Monday, September 1, 2014

Clempson post mortem ad nauseum

First, my apologies. Yesterday's post wasn't even up to the low standard I've spent the last six seasons developing. When I went back and read it yesterday afternoon it looked as if I had typed it half-drunk at one in the morning. For instance, I didn't even finish the thought about the offensive coaches using Grantham's towels. Did anyone else notice that?

Anyway, a few more points to make on a great season opener after re-watching it in all its Glory Glory.
  • Enough is being made of all the defensive stands and incredibly efficient toss sweeps on offense. So let me use the next few bullets to point out some (comparatively speaking) concerns that showed up on the replay.
  • Like the fact that the offense, looking at a three point lead and seemingly never ending gifts of great field position, just could not do anything to pull away in the third quarter.
  • There were times when the quarterback and the receivers were not on the same page and times when Mason had to rush a decision based on the pass rush. Some of that can be explained to freshman jitters, like Sony Michel not turning around to receive a swing pass. Some of it will need to be addressed in the off week.
  • The offensive line absolutely the fourth quarter. Here's one question: Outside of Clemson being dog tired late, why was the blocking so much better for three running backs compared to one? Maybe I'm missing it, but it didn't appear to me that Keith Marshall did anything wrong. But his average per rush is vastly different than his position mates.
  • However, on Gurley's 50 yard touchdown to make it 38-21, I still don't see how he saw any daylight at the line of scrimmage. (2:05 mark)

  • Really ashamed of myself for not mentioning Taylor Maxey yesterday, even though I mentioned his great game on Twitter Saturday night. He came out of nowhere to fill in some pretty big shoes. There were times when I really thought Merritt Hall was just in a different jersy. And that's about as big of a compliment as I can give. 
    Richt giving me the thumbs up. (via)
  • One more offensive point, and we'll dive more deeply into this later, but I thought Mason did a great job of managing the game. There's an adjustment we have to make as fans to the way in which he quarterbacks y'all. Him going 18 of 26 for 131 yards without an interception was just what we needed.
  • Special teams were great. Not a lot that I caught on tape that we don't already know. Was nice to see Reggie Davis field the punts with confidence. Isaiah McKenzie may have another gear to offer though. We'll see.
  • We all kinda knew that having the defensive backs press at the line of scrimmage could go a long way towards fixing what 2013 ailed us. But my goodness was it good to see it play out on the field.
  • That's not to say there weren't issues. Like Swann getting beat off the line by Mike Williams. Now, Williams has about five inches and thirty pounds on Swann. But as we get more acclimated to Pruitt's style (read: purging ourselves of past transgressions) it will be interesting to see 1) how much we press and in what situations 2) how well our current db's progress from soft zone stances and 3) if teams like Sakerlina can exploit this as some sort of weakness.
  • Sometimes I'm accused of being overly critical of the fans. I have a separate post coming that will address the entire opening day experience. But in terms of noise level, some of you have very short memories. My feeling Saturday night from my seat was that fans got loud, really loud, but that it took 45 minutes to get there. Watching the replay confirms this.
  • Any bias aside, Sanford Stadium remains one of the most beautiful venues to watch a game. But the fans are largely disengaged in comparison to other places I've experienced.
  • However, I will say I was proud that my 92,000 friends didn't boo an opposing player during an injury timeout, much like what we saw in Death Valley a year ago. In that regard we did out perform our Clemson counterparts.
Great game. Great atmosphere. I may watch it again just because it was so splendiferous. But we always need to take a moment to temper our emotions a touch. After all, we haven't won an SEC game since Aaron Murray was carried off the field. 

Somehow, that feels like years ago.