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Clemson vs. Georgia Tech Film Review: Second Quarter

Georgia Tech v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Clemson takes over after a dominating first quarter. Kelly Bryant has already thrown two touchdown passes (even one to the tight end!) and a Venables defense has once again mostly shut down the option. Outside of KirVonte Benson’s sixty-five yard carry (and the ensuing field goal) the Yellow Jackets have managed twenty-three total yards, two punts and a fumble. Kelly Bryant has looked healthy and unleashed behind an aggressive game plan. Paul Johnson’s offense isn’t designed to operate at a deficit at all, and quarterback TaQuan Marshall admitted he wasn’t settled in during the first half.

Clemson 14 - GT 3

Clemson Ball, Clemson 11, 15:00

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 20 10 vs. 4-2 Inside zone read handoff to Feaster, hitches RPO Falcinelli and Hearn do a fantastic job blocking the second level, the RPO threat totally freezes with nickel
2nd and 15 10 vs. 4-2 Four man rush, Stick + QB draw and the zone defenders all have their eyes on Bryant, nowhere to run Bryant made the right read, the defense just had it covered all the way.
3rd and 13 10 trips vs. 3-3 dime Four man rush, stunt, left side of the OL releases for a screen but Feaster is brought down behind the line It's going to be hard to move the ball deep given the conditions but the Yellow Jackets secondary is flying upfield to take short passes and runs away.

The drive was probably dead from the moment a holding call put the Tigers in first and twenty. The Yellow Jackets secondary is flying upfield to take short passes and runs away. Screens and draws are good ways to move the ball against a defense expecting the pass but ScElliot weren’t fooling anybody.

PUNT

Georgia Tech Ball, GT 42, 13:12

Yellow Jacket Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 30 flex vs. 4-3 TO keeper strung out by O'Danial, tackled by a herd of Tigers after no gain Ausin Bryant and Jabril Robinson were both able to fight off blocks before pursuing to make a tackle.

As Alex Craft pointed out Venables base plan to stop the triple option consisted of aligning in a 4-3 front, often with his Will (#34) aligned behind his Mike (#57). This allows the quicker Kendall Joseph to trail the play while the bulkier (6’3” 240lb.) Tre Lamar mixed it up inside on the runs the Yellow Jacket offense is predicated on. Lamar wound up leading the team in tackles with eleven. The end man on the line of scrimmage (sometimes a linebacker, sometimes an end with his hand down, sometimes an end in a two point stance) would be trusted to string the quarterback along until help arrives.

Yellow Jackets Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
2nd and 8 30 flex vs. 4-3 False start
2nd and 13 30 flex vs. 4-3 under Rocket toss, Ryan Carter blitz at the snap, brought down behind the line by D'oD in pursuit Georgia Tech is running sideline to sideline because there just isn't anything there between the tackles. Carter misses the tackle but buys the rest of his defense plenty of time.
3rd and 14 20 trips vs. 4-3 under Roll out pass, cover zero, O'Daniel keeps contain and Tre Lamar drags Marshall down from behind. #53 for the Yellow Jackets can't block any of Clemson's ends one on one

Clemson Ball, Clemson 19, 10:42

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
2nd and 4 11 unbalanced vs. 4-3 under Jet motion to 2 wr side, counter handoff, Crowder seals his man inside, Choice follows his blockers for a gain of 26 After motion there were no receivers to that side of the field, then the safety responsible for containing slipped and it was off to the races. Great combo by Hyatt and Hearn.
1st and 10 10 trips bunch vs. 4-2 Inside zone RPO, bubble thrown, McCloud pushed out of bounds trying to turn upfield. Richard and Renfrow double teamed #8 and he still made the tackle. Hard for any sort of screen game to survive under those circumstances.
2nd and 7 11 vs. 4-2 False start
2nd and 12 11 trips vs. 4-2 Buck sweep, Hyatt never seals off the backside linebacker, there was never much of a hole to start with, play dragged down from behind after a gain of three I'm not sure if we underrated Georgia Tech's ends against the run or if our right tackle and tight end are struggling. It might be both.
3rd and 9 10 vs. 4-2 Three verticals, clean pocket, McCloud tries to comeback to the ball but overthrown Clemson's success on third down so far in this game are uncharacteristic, Georgia Tech was one of the best third down defenses in the country coming into Death Valley.

Punt

Georgia Tech Ball, GT 15, 8:15

Georgia Tech Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 31 flex unbalanced vs. 4-3 under Belly handoff tackled by backside penetration by Christian Wilkins Georgia Tech is in essence zone blocking backside and Wilkins is able to split the cobmo block. Nothing kills triple option teams quite like penetration.
2nd and 10 30 flex vs. 4-3 under Inside zone handoff opposite of motion, B back bounces off a tackle before being brought down by a host of linebackers Three of those yards alone are on KirVonte Benson falling forward, he was a load to bring down.
3rd and 3 30 flex vs. 4-3 Counter option keeper immediately tackled in the backfield, TaQuan Marshall gets up limping

Clemson’s defensive line is dominating an overmatched Yellow Jackets front. TaQuan Marshall just doesn't have anywhere to go. KirVonte Benson is going down swinging. There’s barely enough time to get the ball in the hands of anyone else. Georgia Tech’s B backs and wide receivers combined for six total carries and catches, accounting for thirty-four yards. Marshall said after the game that he was overly hesitant to pitch the ball on option plays.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 29, 6:45

Tigers Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 Empty vs. 4-1 Jet sweep, power read keeper, hole opens up but tackled after a short gain Crowder misses his man in space and Falcinelli allows backside penetration or this picks up another couple yards
2nd and 7 10 vs. 4-2 Drop back, quick hitches to the sideline, hitch route to Overton complete In quarters the defender covering the flats to the boundary side of the field is probably the weakside linebacker. You can see the WLB pick up the inside hitch to Greenlee, but this leaves no one in position to help the cornerback underneath.
Correction: Smith, not Greenlee

