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Clemson vs. Virginia Tech: Third Quarter Film Review

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ACC Championship - Clemson v Virginia Tech Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

VT Ball, VT 25, 15:00

1st and 10, empty vs. 4-2, Evans is sacked by Dexter Lawrence…

Clemson pattern reads so well, watch the nickel and linebacker handle the trips side receivers. Meanwhile at the line of scrimmage Dexter Lawrence has incredibly active hands, fighting through multiple good pass sets before taking Evans down.

2nd and 16, 11 trips vs. 4-2, jailbreak screen falls to the ground incomplete… 3rd and 16, 11 trips vs. 4-3, fade route to Isaiah Ford knocked down by Tankersley… PUNT

It’s really nice to be on the other side of a three and out after halftime, particularly one brought about by a massive negative play.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 33, 14:11

1st and 10, 10 vs. 5-1, speed option is good for a short gain… 2nd and 7, empty vs. 4-2, pass deflected at the line and drops into a linebackers lap… INTERCEPTION.

Scott appears to be open, good job by the Hokie’s line to get their hands up and force a turnover. This isn’t really on Watson, this just happens sometimes, particularly against well-coached defenses.

VT Ball, Clemson 38, 13:40

1st and 10, 20 vs. 4-2, both linebackers blitz, play action screen to the fullback falls incomplete…

I’ve never seen a play quite like this, especially with the pulling guard. The ACC brought in a lot of offensive coaching talent this offseason so expect more and more unique looks.

2nd and 10, empty vs. DOD, three man rush, conservative zone coverage, short hitch route looks complete but just barely hits the grass… 3rd and 10, empty vs. 4-2, C4, Evans is brought down behind the line by a stunting Watkins… PUNT

The tackle going first in this stunt often gets the sack because he’s able to get his hands into an offensive lineman distracted by the other, looping, tackle. Watch how Watkins eats this poor center alive.

The Hokies haven’t made even a pretense of running the ball in the second half. Eventually the screen passes will stop being dropped, but both balls were poorly thrown. Still, it’s a close enough game one deep pass could tie things up.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 11, 12:55

1st and 10, 11 unbalanced quads vs. 4-3, QB power weak side, the Hokies are out-formationed here, easy first down…

The only Hokie in position to contain Watson away from the unbalanced side of the formation is #31, who is blocked out of the play entirely by Gallman. Credit to Leggett for the block that sprung the entire play open.

1st and 10, 10 bunch vs. 4-2, QB power looks dead in the backfield but Watson strings it along and gets ten yards before stepping out of bounds…

1st and 10, empty vs. 5-0, C0, six man rush, post route to Williams is open easily…

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, zone read handoff gets some good yardage behind a Hearn/Guillermo combo block… 2nd and 7, 11 vs. 4-3 under, C0, six man rush, QB bucksweep and Watson is chased down from behind… 3rd and 2, 10 vs. 4-3, both safeties over the slots, seven man rush and again Williams gets inside leverage…

Every single cover zero blitz is leaving Williams one on one, he and Watson’s have made that scheme untenable this drive.

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, inverted veer, Watson keeps for a short gain, brought down by the play side linebacker… 2nd and 4, 11 vs. 4-2, fake dive, jet sweep to Scott, he’s so hard to tackle…

1st and 10, 21 vs. 4-4, power to Gallman is good for a TOUCHDOWN

Artavis Scott isn’t much of a lead blocker but he does just enough here, particularly given how Hyatt blew his man off the ball.

Even before getting up against their own goal line VT had been leaving its corners on islands in an attempt to keep the safeties in the box. Bud Foster sent pressure multiple times in a row and Mike Williams has been eating his man alive every time. The threat of Watson run is the key to running games effectiveness, it’s great to see him running well before the playoffs.

VT Ball, VT 20, 9:08

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, both linebackers blitz, C0, pass sails… 2nd and 10, 01 vs. 4-2, Kendall Joseph identifies and arrives at the jailbreak screen before a blocker can get a hand on him… 3rd and 12, 10 trips vs. 4-2, Evans is forced to step up in the pocket and taken down… PUNT

Every offensive play Virginia Tech has run this half has ended in an incomplete pass, a catch tackled behind the line of scrimmage or a sack.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 24, 7:48

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, QB power, Watson dodges one tackler before being brought down… 2nd and 5, 01 vs. 4-2, RPO power/hitch, hitch pass knocked down…

Look for this play in the post season, motioning out the running back to the slot further clears the box for QB power, or Clemson is throwing to Williams with leverage.

