I’m watching the coaches film room broadcast in the hopes of learning stuff. The Colorado (CO), Syracuse (Sy), Baylor, BYU, BC, NC St coaches all in the house.
I don’t have a dog in this one but my hot take is (1) the defenses will better than last year’s point explosion (2) I don’t pick against Bama in big games.
During the Packers slump I had eyes for the Bama ILB #10 Reuben Foster. But he should be long gone by the time GB picks. I’m watching OJ Howard #88, TE, star of the 2016 Title game. GB might need to spend a 1st rounder on Howard. Ryan Anderson #22 at OLB should also be gone by the time GB picks. Jordan Leggett at TE #16 for Clemson might be a Day 2 option. I like Wayne Gallman, #9, the Clemson RB and he could also be a Day 2 selection.
Bama returns to the 25. The real matchup is whether Clemson O can handle the Bama D. Bama opens with a short throw, broken up by #42 for Clemson. BC coach needs to stop coughing. The handoff to the Derek Henry clone does nothing. Bama facing a 3rd&long which is not really the situation they ever want to put their young QB in. Simple screen to Ridley read the entire by Clemson. Baylor coaches says Clemson shows Cover 2 and rolls the coverage down towards the screen. Baylor coach says no check option. Punt backs up Clemson and return is smothered. Tigers take over at their 22.
Baylor coach the early boss of film room. BYU and BC not offering much. Predictions for vertical pass. Handoff to Gallman and he picks up the first down. “Speed sweep” says Baylor coach. Pass play results in quick sack. Watson runs the zone read “speed sweep” and Watson gets something out of it flipping to a RB. Reuben Foster gets the uneccesary roughness call for blow to Watson’s had. Screen doesn’t do much. On 2&9 a nice run picks up 5 on a counter. Short throw and Clemson is just short of the sticks. Great tackle drags him down and Tigers are going for it on 4th&1. Coaches are calling for Clemson to take a shot. And Clemson takes a TO. No consensus in the coaches room on the play call here. BC coach likes the shovel toss off the speed sweep. Toss play left doesn’t work. CB is unblocked. Baylor coach notes that Watson could have kept it. Bama strung it out and Clemson was doomed even if Watson keeps it probably.
Coaches calling for QB run or deep shot and its a bootleg and Hurts runs for 15-20 yards once he sees the Clemson CBs turn their backs. Tempo from Bama and run gets 4-5 yards. Screen goes nowhere but Clemson flagged for RTP for a blow to the head. #99 for Clemson raises his hands just to try and disrupt the pass but he catches the Bama QB on the follow through and Bama is at the Clemson 20. Should have been illegal formation on Bama and I think it was caught. Bama players weren’t set for a second before the snap. Derek Henry clone bounces a run outside and the definition of downhill running around left end. NC St notes 3 missed tackles. Coaches not TE pulling around on the end pulls across the formation and springs it. Baylor coach certain that holding should have been called on a couple of Bama players. I think OJ Howard should have been flagged.
7-0 Bama 9:23′ 1st quarter
Bama just too fast to the football these screens don’t do much. Quick throw to Leggett gets Clemson into 3rd&2. Watson drills it into Williams on a slant. Threw it a little behind him but the big WR makes the catch. Run play to Gallman doesn’t get more than a couple. There looks like a crease but the crease closes fast against Bama. Clemson finally gets Watson going North-South and get to 3rd&3. Bunch formation bubble screen to the right and Watson goes vertical down the left sideline and pass offline and Bama CB forces Clemson WR to the boundary and there really wasn’t much of a window for Watson. Clemson punt.
Derek Henry clone only gets 1 on 1st down and then catches off a wheel route gets it to 3rd&short. Have to figure the big back goes to the Derrick Henry clone. And there you go. 1st&10. Useful. Bama just firing off the line and easy conversion. Throwback screen off play action and its incomplete. Break for Clemson because there was a lot of space if #9 can keep his feet and secure the catch. Bad drop by Bama WR on 2nd&10 and Bama staring at 3rd&10. “Clemson in Bear”. They had it off to a speed back and there isall sorts of green there and Bama converts. Clemson blitz gets to Hurts and its 2&11. Still high tempo from Bama. Another blitz but Hurts scampers through the vacated hole and its 3rd&short. Coaches call play action and Hurts gets just enough but flag down. Holding on TE and its 3rd&14. That was a fairly easy call. Can’t imagine Bama is too aggressive. Pass knocked down at the line and Clemson forces a punt. The WR on the out route was well short of the sticks and covered and the pass was batted. At least it wasn’t a sack. Punt partially blocked and Clemson gets good field position.
Watson keeps it and carries for 5. Watson takes a shot deep and overthrown. The WR got free but Watons misses him. Can’t say he is helping his draft stock thus far. I’d be content with him in Chicago. Watson fumbles the snap and Bama recovers. Bama ball at the Clemson 33. Snap low and left and Watson can’t handle it. Bama pounces and #22 recovers it. Nobody on Clemson seemed to know where the ball was.
