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Clemson Spring Game Film Review: 2nd Quarter

NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports


Alley = area between the OT and WR. BCB = Boundary Cornerback. Bucksweep = power run with 2 blockers pulling from the backside. Bullet = linebacker A or B gap blitz. C0, C1, C2, C3, C4 (quarters) = 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. Power = run play in which backside guard pulls to lead block. Red Dog (overload) = LB and S/NB blitz on the same side. Robber = S or LB underneath zone 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.


  • 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.
  • Defensive personnel listed as # of DL, dash, # of linebackers: 4-3, 3-4, etc.

Play by Play

2nd quarter

Orange ball, Bryant QB, 15:00, Orange 44, 10-0 Orange lead

Empty shotgun vs nickel cover 4, IV handoff to Thomason (walk-on) gains 9...11 shotgun vs nickel man cover 2, option pitch to Fuller gains 9 more thanks to a great seal from Greenlee on Davis on the edge...

11 shotgun vs nickel, ZR handoff to Fuller gains 4, Bryant was the read man but made the tackle anyway, good defending except that Fuller dragged him for an extra few yards...11 shotgun vs nickel, power to Fuller is defended well, Simpson moved well on his pull and Fuller gains 3 behind him...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, corner route to Renfrow, thrown high and behind him and he has to fight off Smith for the ball, ultimately broken up, field goal good.

Renfrow is the primary read and Bryant hesitates only slightly, but the throw is high, slow, and behind the opening. A strike to the sideline would’ve been a completion.

White ball, Johnson QB, 13:04, White 23, 13-0 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs 4-3 man cover 1 robber, delayed tunnel screen and Johnson delays even longer, pump faking and finally completing to Cain who has no chance to avoid multiple defensive linemen, loss of 3...11 shotgun vs 4-3 Will fire, bucksweep into the blitz, Wallace charges hard off the edge and makes a great tackle on Choice for a loss of 1, great aggression and form tackling low...11 shotgun vs 4-3 Tampa 2, Falcinelli gets turnstyled and Johnson has no chance, Lasamuel Davis beats his line mates to Johnson for the sack, PUNT.

Center might be a bigger question mark than quarterback; Falcinelli’s snaps were off all day and his blocking has not improved. All too often he is thrown around or turned around.

Orange ball, Bryant QB, 11:36, White 45, 13-0 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel Will fire man cover 1, deep go route to McCloud overthrown by 5 yards...11 shotgun vs nickel Mike bullet, ZR dive to Fuller gains 2...10 shotgun vs nickel cover 3 Mike fire, drag route complete to Tuttle underneath but the inaccurate throw slows Tuttle’s momentum, gain of 7...4th & 1, White jumps offside so the ball is snapped and Bryant throws it out of bounds, but no flag is thrown, turnover on downs...

White ball, Cooper QB, 10:30, White 36, 13-0 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs 4-3 cover 3 double LB bullets, ZR dive to Feaster gains 4, good interior running from the speed back...11 shotgun vs 4-3 cover 3 Will fire, ZR dive to Feaster again with defenders closing off each edge (Davis the read man and Shaq Smith on his fire), Feaster again has enough momentum to find 4 tough yards...false start...11 shotgun vs 4-3 man cover 1 Will bullet, Falcinelli again blocks NOBODY and Shaq runs straight through, Cooper is forced to lob a deep fade to Overton, incomplete out of bounds, only QB evaluation I can make here is Cooper was calm and threw towards a 6’5” receiver...PUNT.

And here I rage, quit, and had to resume film review after finding comfort food.

Orange ball, Israel QB, 9:01, Orange 21, 13-0 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel, tunnel screen to McCloud stuffed immediately, Renfrow failed to properly cut block Davis...11 shotgun vs nickel man cover 1, ZR dive gains back the 3 yards...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 1 Mike/nickel fire, good protection for Israel but he throws behind Thompson on a deep slant, excellent coverage from Mullen again, PUNT.

White ball, Johnson QB, 7:41, Orange 49, 13-0 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs 4-3, speed option keeper, edge set and pitch option covered by Shaq, he and Ferrell wrap up Johnson in the backfield, loss of 3 but flag on the defense...1st & 5, empty shotgun vs 4-3 man cover 1 Will fire, Shaq gets a free rush (protection didn’t shift, Johnson or Falcinelli have to identify this), Johnson eludes and throws the ball away towards Overton, interference called on Ryan Carter (5’9” vs 6’5”, this is why I’m not comfortable with Carter anywhere but nickel...)

