Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Post-Game Analysis.....

First & foremost, we're ACC Champs.  No one can ever take that away from us.  It was the player's # 1 goal entering the season & they achieved it.  Congrats.  What a game.  A little too close for our liking but just an incredible display by two very good teams.  We knew it would be a close one & it certainly didn't disappoint.  Some random thoughts, in absolutely no coherent order, for you to chew on:
  • Clemson changed their base alignment on defense from our previous meeting.  In our September game, Clemson played a four man front with all 4 players in a 3-point stance. Their goal was penetration & they achieved that, disrupting the mesh on the dive & making things very difficult for us.  In that game, the defensive tackles & middle linebacker had the responsibility for the dive while the defensive end took the QB & the outside LB, safety, & corners took the pitch man.  Just to give you an idea of how well that worked against us, we have 14 "three & outs" all year, lowest in the FBS (that is simply an amazing statistic!). Eight of those came in the Clemson game, including seven in a row at one point.  For some reason, Clemson DC Kevin Steele decided to 1) smash his hand against a wall in pregame in an attempt to motivate his troops, breaking it (moron....) 2) change up his defensive alignment.  This game, Clemson played their base 4-3 with the outside backers 5 yards off the line in a stack behind the ends.  The biggest difference is they played their ends, Sapp & Bowers, standing up in a two point stance.  The rationale for this among defensive coaches is so the ends can "play with their eyes in the backfield" and get a quicker read on plays.  This also changed the responsibilities on defense; the DT's & DE's were now responsible for the dive while the linebackers took the QB & secondary handled the pitch man.  This change was great for us.  We had a really difficult time blocking Sapp & Bowers in game 1.  Their penetration & athleticism gave us fits all night.  But in standing them up, they lost all their leverage & became much easier to block.  Also, the linebackers have farther to go to get to the QB, making it even more difficult for them to stop us.  Add to that the fact that we're much more efficient running the offense & you have a big night on offense for us.
Clemson changed their defensive alignment & allowed Nesbitt far too much room to work...
  • We said in our breakdown we needed a turnover free game in which we controlled the clock.  We got it: no turnovers, 37:17 in time of possession, & 84 plays to Clemson's 51.  Add to that our two forced turnovers & a plus 2 turnover margin & you get...Winning stats....
  • For the second game in a row we didn't punt.  In fact, we scored on seven consecutive possessions (that rhythm thing we talked about in the breakdown).  Had Roddy caught the floater on the first drive & Nesbitt gotten a better spot on the fourth down run we didn't convert & we might have scored 50....
  • Tackle Phil Smith broke his ankle in the 1st quarter.  Sucks for a kid playing in front of his  home town fans.  Nick Claytor performed admirably in his place & Clyde Yandell even saw action when Claytor had contact lens issues. We should get starter Austin Barrick back in time for the Orange Bowl.  On the subject of Claytor; his false start on our 2pt. conversion attempt left him with plenty of opportunity to go down in Tech lore as "that guy".  Lucky for him we won the game.....
  • We changed our base defensive alignment from a 4-3 to a 3-4 due mostly to injuries & lack of depth on the defensive line.  We frequently walked our linebackers up into end positions to give them a 5-2 look.  I thought the defensive line played pretty well this game.  It was our linebackers & DB's who got caught out of position & toasted by Spiller.  We constantly over pursue & then get pinned by a backside block.  We've got to get this cleaned up...
  • Speaking of Spiller: he's "ludicrous speed" fast.  You can really see it when you're down close like we were.  He's got an extra gear everyone else doesn't.  It doesn't help our linebackers over pursue & bite on fakes but the guy is really, really fast....
  • Cord Howard & Sean Bedford lived up to their All-ACC billing.  Very fine offensive line play all night.  Those Clemson defensive tackles are fine players & we held them in check.  That plus Howard & Bedford's ability to get to the second level & block the linebackers really made a difference for us...
  • CPJ threw in some wrinkles.  We saw Dwyer at A-back for the first time all year.   As he motioned across the formation the entire defense adjusted to the outside leaving nice holes for B-back Preston Lyons.  On the first drive of the second half we faced 4th & 2 on their 40 & we acted like we were going to draw them offsides, motioning Roddy & Allen back into the wishbone.  At the last second, we snapped the ball on a load option right for a 6 yard Allen gain.  We've motioned into that formation multiple times on fourth down this year, always calling timeout as the play clock winds down.  This time we ran a play. Super trickeration.  Not fancy, just effective...
  • Josh Nesbitt has grown so much as a player & leader.  Our clock management was superb all night long & led to an easy field goal at the end of the first half & the winning score with little time left.  And how about Josh's use of the fake pitch?  At least 30 extra yards for us on the night.  In fact, our section never wavered when Clemson scored the go ahead TD.  5:10 left on the clock, down by 2 = Nesbitt Time...
  • Our offense just wears people down.  By the middle of the second quarter you could see Clemson defenders with their hands on their hips, gasping for air.  By the end of the third they were toast.  We simply strangle you, 4 yards at a time...
  • Scott Blair, slayer of purple & orange demons!!!!  Just the night before, we engaged in a less than sober discussion with a Clemson fan about which team's kicker was a bigger liability (for the record I conceded when he told me their guy had missed 5 extra points). Liability?  Who?  Not our guy!  Blair was a true asset on Saturday, varying his kickoffs & booming field goals.  I never knew he could pound it like that.  Both his long field goals (48 & 49 yards) would have been good from 55.  Let's hope he keeps this up....
Whatever they did to you over in Clemson, we don't want to know....
  • Jon Dwyer is a beast.  As is BayBay.  The physical punishment Dwyer takes is incredible.  But what's even more incredible about both stars is the way they block. Watching the game again I counted no less than 3 "pancakes" by the Diesel.   And BayBay is cracking guys on every play.  When your best players like #21 & #8 have bought in & are willing to block like that, you're gonna win games.
That man runs with pain on his mind & malice in his heart....And he blocks, too...
  • And finally, ACC refs suck.  Really, it's not even funny anymore.  The pass interference on Burnett I can handle.  But overturning the call on the 2 point conversion is laughable. Undisputed video evidence?  Bullshit.  Sounds to me like these guys sit up their watching films of a grassy knoll in Dallas....
So it's off to Miami on January 5th for a clash with the Hawkeyes from Iowa.  Should be a great game & something tells me that after last year's let down, a certain gentleman from North Carolina will keep their nose to the grindstone this year....


