December 13, 2018

#ThrowbackThursday – Louisville 2014

Clemson vs. Louisville 2014 – Clemson wins without an offensive touchdown as Adam Humphries takes a punt back, Gary Peters blasts Reggie Bonnafon and the defense makesa late goal line stand.

One position no one is talking about

Clemson defensive back Cordrea Tankersley (25) during the annual Spring game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

Clemson defensive back Cordrea Tankersley (25) during the annual Spring game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.

With the focus of the Clemson Nation and media on the Tigers replacing Vic Beasley, Stephone Anthony and Grady Jarrett, there’s very little talk about the corner position opposite Mackenzie Alexander being a huge, gaping unknown.

Gary Peters didn’t get the accolades of Beasley, Anthony or Jarrett, but his play, both in numbers and through the eye ball test, tell the story of an unsung mainstay of the top defense in the land.

After sitting out the Georgia game due to a suspension, Peters started the remaining 12 games, seeing 691 snaps on the field while accumulating 45 tackles, 7 assists, 8 tackles for loss including 2 sacks, 15 passes broken up (next closest was 6), 2 quarterback pressures and an interception.

Peters also led the defense in stopping opponents (chart on right) from gaining first downs on 3rd and 4th downs in 2014, being involved in 15 such stops and edging Jarrett in that category.

Tim Bourret did a good job of detailing how opponents shied away from Alexander in 2014, which means Peters was often the target.

The summer depth chart listed seldom used reserve Cordrea Tankersley (158 snaps in 2 seasons) ahead of sophomore Ryan Carter who has a grand total 3 snaps of experience.  Popular thought has 4 star true freshman Mark Fields (10th rated cornerback, 113 player overall per contending for playing time here.

Tankersley saw a 2014 season high 36 snaps with Peters suspended against Georgia, but never topped 24 for the rest of the season and had 6 games where his only participation was on special teams, where he totaled 7 tackles.

Whether its Tankersley, Fields or someone else that ultimately fills this void we can confidently surmise teams will avoid Alexander’s area with regularity, putting pressure on the corner position where Peters quietly performed game in and game out without fanfare.


Final 2014 Defensive Success Rates – Total, Rushing, Passing

Success rates for Clemson opponents by game by type of play.

Interesting note, after struggling a bit against the pass in the first four games, the Clemson pass defense held 7 of their last 9 opponents to 25.7% or lower in the passing game.
2014 Football Defensive Success All 13

2014 Football D Rush Success 13

2014 Football D Pass Success 13

Peters, Jarrett lead way on 3rd and 4 downs

The data below is taken from the defensive play by play and shows tackles, assists and passes defensed when an opposing team did not gain a first down on 3rd or 4th down.

3rd and 4th Down D Final

Third Down Defense by Distance

Clemson is currently ranked 3rd nationally in 3rd down defense. Here’s how the Tigers stack up by distance on opponent 3rd downs in 2014.

3rd Down D by Distance 2014 12 Chart3rd Down D by Distance 2014 12 Graph

Episode 33: Talking Russell Athletic Bowl with Brandon Rink

Brandon Rink of joins me to discuss  the Russell Athletic Bowl, previews Oklahoma, provides us his keys to a Tiger win and gives us a prediction.

You can also download current and previous episodes and subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Thanks to Brandon for participating and Clemson graduate Adam Eargle for the podcast artwork and all SUR graphics.  Need a graphic artist? Check out some of Adam’s work here.


3rd and 4th Down Stops

Who makes the tackles and breaks up passes on 3rd and 4th down to stop opponent drives? The information is taken from official play by play information and includes players listed as the first and second tacklers along with those credited for passes defensed on 3rd and 4th down plays where the opponent was not successful.Defensive Stops 2014 12

Jarrett, Peters Leading Third and Fourth Down D

The information below is taken from the play by play detail of each game and shows tackles and passes defensed on 3rd and 4th down where the opponent failed to make a first down.

Stephone Anthony had 3 such stops vs. Wake Forest.

Defensive Stops 2014 9A

Defensive Stops on 3rd and 4th Down – 8 Games

The defense continues to be led by  Gary Peters and Grady Jarrett on third and fourth downs.

In an interesting (perhaps only to me) note, Josh Watson was credited with two passes defensed (both were third downs) from his defensive tackle position in the first quarter of the Syracuse game.Defensive Stops 2014 8

Defensive Stops on 3rd and 4th Down

Over the last 3 games the Clemson defense has held opponents to 6 of 45 on third downs (13.3%) and now leads the nation in third down conversion percentage defense.

A bad face mask penalty aside, Gary Peters continues to excel.

Defensive Stops 2014 7