11 shotgun vs 4-3 man cover 1 Sam fire, ZR dive to Choice, good burst up the middle from but he can’t escape Lawrence, gain of 4...11 shotgun vs 4-3, another high snap from Falcinelli, counter handoff, not much room; OL gave no push, gain of 1...11 shotgun vs 4-3 man cover 1, deep go route to Overton who beats Carter, runs underneath the pass at the front pylon for the touchdown.

Finally a chance to see what Johnson can do downfield. The footwork isn’t perfect but the spiral and placement are elite.

Orange ball, Bryant QB, 5:57, Orange 20, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel, ZR dive blown up in the backfield, Sterling Johnson got past Simpson (a surprise considering my wildly different opinion of each), Wilkins stunts behind Johnson and smacks Fuller for no gain...11 shotgun vs nickel, busted play, Bryant tucks and gains 2, looks like Fuller expected a draw and Bryant wanted to hit a quick curl...11 shotgun vs nickel Tampa 2, out route to Renfrow open underneath but Bryant throws slow, late, and too high, incomplete, PUNT.

Again, I want to give Bryant the benefit of the doubt since it’s almost impossible to throw with an injured pinky. But the fact remains we’ve yet to see him throw effectively, so it’s difficult to grant the benefit. It simply makes the QB race impossible to properly assess based on this one scrimmage.

White ball, Cooper QB, 4:42, White 39, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel (Spector nickel) cover 3 Will fire, Cooper scrambles past the blitz, lowers his shoulder, and powers for 5 yards, but holding is called...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, ZR dive blown up by Robinson, beat a walk-on...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, tunnel screen bobbled but caught by Cain, tackled hard immediately, Richard (apparent starter at TE, sigh) blocked like he was dancing with a prom date, let Wallace spin him right around (while holding) for an easy hit on Cain...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, Cooper drops and eludes pressure before firing late downfield into double coverage, vertical route to Chase should’ve never been thrown, interception dropped, PUNT.

To this point I felt the best about Cooper and lamented his offensive line hampering the opportunity to see his talents. Then that 3rd down throw happened. I wonder if he’s forcing it out of frustration/perceived rush or if he saw something that wasn’t there.

Orange ball, Bryant QB, 3:01, Orange 35, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel Will fire, ZR dive for no gain, Wilkins beat Crowder inside and dove into Thomason’s knees for the stop...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 3 BCB blitz, QB power draw right into the blitz hit at the line but Bryant powers for 7 yards...empty shotgun vs nickel man cover 1 Mike fire, Bryant pressured immediately, escapes the sack and is finally corralled along the sideline, no gain...

White ball, Johnson QB, 1:54, White 30, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs 4-3 cover 4, back shoulder comeback dropped by Cain, Deon’s had a bad day...empty shotgun vs 4-3 cover 4, Johnson wants to run immediately (RPO) but pressure backs him out, rolls right and misses high to an open Powell in the flat...11 shotgun vs 4-3 double cover 3 LB bullets, out route complete to Chase in front of Williams, knocked out of bounds after 9 yards, PUNT AGAIN.

Orange ball, Israel QB, 1:34, Orange 24, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, post corner to Thompson not thrown horribly but Thompson doesn’t reach for it, incomplete...11 shotgun vs nickel cover 4, slant curl complete to Thompson, Davis should’ve had the interception but went for the tackle...11 shotgun vs nickel, quick out complete to Thomason for 3 yards, this is miserable, PUNT.

White ball, Cooper QB, :48, White 35, 13-7 Orange lead

11 shotgun vs 4-3 Tampa 2, Cooper quickly tucks and rumbles for 18 yards...


11 shotgun vs 4-3 cover 4, checkdown to Feaster across the middle gains 10...

11 shotgun vs 4-3 cover 1 Mike/Will bullet, curl complete to Powell, timeout, field goal missed, an appropriate end to a quarter of futility.

We knew the defense would dominate but I guess I was foolish to think the offense wouldn’t look so rudderless. Between Bryant’s pinky and the White offensive line, there really is nothing to take away from this except individual performances and technique elsewhere...