Game 3 is in the books and the Tigers are now preparing to take on two ranked opponents starting with the Demon Deacons of Wake Forrest.
We saw new faces getting a lot of snaps this past week on the defense. Let's see how each group did.
The DEs played well this week, as did most of the front 7 but we'll get to that. They held the edge much better than against Furman and helped keep LA Tech to only 14 yards rushing for the night. Murphy seems to have taken Dabo's criticism to heart as he played more inspired and put pressure on their QB. I was also encouraged that the DEs, and the defense as a whole, didn't fall for the various screen plays that were run. Very encouraging.
No Davis, no Bresee, no problem. Even when we ran 3 down lineman, the DT pushed the pocket and refused to allow any run plays to materialize. They were the driving force behind the complete failure of LA Tech to run the ball.
Capehart, Page and Ruke were immovable and really showcased how deep and talented our DT position is. We should expect all hands back on deck this week, and that should worry Wake. Even at half strength, these DTs are not going to make life easy for OLs.
It feels repetitive to say but this is the most athletic group of LBs we've seen at Clemson in a long time. Carter makes plays all over the field and his tipped ball kept LA Tech from a TD and also resulted in an INT. I hate that he fumbled the ball back to them in the 2nd quarter but he was trying to make a play. Trotter and Simpson were also active and violent and it was great to see Trotter come up with that INT.
We saw marked improvement from the week before in terms of discipline against screens and misdirection. If teams can't fool this group and make them hesitate...good luck.
Oh and Woodaz is going to be a good one to keep our eyes on.
Here was the only blemish on the defense. LA Tech had over 300 yards of offense through the air. Some of this was because they were forced to throw every play because they couldn't run the ball, at all. The DBs were also excellent in run support. However, there were busts that must be addressed.
I don't want to be too hard on this group considering we were down 3 starters (Mukuba, Wiggins and Jones). This meant that Toriano Pride and Jaedyn Lukus more than doubled their snaps after this game. Both will be good and look the part, but were picked on by LA Tech. It was disappointing seeing DJ and the starters have to return to the game after the secondary gave up two late TDs.
I'm going to chalk this up as good learning experience for this group and hope we don't have to rely on them as heavily moving forward.
The staff deserves credit for cleaning up the issues we had last week with recognizing and attacking screen plays. LA Tech tried a few, but all were blown up. We now need them to do the same with the communication issues that caused the busts we saw.
We saw more 3 down lineman this game, which may have been due to the number of players out as well as wanting more DBs on the field against an air raid offense, a good strategy but the execution wasn't there this game. Thankfully this appears to be more an experience issue than a talent one, which is fixable. With Wake and NC ST coming up we don't need to give them any chunk plays.
Potter remans perfect on the year in both FGs made and preventing any kickoff returns. He is a reliable veteran and can be relied on to make high pressure FGs in any potential close games. Swanson rebounded this week averaging 42 yds a punt. As long as he can keep his consistency, we should be alright. Punt return remains lackluster. Taylor may lose his spot going forward. We’ve also not seen the same aggression going after kicks that we saw against GT which is disappointing.
What grade do you give the Clemson Defense & ST against La Tech?
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