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(ALMOST) TRIGGER WARNING: Clemson vs Texas A&M 4th Quarter Film Review

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Hold on to your butts

NCAA Football: Clemson at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s where things became truly ugly. The wheels fell off defensively and the offense didn’t do much to help them out, save one long run by Kelly Bryant. This game became high intensity cardio training in the worst way, and let it stand as evidence that cardio is overrated and is actually bad. If being in shape does this to my heart then it is not worth it; I reject cardio in all forms and will live longer fat and happy gorging on cupcakes, thank you very much.

Believe it or not but after review, it seems I was too hard on the safeties live. Not to say any performed well except the heroic K’Von Wallace, but the Aggies’ success over the middle of the field, as you will learn below, came largely behind inadequate linebacker drops between safeties splitting the halves of the field. Cornerback play outside of Trayvon Mullen was far less than satisfactory as well; the point being this wasn’t all on the safeties.

A&M ball, 15:00, A&M 40, 28-13 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 12 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs Sam fire in front of a cover 4 shell, Mond escapes pressure and lobs the RB seam, underthrown, interference on Xavier Thomas??? Everyone looks like they're playing cover 4 except Thomas, who decided to man up on the running back. This is actually fortunate since nobody else was even in the frame to cover him. Either Thomas played outside the system in cover 4, or it was a man cover 0 double LB spy (since the safeties manned up on the inside receivers on either side, cover 4 would essentially be man coverage in this scenario). I find the former far more likely.
1st & 10 12 shotgun vs 4-3 RB screen to Williams gets past the line vs cover 2, gain of 17; roughing the passer makes it half the distance. The LBs dropped deep but Davis took a bad angle and removed himself from the play, Simmons slipps, and Terrell has to fly in from the deep flat to make the stop or else it's a big gain.
1st & 10 12 shotgun vs 4-3 Rollout vs cover 3 thrown away. Mond and his receivers ran out of room with the playside being toward the boundary.
2nd & 10 Empty shotgun vs 4-3 Cover 3 fire zone, Mond rolls left to avoid Simmons' free rush, Mond throws a prayer across his body and the receiver dives to catch it between 3 defenders, wow, touchdown. Schematically, nothing really went wrong here. No busted coverage (aside from Turner giving up the flat to carry a TE upfield) and Simmons had a free rush. Mond got the throw off just before Simmons hit him (if only Simmons had swiped instead of dove for the legs; Mond's arm moved into range right after Simmons began his lunge).

Clemson ball, 14:07, Clemson 20, 28-20 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Quick comeback complete to Rodgers for 5 vs man cover 1 nickel fire. Bryant's blitz recognition is why he's in the game and he vindicates it with an accurate long throw across the field.
2nd & 5 11 shotgun vs nickel ZR keeper vs Mike/SS overload, Bryant keeps and spins off both blitzers in the hole and finds 8 tough yards. Breaking two tackles in the backfield and earning a 1st down, yes please. Good look here from Cade Stewart who climbed and sealed a wide lane for Bryant to get the 1st.

Clemson drive cont.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Power rollout vs cover 3, out up and to Rodgers overthrown and almost picked. I like the play call here; it's in prime field position to aim deep and it's one of Bryant's better throws usually. A&M was in soft coverage and didn't bite on the out, but Rodgers still had a step on the corner. The deep safety read it all the way and would've had the pick were it not overthrown.
2nd & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel ZR keeper vs nickel fire gains 2 Richard came around on an arc block and could've at least chipped the nickel but opted to release and block the Mike; whichever one he didn't block had an easy stop.
3rd & 8 11 shotgun vs nickel Dropback vs 3 man rush, man cover 2 with a spy, A&M stunts straight past Falcinelli and Bryant is flushed, eventually run out of bounds for no gain. A 3 man rush broke through instantly and with 8 in coverage there is absolutely nothing Bryant could do. Very likely Falcinelli's worst game.

A&M ball, 11:58, A&M 13, 28-20 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs cover 4, Mond deftly steps up to avoid Ferrell on the edge and shifts the ball to his left hand to avoid Lawrence's strip (wow), hits the deep comeback in front of Fields, gain of 22. This is all Mond. Fields wasn't in tight coverage and was late to react to the comeback but it's a nearly impossible route to defend in pattern match cover 4, which is essentially man.
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 PA deep post vs cover 4, Muse isolated in coverage and is horribly burned, overthrown or else it's the easiest touchdown ever. The entire defense has their eyes in the backfield at the slightest run action or movement from Mond, but Muse just got owned one on one. Promptly benched.
2nd & 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs cover 4, Bryant is TACKLED FROM BEHIND after getting the edge but Mond rolls away, Johnson moves to the flat to take away the check and Mond throw it away. I totally get telling your linemen to hold every play since you know the refs can't throw a flag every play. But this is beyond egregious. Impossible to miss and yet still not a single hold.
3rd & 10 01 shotgun vs 4-3 Dig route complete vs cover 4, Joseph flew to the flat and essentially manned up on a TE who was blocking, not a soul covered the receiver. This is on Joseph. Mullen maintained outside leverage in cover 4 and passed the boundary receiver inside but Joseph was standing useless on the line of scrimmage.

A&M drive cont.

