Players of the Game
I agree that Scott Blair was crucial in making his 3 kicks but the play of Jerrard Tarrant and Derrick Morgan kept Georgia Tech from getting blown out at home. Tarrant's 7 tackles, 2 pass break ups, and a HUGE punt return for TD made up for our secondary's inability to stop Jacoby Ford in the second half. Derrick Morgan is a sack machine. All-American defensive end? I think so. Anyone that has to be constantly double teamed and is still racking up 10 tackles plus 3 sacks is gonna get some mean media time come end of season selection committees.
Offensively, Anthony Allen was the only guy that consistently produced last night. Ultimately everything came down to Josh Nesbitt marching the team down the field twice in a row when we couldn't find any rhythm at all in the second half. Nesbitt defines the phrase "quarterbacks have to have short term memory."
3rd Down Woes
Here are the third down play selections we had and the yardage to gain a first down: incomplete pass (13), -3 yard rush (4), incomplete pass (6), incomplete pass (5), incomplete pass (8), 0 yard rush (4), 5 yard rush (6), 1 yard rush (3), incomplete pass (9), 24 yard pass (9), 4 yard rush (1), 2 yard rush (9), 39 yard pass (11), 4 yard rush (5). So play calling on third down included 7 passes (50% of 3rd downs). We only converted 3 of them. I'm not the coach and I'm not complaining about a win. I'm just wondering why we passed 50% of the time on third down when we passed only 23% of the time all game. Our passing game is a huge liability at this point, in my opinion.
I think a lot of the 3rd down issues were caused by Clemson's D selling out on stopping D-Train. Every time Dwyer touched the ball, all Clemson defenders swarmed him like bats outta Hell. They would not let our offensive game breaker do his thing.
Average starting field position (excluding GT's kneel): Clemson on the CU 30.3 yard line, Tech on the 29.4 GT yard line. First half average starting field position: Clemson on the CU 30.0 yard line, Tech on the GT 33.8 yard line. Second half average starting field position: Clemson on the CU 30.7 yard line, Tech on the GT 23.5 yard line. GT gave up 10.2 yards of field position per drive in the second half, which was definitely a contributing factor to Tech's huge reduction in offensive production. Here's a diagram of what I'm talking about:
I thought the whiteout looked awesome on TV. I looked up the attendance and saw there were about 3,000 empty seats, which is not bad for a Thursday night. We only had 49.3k for Miami last year and 52.2k for VT in '07. I do believe this is the first time we haven't sold out for Clemson in a long time, however.
Also, here's something slightly ironic and reassuring for those paying for my psychic hot line (1-900-BIRD-MIND). One of my questions for Block-C was, "How many trick plays will Dabo call tonight? How many of those trick plays will result in a turnover or points for GT?" Winfield censored my question for the Block-C crew but my foreshadow paid off huge, eh? I'll give myself a pat on the back for that one.
We had very little offensive continuity last night. Clemson obviously schemed for us. Paul Johnson adjusted for our final two drives (BLESSED BE ALLAH). We won. It was terrifying, disheartening, and relieving all in one fell swoop. Thankfully, Scott Blair and Josh Nesbitt are money. Sadly, Miami got a front row seat to our inefficiencies and an extra 5 days off to practice for us.