Sunday, September 22, 2013

NC State - Sunday Evening Thoughts

Beginning with pre-game discussions on Thursday nights and carrying through to last night's games, here a few of things that crossed my mind:

Thursday Night Games
I have made my feelings on Thursday nights pretty clear (see previous thoughts), and nothing from that night or this weekend has changed my mind. In fact, it has only been reinforced. For example:
  • Didn't see one mention of Clemson on Saturday (outside of the Clemson flag on Gameday)
  • The announcers spent most of the 4th quarter debating "Clemsoning". Great publicity?
  • Isaiah Battle did us no favors. While his actions are inexcusable, that play gets very little run on a normal Saturday
  • Glad to see Rece & Pollack beginning to jump off the "Clemsoning" bandwagon, though until Clemson plays a game without anyone making mention of it, the stigma is still there
  • Jesse Palmer is trolling for trolling sake. Don't put too much stock in what he says - he's looking for the rise.

The Textile Bowl
    Offense
  • From the beginning Boyd looked very businesslike, almost to the tune of disinterest. Thinking he was so focused on the way he carried himself that it affected his play
  • Credit to the NC State D-line for causing early disruption and forcing Tajh to rush things. That pressure could be directly related to
  • Tajh missing two touchdown opportunities - namely the chance with Watkins
  • The gameplan reminded me of last year's FSU & USC games. Morris seemed to abandon the run too early while looking for the homerun. The good news is the defense kept NC State at bay while the offense regained its rhythm.
  • Hot Rod has the best spin move in all of college football
  • The young receivers looked really good. You can tell they've been working with Tajh as their timing was on, especially the back shoulder mass to Mike Williams
  • Hopefully we've seen the emergence of Martavis Bryant, who we've previously nicknamed Featherstone after the speed burner on Necessary Roughness.
  • One quick theory on Martavis: He's so fast that he's typically waiting on the ball to come to him, and many times his position forces the ball into his body. His second TD catch was reactionary and you could see how good his hands are.
  • While I'll never give Ed Cunningham credit, somebody should teach Tajh how to slide. Every time he takes off I worry someone is going to finally hit him squarely. And when they do, it may be more than a play before he comes back in
  • To me, after three games, the most surprising stat is that Watkins has found the endzone only once. Clemson will need that to change to make a serious run at the ACC and Pasadena.

    Defense
  • Defensive line has continued to impress, especially the edge rushers (an understatement, I know)
  • The young guys look great (Shaq Lawson)
  • The interior plays gaps well, but opposing offensive lines can use that aggressiveness to their advantage by forcing pursuit in one direction and cutting against it. Case in point: State's first touchdown run.
  • Clemson lost the edge more than once against NC State, and if it weren't for some wandering legs it could have been worse.
  • Keeping the edge is my single biggest worry when playing Georgia Tech.
  • Love Stephone Anthony's pursuit to the ball and his finishing when he gets there
  • With Kellen Jones' ACL injury, depth at linebacker could be a concern. Add to that the loss of Justin Parker, transfer of Lateek Townsend, and inactivity of Tony Steward
  • State wore out the underneath routes in the second half. I haven't watched much film so I can't tell if it is a preventative scheme or the linebackers getting lost
  • The safeties appear tentative in run support. They are getting blocked far too much and far too long
    Overall, the defense is picking up Venables' scheme, and it shows with how fast they are playing

    Special Teams
  • Catanzaro has become the most reliable kicker since Treadwell in the 80's - and I realize that skips over Gardocki & Welch
  • Still no production in the return games. There will come a time when we need to flip the field or change momentum

The Weekend
  • While Clemson struggled to find a rhythm at State, they were still able to put a few points on the board (remember previous offensive systems?)
  • If/when Clemson finds that rhythm, watch out. It could be this weekend when Wake comes rolling in
  • In what was generally a terrible weekend of college football, I couldn't help but think Clemson's subduing of State was more impressive than people think
  • Take Mich-UConn, UGA-No Tex, Vandy-Umass, or VT-Marsh for examples
  • In last week's Claws vs Paws I mentioned Vanderbilt could be USC's toughest SEC game remaining. Watching Tenn-Fla does not change that thought
  • USC at UCF is one of the better matchups of the weekend, and don't be surprised to see a tight game
  • It's time to start rooting for other teams around us in the polls to lose, starting this weekend (percent chance of occurring):
    • Georgia over LSU (50/50)
    • Wisconsin over Ohio State (30/70)
    • Washington State over Stanford (20/80)
    • Ole Miss over Alabama (15/85)


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