  1. From: Rob Rolfes
    Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 9:46 PM
    Subject: What would Mikey say?

    I am curious to ask what Mikey thinks about the bowl matchup.
    1) Who do you want to win the Orange Bowl?
    2) Who do you THINK will win the Orange Bowl?

    Maybe a topic for the blog.

    On Dec 8, 2009, at 9:53 AM, Rometo, Michael A. wrote:

    What do I think about that GT/Iowa game?
    I think that Iowa allows 3.5 yards per rush... and that's not a good average against a team that will use all four downs when necessary.
    I think the reason they give up this many yards per rush isn't because of a weak front seven, but because their secondary is an interception machine and teams put everything they have into running the ball, with occasional success.
    I think that Iowa doesn't have a high octane offense, but they find a way to win, thus there relatively low average margin of victory for a 10 win team.
    I think that GT got steamrolled in the one bowl game I've seen from CPJ. Is that due to a) playing against a defense full of NFL talent in LSU last year b) the team taking the foot off the gas pedal because they had already reached that year's goal of beating Georgia c) giving a quality coach 4+ weeks to prepare for the spread option... Ferentz is a good coach with 4+ weeks to prepare... wasn't winning the ACC this year's goal... Iowa's defense does not have the talent that LSU's had, but they are a very disciplined team.
    You want a prediction on the game, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a bowl prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last for the rest of your life... I think wins a close game with both teams scoring in the high 20's, low 30's.

    Michael Rometo P.E. | HEERY

  2. On Dec 8, 2009, at 10:02 AM, Chris Hall wrote:

    Nicely done. Ferentz & DC Norm Parker will have that defense ready. I just wonder if they have the athletes to keep up. This game is pretty simple to analyze IMHO: whatever teams weaker unit plays the best is the winner. The game hinges on our defense vs. Iowa's offense. Mikey, from your memory can you talk a bit about their offense (tendencies, any specific players) & their front 4 on defense? Thx,

    From: Ian Queen
    Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:51 AM
    To: Chris Hall
    Subject: Re: What would Mikey say?

    I have no idea who will win and neither does anyone else. The only thing I feel confident in predicting is that Tech will score on 2 out of every 3 possesions (3 or 7), and that Iowa's offense will also look really good.

    And why does Iowa having 4 weeks to prepare for this offense give them any advantage over GT having 4 weeks to prepare for their defense? This isn't a house of cards system. We have shown we can win at home. We can win on the road...

    We run left and right.
    On a Saturday night.
    We can throw it to Bebe,
    if Peoples hands are a maybe.
    We can score in the sun.
    To watch is so fun.
    We can run in the rain.
    We'll run on you a train.
    Prepare all you want, Jackets still bring the pain.

    This one's in the can, 4DC I am.

    On Dec 8, 2009, at 11:20 AM, "Rometo, Michael A." wrote:
    That’s a ridiculous statement “And why does Iowa having 4 weeks to prepare for this offense give them any advantage over GT having 4 weeks to prepare for their defense? “. One of the great advantages to CPJ’s system is that on a weekly basis, the opposing team only gets a few days to prepare. That is why he was so successful in the playoff with Georgia Southern, because his opposition didn’t have a month to prepare. His bowl history shows what happens when teams get longer to prepare. CPJ’s two bowl wins are against a 6-5 Colorado State team and a 7-5 New Mexico squad; with losses to Texas Tech (7-5), Boston College (9-3), and LSU (7-5). Which of these two groups is a 10-2 Iowa more like in talent and coaching?

    And how exactly does CPJ prepare for a defense? Isn’t his whole philosophy based on running the same set of plays and having success based on out executing the defense? You’re telling me that one of the best coaches in college football with blue chip talent can’t get his defense to execute well given four weeks to prepare?

    Michael Rometo P.E. | HEERY

    From: Ian Queen

    Subject: Re: What would Mikey say?
    You fail to realize that a bunch of FCS teams either run a similar system or have a great deal of exposure to defending option based packages. So I don't discount Paul's success at Georgia Southern because of the lack of preparation a playoff system offers.

    Plus, tell me how one prepares to face a system they can't simulate on their own. Or do you believe that extra meetings and film sessions give an edge. It's not like they have to reconstruct the Indianapolis Colts playbook. We run 6 plays. It takes months and years to learn how to run the sysytem, but defenses can pretty well digest how it works after watching a few hours of film. Then they get to see a scout team simulate it at half speed with confused blocking packages.

    And we have seen how well Clemson did with the opportunity to prepare twice for Tech this season. They had all summer plus the first week of December.

    It only doesn't work when improperly executed, or when the talent on the opposing D is overwhelmingly superior. Which may very well be in this case. But stop with the gimmick offense can be cracked argument.

  3. I dig it. I'm guessing that it will be an epic game and my wife will be hounding me for months afterward asking, "Why are you watching that??? You were AT the game!!!"


  4. 2009 Iowa equals 2008 Falcons


  5. Ouch! Frank Lloyd Wrong chimes in with a swift kick in the nards.