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Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Film Review: 3rd Quarter

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Clemson v Georgia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All video/images via a Russian broadcast since Tigerray’s account was shut down

Georgia Tech Ball, GT 10, 14:53

A poor decision to run the ball out from the end zone has Tech near their own goal line, 1st and 10, 30 vs. 4-3 under, inside zone handoff to the B-back blown up but Wilkins was offsides… 1st and 5, 30 vs. 4-3 over, inside zone handoff to the B-back weak side, Thomas and the trailing a back are just decoys, gain of a couple yards as Wilkins gets washed down inside… 2nd and 1, 30 vs. 4-3 under, inside zone to the B-back strong side, they almost have to run at the defense when Lawrence is a nose technique and the nearest other lineman is outside the offensive tackle…

There’s a hole open over the left guard by alignment

1st and 10, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, Justin Thomas keeps on a QB Iso (both the motioning A-back and B-back lead block after the fake, no defensive linemen are left unblocked), Joseph bite on the dive fake and opened up a hole for an eight yard gain, good run support by Jadar Johnson

2nd and 3, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, Thomas hands off to the B-back on midline, first actual option play of the drive, Joseph does a fantastic job of tackling the fullback for a short gain but a short gain is enough to keep the chains moving…

1st and 10, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, speed option goes nowhere with D’oD taking both options away singlehandedly… 2nd & 11, 30 bunch vs. 4-3 under, Yeargin lines up inside and gets reach blocked by a guard, Joseph immediately flies too far outside and gets washed out of the play by an A-back, Johnson runs himself out of the play and somehow a pulling guard gets his hands on Van Smith at the second level, Boulware is getting pushed out of the play ten yards downfield, the only real positive on this play is the insane pursuit of Carlos Watkins who nearly chases the play down thirty yards downfield…

Someone has to account for the C gap

And in a cruel twist of fate for the Yellow Jackets none of it matters due to a holding penalty, 2nd and 19, 20 trips vs. 3-4, counter option towards the trip side and there’s no one there to account for the pitch man, Johnson is the nearest force defender but he runs himself out of the play…

A true 3-4 front, two “ends” over the OT’s and a tackle over the center

3rd and 8, 30 vs. 4-3 under, PA triple option and D’oD is wrapping Thomas up before he’s even finished his play fakes, so much of Georgia Tech’s passing game comes from play action and if the line and backs can’t hold up in pass protection things break down quickly… PUNT

Georgia Tech opened the drive up with multiple called dives, probably to try to establish a semblance of an inside running game. Jadar Johnson and Kendall Joseph have been enthusiastic but inconsistent in run support. Watkins and Lawrence appear unbothered by cut blocks so far. It’s not a drive you want to give up consistently, but ultimately a five-minute drive that ends with a punt hurts Tech and Clemson gets the ball back on the 35. Thank goodness for holding calls.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 35, 9:34

1st and 10, empty vs. 4-1 dime, Leggett and especially Trevion Thompson do a fantastic job blocking on the perimeter to set up Artavis Scott on a bubble screen, 2nd and 3, 11 vs. 4-2 nickel, Leggett unable to kick out the backside end on inside zone and he comes across the formation to make a tackle, GT had their defensive ends head up the offensive tackles… 3rd and 3, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, C-1 blitz, Scott has his man beat on a slant route but drops it, the throw was slightly behind him… PUNT

Georgia Tech Ball, Georgia Tech 25, 8:22

1st and 10, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, QB iso strong side broken up by Scott Pagano… 2nd and 8, 20 trips vs. 4-2 nickel, same counter option as the last drive and Kendall Joseph comes out of nowhere to eat Thomas alive in the backfield, … 3rd and 12, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, off sides… 3rd and 7, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, D’oD blitzes from the edge and forces Thomas out of the pocket immediately, ball thrown out of bounds… PUNT

Instant pressure

Whatever holes Paul Johnson found at halftime seem to have been adjusted for since the first drive. The defensive line has rendered the passing game a non factor and time is already running out for the Yellow Jackets.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 36, 6:25

1st and 10, 11 vs. 4-2 nickel, buck sweep, Leggett seals the end, Crowder does a good job lead blocking on the perimeter, Thompson seals the play side linebacker off with a crack block and Hyatt somehow manages to block the play side safety from across the field…

1st and 10, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, C3, Watson rolls out and finds Artavis Scott open on a short hook route… 2nd and 5, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, inside zone, Gallman finds a few yards, 3rd and 3, 10 vs. 4-2 nickel, C0 with the free safety spying Watson, Artavis Scott is open for a screen due to a large pre snap cushion, just barely misses the first down marker… PUNT

It’s hard to complain in what is nearing garbage time when Clemson is able to move the ball downfield and burn more time off the clock, but the lack of success in the middle of the field is concerning. Sweeps and screens aren’t always going to be as productive against better teams if you can’t routinely run inside zone against two hundred and eighty pound defensive tackles.

Georgia Tech Ball, Georgia Tech 11, 4:27

1st and 10, 30 bunch vs. 4-3 under, offsides… 1st and 5, 20 trips vs. 3-4, play action counter option falls apart as every defensive lineman pursues Thomas, nearly picked off by Ryan Carter… 2nd and 5, 20 trips vs. 4-3 under, counter option goes nowhere… 3rd and 2, 30 vs. 4-3 under, triple option and one of Boulware, Tankersly or Smith have to account for the pitch…

1st and 10, 30 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, play action bubble screen, there was just too much room on the perimeter by alignment… 2nd and 4, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, G Lead and no one is there to fill the C gap…

1st and 10, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, G lead blown up by Pagano fighting over a down block… 2nd and 9, 30 vs. 4-3 over, counter option well defended by Boulware who chops his feet and forces Thomas to slow down before pitching… 3rd and 2, 31 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under, inside zone shut down as Lawrence turns the middle of the field into a pile… END OF QUARTER

Georgia Tech has struggled to string together a series of consistent plays and can’t recover if they fall behind. Their offensive line can’t keep Thomas from being pressured so if the Yellow Jackets have to throw things fall apart. This, GT’s run first approach and pace combine to turn the Tech offense into the best way Clemson has to bleed the clock. That’s fortunate because for the third week out of four, which is to say every week against FBS competition, Clemson is struggling to run inside zone and power. At some point, very likely next week, Clemson will have to be able to run the ball inside to keep the screens, fades and sweeps that have worked thus far from being shut down.