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What happens on third and long?

Posted by cuorange on October 30, 2009

cuorange_exclusiveIf you’ve read anything here, then you’ve probably run across the information I continue to provide on tight ends Michael Palmer and Dwayne Allen and how crucial their play has been to the Tigers two most recent wins.  You’ve also probably come across one or two of my weekly posts on the Tigers third down conversion struggles.  I’ve also chronicled the struggles of the wide receivers outside of Jacoby Ford.

Combining all three of these and taking this research a step further, I decided to specifically look inside the Tigers struggle in third and long (7 to 10 yards) and try and figure out what has been working and what hasn’t been working.

I doubt anyone is surprised that the tight ends have been more effective than the wide receivers on third and long, but the gap between the two has to be shocking.

Pos Passes Comp Comp% Yards Yards/Pass First Downs First Down % TDs TD %
WR 15 6 40.0 61 4.1 3 20.0 0 0.0
TE 6 6 100.0 69 11.5 5 83.3 1 16.7
RB 4 1 25.0 15 3.8 1 25.0 0 0.0
FB 1 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
Unknown 1 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0
Totals 27 13 48.1 145 5.4 9 33.3 1 3.7

The one pass to a TE that didn’t go for a first down came up 1 yard short. This is just as much an indictment (another one) of the wide receivers (and/or Kyle Parker) on third and long as it is a pat on the back to the tight ends. The drops have been well chronicled, as has the lack of separation between Clemson WRs and opposing DBs.

If Clemson is going to continue their recent success both route running and ball skills of the wide receivers need to improve dramatically.

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