Just a total disaster, saved by clutch throws from Chase Brice and the stellar play of Etienne, despite ScElliott’s inability to see that we were killing them with the ground game all day long when we could’ve put this game away earlier.
Lets be clear, in the first half, Cuse outplayed us. They outplayed Clemson. The defense didn’t adjust to their tempo, and with little pressure on the QB, they had time to find guys downfield. Dungey is a sharp, tough QB who fights for everything, similar to Connor Shaw. Their OL beat us in pass protection and it let them showcase our uncanny inability to play deep coverage at the Safety positions.
Our MOF coverage is just shit. There is no nice way of saying it. It’s shit. You can’t have a Safety in C2 5-10 yards away from a receiver running a corner or sideline route. The CB has to sit underneath, that’s his job. The safety has to get over there. Simmons or Muse or whomever is in there is just so late getting over that they can kill you down the sideline. These guys are not where they’re supposed to be; they’re looking somewhere else. The man coverage skills of the CBs were decent, they could get better at locating the ball in the air, but they are supposed to have help many times, and the help ain’t there.
The LBs aren’t great at keeping their leverage in underneath coverage either. They’re not using their eyes to see what is going on around them. They’re looking at the QB and not picking up receivers running around them. Kudos to Venables for tightening these things up at the half, but it’s going to be a recurring issue, especially the safeties.
Trevor Lawrence played fine before he was hurt, but ScElliott does stupid shit as usual. We’re destroying them with the run game. So yes, lets roll our QB out because our OL can’t pass protect him for shit. This is going to be a problem for him the rest of the year. The interior OL gets their ass whipped and he gets nailed. He rolls out, and you see how bad the TE blocking is too. Several times they only rushed 3 and got pressure. We even have the TE and Back in the backfield to help and they still get pressure. We keep changing Guards in and out and none are consistent pass protectors. I can’t believe how they can run block well enough against most teams, but can’t pick up a pressure or even just block the down 4 when they don’t blitz.
You are going to see defenses take chances with us. If they think they can get to the QB before he gets it out, its going to look like A&M or today. They’ll blitz like crazy. If they don’t and just sit back, it’ll look like GT last week. Trevor will pick the latter apart, but Brice will have problems with both just due to lack of game reps.
So the first half was a disaster all around.
I figured at half time that the only way we’d win was with Etienne getting 30 carries, he got 27. This is the most I can remember for a Clemson back in a while. If he got this many per game he’d have 2000 yards. Feaster and Choice also ran all over them. ScElliott should be smart enough to see that, but I don’t have the confidence in an OC who can’t see that we’re charging downfield at the start of the 3rd with just the rush game, needing a score badly, and then start running sideways and throwing the ball, ultimately killing the drive. If you’re losing and playing your QB3, your defense is still reeling, your OL stinks at pass pro, and the RBs are getting 6, 7, 10 yards a carry, WHY do you stop running and let him throw?
The D stepping up their play saved us today, they kept us in it until Brice got comfortable and made some tight throws, and then the run game pulled this one out in the end. We had to find a way to win without our QB and we did. Hopefully TL will be back next week and we can see this offense really open up.
Take a drink folks, we survived.