Second viewing thoughts and grade report: Clemson
Watching a game back after being there in person is probably the best of both worlds. I get to hear things I didn't in the stadium and get to see angles that you can't from the corner endzone. But most telling though is seeing the players in person. These guys are capable enough to be better than 1-5 and are certainly playing hard. Watching this back confirmed that they are not well coached. As for the game, there were some good moments. Just not enough of them. You see flashes of potential from many but we don't play with enough consistency yet.
Rettig started off a little rough. He missed a wide open Swigert with an errant pass. He also threw the ball away too early. The fumble wasn't his fault but he's got to be more aware about the short widow to get the play off. Yet despite the bad start he never seemed rattled. He made some really nice throws. Other than the INT, I don't think he forced things. If anything we need to pass more if we ever hope to win.
No Harris, no Williams, no problems. Finch looked good. He got some tough yards and he also hits the gaps well. I think he'll be pretty good as our lead back. Kimble didn't break a big one, but looked good too. I also like him catching the ball...which made him motioning out to a WR position more credible.
Swigert had a career day. What was most encouraging is that he got some space and was actually able to get yards after the catch. Larmond made some tough catches, but like last week, I felt he sort of gave up on their INT. He's got to adjust and at least fight for the ball. Donte Elliott finally caught a pass. Anderson dropped one and also had a few issues blocking. Pantale wasn't even thrown to.
Cleary's had a pretty good year until this game. He had real trouble with their speed rushers. He was better in the run blocking. Ian White had his best game in weeks, but also made a boneheaded hands to the face play that cost us a TD. Spinney played well. Vardaro was better and pretty good in run blocking. Wetzel was okay, but like Cleary, he had some issues with their speed on the edge.
How do you expect to beat an uptempo high scoring team only throwing the ball 20 times (23 if you count the sacks)? We were just way too conservative. Plus I think with Swigert and Larmond making some tough catches and adding Kimble into the mix, I think we can be a passing team. But restricting attempts is not going to get it done. I have nothing against Brock so far, but his play calling is looking very much like Tranquill.
Quinn hustles, but didn't really change the game or make a big impact. Appiah played much better. Mihalik was a nice surprise and closed well. Ricci played a little. Holloway and Edebali started but saw their snaps decrease a bit. Both were fine.
I know that Kuechly is a great player, but right now he is not playing to his own usual high standards. He admitted he missed an assignment on their big 4th down conversion. He also got beat in pass coverage. Divitto made some good plays rushing the passer but was so-so in pass coverage. KPL was better in pass coverage. Clancy got on the field a bit. The big surprise was Duggan. He's covering a lot of ground and looking good. Josh Keyes also got serious playing time and acquitted himself well.
Jim Noel had a really good game. He made some nice tackles and covered a lot of space. His fellow DBs did not. Fletcher got burned on their deep go route. He had position and couldn't win the one on one battle. He also had some missed tackles. Not his best season so far. I have to imagine he's not 100%. Sylvia is real hit or miss. He makes some great heads up plays and other times has me shaking my head. Early on he was slow in picking up guys in his zone. He also had another play where he took out his teammate instead of the opponent. But then he made some good moves as the game wore on. Rositano wasn't as active. Williams was okay. ALJ is getting better but wasn't as active or near the action as past games.
After getting picked apart early, I actually liked BC's adjustments. We started subbing in more guys. We also started bringing pressure including a nice blitz from Noel. The team also seemed ready for Clemson's various gimmicks. The biggest issue was not stopping enough drives when they had big plays. We were decent on third down and obviously slowed them in the redzone. It just wasn't enough. Oh, and I am tired of the passes to the flats going uncontested.
Special Teams: B
If we want to discuss silver linings or bright spots, I think it is now safe to say the Kimble-Evans kick return combo is our best since Jeff Smith's freshman year. Both show good speed and the ability to make miss. They also seem to find soft spots. I think we are getting close to breaking one.
Collectively there was good blocking on the returns. Clancy had a great one on Evans' longest.
Swigert hasn't been as explosive, but made good decisions and is willing to return borderline fair catch situations.
Quigley was solid.
Clemson has more talent and played better. Normally that wouldn't frustrate me or earn a terrible grade. But what upset me was our approach after getting the ball down 29-14. We didn't even attempt any sort of hurry up or no huddle. I am sure Spaz could rationalize the move by saying our offense needs to master the normal situations before going no huddle, but it basically amounted to surrender. If we had any hope of winning, we were going to need time. Those are the sorts of decisions that Spaz cannot blame anyone else for. It is a mentality and approach that is just plain sad for any school. It is really sad when it is your team.
BC is getting better. The young guys are starting to make some plays. Now we just need a leader who can get them to play winning football.