Roy Martin E-Mail Bag


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Roy Martin answers some of your emails about his Boston College postgame analysis article.


Roy,
The problem with your take on the final 1:19 of regulation is that you assume we had a plan. The pass on first down was a screen and essential was going no where, just like the 10 other screens we had run. The coaches need to decide, are we going for the win or , are we going to run the clock. I could live with either. The problem is they did neither , and should have lost in regulation. If you pass on first down , in my mind you have decided to go for the win, and you must continue to try to put your team in a position to win the game.
Why would you not do everything possible to get Dean a shot? He is one of the strengths of the team . You should have gone for the win in regulation, if for no other reason , just to keep your punter and the snapper off the field.
BC turned their backup QB loose and let him try to make plays. He made some mistakes, but he also made some winning plays in a hostile environment. We on the other hand decided that our 5th year senior need not take his shots. The opportunity to play FSU with a shot at playing in Jacksonville for the ACC, demanded more of our coaching staff and they let the players and the fans down. For what ever reason, the BC coaches understood what was on the line and let their backup go for it.
There are better things than a 3rd tier bowl game and you have to take your shots to get there. BC did.


I'm not sure what you mean when you say the coaches didn't have a plan.
It's not like they asked one of the reserves to point to the playlist and they chose the play on which his finger fell. I think the fact they burned what would have been very valuable time for BC is proof positive that they had a plan.


I inferred from your comments that you believe Clemson tried a screen on the first play of that drive. If I am incorrect in interpreting what you said, I apologize and what I'm about to say loses some meaning.


They did not try one of the screens that you feel don't work. It was a 5-8 yard out to Aaron Kelly that was a little off. A completion there would have likely been a 10 yard gain with the clock stopping because he gets out of bounds. That would have changed the entire outlook of that final drive because Clemson then has the ball at their own 41 or so with timeouts remaining and over a minute on the clock. I know it sounds crazy but that extra ten yards or so could have made all the difference in the world.


I gave very specific details as to why I think the clock management on that drive was good. You obviously don't agree and I doubt there's much I can do or say to change your mind. I understand.


As for BC turning their 2nd string QB loose, don't forget that he started their bowl game last year and was the odds-on favorite to be the starter before Porter, who is a fifth-year senior, beat him out. Ryan is no slouch.
The BC staff was able to put the game in his hands because he was getting time to throw. The same cannot be said for Charlie. I think you're making an apples and oranges comparison.


I do appreciate you taking the time to pass along your thoughts and hope you will do more of the same in the future. It's always good to hear different opinions.


Roy, I have found your articles to be very informative. To the average fan
it's sometimes hard to see what's happening at every position in the course of a
game. Keep up the good work. I like hearing both sides of the story, good and
bad! Go Tigers!

I appreciate the kind words. Please pass along any thoughts you have in the
future. Criticism is just as good as praise because it helps me write better
articles.

Roy, The third down regulation call was GUTLESS and playing not to lose.
We were very lucky to be in the game at all (25 First Downs vs 15) and did not
deserve to win the game but we could have stolen it right then. How can you
defend the third down power formation and run call in overtime. Our line was
physically being beaten on almost every play and you and Spence think you should
bunch everyone up and run directly into a sellout blitz. As the Guinness
commercials says: BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT. Thanks for letting me vent.

First, I don't think Clemson did not deserve to win the game. Yes, they
didn't play up to their capabilities, but they committed only two penalties,
forced two turnovers, and fought like hell most of the day. Had they won the
game I think it would have been because they earned it in many regards. I never
actually defended the specific play call. I said that running the ball was a
good move but I think a play that wasn't as slow to develop would have been more
appropriate. Even so, the players simply have to find a way to get it done in
that situation. BC didn't have 12 or 13 players on the field and they didn't
stack everyone to the side of the run. They just wanted it more on that play. I
appreciate you taking the time to pass along your thoughts. Please do the same
in the future.

Roy, I disagree with the impossibility of our wide receivers not being
able to come up with big plays, if the players aren't given the chance to make
the plays how can we ever assume that they can't make it. I believe it is more
about giving them the opportunity to make the catches.

