Friday, November 15, 2013

Tech Loses to Clemson

Watched all of Tech/Clemson. While the final score was somewhat respectable, Tech once again made one mistake after another, particularly in the first quarter. Vad Lee does not look like an option quarterback. He seemed to make up his mind before the snap whether to pitch or keep. Once the Clemson defender almost intercepted his pitch. For someone with his athletic ability his footwork is slow. He has a decent arm, but throws off his back foot too much. I now understand why he was redshirted and played so little last year. The Clemson defense had Vad completely befuddled. He missed wide open receivers and demonstrated little ability to avoid pass rushers or throw while under duress. Backup QB Thomas is quick, but has a much weaker arm.

Tech fielded a revolving door of kickoff returners. The announcer was right: Tech should've taken touchbacks whenever possible. The key to returning a kickoff is fearlessness. A returner most field the kick and take off at full speed. Cuts should be sharp and taken at full speed. Whenever a returner stops to reverse field or head east and west, almost always the defenders tackle the returner before the 20 yard line. Only the last returner got it right, and he almost broke away for a touchdown. Smeltzer appeared overwhelmed by the large, loud Clemson crowd.

Robbie Godhigh had a career night. I've been saying for two years that he's Tech's best back. He gets fewer touches than Sims and Days – who are big and fast but rarely produce. Last night Zack Laskey hardly got any touches either, though he did make one good play. Again, the ESPN announcers were quick to recognize that Godhigh was Tech's best player. I thought the announcers did a good job: fair, incisive, entertaining. They admitted that Watkins pushed off a little on his touchdown catch. Not a big Jessie Palmer fan, though I loved his line: "I'm a quarterback and didn't think that was interference."

For a second I thought Dabo was going to put a banged up Tajh Boyd back into the game, with Clemson leading by 24 in the fourth quarter. His backups need the work, and Boyd will be desperately needed against rival South Carolina. Boyd passed 1000 yards in career rushing. Everyone says he is a running threat, but 1002 yards over 44 games is less than 23 yards per game. That's a couple of 3 yard runs per quarter. Maybe his sacks are subtracted from the total.

The different between Clemson's overall talent compared to Tech's is laughable. Very few of Tech's players could play for Clemson. Yet going into last night's game Tech had won four of the past six. What does that say?

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