|Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 1:30 PM- -|
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Tuesday blog was a review of the video from the previous Saturday. However, two things happened and I will not be able to do a complete video review today. First, my DVR had issues and some of the game did not record. Second, I did not want to subject myself to having to watch that defense again yesterday. Like our government, I am against torture.
So I decided to take a look at every aspect of the defense and look into the issues.
Clemson's defense is 68th in the country in scoring defense. They are 93rd in the country in total defense. The Tigers are 100th in the nation against the run. They are 73rd in the country against the pass. Clemson is 101st in the nation in sacks and 81st in tackles for loss.
The Major Issues
The biggest problem is talent. Clemson lacks talent on the defensive line. This means the line can't produce a pass rush by rushing just the front four. This means if pressure is applied, it has to come from additional blitzers. The issues on the defensive line means the defense has problems stopping the run up front and the offensive linemen are able to get to the second level and get on the linebackers.
Like the defensive line, the linebackers are not getting off of blocks. They are running into blocks in fact. The linebackers don't appear to have great instincts and have a hard time finding the football.
The secondary lacks athleticism. They are not quick enough and have a hard time stopping and changing direction. The defensive backs also take poor angles in run support and too often miss tackles. In pass coverage often times the defensive backs have lacked ball skills and have been unable to make plays on the ball.
Things aren't well if you have problems at all three levels of the defense. Clemson can't shut down the run and offenses are able to become balanced against the Tigers. To make things worse, I think the defense plays to high and thus, tackles too high.
I don't blame the scheme for much of what is wrong with the defense.
Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
View Full Profile has been too successful for too long. He is a highly thought of coordinator and linebacker coach. Marion HobbyMarion Hobby
Assistant Coach / Defensive Ends
View Full Profile , Dan BrooksDan Brooks
Assistant Coach / Defensive Line
View Full Profile and Charlie HarbisonCharlie Harbison
View Full Profile are all highly respected coaches that have won a bunch of championships.
I hear some make wise cracks about bringing back the past two defensive coordinators. I would be for that if we can also bring back
Jarvis JenkinsJarvis Jenkins
Sr. Defensive Tackle
#99 6-4, 315
View Full Profile , Gaines Adams (RIP), DaQuan BowersDaQuan Bowers
Sr. Defensive End
#93 6-4, 277
View Full Profile , Andre BranchAndre Branch
#40 6-5, 260
View Full Profile , Crezdon ButlerCrezdon Butler
# 6-0, 180
View Full Profile , Byron MaxwellByron Maxwell
#36 6-1, 205
North Charleston, SC
View Full Profile , Chris ChancellorChris Chancellor
# 5-9, 163
View Full Profile , DeAndre McDanielDeAndre McDaniel
#2 6-1, 180
View Full Profile , Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
#98 6-2, 310
View Full Profile and Michael HamlinMichael Hamlin
#25 6-3, 205
View Full Profile . The previous two coordinators had a ton of talent to work with. That is not the case this season.
The staff missed on a bunch of players in recent years on defense. The secondary is the biggest example of this. Two four stars are no longer with the program but would have never played. Two other four star starters have not developed in my opinion. Maybe those were misevaluated and is another example of bad evaluations.
This has to be a big concern. Clemson's two deep on defense consists of two five stars, nine four stars and 11 three stars. I don't think those numbers have developed and shown results in the field.
Clemson has two five star linebackers that have not played like five stars yet. Both are young and one is fighting injuries but neither have been five stars on the field yet.
Clemson has three four star defensive ends that also have not played up to their potential yet.
The defensive tackles are young and inexperienced. The five defensive tackles listed on the two deep are three sophomores and two freshmen. Coming into the season the entire group had combined for 22 tackles and two starts.
The secondary is still the biggest concern. There are three seniors at safety that have not played well so far this season. Missed tackles, blown coverages and misplayed balls have shown up too often.
In summary, here is what I see. The defensive ends have been disappointing. These are highly recruited players that have not played well so far in their careers. The defensive tackles lack experience. The linebackers have not developed. The defensive backs lack athleticism. As a whole, there are too many missed tackles and blown coverages.
The answers come in the form of recruiting. Three years ago we complained about the wide outs. Because of recruiting at that position, no one is complaining now.
Help is coming. Robert Nkemdiche will help immediately at defensive end. Scott Pagano will help at defensive tackle.
Kellen JonesKellen Jones
#52 6-1, 215
View Full Profile is red-shirting this season but will start next year. Hopefully the Tigers can sign Montravius Adams to help a defensive tackle.
D.J. ReaderD.J. Reader
Fr. Defensive Tackle
#48 6-3, 335
View Full Profile has promise at defensive tackle but he is still a freshman. Travis BlanksTravis Blanks
Fr. Defensive Back
#11 6-1, 190
View Full Profile is a talented freshmen as well.
But those are long term answers. In the short term, I am not sure if there are any answers. This is another season where the offense may have to outscore a lot of opponents.
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