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Vanilla as vanilla can get

Posted by cuorange on September 9, 2009

cuorange_exclusiveEverybody knows that the Tigers ran a plain, vanilla, basic offense last Saturday.  It was plain to see during the game and in the stats.

But, looking at the play calling one interesting thing jumped out at me:  The Tigers had first downs (either by start of a series or gaining a first down) 30 times in Saturday’s game.  They only passed the ball 4 times and had two other times when a pass was called (Parker was sacked once and of course the Korn fumble happened on 1st down).  So – the Tigers ran 80% of the time on 1st down.

The 80% number is interesting in and of itself, however it doesn’t end there.  Of the 6 passes or passes called 0 (ZERO) of them happened in Tiger territory (one happened at midfield).  The Tigers had 9 first downs in their own territory during the game and called not one single pass.

Young quarterback with zero game experience, second game coming up in five days = conservative play calling.  But not throwing a single pass on any 1st down in your own territory, THAT is conservative.  The real question is how much more are the coaches going to open up Kyle Parker just five days later on the road on a Thursday night?  Has a “good” game against Middle Tennessee completely changed their willingness to have Parker let it fly?

My guess is some, but not a lot, and certainly not as much as I would like.  Certainly something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

My second point would be that this is another knock against the offensive performance last Saturday night.  21 first downs at midfield or better and you get 23 offensive points out of that?  You could argue that number would be higher except for the two Korn turnovers and I can understand some of that.  That doesn’t change the fact that Clemson had 21 first downs in Middle Tennessee territory and came away with 23 offensive points.  Kyle Parker had at least 5 drives that got into Middle Tennessee territory and ended in a total of 9 points.  There is plenty of blame to go around, and not all of it belongs to the quarterbacks.


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