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Straight from the Armchair, QT’s Take: Cardinal Sin, Clemson Demolishes Bobby P

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NCAA Football: Louisville at Clemson
Look at that form, Congrats to Mitch Hyatt...
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville just isn’t a good football team right now.

Those run fits were embarrassing. Worse than Wake Forest. Georgia Southern is clearly a better team than Louisville by a wide margin and that is how we need to approach these results. But it sure does feel good...

Bobby Petrino is a a good playcaller and can scheme with the best in cfb, but this team is his worst that I can remember.

There isn’t a lot to take away from these results because Louisville was so bad. Again, don’t get me wrong, it feels wonderful to beat up on a Bobby P coached team, and it is much better than playing down and struggling with inferior competition (we did that way too much last year). But looking towards the playoff this game doesn’t tell us much.

It was Dabo sweater weather and Clemson demolished the red birds.

**Quick note on the AJ Terrell targeting call. AJ turns his head enough so that the crown of the helmet doesn’t hit. The broadcaster was saying see what you hit, keeps your eyes up, which is good, but Terrell is trying to avoid the contact at that point. The Louisville player is defenseless though and AJ clearly hits the head or neck area (and that would’ve happened even if he didn’t lower his helmet a bit). AJ also is very close to launching and definitely makes forcible contact. At least this happened in the first half of the game and Terrell will play against BC.

DEFENSE

A 16 play drive? Lets give this drive a critical take (and yes, I know there was a redzone stop and this only resulted in 3 points).

2nd and 10 we get the shallow crosser where Joseph is a step late in zone coverage and gives up the first down (Bama loves to run these with even faster WRs). LBs struggling in zone coverage. Terrell gives up another big gain with a 9 yard pass to Jaylen Smith.

On 2nd and 1 Joseph blitzes, but gets pushed inside and AB isn’t there to fill the gap bc of the jet motion. Third and 12, everyone drops, but Wallace loses 6’6 WR Peete in zone coverage. Mullen is playing the deep portion and Wallace gives up the first down.

Next play is a sweep and XT is drawn too far inside and can’t recover. Tre Lamar had that gap. XT makes a nice stop on the next play with Lamar for a one yard gain. Third and one and JD Davis can’t quite shoot the gap, XT can’t quite hold up, and another first down.

Quick pass beats Terrell and then Lamar misses inside on another run for a first down.

Timeout Dabo.

Love this timeout. This shouldn’t be happening to the starting defense.

Defense forces 3 and 13 and gives up an underneath pass for a gain of 7. FG is good.

Third and 8 on the next drive, another underneath crossing route, and both Wallace and Muse miss tackles on Smith to give up the first down.

On the next series of plays you get a sack/fumble, false start, delay of game, and then a pick 6. Game over. It is 28-3 and the Louisville offense hasn’t played terrible (apart from the pick 6 throw).

Clemson D still gives up a 3rd and 17 on another blown zone defensive coverage the next series. Why are we doing all of this zone coverage, you ask? Because we need to be able to execute against better offenses and these are just simply missed assignments. Next play is a 9 yard rush where JD Davis completely whiffs in the hole. Too many long third down conversions (and Dabo said the same at half-time).

Clelin Ferrell was absolutely right that the offensive lineman flinched on his ‘offsides’ call.

Great open field tackle by Denzel Johnson—showing his jets. He has improved more than any other player on the two deep with added reps. If he can lock things down mentally and become more trusted, he can take some first string reps next year. Late in the game the pass coverage overall got loose. Young players learning.

Austin Bryant seemed to bang up his shoulder on the second drive (sometime in the first half) and was wearing a brace in the second half. Definitely something to monitor.

Christian Wilkins had an amazing game. TFL’s. Sack. All over the field. Christian Wilkins lifting up Dexter Lawrence after his TD might have been the most impressive thing all day.

Mario Goodrich had a really good game stepping in for Terrell after the ejection. Made some good pass breakups. He is seeing the field more than Kyler McMichael at this point, a change from the beginning portion of the year. Mark Fields didn’t play due to a groin injury. I’m fine getting these younger players more snaps for next year.

Chad Smith showed something with a sack and hard hitting.

Shaq Smith got outrun by backup QB Malik Cunningham, and weirdly seemed to put his hand on his shoulder, but not try to push him out of bounds or dive after him. PS: Cunningham is better than Pass.

OFFENSE

We had our way with the Louisville defense. It was pretty ridiculous and almost everything we tried, we scored on.

The offensive line played fine with the run blocking, but Louisville was just shockingly bad with their run defense. ETN could’ve rushed for a thousand yards, I swear.

