|Monday, September 24, 2012, 10:00 AM- -|
We learned a lot about both Clemson and Florida State Saturday in an electric atmosphere in Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
We learned that Florida State's offense is much better than we previously thought. The Seminoles have weapons in their backfield with Chris Thompson and James Wilder, Jr in the running game. FSU is much better at wide out as well. They have an extremely deep wide receiver corps that pressures the secondary. The Noles are much improved along the offensive line. This was a unit that has been a weakness in recent years but you can't say that anymore. And finally, E.J. Manuel is much improved.
Defensively FSU might not be as dominant as we thought. Clemson hit the Noles up for 37 points and over 400 yards of total offense. FSU is deep and played much better in the fourth quarter but this defense is not the best in the country as we previously thought.
For the Tigers we learned this offense can play with anyone. In the first 35 minutes of this game
Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL
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We also learned that you can't give up big plays in the kicking game and expect to beat the fourth ranked team in the country on the road. I was extremely disappointed that Clemson could not kick the ball through the end zone and gave up huge chunk plays in the kicking game.
We also got confirmation of our biggest fear. The Tigers have major issues on defense. Clemson's defensive line was handled all night. The front four could not pressure Manuel and they were not a factor in the running game.
Clemson's linebackers were invisible most of the night. The Tigers' linebackers got blocked in the running game and exposed in the passing game.
The Tiger secondary is just awful. Bad angles, missed tackles and the exploitation of their athleticism showed up again Saturday night.
I have said several times this season that Clemson is not very talented on defense. They lack depth in some areas. They lack experience in some areas. They lack athleticism in some areas.
Considering the defensive line, linebackers and secondary all contributed to the loss last night, it confirmed our thoughts that the Tigers have issues at all three levels.
Last night was also a lesson in the power of momentum. Clemson grabbed the momentum early and held it for the first 35 minutes of the game. But once it turned, it turned in a big way. They Tigers fought hard but had no answers in battling the tidal wave of momentum that crushed them in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Finally, this was a lesson in the power of recruiting. Florida State was the better team last night. Jimbo Fisher and his staff have done a great job of building their program by signing a dump truck load of four and five star athletes. Clemson has recruited well but FSU simply has more depth and more talent at this point, especially on defense.
If you wanted to know a big difference in the program right now you could look at a one major factor from Saturday night that was a snapshot for the entire game. FSU was able to pressure Boyd with its front four without sending any additional pressure. This allowed their linebackers to get into their pass defense quicker. Several times five star linebacker Christian Jones was running down the middle of the of the field with Clemson wide outs in coverage. That kind of speed and athleticism are rare
Meanwhile, Clemson's defensive front could not do the same and the Tiger linebackers were getting blocked in the running game and exposed in the passing game. FSU was able to be balanced on offense throughout the game and Clemson was turned one dimensional in the second half.
In the end Clemson lost and no loss is a good loss. I was pleased with the big plays and game plan on offense. I was also pleased about how hard the Tigers played in a hostile environment against a great football team. However, I am extremely concerned about this defense going forward. At this point it appears Clemson is going to have to outscore the remaining eight regular season opponents.
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Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
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