Monday, October 25, 2010

Clemson Postmortem.....

I wonder what sort of insane need for self-flagellation (not the good kind, mind you) drives me to read message boards. I just can't believe the drivel that some people post. Evidently, Bill Lewis is back at the helm and we're on the college football version of the Titanic, headed for sure disaster. Don't be a fucking retard. Please. This season hasn't lived up to expectations and has been painful, PARTICULARLY IN LIGHT OF LAST YEAR'S SUCCESS, OUR FIRST ACC TITLE SINCE 1990. Yes, I'm yelling. But if you really feel we are heading backwards go root for Bama or some other factory school that churns out NFL players like we churn out engineers. Do I have high expectations, certainly. We can & should contend for a conference title on a year-in-and-year-out basis. It's a down year & our lack of talent, particularly on defense in the midst of a scheme transition, is staggering. But if you're ready to give up at this point then hop off our little Ford & we'll move our ass on without you.

Rant over, now on to the Clemson game. I've now watched it thrice & it's pretty evident what transpired: we got physically whipped, despite the fact that Dabo is a complete buffoon. As we've said many times, physical superiority cancels out all theory & that was indeed the case on Saturday; we brought .22's & Clem's redneck Son had a howitzer. Needless to say, we lost because they manhandled us. Observations:

  • Good lord, our tackle play is bad. Yes, Bowers is good, as is their entire defensive line. But we whiff more than we hit. That's not hyperbole. Hit anybody at this point & I'm happy.
  • Joshua missed multiple reads in the option game. Too many, frankly, for a guy whose played three years in this system. He also has a nasty case of tunnel vision. He just locks on to his primary receiver & won't look elsewhere.
  • Stephen Hill desperately needs to step up & become more physical but he's taking too much heat. Go back & watch the ball he's thrown in the endzone in the 1st quarter. If Nesbitt releases it sooner & to the proper shoulder it's an easy TD. Should he have caught the ball? Probably, but having to spin around & make the catch was tough. But don't kid yourself it's all his fault, that throw was there to be had & Nesbitt missed it.
  • Nice adjustment by Clemson DC Kevin Steele to replace injured LB Brandon Maye with DE Andre Branch. Steele didn't do anything we haven't seen before, 1-3i technique DT's varied with 2i-2i fronts (helps combat the midline), stacked OLB's off the DE's, McDaniel in the box to make eight, we've seen it all before. They simply physically beat us.
  • Our inability to stretch the field deep allows opponents to stack the box far to frequently. Man, do we miss BayBay....
  • Orwin Smith is a player, get him the rock.....and where has BJ Bostic been of late?
  • Love to see Jemea Thomas move from safety to A-back next year. His physical nature would have helped on Saturday.
  • There were plenty of missed assignments but more often than blown assignments we simply were physically beaten.
  • we just simply don't have the talent to play a 3-4 now. We have no legit nose tackle (Shawn Green traveled & dressed as scout team player of the week but it's pointless to burn his redshirt now) and our linebackers simply lack the athleticism to play the defense at this level. I'm not trying to take a shot at them, they weren't recruited to play this defense. But if Dabo & Clemson OC Billy Napier had half a brain between them they would have run the ball 65 times on Saturday.What did Clemson do that led to Ellington's big day?
  • First TD: frankly, they didn't do it enough but it was basic our-guy-can-beat-your-guy strategy: line up in a simple 12 (one back, 2 TE) and put a hat-on-a-hat. Because our nose tackle doesn't demand a double team, they lined up with simple man responsibilities: center takes the NT, guards get the second level on the ILB's (who were simply over-matched size wise), tackles take the DE's, tight ends handle the OLB's, who are up tight on the line. That leaves our corners & safeties in Cover 2, guaranteeing at least a 6 yard gain. And if Ellington breaks into the second level & the safeties get caught in traffic or miss a tackle? See TD run #1.
  • On the second TD, Clemson did exactly what we wanted them to & we couldn't stop them. We walk Jefferson up into the strongside B-gap, essentially asking them to run to the other side. They oblige, leaving what should be two players, Burnett & Edwards, to make the tackle. Both are flat-footed & out of position, which was all Ellington needed.....
  • On the final Ellington TD, the simple swing pass into the flat, everyone is killing Mario Butler. Some of that is justified: there's no reason to be backing up as Ellington is coming at you- go & take a shot at making a play. But the entire play hinges on Egbuniwe executing his responsibility & covering the flat. He got trapped inside leaving Butler 1 vs. 1 with Ellington, a matchup that Clemson wins 98 times out of 100.
  • One holding call on them would have been nice......
Special teams:
  • Again, we just continue to brutalize ourselves. First, I really don't have a problem with the Sweeting roughing the punter penalty. What are you going to do, tell the kid not to try & make a play? What if he blocks the punt & we score, does it change the game? He says he saw it was a bad snap & went after the block & maintains he got a piece of the ball. Replay was inconclusive but you can't blame him for trying to make a play; if you encourage that mindset in players you're done.
  • After the roughing penalty we go: late hit (stupid), we miss downing a punt at the one (why don't we directional kick?), and have holding penalties on us on consecutive kick returns. Then, we simply get unlucky when Luke Cox punches the ball out on a Clemson kick return & we lose it at the bottom of the pile. Not a pretty day on special teams & we're just not good enough to be able to take blows we inflict on ourselves.
  • Luckily, Dabo thinks it's cute to throw the ball for no apparent reason. If you think for one scintilla that our play calling leaves something to be desired imagine what Clemson fans go through every Saturday. No apparent goal in sight, just call what's "neat"? Maybe he has a mini-Twister spinner on his call sheet & just spins it randomly. Just one example: Clemson, on our 4 with 5 minutes & change left, up 11, facing fourth & inches, kicks a field goal? What the Fuck? Okay, so first off, you've gashed us for like 200+ yards on the ground at this point. Then, you decide instead of putting the game away with a TD, you'll kick a FG, essentially changing nothing as it's still a two score game? And you then kick off to us, giving us a chance at a return? What's the worst case scenario if you don't make it & turn it over to us on downs? We still need two scores & are 96 yards away against a defense that's held us in check all day? Seriously, if someone can explain Dabo's logic to me I'd love to hear it. But give him (or more appropriately the Clemson players) credit, they won, so I'm essentially crying over spilt milk (and doing so happily as long as he's in charge....I don't want to awake that sleeping talent-rich giant......)
I'm not overly down on the season at this point. We're not where I wan't to be but we're not dead. Give Clemson some credit; when you've got a defensive line line like that & guys making one -handed catches for key first downs, you're doing something right. Remember, this is a team that three weeks ago took the now #1 BCS team to OT on Auburn's home field. They are not a bad outfit.

