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Game 2 reflections

Posted by cuorange on September 11, 2009

cuorange_exclusiveAfter some time to reflect on last night’s 30-27 loss to Georgia Tech here are my thoughts ranging from bad to good.  First, the bad:
1.  The right tackle play has to improve if the Tigers hope to contend in the ACC.  Having the tackles switch sides at halftime was a nice coaching move by the Tigers, but the damage was done.

2.  I still don’t understand why the fake FG/pooch punt was called in the first quarter of a 7-0 game.  Dabo himself has said that you need to use “special” plays in the right situation.  It seems to me that Dabo out thunk himself on this one.  Richard Jackson was so busy faking the FG that he didn’t even realize that there was a deep man back for Tech.

3.  Bad coaching/preparation on the Georgia Tech fake FG for a touchdown.  If the players didn’t see the wide receiver lined up outside the formation then the coaches should have and called a timeout.  Period.

4.  The Tigers moved in to Georgia Tech territory on their first two drives and failed to score a point, being stopped on 4th down on one occasion.  Swinney took the hit on that one (saying he made a bad call and the call was “discombobulated”), and these things are the difference in a game like this.

5.  7/19 (36.8%) on third downs.  An improvement, but…

6.  Once again, the defense is unable to hold a 4th quarter lead.  Somewhere in Kansas Vic Koenning is laughing.   Hard.

7.  Special Teams.  5 days after being outstanding the special teams let the Tigers down in a big way.  A lot of the blame belongs to the coaches.
Now, the good:
1.  Kyle Parker gives Clemson a chance to win with his arm and legs.  He’s young, inexperienced and sometimes tries to force the ball, but he will be a star by the end of this year.  Parker is under 50% but has 5 TDs against 2 Ints over the first two games.

2.  C.J. was C.J. averaging 4.4 on 20 carries, 4 catches (one for a 69 yard TD) and accounting for 204 all purpose yards.

3.  Andre Ellington is going to be a very good running back by this time next year.  The coaches already have confidence in him and he has produced in the first two games (93 yards on 12 carries).

4.  Adjustments on both sides of the ball were made at the half last night.  The fact that I have to write that and that it is considered a “big deal” is an indictment of the previous staff.

5.  DeAndre McDaniel.  Wow.  Two games 3 interceptions, plenty of big hits.

6.  Richard Jackson.  A 53 yarder that was 2/3s of the way up the uprights as it sailed through.  5 of 7 on FGs (too many attempts!) through two games and 7 of 7 on XPs.

7.  Dwayne Allen and Michael Palmer: Huge catches from the TE position.

8.  Accountability/Attitude.  Dabo took responsibility for the loss and will hold his players responsible for their mistakes.  Refreshing.  Last year this would have been a 49-7 loss.  The coaching staff and team refused to let that happen.

It looks strange to have more positives than negatives after a loss and especially the first quarter and certainly there is plenty of room for improvement.  I’ve written this before, but a team’s identity, toughness and character aren’t turned around in one offseason.  It’s a process that should involve progress every game/week.  There was progress last night.  The bigger question is will we see progress again next week or will this team revert to past ways.
My bet is on Dabo.


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