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Odds and Ends || Week 4: Clemson Tigers ||

Brace yourself. Er'body up in this joint is injured. Well, at least on offense anyway. And it doesn't help FSU hasn't won a game in Death Valley since Bush:2, Sn:1. But as we distance ourselves farther and farther from the Lost Decade©, (reasonable) expectations are beginning to rebound. The defense performed valiantly in a 23-13 home loss last weekend, and as a whole this FSU squad has nothing to be ashamed of. However, the potent combination of injuries, officiating, and OU-execution proved too much for the home team. Fortunately, we play the very next week a completely inconsequential conference opponent, from which FSU does not need rest or healing from injuries to play at a high level for. Thanks goes out to ACC Basketball Commissioner John Swofford and new-Tennessee AD Dave Hart for their incredible scheduling efforts.

Offensive Odds

Check out DrB's Game Film review on last week's game vs. Auburn. FSU's defensive tackles really need to take advantage of RG Antoine McClain if he is as bad as STS says he is. Like FSU, their inside-zone runs are struggling.

Note that the zone-read is an inside-zone blocking scheme. And the zone-read is predicated on the movement of the RB-side DE (see picture). If Werner/Jenkins pinches down after the snap, the QB will pull back the ball from the gut of the crossing back in front of him and take off to the outside. If the DE stays home, the QB should hand it off as the offense has a numerical advantage from zone-blocking away from the DE. This is the bread-and-butter of the Chad Morris HUNHS offense.Zoneread1_medium

Morris abandoned the zone-read by the end of the game vs. Auburn, so I expect him to withdraw it from the playbook early against FSU. I expect Morris to look underneath for high % completions and hope that Sammy Watkins and co. can reel off a big one. FSU's back 7 will really need to step up like last week in terms of tackling and coverage. I like the line match-up of FSU's front 4 vs. Clemson's blocking.

Robert H. Brooks is the founder of Hooters and a Clemson alum. This why orange is their main color. And I mean Clemson's.

Defensive Ends

Clemson returned 7 starters this year, compared to FSU's 8. But FSU didn't lose its starting DT, DE, and CB to the 2nd round of the NFL draft, as well as another CB to the 6th round. Glad to see manquake Da'Quan Bowers leave early. He is easily the best DE to come out of the ACC since Mario Williams.

While I have every confidence in the schematic and coaching ability of former FSU LB and current Clemson DC Kevin Steele, their 2011 defense is suspect. From DrB's game film review on Junior safety Jonathan Meeks:

Meeks was everything they said he was in the preseason against the run. Against the pass, not so much. He's there, but he's not doing what he should be. He wants to hit, but at safety your job is to defend the pass as the last line of defense, let the CB jump on the double moves. He must use his eyes and play the position properly. Don't go for the big hit if you can't wrap up. Don't go for the INT if you see the man can make a play on the ball. Play defense.

Sounds like they've got a case of the Moodys.

I think FSU comes out better in the match-up of their DTs versus our interior OL. Though Brandon Thompson can be downright disruptive. Especially without EJ in the pocket, FSU won't be using the zone-read at all this Saturday. Fortunately, we've been good at pass protection along the interior...that is, when teams haven't delayed-blitz from the middle of the field. So we'll definitely see that repeat call this week. Steele isn't stupid.

How about a prediction, smart-ass

Coin-flip, really. But if FSU's D can score, I like our chances. If FSU's O can score, I like our chances.