Topic: Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial
Replies: 14   Last Post: Oct 18, 2018 11:37 PM by: Completely Solid Orange®
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Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 11:46 AM

possessions from all 6 games and logged the opening plays. None of these drives netted any points, but I'm lowering the bar here and just looking for what went right on the drives where we at least picked up multiple first downs. I did this with an eye on successful plays as defined by Bill Connelly.

First downs: gaining at least 50 percent of necessary yardage (usually 5 yards) is successful.
Second downs: gaining at least 70 percent of necessary yardage is successful.
Third or fourth downs: gaining at least 100 percent of necessary yardage is successful.

1st & 10 - PA to ETN, KB sprints out right and throws INC at Renfrow's feet a bit past the sticks
2nd & 10 - RPO fumble, KB recovers and gets 4
3rd & 6 - Curl to Higgins for 7 to convert
1st & 10 - Toss left to ETN for 9
2nd & 1 - Deep shot INC to Tee
3rd & 1 - Read option to ETN for no gain
4th & 1 - Read option (i think) to ETN for 5
1st & 10 - Sweep to Rodgers for 6
2nd & 4 - Screen to Renfrow for no gain
3rd & 4 - Short cross to Powell thrown at his feet by Bryant. Good throw here likely converts
4th & 4 - Deep shot to Powell INC

Summary - 2 unsuccessful plays put us in 3rd and long, but Bryant and Higgins are able to convert. Nice 1st down run by Etienne allows for a deep shot on 2nd down and an eventual conversion. The drive ultimately ends on a failed 4th down conversion but started pretty well.

Texas A&M
1st & 10 - Screen to Amari for loss of 1
2nd & 11 - Read option give to ETN for 3
3rd & 8 - Sack. I think RG got beat immediately

Summary - 2 unsuccessful plays put us in 3rd and long again, but this time KB doesn't even have a chance to throw.

Georgia Southern
1st & 10 - Straight handoff to ETN 7
2nd & 3 - PA to Renfrow for 13
1st & 10 - Quick out to Tee for 5
2nd & 5 - Straight handoff to ETN for 8
1st & 10 - Deep shot INC to Rodgers. Amari was wide open early, but the ball was thrown too late
2nd & 10 - QB draw for no gain
3rd & 10 - Pass to Galloway for 20
1st & 10 - Screen pass intercepted

Summary - All 4 plays to open the drive were successful. We got off schedule after that but converted with a nice throw on 3rd and long. The screen pass was read all the way by the DB on the INT. I think he broke on it before KB even released the ball.

Georgia Tech
1st & 10 - PA to ETN with jet sweep motion from Amari. Pass to Amari for 8. I feel like we used to run this play more
2nd & 2 - Straight handoff to ETN for 2
1st & 10 - ETN lines up in the slot and drops a pass over the middle that would've gained about 5. This is the play Scott references in the article today, but honestly this was a hot throw that hit Etienne up high shortly after he turned around. You would expect a WR to make this catch, but that's a tough play for a RB that the staff knows doesn't have incredible hands.
2nd & 10 - Throw to Milan for 1
3rd & 9 - Sack

Summary - Two successful plays to pick up a 1st down, but then we get behind the chains again and give up a sack on 3rd and long.

Syracuse Lawrence now starting and in for opening series
1st & 10 - Higgins over the middle for 19
1st & 10 - Read option fumble lost

Summary - There's not much here to evaluate, but this was definitely a more aggressive approach on the 1st play of the game with Lawrence at QB. The read option fumble was obviously a disaster.

Wake Forest
1st & 10 - Screen to Amari for 1
2nd & 9 - Screen to ETN dropped. This likely would've gone for a loss if caught
3rd & 9 - Pass to Williams for 3

Summary - More unsuccessful plays on 1st and 2 down and another 3rd and long that we can't convert.

Themes / Takeaways
The most obvious issue has been unsuccessful plays on 1st and 2nd down that put us in 3rd and long. On the 1st and 2nd down plays leading up to punts (and the turnover on downs against Furman) we had 1 successful play out of 8. That resulted in just one 3rd and short and that one really should've been converted with a better throw by KB. The other three 3rd downs were all 8+ and resulted in 2 sacks and a pass way short of the sticks. The other 2 drives both ended on turnovers, 1 on a blown up screen pass and 1 on a botched read option exchange.

