Monday, October 27, 2014

At some point you just don't know what to say about it anymore

I just want to thank Brent Venables (Skeletor) for knowing how to coach a defense. I loved the 2009 defense and the pressure that that front 4 could get, and it was really an elite defense pared with a below average offense, but it had some weaknesses at LB. This defense doesn't have a glaring weakness like that one did, and its right up there with the best defenses we've had at Clemson since Brother Bill left town. They might even give the 89-91 defenses a run for their money.

And Mack Alexander doesn't get nearly the credit in the press he deserves. I always say that if you don't hear of a CB during a game, that means that he's playing great, and this kid can flat out cover. He doesn't get the INTs, but he can play M2M with the best. Whenever they zoom out and you can see someone blanketed, its always Alexander stuck to his hip, playing the ball correctly instead of the receiver.

But once again, our offense has stunk it up and leaned on the defense to win them the game. Lakip and Gallman get my game ball.

When i went to the spring game, the team I saw looked like a 7-5/8-4 team. I didn't tell anyone but FF about that because they'd just bitch about me being negative. If Stoudt starts all games this season, I think we would've wound up being 7-5. He has simply reached Proctor-level. His fundamentals are not there. They were there last year, and they looked better than this in the spring game, but they aren't there now. His feet are happy. He's not setting and throwing, and the zip is just off. The accuracy is poor.We have never said that Stoudt had a great arm, but he's consistently late to the flats. He does not read his coverage, at all. He's locked on to his #1 and forces that too often, then takes his 3rd read (the checkdown) and puts that receiver in a bind because the throw is too late - receiver gets killed as soon as he catches it, or gets no yards.

And our OL, woof. Wayne Gallman ran his ass off with no help. Stoudt barely has time to make a read even when he doesn't lock on the primary. After Norton went down I was glad to see Webster move over, because anyone should be able to block better than Norton there. Webster isn't good enough to play full time either, but he's not as awful as Norton.

Davis playing Tackle points to a failure in recruiting tackles and coaching them. He can't move well enough to play Guard in this system and now he's playing Tackle?, where you have to move your feet even more? Gore should be able to play by now and someone should've properly put a foot in Battle's ass.

And as good as Watson is, getting Hyatt and Fruhmorgen in there next season won't fix it next season, they may fix it in 2016, not as true freshmen tackles. If you think its miraculously going to get better i'd like to know what you smoke daily. If we havent had a line in years that could a) consistently drive block and b) pass block, what makes you think the same coaches+Batson are going to fix it in one year with a few recruits? One year fixes happen at WR or RB where there is less development required, not OL.

I said after BC that if this team played anyone worth a shit while Watson was out, we'd lose. I caught a lot of flak for it, but after 3 straight games of terrible play, those same people are coming around to my concerns. Its a good thing Syracuse and WF are two terrible offenses and would need significant help from us to win the games.

If Watson is out for GT we will lose the game. Our defense will play well but they'll be on the field too much by the 4th Q and will miss tackles by then, and PJ doesn't do the stupid shit in Atlanta that he does in DV. Their offense has improved this year yet wouldn't be able to beat Clemson with us having a great defense, but I wouldn't predict the 91 defense to win if the offense couldn't score.

Thankfully from what I've heard from practice is that its a soft cast on Watson's hand and that he can throw nerf balls already just fine, so we should have him. If we do I think we'd win by probably 2 TDs, but I don't expect any victory in Atlanta to be pretty. They never are.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Louisville: A damned debacle.

So much fail in one game. It felt like a Dabo-Napier offense. Chad Morris still can't get it together against good defenses. I'll let that stand as the overarching issue, leading to our terrible OL and QB play from the whole day. Somebody was reading too much into who Louisville's defense had faced and not enough about the skill they do possess. I was not one of those people reading Louisville's defensive stats and simply pointing out that they hadn't played a great offense - they hadn't - I watched them play earlier this year and its a pretty good group.

Strong recruited well and coached better, but Grantham will screw them up, and Petrino won't recruit defensive players, so I think this is the best D they'll have under his tenure, but they can play right now.

