Well, I’ll try to keep some composure. I’m tempted to go full old school rant on that debacle.
Clemson managed to blow a 21-6 lead tonight and eeked out a 28-26 win thanks to a botched 2-pt conversion tonight in College Station, keeping hopes of a national title alive in Tigertown.
First off, I’ll just reiterate what I said via twitter all night. Until the 4th quarter, a lot of this was Kellen Mond playing out of his mind. I tip my cap to him. We had guys in the backfield after his ass all night, and he took and made the throws. Many of them were remarkable. We hit him, he got up. We missed a sack and he always made us pay. We would’ve hit him more if their OL didn’t have half our DL in a chokehold on many plays, as i’m sure most of you noticed, but they didn’t call holding on our OL either, so at least we got that much from the refs.
But I’m not giving a pass to this secondary. We did not use our eyes tonight. I believed coming in that our secondary was this team’s weakness for this season, specifically Safety and then CB depth. We have 6-7 (?) guys on scholarship right now that are walk-ons and we needed those to be recruited safeties, because what I saw tonight, especially at the end of the game, was shit. It’s just shit. There is no excuse for letting go of your leverage and then letting the man run free up the seam without even making a collision on the receiver. Most of our CB play tonight was ok, so I’m looking at 11, 12, 14 in particular. I saw safeties missing coverage calls entirely up the seam, I saw them not dropping where they should be dropping, I saw them leaving a huge cushion when a guy entered their zone, not chucking guys who come into their zone, and generally getting lit up like the Ford twins as a result. We are lucky we didn’t lose after their play in that 4th quarter. That was atrocious safety play.
Clemson’s front 7 did their job against the run, Fisher abandoned it and it was basically only for effect after the first quarter. The DL had the pass rush, they just got held badly all night.
Clemson’s offensive line didn’t do a great job tonight along the interior. Falcinelli had some critical mistakes that cost drives. The interior as a whole did not pass block well, while the tackles, I thought, did well enough vs pressure. A&M brought much more pressure when TL was in the game, which I presume was due to Mike Elko being more cautious about KB’s legs than he was about TL running it, and that pressure wasn’t picked up or blocked well enough to let TL be successful. TL will need to show he can run the ball and do damage to get that respect.
Dabo made the right call to leave KB in the game at the end. Elko backed off and Kelly made it work better. As far as I’m concerned, he earned his right to start. I will say that we needed to open this playbook more and go for the jugular more. ScElliott calls a different game than what they did with DW, and it shows. I didn’t understand some of the calls tonight, very conservative, like they’re scared of attacking. We aren’t throwing deep often enough, let our guys go get the ball. A&M has had an AWFUL pass defense for years, they didn’t get that fixed in one offseason with Fisher. We could’ve attacked more and lit them up.
Whichever QB goes on to get the lion’s share of the snaps, this offense needs to open up the playbook more. I don’t see anyone else with an offense to throw all over this defense until the end of the season, but if we play uninspired it can happen and we can lose, and we all saw tonight how.