The WRs have been given a number of chances to make plays. They either
haven't come through or didn't do a good enough job of getting open on many of
those occasions. Chansi Stuckey should have made the catch on the opening play
against Miami. Yes, it was a tough catch but those are the types of plays the
WRs have to make in order for them to be a threat. Aron Kelly dropped a pass on
a slip screen against Miami that would have almost certainly gone for a TD.
Rendrick Taylor dropped a ball last week that may have gone for a score but, at
the very least, would have put Clemson near the goal line. Bobby Williamson
dropped a perfect pass in OT. Spence and Bowden both said earlier this week that
the young guys (Grisham, Taylor, Kelly) all had some mental mistakes that really
hurt last week. All the blame shouldn't be put on the WRs and I'm not intending
to do that. I'm merely pointing out that they must make plays when given the
opportunity regardless of how long or short the route may be. They must also do
the things required of them when they don't have the ball. The only person who
has consistently done either to date is Curtis Baham. Again, I think that is a
result of experience. I appreciate you taking the time to pass along your
thoughts. Please feel free to always do the same in the future.



Roy, Great perspective on Clemson's performance thus far - hope the kids read
it and gain that sense of urgency that Tommy's teams somehow fail to maintain
for each of their eleven guaranteed games. Lack of leadership on the field has
been noticeably absent during Bowden's tenure - perhaps his personality
discourages it. Keep up the good work - hopefully you'll have better things to
write about in the coming weeks.

I have spoken with several players numerous times and they all view Bowden as
a solid leader and like the things he does to motivate the team. His personality
doesn't discourage leadership. In fact, his willingness to let the players have
a lot of control encourages leadership. He doesn't try to micromanage every
aspect. I appreciate you taking the time to pass along your thoughts. Please
continue to do so in the future.

Roy, You are right on target. The game was ugly and the Tigers have lost
that fire. The play calling was terrible and I believe Charlie Whitehurst should
be pulled for a series or 2 when he is throwing in the dirt.



You and I disagree on the play calling, at least the play calling as a
whole, but we are both entitled to our opinions. I also disagree with your
assertion that Charlie needs to be pulled after throwing a couple of
incompletions. That would send a message that the staff has no faith in the
team's most prominent leader and it also does him no good. The best thing for
most QBs when they are misfiring is to keep throwing until they get a completion
or two to build their confidence. I thank you for taking the time to pass along
your thoughts. Please continue to do the same in the future.

Roy, I enjoy your articles as they are insightful and usually pretty
dead-on. I do however, disagree with your assessment of the defense. While I was
frustrated with the offensive production, the reality is our receivers and line
are average (by big-time college standards), QB/RB's slightly above average.
Against a BC defense, we did about as expected. My issue is the scheme Vic ran
ALL day. Our defensive scheme essentially reduces Hill to an also-ran and limits
Fudge's aggressiveness while placing more pressure on an average front seven. BC
had a 2nd string QB and we played man-to-man about 4 times all day, blitzed even
less and the guy was made to look like a coming all-american. The receivers for
BC just sat down in the pockets of the zone ALL day and we made no adjustments.
Unbelievable to me (and many others). While holding BC to 10 points is
outstanding, the bend but don't break philosophy is not Clemson football. Our D
needs the confidence to make big plays - you don't get that by playing with a
"lets keep them out of the end-zone" mentality. You said no one has stepped up
as the leader; I agree. Where we disagree is that Vic's scheme creates a mindset
that does not lend itself to leadership, just consensus. While this was
difficult to see and swallow, I think Tommy is making most of the right moves
and seems to be following Beamer's long-term strategy. He's had to learn to be
his own man without his Dad or Rich, which has taken him some time to come to
terms with. If he stays another 2-3 years, we'll be very, very solid every year
and outstanding every 3-5 years. Thanks again for listening to my complaints and
your support of the Tigers!



I appreciate your kind words. You are correct in saying Clemson did not play
a lot of man. I think Koenning's reasoning is he has a fairly young secondary
and linebackers. You have to be careful how you bring those guys along. I will
say that he has run a lot of zone in the past and been very successful with it,
so I do think he's scheme works when he gets the proper execution. I think
Jamaal Fudge is as aggressive as he's ever been but his role as a free safety
doesn't allow him the freedom to support the run as much as when he was at
strong safety. I think you'll eventually see Michael Hamlin or one of the young
guys playing at free but Fudge's experience is more needed at this time.
Football is a sport that requires leaders regardless of scheme. Koenning's
defense lends itself to leaders as much as any other scheme out there. I
appreciate your thoughts and look forward to more in the future.

