Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Clemson Review (Clemson 26 AU 19)
Tough game! Enjoyed and appreciated the effort given by both teams. Ultimately, the result boiled down to one thing...one team capitalized on their opportunities in the red zone and one team did not. Unfortunately, our team was the latter. There aren't too many games where you can step back and say, "You know, either team could have won tonight!" This was just that type game, however, you could even take it a step further. In this one, you could actually argue that at times, either team could have blown the other out, completely run the opponent out of the Georgia Dome had calls gone certain ways, WRs catch balls, calls not inexplicably get overruled, fumbles not occur. It was a heavyweight bout and both fan bases should leave proud of their programs. I know I slept well Saturday night having seen valiant effort given...despite a bitter loss to open the 2012 campaign.
+ Running Game. The young offensive line had their way with Clemson all night all over the football field...until we reached the red zone. With three new starters, this group by far exceeded my expectations both in production and minimizing penalties. Though Tre Mason ran the ball fearlessly with power and look forward to more of Tre as the season progresses.
+ Kiehl Frazier. I know he completed less than 50% of his passes, but I thought he managed the game well. The stage wasn't too big for him, he stayed calm, he put the ball where it needed to be when it mattered most. He did have some overthrows that could have gone for big gains, but he also had WRs in many instances let him down with mental lapses and just not making the athletic play for their young QB.
+ Offensive Scheme. Tons of formations and motion. As a guy whose job it was to recognize formations and adjust on the run to motion, I would despise preparing for Scot Loeffler. Seemed to be balanced with run vs pass and play action was superb (it had to be respected). Also utilized Lutz and Mccalebb in numerous ways with both alignment and assignment.
+ Corey Lemonier. Guy plays at a different speed than the rest of his defensive unit. Dee Ford is close but Corey is unbelievable.
+ Daren Bates Tenacity. This guy would run through a brick wall for Auburn and his play is inspiring and a treat to watch. He doesn't do things perfect, but he plays with passion and it needs to become contagious to the guys lining up behind him in the defensive secondary. His INT was incredible and it should have been the death knell for Clemson. The offense has to put seven points on the board after a play like that.
- Defensive Tackles. Against a young, inexperience Clemson OL these guys were virtually nonexistent. With the exception of Angelo Blackson, I was disappointed with every one of them.
- Tackling. Killed us. Again. Absolutely ridiculous. How many times was Tajh Boyd in the grasp only to escape for a positive gain. The long run by Ellington as Jake Holland tried to sling him down rather than drive him to the ground. And Ryan Smith?! You have to be a sure tackler. In fact, you and your safety counterpart Jermaine Whitehead MUST be the surest tacklers on the team! Not pretty. Not rolling at ankles. Not diving at shoelaces. Stay on your feet and hang on for the ride. You're the last line of defense...play like it.
For what it's worth, I thought Whitehead tackled better than Smith.
- Trovon Reed. Another game...and no contribution from Trovon. His opportunity came and he lost his awareness on the football field. It would have been a tough catch, I concede, but for a guy that's been around as long as Trovon he needs to make that play.
- Kiehl Frazier's Running. Kiehl's best attribute is his dual threat capability. However, he really looked uncomfortable trying to run the football. As bad as Ellington's 200 yards plus hurt, it was Tajh Boyd's scampering that killed us. Kiehl needs and can do the same.
- Soft Cushion Secondary. We just let them play catch. We don't squeeze zone threats, we don't alter routes at the line of scrimmage, we don't make life miserable for WRs. This was my biggest disappointment of all and really expected more from this group. We desperately need Therezie and Florence to man up, stay on the practice field, stay out of Coach VanGorder's doghouse, and help this secondary become more physical, deep, and dependable.
All in all, this team is a good one. This team is improved from last year. This team will be hell to deal with. This team will get better every week. This team will beat Mississippi State in Starkville. But it will be another tough battle.