|by David Hood|
At Clemson, however, football is never really over, and because I had a little extra free time I wanted to take a few hours and go back and watch the Orange Bowl. Go to the video tape, as it were. Our seats in the press box at Clemson are great, and we can see just about everything we need to see, but at the Orange Bowl our seats allowed us to see one thing really well…the Ohio St. sideline.
As a result, people who were watching at home on television had a better seat for the game than the media. Our seats - if you went into the endzone that Clemson had in the second and third quarters, go to the corner where Martavis Bryant juggled and caught the fade pass and go to the back pylon. From there, draw a line at an angle from that far corner and you have the media seats. They got the job done, but were horrible for seeing the line of scrimmage.
I sat down Monday morning, remote in hand, and watched the game, and was amazed at how much I didn’t see.
For instance – wide receiver Adam Humphries got a lot of grief from fans after the game at South Carolina, and he didn’t have a single catch in the Orange Bowl. However, I noticed one thing on the bubble screens that Sammy Watkins caught – Humphries was downfield blocking his butt off on almost every one of those plays. Sometimes it’s good to go back and watch the tape.
Here are some of the plays I watched, with the YouTube clips from the first quarter. We will do additional quarters this week:
*On Clemson’s first touchdown, Tajh Boyd gets credit for the longest run of his career. However, this highlight belongs to right guard Tyler Shatley and left tackle Brandon Thomas. Shatley pulls into the gap and blocks linebacker Ryan Shazier (No. 2), and this is the block that really springs Boyd, who runs behind Shatley on the play. Thomas left the defensive end to left guard and Kalon Davis and fullback Darrell Smith, helped out center Ryan Norton with defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (92), then kicks over to block linebacker Camren Williams (55).
*There were times when defensive coordinator Brent Venables stood up both defensive ends at the line of scrimmage, and there were times when one defensive end would stand up. On this play, Vic Beasley is in a 2-point stance, and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett explodes off the guard and tackles running back Carlos Hyde. Jarrett was all over the place in this game, and even though the analyst talks about Braxton Miller on this play, just watch Jarrett (No. 50).
*The famous Vic Beasley penalty on the first drive – he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, and I first thought he was called for a throat slash. As it turns out, he was copying the Cam Newton Superman move. I have no idea if the official thought it was a throat slash, or if he just threw the flag because he really thought Vic was taunting. Different officials allow different levels of celebration, but the lesson learned is that you should save the celebrations for the sidelines with your coaches and teammates.
*Miller’s first quarter touchdown run was a thing of beauty, whether you are an Ohio St. fan or Clemson fan. Miller takes the snap, and fakes the handoff to running back Dontre Wilson, who had lined up in the slot on the play. Beasley was standing up on this play, and because he didn’t react right away he was knocked out of the play by the left tackle. Middle linebacker Stephone Anthony followed the running back, and safety Robert Smith got too far up field (following the running back as well) and can’t get back over to Miller fast enough to make the play. SAM linebacker Quandon Christian followed the fake just long enough to get blocked by the center, and he makes a valiant effort to catch up with Miller, but by then it was too late. A lot of moving parts, and the fake worked, which is why having a quarterback who can run is so valuable.
*Here is an example of the blocking out on the perimeter by Clemson’s receivers and tight ends. This is a 27-yard completion from Boyd to Watkins, but the play starts with a nice block by Humphries, who lined up in the slot, on safety Von Bell (11). Tight end Sam Cooper, who came in motion on the play, allows Watkins to get free with a great block on the corner.
*Clemson’s second touchdown – the pass from Boyd to Watkins – looked all too easy. I can’t tell if Bell (a former Clemson recruit making his first start at safety) was supposed to have help on the back end of this or not, but he thought he did. Watkins lines up in the slot, and Bell tries to jam him, misses the jam and Watkins just races past him for the easy score.
*A late first quarter drive might allow Stephone Anthony to go to work for the CIA. Why? Because he played the part of a spy to perfection on the drive. On the first play of this clip, Beasley flushes Miller from the pocket, but Miller escapes and is chased down by Anthony, who takes a great angle on the play and limits Miller to just three yards. Two plays later – still acting as a spy – Anthony bats down Miller’s third down pass. I wish we would have seen more of that against South Carolina.
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org