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 PA, tackle can't prevent Ferrell from getting home (didn't get a solid hold until Ferrell was already past) loss of 6. Jimbo got comfy enough with the lack of holding calls that he decided to risk PA. Not that he needs run action to pull the back 7 out of their zones tonight.
2nd & 16 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Quick in route vs cover 3, slot and TE clear out the underneath coverage, Jalen Williams is in and for some reason chases the TE all the way up the seam, nobody underneath for the stop except Joseph, wo gets bodied on his poor tackle attempt, finally brought down after a gain of 13. Commence anuerism.
False start, 3rd & 8 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Mike/Sam overload in front of cover 3, Fields is bailing into deep coverage when the receiver cuts in, Wallace is in the hook zone picking up that receiver and thus nobody is covering the flat, Fields gets trucked and gives up 9, wow. It's amazing to watch another staff consistently put receivers in space underneath with play design. I can't imagine what that must be like.
Flag, 1st & 15 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Man cover 1 Sam fire, Mond checks down to Williams but Davis and Huggins are all over it, loss of 3. I'm impressed with Mond here as much as his wow plays. He stayed calm in the pocket and checked down, Clemson was just better on this play.
2nd & 18 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Out and in against man cover 1 thrown high and Wallace drops the pick. Clemson did not make Mond pay for his mistakes (believe it or not there were a ton of risky throws in addition to misses like this). Wallace was at least in position to make a play, which is more than can be said for the other safeties.
3rd & 18 01 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs man cover 1 robber, deep out is open in front of Simmons but he closes and gets the PBU a yard past the line, clutch play. Simmons had an awful night in zone coverage but he makes up for it here in solid man.

Clemson ball, 6:24, A&M 20, 28-20 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel QB power vs nickel fire, Bryant follows Richard up the middle who knocks out the WLB, Falcinelli seals the MLB and Bryant slips outside with blockers, gain of 27. The blocking on this play wasn't spectacular, only enough for a few yards. Bryant made a hard cut and beat 3 defenders to the corner.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Power handoff to Etienne (where has this been?) gains 3. Stewart couldn't quite seal the edge on his pull and Etienne had to cut inside.
2nd & 7 11 shotgun vs nickel PA rollout vs Mike/SS overload, Bryant barely eludes the Mike but can't get to the corner, loss of 2. Richard did not provide an outlet at all, have to make an attempt to get open there.
3rd & 9 11 shotgun vs nickel Quick out to Rodgers vs man cover 1 is open but Bryant threw it a yard too wide for Rodgers, punt. I like the call, the out is one of Bryant's better throws, but would've preferred it to Higgins in the boundary. If he's the alpha, this is when you turn to him

A&M ball, 4:03, A&M 15, 28-20 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 12 pistol vs 4-3 PA, deep cross complete, nobody within a mile of the receiver, gain of 30. Ferrell was held around the edge again of course but that doesn't excuse a receiver squatting in the middle of the field, not a safety or Mike linebacker in sight.
1st & 10 21 shotgun vs 4-3 Seam complete over Lamar and between the safeties in cover 4 again, gain of another 28. This isn't on the safeties, it's the linebackers with lead feet dropping into coverage.

Avert your eyes

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 21 shotgun vs 4-3 Counter to Williams gains 2. Bryant worked off the TE and made first contact.
2nd & 8 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Dropback vs cover 4, Mond checks to an unguarded Williams in the flat but it's overthrown out of bounds. Simmons busted a zone again but at least he busted by playing too deep unlike his fellow linebackers. He carried the slot all the way upfield and left the flat all alone. A completion would've been 10 yards.
3rd & 8 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Double LB bullets in front of cover 3, curl complete in front of Simmons (another very dangerous throw), makes 2 defenders look silly before Wallace forces the fumble, touchback, exhale. Even though Mond was burning Clemson's pressure all night I like Venables saying to hell with it and sending 6 here even though it failed. Credit Wallace for making a play here when defenders were slipping and spinning all over the field.
Set fire to my soul

Clemson proceeds to turtle away with QB power to make Jimbo burn his timeouts and trot out a defense I suddenly and unfathomably had no confidence in at this point! With a 20 yard punt to boot! (No haters that wasn’t a pun, “boot” implies like 50+ yards).

A&M ball, 1:12, Clemson 49, 28-20 Clemson lead

Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down & Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 3-2-6 Quick slant complete vs man cover 2, gain of 11. Slant beats man every time if the corner doesn't jam. Fields bailed immediately and couldn't recover.
1st & 10 11 shotgun vs 3-2-6 Deep fade, inteference on Fields A&M picked on Fields all night (and Terrell to a lesser extent. Need improvement at field corner.
1st & 10 12 pistol vs 4-3 PA post vs cover 4, Ferrell is TACKLED FROM BEHIND, Wallace dives for the pick but tips it for a TD, wow. Poor Wallace, I really felt for him here. The only safety playing particularly well is the victim of unbearable luck here. And given this was the latest in a wild string of crazy improvizational luck, I was convinced the Aggies would tie here and win in overtime, because how could they not after this. No I'm not going to gif it because we've seen it enough.
2 point try 02 shotgun vs 4-3 Rollout vs cover 4, HOLDING FINALLY CALLED LMAO, Mond has to throw another prayer but this time Wallace reels it in, A&M had half their linemen in the endzone cut blocking, what??? Appropriate for Wallace to finish. He (or Ferrell if missed holding fouls was a stat) gets the game ball defensively.

Hunter Renfrow collects the onside kick because of course he does, who else would.