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Florida State opponent review: Clemson at N.C. State

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This was a Thursday nighter in what ACC fans know is a very difficult place to play. Clemson did not play very well on offense, but did come away with the win over N.C. State. Of course, there was the little matter of a huge potentially blown call on the long N.C. State end around.

Game Film Review: Clemson @ NC State - Shakin The Southland
Watch this in tandem with the video.

Summarizing Thoughts

The way I see it, we have one two big issues preventing our defense from being called "good": safety play and tackling. We are good at neither, and you cannot hide it.

A good opponent with players can exploit the weakness we have at safety and if Blanks and Smith are not significantly improved, its going to become a shootout. They are improving, but there is a long way to go. The way our offense has played the last two weeks does not have me brimming with confidence. None of them have learned proper pursuit angles. Blanks is atrocious at tackling anyone in open space, which is not what I expected his problem would be this year. Aside from their actual tackling, they still aren't great at fitting gaps. Blanks himself said this week in an interview that his head was swimming in the 1st Q from the backfield shifting and motion -- don't think our opponents wouldn't see it on film.

If there is any big play its due to the safeties or our tackling, and we still give up far too many. I don't see a real solution that doesn't create a weakness. Breeland probably does not have the true speed of an NFL CB, and likely has more future at FS if he makes it to the next level, but we cannot afford moving him fulltime. Robert Smith seems to me to just be a player, and rarely will be one who would make you go "wow" with a play.

Then theres the issue of the penalty. Yes I saw the grainy picture posted that seems to show he's out. The video shows me he was in. The ref blew the call. Do I think Clemson still wins? Yes. I don't see anything on State's side that makes me think they would've beaten us, they couldn't stop the pass rush and Thomas sucks. They would not have gone for it on those 4th downs with a lead. It would've been closer, but Clemson should've won. The intangibles would've been in their favor, so you can't say with 100% certainty. That flip took the crowd out of the game.

Brightest spot was the DL pressure. It was good start to finish. Lawson, Beasley, and Crawford played really well. The DTs were solid inside, though I'm waiting for guys like Watson and Williams to step it up, and Reader hasn't progressed as swiftly as I thought he might. Jarrett has been the real force thus far. If our safeties look any better this year the credit may go chiefly to this group.

For the offense the problem is glaring, and it doesn't take a film review to see that RT is a major concern. I did not see Timothy get hit in any way to make me think he should've had a concussion, but I have been pointing to him for much longer than 1 game. He is not fast enough for the higher caliber ends you see in the big games. He can beat WF and BC but he isn't going to beat the best.

Shaq Anthony is fine once he engages with a guy, but from what I saw he was either playing the wrong protection or we called the wrong protection very often when he was in, which do you think it was? He's not a RT on a running team, not strong enough.

The best line going forward is with Battle at LT and Thomas at RT. If we're not able to throw Battle in by the FSU game I think we're going to have problems.

At WR, no one is stepping up yet, and it shows. Humph is not a downfield threat. We knew this already. At least 90% of his catches at Clemson have been screens. Bryant makes a few miracle plays and flubs just as many would-be great plays. He blocks like a sissy.

I'm coming around to the idea of Mike Williams getting much more PT at the 5 spot. Hopper's effort shows me he deserves at least a few more snaps. He at least tries to hit someone hard, unlike Bryant, who'd rather block like Xavier Dye.

The only other major issue from this game was the playcalling. I rarely disagree with The Chad but as many of you can see, he veers away from the run when its working to force Tajh to get in a groove by calling easy throws and letting him carry it himself. Tajh hasn't the last two games, partly due to the protection, partly due to some footwork, and the offense sputters. I think Tajh will get into a groove just as well if we can pound the rock at high tempo and then let him chuck a few. If the OL is really a strength, lets see them prove it.

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