On the other side of that, we were 4/5 picking up first downs when our 1st and/or 2nd down play was successful. That's kind of what you would expect though. Good plays on 1st and 2nd down often lead to 1st downs and poor plays that put you in 3rd and long result in punts. There's not much to say about that other than the obvious "do better on 1st and 2nd down." That's something the staff is going to have to figure out.

As far as individual plays go, it's hard not to the notice the lack of success with the screens, read options, and RPOs. I know those are the plays that many have been critical of, and there certainly seems to be evidence here that they are, at the least, not successful early in games. I don't have the time nor the desire to watch entire games to evaluate all of them, but these are the results from those plays on our opening possessions:

Screens (5): 0, -1, INT, 1, INC. That's 3/5 for 0 yards and 1 INT on a variety of screen passes including one out in the flat to ETN that was dropped but likely would've gone for a loss if completed.

Read options (4): 0, 5, 3, -5 and a lost fumble. That's 4 carries for 3 yards and a turnover.

RPOs (1): 4 yards on a recovered fumble. Bad exchange but KB avoids disaster by recovering and gaining 4. Please note that i may have missed an RPO or two somewhere. I'm not a professional at analyzing film. The one i did pick up on was a read option with a screen to Renfrow attached to it.

In total that's 10 plays (out of 32 total) for 7 yards and 2 turnovers plus another recovered fumble. Only 1 of those 10 plays would be considered a "successful play" by the definition at the top of this post and that was a 4th down conversion by ETN against Furman that went for 5 yards.

The sample size is certainly small, but those plays have accounted for about 1/3 of our total plays on opening drives and it certainly seems like, on the screens in particular, that the opposing defenses are keying on them. The biggest problem with the read option has really been terrible execution.

Nothing in particular really jumps out at me on our successful plays aside from the fact that 4 traditional gives to Etienne went for 9, 7, 8, 2, and we had a couple of nice plays to Rodgers off the sweep action - one on a handoff and one on a little pass after play action.

Make of all of this what you will.

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This is a freaking excellent post and deserves many points.***

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 11:50 AM

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Strong out of the chute is a sure sign of a Champion..

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 11:57 AM

and we’re not there, yet but hopefully soon. ??

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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!

Re: Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 12:01 PM

great analysis. we need to move the stakes and put together drives. Sometimes taking positive yardage and not going for the home run is better. On third down convert to keep the drive going. I'd also like to see us play action pass more on the early downs


It looks to me like we've become very predictable...

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 12:26 PM

particularly on the first couple of possessions on offense.

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Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

Could it be, regardless of successfulness, they are

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 12:43 PM

running a few simple plays to see how the defense wants to play us? I think the success of the running game without having to run the QB the last 2 games will drastically change the way we play on offenses and it will now be "pick your poison" for future DCs.

Load up the box to stop the run and TL will pick apart the secondary.

Drop back and play coverage and the RBs will run wild.

Throw in a few screen and quick pitches just to keep them guessing.

I hated to see the decision KB made but it might have been the best thing to happen for this offense. Should be a fun second half!

Go Tigers!

^^^ this is how it's done Spruce

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 12:44 PM

Oh, too late you already got ban hammered.

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Impressive efforts. My compliments to you.***

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 1:21 PM

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Re: Impressive efforts. My compliments to you.***

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 2:07 PM

I believe I saw a successful tight end pass in the scenarios. Wow - Why don't we use them ??? Makes no sense.

Re: Regarding slow offensive starts, I watched our initial

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 2:13 PM

Wow, is that you Tim Bourret? Impressive!

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Re: Shorter version

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 8:20 AM

Screens and Read Option not working.

Awesome post, btw.

