In the interest of time we’re going to be experimenting with the format for film review this season. Please, feel free to leave thoughts on what you would like to read in the comments. Nothing is going to change in the quality of coverage. We won’t log off, we won’t stop posting, and we will not be credentialed.
As Alex covered Clemson nearly dominated the first quarter but managed to leave scoreless due to a pair of turnovers and a missed field goal. The defensive line was able to take over this contest, holding Georgia Southern to 80 rushing yards. No Eagle had a run go more than nine yards. This dominance up front covered up for some coverage busts, such as this play action where both safeties bite deep. Clemson appears to be in a shallow variation of quarters, where both safeties are asked to support the run and handle vertical routes from the #2 receiver to their side. A&M was able to take advantage of coverage busts and attacking downfield with play action is the basis of GT’s passing game.
The Tigers also had occasional trouble with the option, such as here where the DE covers the pitch man, the DT takes the dive, the MLB bites inside and... Georgia Southern’s OT takes the QB. Clemson probably can’t rely on that too many times in the future.
On offense Clemson got some more insight into what a Trevor Lawrence led offense would look like. Lawrence is a mobile quarterback, but at 6’6” and slim he’s nowhere near the between the tackles runner Bryant is. This means the toss read Clemson has used so much doesn’t work nearly as well when Lawrence is in the game.
When Lawrence is in the offense compensates by increasingly relying upon RPO’s and using Lawrences running ability judiciously. Lawrence is better than Bryant on RPO’s already, in part because Bryant doesn’t get the ball out fast enough on screens.
It is, in some ways, a “pro style” approach to a mobile quarterback, especially if Lawrence learns to slide. By limiting Lawrence’s carries the offense can try to keep him healthy while maximizing the value of running him. ScElliot have always liked the value a running QB can bring in the red zone and on third and short.
Lawrence made some exciting throws on play action, such as this quick read against the type of pressure that had given him trouble earlier this year.
Clemson spent much of the quarter trying to establish gap running schemes. Buck sweep has been in the playbook since Morris was hired, but Clemson has gotten away from it. The Tigers still need some work on the play.
Some of this quarter was just elite talent against FCS teams. Hello, Justyn Ross.
Much of the last drive was the same, with Etienne receiving three straight handoffs on “power” and taking them for 30 yards. Both times Clemson hit the goal line this quarter they ran three consecutive inside zone plays and it worked. With Bryant’s health up in the air it’s fortunate the Tigers showed some goal line competence in addition to just having Bryant run up the middle. Clemson has to be happy about how this quarter went after a series of errors kept them from gaining a lead in the first.