But it's time to make some changes amongst our ranks, particularly on defense. Let's get the young guys some experience & give them a taste of the ACC. Anthony Egbuniwe & Mario Edwards have been good soldiers, & for that, and their part in last year's ACC Championship, we'll be eternally grateful. But at this point they are doing little more than blocking younger guys from getting experience and frankly they aren't enough of an upgrade at their respective positions to do so. Play Isaiah Johnson & Jeremiah Attaochu full time & let's get them some ACC experience & see what they've got. Let's get Fred Holton some reps & BJ Bostic some touches on offense. It's highly unlikely we're going to a meaningful bowl game so we might as well see what's in store for our future. We can & will make a bowl game so relax......


  1. Amen. Keep saying it - all of it.

  2. Enjoy Shreveport!

  3. Do you need some cheese with that whine

  4. I think the "buffoon" will turn out to be a pretty good football coach as the seasons roll by. 9-5 last year with an opportunity to finish strong this year. And a top recruiting class lined up. Buffoon, indeed!

  5. The more of the trial and era Dabo gets under his belt, the better coach he will become. After all, he is a second year HC. And PJ is what, 20 year HC. Thats right, keep slapping Dabo in the face now. It want be all that long, and he will be experienced at his job. Already has a big time recruiting class coming in with bigger better talent than Clemson already has. The next year or Two, and he will be killing Yellow Jackets as a hobby.

  6. You are a fucking idiot.... Clemson whooped your ass, and it was because of our "insane" play calling, and physical beatdown you nerd moron.

  7. Go play with your mechanical computer while I go fuck a hot "rally cat" today. Nerd.....

  8. You gimmic offense is no more. The ACC knows it so you bumble bee's are done with your trick obnixious loser of a coach. Yeah Dabo is half brained? rrriiigggghhhhhtttttt C U next year bee's

  9. Wow, we've never heard nerd jokes before, so imaginative.

    There's no denying Dabo has recruited well and next year's class certainly looks stout. It will be interesting to see if his game management improves.


  10. From a Clemson fan, I just want to compliment you on your review and on your analysis of Dat Boy, the amazing WR coach turned Cheerleader who our Administration decided to saddle us with.