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May 6, 2020: "I know I went to Clemson and got a degree, prob more than you ever did. And I bet my IQ is higher than yours too !" sociologycoot843

Thanks for the PBP recap but disagree

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 9:40 AM

With a few assessments or lack of explanation on a few plays. Namely, the dropped ETN screens - the key word is dropped - that is execution and not play calling. The one against GT is AT least 5 if he breaks no tackles- he turns and breaks one and there is no telling how far he runs. Regardless it puts us ahead vs behind the sticks. The one against WF was not going to be a loss. Simpson was there for the kick out block had it been caught(again- lack of execution). That block puts ETN in space 1v 1 with a LB who is coming from the inside 7-10 yds away - total mismatch. The screen interception against GS was a FR TE not making a block - plain and simple(a FR WR next to him also could have prevented it from happening). The screen “failures” have been mostly on #### poor execution. They are a vital part to our offense for several reasons - just a few being-

-part of 15 or so scripted plays to see how a D is approaching certain personnel groupings, alignments and defending certain plays to figure out what we need to call moving forward
-move players out of the box - spread the d horizontally
- cause the DL and LBs to run 20-30 yds on a play so that we can rip off 50 yd runs in the 2nd half against a tired D
-show various looks and /or lull future opponents into seeing a certain tendencies. -
-we will need to be executing them proficiently to slow down rushes from better teams down the road- namely Bama

I know people make a lot of chess-checker jokes but it’s really not a joke. Football stopped being checkers in the 70s. People like Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier made #### sure everyone would be playing chess from here on out. Unfortunately, it seems like a large chunk of our fanbase either thinks we are or should be playing checkers.

Heck - even Dabo makes reference to NCSU having a certain % of their plays that look to be designed for the purpose of future opponents - not the current game

Thanks again for the breakdown. Not an attack on you - just some supplemental info/context to what you posted

You can play chess without throwing away

Posted: Oct 18, 2018 1:13 PM

your first 3 possessions. You can play chess and be aggressive and own the initiative. In fact, what you are talking about is more like checkers than chess. In chess, you want to force your opponent to react to you. In checkers, you want the other guy to make the first mistake. What we are doing is simply moving pieces around to see what we can get away with. We are absolutely not putting defenses on their heels from the start of the game.

At the end of the day, winning football games is about scoring as many points as you can on offense, and limiting the other teams points as much as possible on defense.

Repeatedly ineffective screens and delayed shotgun tosses are not a prerequisite to opening up other parts of the field. Obviously the screens are valuable, if they are combined with aggressive play-calling, but if we are simply using them to take little nibbles of yardage because it's safe, then that is absolutely playing checkers instead of chess.

Wake Forest wasn't demolished by us because of our first 3 drives set something else up later. We demolished Wake when we tossed our approach to the side and began actually using our direct advantages over them. That and they literally ran out of linebackers. Like, they didn't have any linebackers left, not even reserves.

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Seems to me it's not the play calling, its a lack of

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 10:06 AM


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There's something in these hills.

I was doing something similar yesterday, but you definitely

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 11:20 AM

put more work in than I did, so kudos.

I did actually try to go over all of the plays of the first half of 'Cuse and Wake, or at least until TL got injured. In the Cuse game on the third drive (technically because of the 2 play drive that ended in a fumble as you noted), we actually did some nice things with screens. Was it a function of play calling at the right time? Not sure, but it went like this:

ETN inside hand-off, 1st down
ETN hand-off for 4
TL steps up into pocket, throws deep down sideline just out of bounds
Short out pass to Tee for 5, punt
--third series, starting at CLEM 40, 5:03 left in 1st--
Option to Feaster for 9
Option to Feaster for 2, 1st down
pop pass to Rodgers on the sweep for 8
screen to Rodgers for 12, 1st down
PA w/ ETN, out pass to Tee for 9
Screen to Renfrow for 12, 1st down
Fade to Ross overthrown
Option to ETN that's bottled up, facemask. 1st and goal at 4
Choice inside run
Choice inside run to the 1
Jumbo package touchdown

These things were moving the ball effectively and our execution was better until we got really close to the goal line. I think the screen game can be effective, but we need to establish the run more first. Wake also may have keyed on that early, as we ran a total of 6 plays in the first two series and then we ran 11 on the third against Cuse.

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