3rd and 5, 10 vs. 5-1, C1 blitz, slant to Williams broken up… PUNT

VT has been shifting between a 4-2 and 5-1 box all half in an attempt to confuse Clemson’s OL.

After a promising start a pair of deflections by VT defenders end the drive. When combined with a poor punt this ends in good Hokie field position.

VT Ball, VT 35, 6:50

1st and 10, 21 over vs. 4-3, inside zone handoff, Bryant slants inside and no one touches him… 2nd and 12, empty vs. 4-2, Evans chucks up a prayer under pressure and honestly it’s hard to blame him for thinking throwing it in the general direction of the 6’7” guy is preferable to being sacked again… INTERCEPTION

The Hokie front has absolutely no idea what to do with the Clemson defensive line. After the first running play of the half you can see why the idea was up until that point abandoned. There’s not a lot for an offensive line to do when you’re being ran over, ran around and having your hands slapped down at the line of scrimmage.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 49, 6:04

1st and 10, 11 trips vs. 4-2, QB bucksweep, the safety reads it all the way and meets Watson in the backfield…

How quickly the deep safety came downhill makes me wonder if this is a tendency of Clemson’s other teams have picked up on.

2nd and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, slant to Cain who spins past one tackle for a big gain before being forced out of bounds near the 10…

1st and 10, 11 trips vs. 4-2, inside zone read keeper and Watson is able to keep gaining yardage and dodging defenders while running towards the sideline…

1st and goal, 11 vs. 4-4, fake jet sweep, QB power opposite and Watson is able to push the pile… TOUCHDOWN

This is some old fashioned single wing running at the goal line.

Gallman has for whole drives been removed from the game at this point, and this has been a trend when Watson is carrying the ball. Every time Watson has cleared five yards per carry, with the exception of everyone feasting on Syracuse, Gallman has been marginalized. The inability of the two to both thrive is concerning. Still, Clemson has been able to go to QB power over and over in short yardage situations.

VT Ball, VT 25, 4:44

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2, pitch snuffed out at the sideline by pursuit… 2nd and 6, 11 vs. 4-2, nickel and strong side linebacker blitz from left, Evans buys time and hits his TE on a dump off… 3rd and 5, false start… 3rd and 10, empty vs. 4-2, both linebackers show blitz and, huh, well, uh, alright…

I got nothing

1st and 10, 12 unbalanced, jet sweep fake strong, roll out pass, no one open but Evans has some room to run… 2nd and 5, 10 trips vs. 4-2, both linebackers blitz, bucksweep trips side, McMillian finds a lane and drags a defender into the end zone… TD

Both linebackers are unable to provide much help in way of pursuit from the second the ball is snapped because of the blitz called. Jalen Williams took on two blockers but ultimately gets taken out of the play with a cut block and Jadar Johnson’s tackle attempt never had a chance.

That third down call was inexplicable. The long run afterwards was a result of an unlucky play call and poor run support from the secondary. Suddenly the VT offense goes from moribund to dangerous.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 25, 2:27

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2, safety rolled down into the box, bucksweep short side and a stunting end winds up in the backfield to make the tackle… 2nd and 9, 10 trips vs. 4-2, screen pass to CJ Fuller dropped… 3rd and 9, 10 vs. 3-2, Watson throws a quick out to Leggett under pressure, tackled well short… PUNT

It’s hard to overcome two unsuccessful plays in a row. It’s good to see RB’s being featured in the passing game.

VT Ball, VT 35, 0:55

1st and 10, 11 trips vs. 4-3, quick slant falls incomplete, Ryan Carter got a hand on it… 2nd and 10, 01 vs. 4-2, jet sweep fake QB power, Evans stumbles forward for five extra yards… 3rd and 1, 10 bunch vs. 4-2, C1 blitz, bubble screen gains the first falling forward…

1st and 10, 12 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, invert veer give… 2nd and 5, END OF QUARTER