    I'm in the minority of Clemson fans (on the internet at least) but I, like you, can't stand Dabo or his playcalling. Word on the street is that he hired Billy Napier simply so he could co-coordinate the offense, whereas if he would have hired a real OC the guy probably wouldn't let Dabo call plays (like any sane person would do.)

    This is, in my opinion, the root of our multiple personalities disorder on offense. Billy Napier is rumored to be more of a power football, I form, Singleback with two TEs, fundamental type of guy. I don't know if he would be that good on his own, but I do know that this two headed monster is killing us.

  11. Dabo & Co may not be X and O geniuses, for sure. I also wonder why we throw it more than 15 times a game. They seem to think "balance" is more important than points.
    But college coaching is a lot more than X's n O's. Dabo has the other parts in spades.
    GT will find out that it's hard to recruit D1 athletes to play in that system. I think GT does well to win 7 or 8 a year, and that's where you'll stay after last yr's anomaly when Chan's recruits were the key cogs in your wheel.
    I will eat my shoes if PJ can recruit another WR as good as Demarius Thomas.

  12. Thanks for the laughs Tom!

    Barrel, I think you are right and only time will tell but I already think he is creating a more physical team that can compete withany one in this conference or beyond.


  13. I too will eat my shoe if we can get another BayBay! A small price to pay!

    It does seem there's no clear offensive identity to an outsider. Plenty of talent.

    No question you guys are as physical as anyone in the country, the Auburn game proved that.


  14. Barrel, I think your problems lie more with your QB and less with your WRs.

    In other words, if Nesbitt would learn to hand the ball off when the DE doesn't crash the FB, the triple option would be a lot more successful.

    It seems to me that PJ has to call the FB dive or it doesn't happen. Same is true for the QB Follow. That's just my observation from watching the NCST and Clemson games.

  15. I had an excellent time at the game. Clemson fans have always been classy whenever I have been there, save a few. I guess a large chunk of those said few have computers and internet access.

    This is not at all to discredit BayBay and how great of a player he was, but I disagree with the point that we'll never have another receiver like him on the Flats. BayBay wasn't a 5* receiver when he was recruited (neither was Calvin for that matter), but we turned him into one. There is enough D1 talent at the position that eventually one of the better ones will realize:
    1) He won't get lost on a depth chart somewhere and will have plenty of balls thrown his way.
    2) If he draws double teams, he opens up the running game and therefore more success for himself and his team in the long run
    3) Talented WR's in this offense can (and will) get drafted high in the NFL because they know how to go downfield and block as well as catch passes and run patterns

    We don't need 10 of them like texas tech or any other spread passing team... We need three or four with one stud. One is easier to find than 10...

    Tip of the hat to a better team this past weekend. It was a fun game. Haven't seen a team play as physical as y'all did against Auburn and I was dreading this rematch. Didn't think we would get 4 in two years...

  16. SO many people miss the point with our continued tendency to throw (even when its not working and running the ball is working) - see UNC game, which would have looked much like GT and Mary if we had run the dang ball!

    Dabo connects with our players even when they are HS kids he recruits (or recruited). Its an evident trait. Kyle Parker committed to returning if MLB did not give him "life-changing" money, and Dabo obviously committed to him leading this team. KP can't really be a leader without passing the ball.

    I like Dabo but certainly realize he is still learning and has weaknesses & strengths like everyone else. He is getting better. At least he is willing to change directions when its not working (which is better than one Rob Spence who entirely sucked, and was too set in his ways to stop sucking).

    We do have a very talented and physical team, and the physical dominance is something we totally lacked under our previous coach. No longer will VT simply smash us and see us wilt to their pressure D.

    Give Dabo some time as he is obviously not stupid and will learn with experience. His other obvious abilities are more natural traits and not 'learned'. Given some time and the right staff we can get far!

  17. CJ wasn't a 5 star?

    Please know your facts.

  18. Man, those first four comments by the Anonymous Clemson fans were pretty harsh. Please attempt to un-wad those panties before posting again, Ma'am.

  19. Then there's this one:

    Calvin Johnson

    I agree that he was a 5*, but not all the services did...

    Everything said and done, he was the best wide reciever to play ball in the South this decade... Don't think we'll see one like HIM on the flats again any time soon.

  20. Nesbitt is trying to be the hero and not making the reads and getting the ball to the right guy enough. Look at the yards per carry for each back. Plus he only sees one receiver and can't throw accurately. Clemson was begging us to throw by putting everyone in the box.

  21. I think that he can do something different. We have to give him a chance to redeem himself.