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
3rd and 2 Empty w/te away from trips vs. 4-1 Screen option to the trips side, QB power keeper, Bryant follows his blockers for a first down Georgia Tech is in a cover one blitz, the Tigers don't have enough blockers, Bryant just outruns someone to the edge.
1st and 10 20 vs. 4-2 Strong safety rolls down pre snap, play action, quarters, both safeties sucked up underneath and the post route to Overton is open. This was a true RPO, Clemson calls (called?) it Pepsi in an old playbook, if the safeties had sat back Etienne would have gotten the handoff with room to run
1st and 10 20 vs. 4-2 Power handoff, the pulling guard doesn't get to the playside linebacker who stands Etienne up in the hole I don't think Cannon Smith is supplanting Richard, but Smith has been receiving more snaps lately and seperating himself as a large blocking back.
2nd and 5 10 vs. 4-2 GT rotates to cover three and almost baits Bryant into a bad throw, Bryant manages to split the safety and nickel to find Smith for a first down Same double curl concept as the pass to Overton, Bryant got away with one there
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Six man rush, cover zero, Bryant sprints out and throws the ball away comfortably after finding no one open Etienne still has some room to grow as a pass blocker but he threw a shoulder into his man and bought Bryant time.
2nd and 10 11 vs. 4-2 One high pre snap, QB buck sweep, Bryant follows three lead blockers and weaves his way forward for a gain of seven Direct snap to a gifted athlete following a wall of bodies, a formula that's worked since the single wing

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
3rd and 4 20 vs. 4-2 Safety walks down, man cover one, RB screen + QB power RPO, Bryant could have easily thrown it here but makes a safety miss and churns his way for a seventeen yard gain Georgia Tech's safeties job against the run appears to be to funnel the quarterback inside. They're doing pretty well at that, actually, but the front seven has let them down repeatedly.
1st and goal 11 trips vs. Goal line Inside zone read handoff to Etienne good for a couple yards and a touchdown Untouched is a bit of a strong word but the offensive line had Etienne as close to it as possible.

Touchdown! Clemson 21, GT 3

Clemson was able to use a combination of selective tempo, simple quick passes and RPO’s to take advantage of the attention the running game demanded. The drive also took precious minutes off the clock and forced the Georgia Tech offense, which runs under 60 plays per game, into a relative scramble if they were going to score to close out the half.

Georgia Tech Ball, Georgia Tech 25, 3:18

Georgia Tech Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 30 flex vs. 4-3 under TO play action, three verticals, the B back might have Tanner Muse beat by a step but Marshall overthrows under pressure Marshall can't throw those passes reliably or accurately enough for them to be a great option on a sunny day, much less in this weather.
2nd and 10 30 flex vs. 4-3 TO keeper, immediately tackled by Lamar and O'Daniel Clemson defenders are barely even bothering to play the pitch anymore
3rd and 10 20 trips vs. 4-3 Rotate to cover three, Marshall throws a hitch route off his back foot and misses by several yards, his receiver catches a wounded duck behind the line of scrimmage Clemson rotated away from the receiver, he was wide open. The plan was likely a jailbreak screen or hitch route away from a defense rotating towards trips. Those are both good ways to punish defense for doing exactly that. The execution of that plan, well, that part didn't go so well.

On a positive note, Georgia Tech has a completed pass now! Still working on getting up to positive yardage.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 36, 2:52

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 10 vs. 4-2 Five man rush, cover three, tunnel screen to Cain, makes the seam defender miss and follows his blockers for a few yards Sure, Cain had to make a guy miss and the referees absolutely missed a Morris block in the back, but the screen game is showing signs of life
2nd and 6 20 vs. 4-2 Inside zone RPO, fade route to Cain defended by GT's own #8 Close to a big play if the pass was just a yard further. Not a bad time to take a shot, particularly given how quick the Yellow Jackets strong safety has been to play the run.
3rd and 6 10 trips vs. 3-2 dime Four man rush, DE drops back to spy, corner route to Renfrow overthrown on the sideline GT was in man with two safeties sitting deep

Punt

Georgia Tech Ball, GT 2:16

Georgia Tech Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 20 trips vs. 4-3 under Motion trips player, midline handoff, Ferrell is out of position and Marshall punishes him on the give Ferrell is probably not used to facing the option much from a three technique.
1st and 10 20 trips vs. 4-3 under Motion TO handoff, the defensive line forms a pile and the fullback is tackled by both inside linebackers GT still can't block Clemson at the second level
2nd and 7 30 flex vs. 4-3 Counter option PA, pulling guard kicks out the DE, Marshall throws it away after an O'Daniel blitz Clemson is rotating safeties towards the motion
3rd and 7 20 trips vs. 4-2 Drop back pass, deep slant thrown wide over the receivers head, incomplete The left tackle is cutting at the snap to try to buy Marshall time. This offensive line doesn't work on pass protection near as much as other units and it shows.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 2, 0:58

Clemson Ball

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Inside zone follow, Bryant follows Feaster for a short gain Falcinelli does a good job cleaning up the second level
2nd and 6 12 vs. 4-3 Inside zone read handoff, tackled after a short gain The right side of the line blew a hole in the Yellow Jackets front
3rd and 2 12 vs. 4-3 Inside zone handoff, strong safety flies up and makes the tackle at the line of scrimmage That'll take us to halftime

Things aren’t looking great for Georgia Tech right now. Clemson receives the kick to start the half