Roy, Backing up play calling like we had Saturday just holds this team
back from moving forward. Anyone with any football smarts can call a spade a
spade...that was poor play calling. I just hope we learned from that and can
move forward!

I obviously disagree with your sentiments but we're both entitled to our
opinion. I'm sure the coaches and players learn a lot after every game and this
one was no different. Please feel free to pass along your thoughts about in the
future regardless of how much you may think I disagree.



Roy, Just wanted to say I think you provided an excellent article and
everyone should read it. You , IMO are right on target. I posted that TB is a
percentage guy and that if the long ball were truly there we would use it more.
Yes we had a great field of tall WRs but they have graduated and most gone pro.
We are very very young and developing. The loss of Downer was painfully felt
when BW dropped the pass that could have won the BC game. That's why he was a
second string Sr TE. Do agree Charlie has more potential than he shows but again
he had great WRs that made it happen for him. We faced the hardest opening
stretch of games in CU history. We are 2-2 so lets go at it one game at a time
and get out of this year 7-3 plus a bowl win and beating SC. That would make us
a top 20 team next year and hopefully allow us to have a great year in
recruiting. Recruiting still being the key word and if Clausen does go to
Spurrier he will pull one or 2 other top national recruits to there program
possibly hurting Clemson Domination. We must not be out recruited by Spurrier
this year.



Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to do
the same in the future regardless of whether you agree with me or have criticism
you would like to relay.



Roy, Don't you think the Tiger's failure to convert 3rd downs versus BC is a
little deceiving? A couple of times a *sure* third down conversion was cut short
by a defensive infraction resulting in the chains moving via penalty. I can
remember at least one situation where a blatant pass interference call broke up
an easy reception and another involving a 5-yard off sides penalty which was
chosen over the short gain that had already moved the chains. I believe there
were other instances as well. Granted, official stats cannot include exceptions
based on what "would have happened", but our 3rd down conversion ratio doesn't
bother me nearly as much given that we got 1st downs in several key situations
when we needed them. It is not the fault of the offense that BC's defense was
overly aggressive in their eagerness to stop us on 3rd down. If we had pulled
out the win, the "official" 0-11 3rd down conversion rate would have been a
minor footnote in my humble opinion. As I've said before, I love your stuff on
Tigernet and look forward to it each week.

I agree that the third down conversion percentage wouldn't have been nearly
as big of a deal to most had Clemson won the game but I can guarantee it would
have been an extreme concern for the staff. You have to find a way to make it
happend in those situations as well as get off the field when you have your
defense out there. I thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and
appreciate the kinds words. Please feel free to comment in the future.



Roy, I liked your recent article and I agree with your take. My biggest
problem (concern) with the offensive strategy, play calling, etc. is that with a
senior QB, that I do think has talent and brains, give him some more chances to
make plays when we need them. When CU was in the "red Zone" (I hate that term),
including the overtime, we never once threw in the endzone. I hate to play for a
field goal, and I feel like we do it too often. Thank God for Dean's consistency
thus far. But it is so true that before the season, 2-2 would have been
considered a good start. Last Saturday just seems like a step backward, and with
GAT, NCST, FSU and even Carolina ahead, all are losable with a similar offense
like we saw on Saturday. Thanks for your time. Keep up the great reporting, and
here's to better days ahead.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. As I said in the article
hindsight is always 20/20. The playcalling in overtime, especially when you have
the ball first, has to be somewhat conservative because you HAVE to put points
on the board. Think about it like this - if Clemson is on defense first and
holds their opponent scoreless you wouldn't want them to come out firing the
ball around the field risking a turnover. You play for the field goal at worst.
It's not quite the same situation Clemson was in Saturday but there are plenty
of similarities. You must also consider they were working with a short field
once they got near the goal line. It's tougher to throw in those situations
because the defense doesn't have as much area to cover. Again, I appreciate your
comments. Please feel free to always pass along your thoughts in the future.



The problem with your take on the final 1:19 of regulation is that you assume we had a plan. The pass on first down was a screen and essential was going no where, just like the 10 other screens we had run. The coaches need to decide, are we going for the win or , are we going to run the clock. I could live with either. The problem is they did neither , and should have lost in regulation. If you pass on first down , in my mind you have decided to go for the win, and you must continue to try to put your team in a position to win the game.

Why would you not do everything possible to get Dean a shot? He is one of the strengths of the team . You should have gone for the win in regulation, if for no other reason , just to keep your punter and the snapper off the field.