The only thing TL really needs to work on is his deep ball accuracy. I don’t know if he needs more continuity with WRs for that to happen in the game or if he just gets to amped up to start—but he throws fine in practice and needs to settle in there.

Thompson got the pass interference call but the early deep ball thrown to him wasn’t close.

The interception was either some miscommunication or another deep ball overthrown (that interception was better than some of our punts).

Can’t fumble on those exchanges any more. Understandable early on, but can’t have that anymore. Brice had one as well.

Also, don’t get injured TL. On his three yard first down run it seemed like he was trying to get down, but wanted to get the first down. Took a good lick. Stay healthy.

TL has progressed, but the BC game will be a good barometer of how far he has progressed and the first overall competent defense Clemson has played in awhile (even NC State’s secondary was suspect). This is the TL that I foresaw dating back to his Junior year in high school (a full season of this would’ve made him a Heisman finalist). The hype train is no more, we just have the actual thing and it is breaking records.

Wide Receivers

Don’t mess with Derion Kendrick. He is going to draw a personal foul at some point in his career, but he just does not let DBs do anything to him. He is electric as a Wildcat QB as well.

Congrats to Thompson on getting a TD. Sorry that Mitch Hyatt couldn’t get in, but he got that reception. If you want to know how Clemson went from good program that was up and down to playoff contender for three straight years look at Hyatt and Wilkins (and Deshaun Watson).

Even Will Swinney got to score a TD. We seriously game-planned around getting guys scores. Insane domination—it shows just how valuable Lamar Jackson was to this team.

Justyn Ross was pulled out of the game by Jeff Scott before Swinney put him back in for the Go route TD. Special talent and great deep ball by Brice. That may have been the best throw of Brice’s career after the Cuse 4th down conversion. Ross still doesn’t look one hundred percent with the hamstring, but still easily beat the DB.

Oline

Pollard dressed for the game but was out of his pads for the second half. Back spasms.

Cervenka continues to start and grab the vast majority of the snaps at RG. This is really important moving towards the playoff. Bama has two interior monsters with Raekwon Davis and Q Williams (some are saying he is better than Wilkins, Dexter, and Oliver—I think that is exaggerated by an average LSU interior line, but they will be a handful).

Vinson is working at guard with Bockhorst out nursing the ankle injury. I like that move, especially at RG for next year. There is a need for Tackle depth, but Vinson could work into the two deep at RG.

Other than that, not much to really learn since the Louisville D was so bad.

RBs

Feaster got in the endzone a bunch and broke a 70 yarder. Choice had his best run of the year. Lyn-J Dixon keeps being ridiculous. Some stop and start juice. I said earlier in the year that he needed to be worked into the rotation more (and I’m still not sure how you do that), but he is a weapon.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Louisville’s Hall scored on the third team special teams guys. Kickoff coverage was excellent the rest of the day.

DK still looking good on kickoffs, almost broke a couple against Louisville.

We barely punted...

RECRUITING

Things are going very well in recruiting. We hosted a good number of high end talent in both the 2019 and 2020 class over the weekend. FSU lost again and continues to crumble.

OG/Center Clay Webb (6’3, 297) from Oxford, AL was on campus for a second straight week. You need a disclaimer with Webb that he keeps things so close to the vest that everything is speculation. No one knows definitively. But you have to like Clemson’s current position. UGA is the legit threat and the family likes UGA a lot, but this second visit bodes well for the Tigers. I don’t think he is going to take official visits, but this is something to watch. Clemson got the last visit and UGA is going to try to get him back on their campus. If that happens then all bets are off, but right now you have to like Clemson’s position.

RB Jerrion Ealy (5’10, 200) from Jackson Prep HS in Mississippi is the composite number 47 player overall and the apple in Coach Elliott’s eye. Ealy is a really good player and is knocking on 5* status, certainly deserving of being top 50. Elliott really wants Ealy and if he doesn’t play baseball then that is the most likely scenario. He is currently an Ole Miss commitment (think hometown appeal), but don’t read too much into that with regards to how his recruitment ultimately unfolds. He is either playing baseball or going to Clemson, with Bama as an outside contender. Clemson baseball made the pitch and he has always wanted to go to Clemson, but the money may be too much to pass up.

FSU crumbling has put DT Tyler Davis in the Clemson column. Still waiting on Putnam’s visit to pry him away from FSU. Crouch visited Michigan and their recruiting folks are saying Q is going to UM, but I would avoid the panic button here. Clemson will get their official visit and the distance is a big factor. Not worried right now.

BC is the trap game I highlighted to start the season. BC is physical and the cold can impact players. Put on your Orange Britches for championship football!