I will address the scoring first, since us not being able to win at FSU by lining under center at the 1 yard line remains firmly on my mind. Clemson should've been able to do the same thing Saturday late in the game and been up by 10, and instead of doing that, they decided to once again get in the Gun, call a Power O, and not get one fucking yard again. This led to the game still being in doubt down to the last second because of one slip in coverage, one slip after being outstanding basically all day, and our coaches would bear 100% of the blame because they can't get their shit together.

Heres what you do at the 1yd line, 1) get under Center, 2) call a Wedge play. If they beat that then you don't deserve to win the game.

Heres what you dont do at the 1: 1) Get cute and try stupid shit. 2) call a Power O play when your Center has been getting his ass beat all goddamn day by the backside DT when you called Power, 3) don't have a guard who can get his fat ass over into a hole and knock someone backwards.

On the Power O, the backside Guard pulls to the playside and the RB/QB follows. If the backside G is covered by a DT, then the Center has to block back or the backside OT has to cut him or somehow take him out (which means somebody like Suckinger gets to down-block on the DE, that'll work great right?). 90% of the time, its the Center blocking back. Ryan Norton is our center. /endofdiscussion. Stop calling the play until he can block. Stop calling QB Power with Stoudt altogether.

I've heard word from practice that it is Chad Morris who has a preference for the gap scheme calls, and it is Robbie Caldwell who is pushing for more zone plays. Well right now, we have no working gap calls. The Power does NOT work if you can't seal the backside DT and can't pull a Guard. If the Power doesn't work, the Counter Trey won't either. They are complimentary plays. We run a Counter H where we pull the TE behind the Guard, and we know damn well that the TEs can't block, so you can't call that one can you? We've abandoned the buck sweep, which used to be Chad's favorite run call, because we don't have two Guards who can pull and actually block anyone. One will forget to wrap around and the other will run downfield and not touch anyone.

Thus far this season its only the Zone plays that are working halfway right. Its also only the IZ because we have basically abandoned the OZ and the toss/pitch to GHop or Davidson that would compliment it.

So, essentially, our running game is a complete cluster. They insist on letting Howard actually play when he sucks, and not giving the carries to guys who could do anything with them. They call the wrong plays, and they can't block when they do have good calls.

The next issue is Stoudt. Wow that was bad. He's not that bad a player, but he reached Proctor-level Saturday afternoon. He stares at the blitzer and doesn't check to the hot read (a fault Tajh often had). He's locking on his primary and not reading the coverage. He's pressing and trying to make too much happen. His feet aren't moving. He was late to the flats, which is a rule you don't break against any good secondary. Watson lobbed one out there as well and got picked, but Stoudt knows better. If you go to the flats, you throw a bullet or you don't throw it at all.

Stoudt has regressed from last season. His fundamentals are falling off, and I think the main thing is just that he lost all confidence. UGA messed up his head, and right now I would not be surprised if we lost one of these 4-5 games coming up with him starting.

I knew our D was going to have to win us some games this year one way or another. They'll be hard pressed to win 4-5 games if Stoudt plays this bad.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mid-Season Sunday Thoughts

We’re halfway home.  I’ve kind of been in hibernation since the Ryder Cup debacle.  Of course I’ve been watching our Tigers and been in awe of #4 as most of you have.  I will take this opportunity to man up and say that I was wrong about Watson starting.  Padge was adamant over the summer that he would be one of the greatest in school history and would start this season.  Many others gloated over his skills.  I was of the opinion that there was no way a true freshman could learn enough of the offense and adjust to the speed of play to get significant snaps.  I figured Cole was way ahead of him in understanding the offense and the ability to use that much more of the playbook would leave him in—at least through the NC State game.  Well, I was clearly wrong.  Deshaun Watson has emerged (to date) to be the real deal.  Chad Kelly is lucky now that he got the hell out of town, because Watson is simply better.  The only others with as much hype as him in my memory include Michael Carr and Billy Luckie.  Neither did shit at Clemson.  Now we’ll see how Cole plays over the next month and wonder what will happen when Watson is back healthy.  More about Clemson Football and my other musings following the jump (too much to eat up the whole page, so click the article's title link to open).