Grading the Tigers vs. Florida State
QUARTERBACKS- Woodrow Dantzler continues to look like a shell of his
old self as he struggles with a gimpy ankle. When Dantzler had running room
against Florida State he seemed unable to cut sharply and break arm tackles.
Despite entering the game with he outcome very much decided, Willie Simmons
again showed poise behind center despite hitting on only 7-16 passing.
RUNNING BACKS- Overlooked by most thanks to the Tigers' inflated margin
of defeat, Travis Zachery had a solid performance against the Seminoles, churning
out 76 yards on fourteen carries to go with Clemson's lone touchdown.
RECEIVERS- Justin Watts had a career evening against Florida State, pulling
down six passes for 65 yards, including two critical first down grabs while
the game was still within reason. Rod Gardner was again exceptional with three
receptions for 75 yards. Unfortunately for Gardner and Clemson, his 85-yard
catch and run for a touchdown was called back thanks to an illegal formation
OFFENSIVE LINE- Clemson struggled to establish a consistent running game
for most of the evening while Clemson passers were continually harassed by the
Florida State defense for five sacks. In short, the Seminoles effectively dominated
the Tiger offensive line with an awesome display of depth and talent.
DEFENSIVE LINE- Florida State rushed for 250 yards while a virtually
immobile Chris Weinke had loads of time to pick apart the Clemson secondary
for 521 yards passing. This area was a concern entering the game for the Tigers
and it will be continue to be a concern until Clemson finds a way to pressure
quarterbacks with four down linemen.
LINEBACKERS- Florida State running backs were able to explode for big
gains against what appeared to be a physically drained Clemson linebacking corps.
In short, ten straight games without a week off combined with lightening quick
Seminole runners equaled disaster for the Tiger linebackers.
SECONDARY- Thanks to an ineffective Clemson pass rush, a bad Tiger secondary
managed to look even worse against Weinke and the Seminoles. A 98-yard touchdown
pass to go along with an astonishing 521 yards passing allowed: if this isn't
rock bottom for this unit then statisticians might want to start using mileage
instead of yardage to track opposing passing totals.
SPECIAL TEAMS- Clemson's second-quarter fake field goal didn't work but,
considering the team's field goal woes, one can't fault the coaching staff for
taking a shot. Jamie Somaini's 75-yard punt was an absolute gem while Brian
Mance shined with his second explosive punt return in two weeks.
COACHING- Somewhat surprisingly, the Clemson offense has become fairly
predictable in the past few weeks, with the Tiger's relying on delayed running
plays and lob passes to Gardner and Kevin Youngblood throughout much of the
evening. Defensively, Clemson looked tired and overmatched against a Florida
State offense seemingly loaded with depth at every position. Regardless, allowing
a 98-yard passing touchdown is inexcusable in any situation, but particularly
when the opposing coach is the gambling patriarch of the Bowden family. It's
hard to imagine that Tommy Bowden isn't strongly considering making a change
at the defensive coordinator post for next season.
Grades: Offense- C Defense- F