BC turned their backup QB loose and let him try to make plays. He made some mistakes, but he also made some winning plays in a hostile environment. We on the other hand decided that our 5th year senior need not take his shots. The opportunity to play FSU with a shot at playing in Jacksonville for the ACC, demanded more of our coaching staff and they let the players and the fans down. For what ever reason, the BC coaches understood what was on the line and let their backup go for it.

There are better things than a 3rd tier bowl game and you have to take your shots to get there. BC did.



Nice article for the most part except you should not start off sentences
with.."That being said...." too many words that mean nothing.


As far as Clemson is concerned. Here is the way I see it and every other
person that I talk to including former Clemson players.

#1) Get a freaking punter in there that can punt the ball even if that
means doing what Danny Ford did back in the days. He had a call out to any
Clemson student to try out. Guess what? Bill Spiers answered the call and did quite
well. God practice your position like Dale Hatcher did. He would do more
things with that football to help his team out. If he was standing on the opposing
teams 40 yard line, he would not kick it into the end zone. He would either
kick it out of bounds within the 5 yard line or hit it on the 2 yard line and
have the ball bounce backwards. Take pride in your job and help Clemson out. I
can not believe Bowden is waiting so long to replace him. He'll probably wait
until the 10th game to replace him. He has had way too many chances..get a
new punter now!!

#2) If you see that FSU only got what 13 yards rushing the week before
against BC and they were successful at Boston College by opening up the
passing game which does not mean every play you throw it long, just means you throw
the ball down the field. Do not continue to use these crappy screen plays that
BC sniffed out time and time again. I know Clemson wants to establish the run,
but does that mean no matter what Clemson will run even if it means losing
the game. You can establish the run by throwing more balls and that will allow
the run to open.

#3) For God's sake if it is 3rd and short everybody including the opposing
teams realizes that the ball is going to Merriweather. How about a fake
hand off to Merriweather and either keep it and run the other direction like against
Miami or hit a tight end for a touchdown. Unreal play callinig.

#4) What did Clemson use against Texas A&M like over 50 different call
plays? Why not open it up? Hey look what that team from Florida did to Louisville.
I mean they had reverses and half back passes...they mixed it up and beat the
crap out of Louisville. They played lose.

#5) I'm sick of Charlie Whitehurst shaking his head when he comes off the
field after a 0-11 on 3rd down conversions. Be a leader and go get in your
receivers face if they ran a wrong route. I'm sick of the coaches
protecting Charlie and don't want him to have a repeat of 17 interceptions from last year so
they do not have him throw it more down the field. I would love to coach
aginst Clemson. It would be so easy to win games.

#6) If Charlie is hurt and Coach Bowden goes out on the field to check on
him then guess what? He should do the same for other team members that are hurt
on the field. If he goes out on the field for one guy he needs to go out on
the field for others. Players watch these things very carefully.

#7) Why stop a team on first and second down when you are going to give up
the play on 3rd down. This has been going on since 1978. Just like in the
first overtime against Miami when Clemson had them 3rd and long...what do we do?
We allow them to complete a long 3rd down and then score a TD. Clemson defense
needs urgency on 3rd downs especially. I am sick and tired of watching
teams complete 1st downs on Clemson on 3rd downs. Clemson can not expect to play
hard only when the game is on the 4th quarter with five minutes to go and they
must have a stop.

#8) What is it like 10 out of the past 15 games have been decided by 7
points or less? That only tells me that Clemson's luck has started to run out. If
they were a "real" team they would be putting teams away every week and the
opposing teams would know by half time that the game is over. Why do you
think USC...the real USC is so good? They put up points and the new players have
time to get in the game and get experience and they have been cranking out and
keep cranking out players to fill those positions...like FSU, Miami or Virginia
Tech.

#9) I'm tired of hearing about well....it's the coaches or it's the players
not executing plays. Bowden is going on his 6th year is that right?
Well...he is 3 losses away from being 6-5 again.

#10) When will the defensive backs and safeties learn how to intercept the
football, besides Tye Hill our guys could not catch a ball if it was placed
in their hands. Guys in the past would have not only caught it but run it back
for a td. Spend some time in practice doing ball tip drills.

