November 20, 2017

Upon Further Review: Syracuse

Outplayed and outcoached, it’s as simple as that. Have to say that was the worst all-around performance by a Clemson team that I have seen in some time. Here’s to hoping they got it all out of their system, kind of like 2016’s version against Pittsburgh. Massive credit to Syracuse, as they clearly studied and prepped to nullify and make Clemson’s defensive aggressiveness work against them. On the other end, props to the Orange on quickly recognizing Bryant’s limited mobility and attack a rather one-dimensional offense. Mentally absent? Bodyclock off due to a Friday evening game on the road? Fatigued from a 6th straight week of football? All of the above?

Anyways, lets get into the film and try to bear with the pain for another round:

FIRST QUARTER

 

First drive of the game. Why does it look like Clemson’s linebackers are playing with weights around their ankles? Sleepwalking early on. Missed gap and no urgency from DOD or Joseph to get involved.

 

 

A tackle that has to be made to force Syracuse to only 3 points. Instead, it’s a TD and momentum swings early.

 

 

Right side of the line pulls, opens a massive hole for Feaster to push through. Clemson inexplicably went away from the run game following this HUGE hole and subsequent touchdown, even though it would’ve made life much easier for the hobbled Bryant.

 

Communication on the offensive line has to be better. Both RT and RG pick up the blitzing defender, leaving the DE with an open shot on KB.

 

 

There haven’t been many coverage busts this season, but Dungey plays Tanner Muse out of position with his eyes. Hard to understand why Muse is favoring the left side of the field when there’s trips right.

 

 

Kelly Bryant shows his hand and Syracuse knows they don’t have to honor his legs anymore. Time to bring the heat.

 

 

Clemson runs read option on third down, but Syracuse already knows that Bryant isn’t a running threat. Odd playcall and it gets stuffed.

 

 

SECOND QUARTER

More poor communication leaves Bryant exposed to a big hit. 5 linemen pick up 4 Syracuse rushers.

 

 

More read option action, this time Syracuse goes right after Rodgers knowing that Bryant won’t keep.

 

 

The problems that Syracuse’s tempo can give, particularly when your a defense that often adjusts after seeing a formation. No time for Venables, call comes in late and Syracuse takes advantage of Clemson’s confusion.

 

 

Tough assignment for Clemson’s secondary as they faced the best receiving corps they have all season. Even tougher when being placed on an island against talented receivers. Venables brings a heavy blitz here on third down, leaving Mullen alone on Ishmail. Really hard to defend this.

 

Great design against an overly aggressive defense. With Clemson biting hard on the screens, Syracuse had their TE fake as if he was going to block, then turn upfield. Beat Clelin Ferrell the first time, and went back to the well again against Isaiah Simmons.

 

This is the moment in which Bryant really showed his lack of health. Typically a mobile guy who enjoys scrambling to avoid sacks, he gets rid of the ball as soon as possible to avoid any sort of physical contact. Follows that up by hobbling away from the play. In my opinion, this is time that Kelly needed to be removed from the game.

 

THIRD QUARTER

 

I know quite a few people were clamoring for Hunter Johnson on Friday night, but I’m not so sure Clemson wins even if he plays. That, and looking back Zerrick Cooper filled in rather respectably. Not perfect by any means, and I think his in game touch needs some work, but overall made some good reads and showed a very live arm. Solid job going through progressions below. Short throw, but Hunter Renfrow makes an absurd grab for the first down.

 

Cooper’s best throw of the nights. From the left hash to the sideline, this throw takes a LOT of arm strength to get there that quickly.

 

 

Really unbelievable lack of effort here from Clemson’s defense outside of K’Von Wallace. Unsure if dead legs or what, but nobody seemed intent on taking down Dungey, particularly #2 Mark Fields.

 

 

Syracuse finds their top receiving threat in man to man against a safety. Advantage Ishmael. Good recognition of the corner blitz by Dungey.

 

Clemson pulls linemen around to the outside again, similar to Feaster’s touchdown. This time it’s a giant hole for Travis Etienne, and we all wonder why the two guys who busted long TD runs were given a total of 12 carries. Criminal.

 

 

Another strong throw from Cooper, this time on the run. Would like to see Clemson’s screen game in the hands of Cooper or Johnson. Much more effective with a QB with a quick release and strong arm.

 

 

Would love to know what’s going on here. Third and long, game on the line, and man-to-man coverage is providing significant cushion downfield. Interested to know if this type of coverage was the coach’s call, or Fields just inexplicably giving cushion. Looks like Mullen up at the top of the screen is playing much tighter.

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