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QT’s Take, Straight from the Armchair: Clemson Warms Up For Championship Run

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NCAA Football: Boston College at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

It was the attack of the pink suit from Belk. When the pink suit is on it is time for the championship phase of Clemson football.

Overall, this was obviously a dominant Clemson win. The offense was clicking and finally we saw a great mixture of pass and run that incorporated a variety of looks. The defense stopped a BC team that offensively had been prolific up until this point. Obviously without their starting QB Brown, the offense is more reliant on the run and predictable, but this same offense tore up NC State. Clemson did what it should have done in this game because BC didn’t have the team speed, particularly at Safety or LB to hang with Clemson. They were completely overmatched. But lets dive in...

One note on refs—these ACC refs probably gifted Clemson at least two pass interference calls that probably should have been no calls. Refs make and share notes and likely won’t be as generous with PI calls for Clemson moving forward (just the nature of the beast).

OFFENSE

GOOD

A lot of good...

No turnovers! After the first FG, the offense had 5 straight touchdown drives.

Again, when Clemson went 10 personnel or four wide against the slow BC safeties and LBs there was one matchup where the BC defense was toast. TL found that man consistently. Clemson WR’s collectively got a lot of YAC and broke tackles for big gains. The offense came out in attack mode like they did against FSU.

Trevor was able to sit in the pocket, trust his protection and go through his progressions more against BC. Granted, BC doesn’t have much of a pass rush at all (this is why defenses are blitzing more overall). If teams are bringing more pressure, TL often stays on his primary reads who are likely in single coverage, but if he is able to trust his protection it is over for any defense.

Also really liked more roll outs for TL. He hit Price underneath on a roll out to his left where he thought about going deep, pumped, and then hit the checkdown to Price for the first down. Beautiful. TL also stood strong in the pocket even when there was a lot of action. He kept two hands on the ball, stepped up, and delivered. That is what we want to see regardless of the opponent.

Diondre Overton had a day. He is the slowest of Clemson’s wide receivers, but he slashed the BC secondary for three scores. Credit to him for sticking around for his senior year and having this kind of production.

Amari Rodgers cuts on a freakin’ dime! That was great to see. He cut and accelerated. This week is about where a normal human might begin coming back from an ACL. The knee is only going to feel better and better from here on out.

I was really happy with Justyn Ross’s play. It was the first game in which he looked like he could return to being a dominating matchup nightmare. Cornell Powell looked like a 4* and almost broke one for a long TD. YEAH! BC got Will and Drew’d.

ETN ran again like his hair was on fire. When ETN runs violent, everything opens up in the offense. But I most pleased with his pass receptions. ETN had one of his best catches of his career. Catching the ball in stride and turning up field in a single motion. Lovely to behold. Lyn-J Dixon also was able to rebound from a tough outing last week. Mellusi showed me something in pass protection that is very encouraging and continues to impress with his strength.

Loved the redzone running and play calling. ETN was able to get downhill in a hurry and stretch into the endzone.

I am loving DAVIS ALLEN. He is actually getting his blocking assignments correct at TE. He had another good catch and run after the catch in this game. MOAR. Price and Allen!

BAD

Really the only bad thing was these snaps from Cade Stewart under center. Yes, I realize I’m talking about the snaps of a backup center—it was that dominant an offensive performance. But he is the backup center and set to be the starting center next year, and the snaps were bad, all night. It is hard to snap it too high to 6’6 Trevor Lawrence, but snaps were high and to the left—not even close. TL is really good at handling snaps, really good, so he masks some of these problems, but it isn’t acceptable. It throws off the timing of plays and could’ve/should’ve caused a couple of turnovers. Combine that with Stewart being one of the weaker overall Olineman in the two deep and it isn’t a great combo. Very glad he got yanked in the first quarter after two plays—the first bad snap (that went to ETN more than Trevor) and a second play where he missed an assignment. Sorry to be so negative, but this is weeks of poor center play from Cade. Got to get better. Very glad to see Rayburn get in and see some action. Hopefully he will play more against Wofford.

I love that Bockhorst plays with a serious edge. The next few ACC games he needs to watch it though because he probably should have been flagged a couple times for a take down and some playing through the whistle. ACC refs will zero in on him after this last game.

Not much else—Dixon and Ladson couldn’t come up with balls that hit their hands that would have been spectacular catches. Trevor threw a few balls short that needed a bit more air. That covers the three balls missed on his 16-19 performance. That kind of performance will win a national championship folks.

DEFENSE

The only negative thing to say is that we got caught on a few play action, motions where a few guys were out of position that could have been big gains. On one of the plays I believe Muse was supposed to get back and on one jet motion the defense lost leverage.

The pass to Simmons to the TE was a great pass and pretty much indefensible/just luck that it connected that accurately.

On the touchdown drive the defense wasn’t able to stop BC on a couple of fourth down conversions. On the touchdown Chad Smith couldn’t get over to fill the hole like he should have, but it was also a good call by the offense where Davis was stunting. Chad Smith did play a good game overall. Smith had the strip and the extra effort to help the ball bounce to Rudolph for the score.

Really solid alignment from the defense all game. Not a lot of open gaps against a good Oline and one of the best bruising running backs in college football.

Thought the backup defenders played much better in this game. Spector seemed to back to full speed and attacking gaps. Venables also played well in his reps. Good to see the backup D-line not getting blown off the ball.

The defense probably should have had another two or three turnovers. Wallace let a ball drop that was thrown right to him. Muse and Turner couldn’t get one that Simmons tipped. XT was held out, but good to get the other defensive ends more reps to progress. KJ Henry still needs to be tougher at the point of attack to take that next step, but overall the D-line matched the physicality of the BC O-line.

SPECIAL TEAMS

A 58 yard punt? I don’t care that it did get an awesome bounce. It can be done!

Potter missed a 47 yarder. He kicked one out of bounds and a couple short of the goal-line (this was probably by design to give the kickoff team chances to practice coverage). We let one return get farther than they should have. I liked having Ross back at punt return with DK banged up with the toe injury, should have let his second one go into the end zone.

I just don’t have much to complain about...sorry.

Quick recruiting note:

By now you all know that Brent Venables is one of our more aggressive recruiters with regards to wanting more offers and takes. He helps keep more irons in the recruiting fire burning. Venables helped Clemson stay on Justin Flowe early and kept an iron in the fire with Phillip Webb, for example (Clemson ultimately decided to move on from Webb). Trenton Simpson visited over the weekend after decommitting from Auburn the previous week. Simpson should be a composite 5* player—he is 13th overall on 247, 34th overall on Rivals, and 107th?? on ESPN (yep...). Right now he is 33rd overall. He is 6’2.5 and 220 pounds from Mallard Creek, NC. Scheme versatility with the ability to rush the passer or play some in coverage. Long arms but a fluid athlete. So much to like about Simpson. His recruitment shouldn’t impact Justin Flowe. Simpson could play a Nickel/SAM role or play the WILL and fill out to be an edge rusher. UNC is lurking in the background, but Clemson is in a very good position.