett will destroy zone coverage across the middle if FSU wants to keep trying it. Perfect start.

FSU ball, 11:01, FSU 15, 7-0 Clemson lead

12 ace vs 4-3 even (DTs aligned in 2 tech, DEs in 4 tech) cover 3, PA pass to the TE in the flat, play action kept O’Daniel from covering the flat, easy 18 yard gain, great scouting by Jimbo...

21 I-form vs 4-3, IZ to Cook, moves the pile and gains 9...21 I-form vs 4-3, Cook motions to the boundary, IZ to fullback gains 2...

12 ace vs 4-3 cover 4, quick drop, fly route thrown at Carter, receiver pushes off and somehow PI is called on Carter, penalty declined, gain of 23...

01 empty shotgun vs nickel man under cover 1, out route thrown to Whitfield, Carter misses the tackle, gain of 11, personal foul knocks the Noles back 15 yards though...

12 ace vs 4-3 under (Williams playing Sam...?), cover 3 behind Mike/Sam overload, PA bootleg, Joseph came through untouched on the delayed bullet and literally eats Francois alive, sacked for a loss of 10...

11 shotgun vs 4-3 Mike/Will fire in front of cover 3, tunnel screen perfectly timed, nobody in the middle of the field except Joseph who backed up when he identified the screen, not quick enough to catch Whitfield in the open field though, gain of 22...

11 shotgun vs nickel cover 3 (Boulware fire, Wilkins drop), Lawrence beats his block but Cook keeps Francois alive, deep comeback route underthrown, incomplete...21 bunch vs 4-3, counter stretch handoff blown up in the backfield, Wilkins shot the inside gap and wraps Cook up before he can take but a couple steps, loss of 3...10 shotgun 2x2 stack vs DIME OF DOOM NB/LBs all fire, Francois pump fakes and quickly tries to flee but rolls right into Ferrell, huge sack to keep points off the board, PUNT.

Obvious passing situations for FSU were Clemson’s biggest advantage going in and Venables wisely threw the sink on long passing downs.

Clemson ball, 5:27 Clemson 20, 7-0 Clemson lead

11 shotgun vs nickel, corner route complete to Renfrow against soft man cover 1, Watson couldn’t step into the throw due to pressure and Renfrow slid to secure the catch, gain of 18...

11 shotgun vs nickel, quick screen to Williams underthrown, caught on the ground for a loss of 1...11 shotgun vs nickel (bunch to field), QB power, big lane for Deshaun who shows some burst behind Gallman’s lead block, gain of 12...

11 shotgun vs nickel, IZ to Gallman, no hole but Gallman squeezes Guillermo and finds a lane, bursts through for 11 more, making something out of nothing...

21 shotgun vs nickel (Scott in backfield) man cover 1, PA fake, Watson looking for Williams on the dig but it’s tipped at the line, meanwhile on the other side of the field, FSU couldn’t switch on Renfrow’s and Leggett’s post/wheel combo so Leggett was wide open for a touchdown if Watson had looked that way...11 shotgun vs nickel Mike fire man cover 1, rollout pass complete to Renfrow in the flat, gain of 8...11 shotgun vs nickel (trips to field) NB/SS overload blitz, Watson looks away from it and hits Williams on the slant in front of McFadden, gain of 4...

11 shotgun vs nickel, jet sweep to Scott, Renfrow got owned trying to block but Scott slips the tackle and somehow gains 6 up the sideline...11 shotgun vs nickel, ZR keeper victimizes Josh Sweat (as I called for in the scouting report Friday) gain of 18...

1st & goal from the 4, out route to Renfrow wide open, too easy, TOUCHDOWN.

Might this be the best Clemson’s offense has looked all year? The first two drives saw Clemson work slants to Williams, a jet sweep to Scott, Renfrow doing Renfrow things, hard running from Gallman, and a beautiful zone read keeper. No third and longs; two for two on touchdowns in the redzone. A perfect start, but of course we all wondered how long before Clemson would start to mess around and let FSU back in the game...

FSU ball, 1:41, FSU 25. 14-0 Clemson lead

11 ace vs 4-3 Mike bullet/SDE zone in front of cover 3, incomplete in the flat...

11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, dig route incomplete when Smith reads it and flies in, big hit and great play from a player I’ve dumped on...false start, 3rd & 15, 11 shotgun vs dime of doom, screen pass to Cook read immediately by Joseph, Watkins shows great speed and meets Tankersley near the sideline to slam Cook for a short gain, PUNT.

Venables has called at least three zone blitzes now in which a defensive end is dropping into underneath zone. Brilliant tactic against a young quarterback known for holding the ball too long behind a line which struggles in pass protection. Had to expect the third down screen considering their pass protection issues and such a dangerous runner in Cook. Good awareness to not get caught up on the free pass rush.

Clemson ball, :42, FSU 49, 14-0 Clemson lead

Perfect opportunity to put this game away early here...

11 shotgun (2x2 stack) vs nickel, go route to Cain overthrown as usual...IZ handoff to Gallman hit in the backfield for a loss of 1, end of quarter.

Very difficult to complain with anything in this quarter; in fact it was nearly flawless offensively until that last overthrow which could’ve slammed the door in FSU’s face and prevented the interception early in the second quarter. Defensively there were no long runs from Cook and good pressure on Francois, but coverage left much to be desired; not necessarily surprising since this is truly the first competent downfield passing attack Clemson’s secondary has seen all year. With the improved eye discipline, it seemed that Clemson’s secondary was much improved but really I think competition (or lack thereof) had more to do with Clemson’s improvement in pass defense. The secondary has overachieved relative to its talent level and FSU has the receivers to expose it.