#11) Clemson has the support from the fans in Death Valley and it is about
time the players and coaches start to show some appreciation for the crowd
support. There is no way in hell that Clemson should have lost to Miami or
Boston College. Teams should be scared to death to come into Death Valleyy because
they know in their hearts what the result will be.....a good ole ass
whooping in Death Valley. Instead Clemson allowed two teams in two weeks to beat them
in overtime at home.

#12) I'm tired of hearing excuses from Bowden....heeing and hawing. Take
care of the problems since you are being paid to do so...if not Clemson should
replace him and get someone in there that can coach. One last thing....show
some freaking emotion on the sideline. The majority of the time I think he needs
some iv's or shock treatment to bring him back to life. WAKE UP MAN!!!


I appreciate the grammatical advice.


As for your thoughts on the program, I think it's safe to say that we have some different views. I assume you expressed your opinions to me so that I would respond with me feelings. Here goes:


#1
Dale Hatcher was a once in a lifetime punter. Comparing any punter to him is really unfair. Please remember that scholarships weren't as limited in those days as they are now. It was much easier to get good kickers on campus because you had scholarships to give. Now it's a numbers game and that often leaves little room for multiple kickers/punters.


#2
Clemson actually averaged more yards per rush than BC, which is hard for a lot of people to belive because they seem to think the Eagles had their way with the Clemson defense. As I pointed out in the article, Clemson did attempt to throw downfield more than people think but it didn't work out as often as Spence would have liked: three sacks, a number of checkdowns, incompletions, and at least one long one to Baham. You can't force something if it's not there.


#3
Clemson actually tried a pass on third and short that ended with Whitehurst being sacked. As for the call in overtime, I explained the reasonsing (at least my reasoning) behind it. I would have liked to seen a quicker hitting play but I do not fault the coaches for keeping it on the ground.


#4
I don't think Clemson has used anywhere close to 50 different plays in a
game this year. They have very few running plays that are run out of
multiple formations. The playbook for the passing game is understandably
larger but there is still a group of basic calls. It may appear they are
running a large number of plays because of formations and shifting.


#5
I can't comment on Charlie's leadership methods because I'm not around him
enough to know. Not all leaders are vocal. Leroy Hill rarely said anything
to teammates in a boisterous manner but he was a leader. As for the coaches
trying to protect Charlie, I don't think that's the case at all. I've
alread pointed out that there were more attempts to go downfield than most
think against BC. If they're trying to protect him, why throw a bomb on the
first play of the game against a pretty good Miami secondary when you're
deep in your own territory?


#6
I have seen Bowden go on the field to check on guys on more than one
occasion. You'd be hard pressed to find any player on the team that
wouldn't expect him to go out there if Whitehurst is down. The team looks
at Charlie as a leader as do the coaches. They all understand the
reasoning. Bowden is not playing favorites.


#7
I agree 100%. You have to play with a sense of urgency the entire game and
find a way to get off the field on third down.


#8
You're making an apples to oranges comparison when you juxtapose Clemson
with USC, Miami, and/or FSU. The differences between those schools and
Clemson are vast. They also have have much more of a national appeal and
tradition within the last 20-25 years.

As for Va. Tech, they decided to stick with Beamer after a very poor 6th or
7th year. That decision has paid off immensly. Patience is key.

It would be nice to put teams away more often. The positive is this team
has developed an attitude that they're never out of a game.


#9
He's also seven wins from being 9-2. I don't think it's fair to make those
kind of comments 4 games into the season.


#10
Clemson has dropped it's fair share of INTs in the past. They've also had a
ton of INTs that weren't returned for TDs. Judging from your grad year and
the tone of the e-mail, I'll give you an example that should ring a bell.
The '89 Duke game in which I believe Clemson intercepted three passes and
fumbled them back to the Blue Devils. Clemson lost the game and the ACC
championship.


#11
I think the players and coaches have been very appreciative of the fan
support. It's been mentioned in various articles and press conferences.
Remember, a fan doesn't show support by booing, which went on in certain
instances Saturday. Had the team not appreciated the support I think they
would have quit long before either of those games made it to overtime.


#12
Tommy can coach and is a good one. Plenty of coaches have been extremely
successful without being very emotional on the sideline. If that's his
style then so be it. And just in case you didn't see it on Saturday, he
became very emotionally with one of the officials, so much so that the crowd
starting applauding.


I honestly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. You and I
aren't on the same page but at least we have the ability to share our
differences. There's nothing wrong with that. Please feel free to let me
know what you think in the future. I'll be glad to respond with my take on
the subject(s).

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