False start and Bama gives away 5 so its 1st&15 from the 40. Handoff spilled for -2. Clemson DL shed blocks. Hurts has Ridley open and zone drop gets a hand up to disrupt it. Good screen down. Blitz up the middle and Hurts just gets it away. CB chasing Hurts and he can’t do anything. Was well covered too. Took awhile but this punt clean and Bama downs it inside the 1.
Gallman gets 3 on 1st down and coaches call offsides as Gallman plows ahead for another 3. 2nd&2 and Clemson keeps it on the ground but Watson can’t get there. Foster dismisses the block and spills Watson.
On 3rd&1 Gallman gets enough and Clemson gets a fresh set. Short throw gets 4 maybe? Lets see if Clemson speeds it up a little. Gallman splits out now and and Gallman on jet sweep and gets another 1st down. QB draw all the way and its -1. Clemson can’t control the Bama front. Watson again on a keeper and its 3rd&long. Clemson has to burn a TO to save a delay penalty. Watson looks for Leggett and can’t connect. Clemson with a short punt but favorable roll and Bama takes over inside its 25.
Bama jet sweep and Tide rolls across midfield. Missed tackle at the 35 for Clemson. Short run and Bama really playing fast now. WR screen to Ridley gets the 1st down. “Oregon stuff right there.” Tried another screen to the short sdie with 3 WRs left. Doesn’t do much. Weird. Henry clone with another burst through the left side and he had a clean lane. Ankle tackle easily dismissed around the 15 and Bama with another TD.
Alabama 14 Clemson 0 10:42′ 2nd quarter
Slot WR with a nice gain for Clemson on 1st down setting up 2nd&short. dive play to Gallman stacked up . Clemson is double teaming the Bama DT and he still blows it up. 3rd&1 Clemson tries a roll out and short throw underneath and low pass is incomplete. Lot of commotion as Clemson was trying to pick off the WRs CBs but a poor throw and Clemson doesn’t get it. Danger time for Clemson.
Short run on 1st down. Hurts finds WR on a slant for the 1st down. Bama had screen to the right with 3 but hit the slant. Hurts on a bootleg has nothing. He had really 1-2 reads and Clemson was all over it. 3rd&9, pass swatted by Clemson DE. Another good punt and Clemson pinned.
Toss sweep to Gallman gets 4 yards. Clemson does the bubble screen and great cutback and run out of bounds at the Bama 35. “Right into the blitz.” Well blocked. Watson takes a shot and lot of contact with CB and WR and no call. On replay, Watson might have had the TE Leggett. Clemson WR tackles the Bama CB to save an INT. Watson high on a slant to his big WR. Again, Watson for the Bears is good with me. Protection good and Watson hits Leggett on a great route to get behind the LB and Clemson knocking at the door at the Bama 10. Screen to Williams and he shakes of f a tackle or two before being banged down at the 7. Watson around left end and keeps his feet to scoot into the endzone. Clemson sends man in motion and then Watson runs it back the other way.
Bama 14 Clemson 7 6:09′ 2nd quarter
Bama zone read and Hurts can’t find much. Bama bunched formation to the right and he is looking left the entire way to Ridley. Clemson misses another tackle and its costs Clemson about 10 yards. Dive play and incomplete screen and its 3rd&5. Hurts around the end except Clemson closes the door fast there just wasn’t any opening. Bama punt. touchback.
Clemson tries a jet sweepish action but doesn’t get much. Clemson with 5-wide and finds Williams for a nice gain out to the 45. Pretty funny how all the coaches are very clearly rooting for Clemson. Coaches note if Watson had kept it on the dive play he had a lot of grass in front of him. Watson gets crushed and the double move can’t get going. Watson had a clean pocket a little but quickly runs out of time as he tries to bounce it and Clemson has to punt. Another short punt and Bama at its own 38.
Bama run for 2 and handoff to Henry clone does nothing. Bama appears content to take things to half at 14-7. 3rd&6 and Clemson isn’t using its last TO here. Coaches calling a run based on super wide splits to WR. And Clemson smells it too and trashes the run. Clemson takes its last TO with 72 seconds left and Bama punt forthcoming. Clemson guy keeps his feet he could have blocked it easily. Fair catch at the 5. Another booming punt.
Clemson again spread it out and throwing a slant that Bama CB sees and breaks in on it and incomplete fortunately for Clemson. Bama uses its first TO with :53 left and Clemson facing a 3rd&6. Watson with an NFL-caliber throw to his slot guy to get Clemson out to the 27. Pass batted and by ILB prevents what would have been a good gain. Colorado Coach seems very excited that Bama has 7 CBs out there. Watson under durress and throws it away. Now 3rd&15 with :38 left and Bama has 2 TOs. Bama refuses to let Watson kill them with his legs. They are staying home and forcing him to throw. Clemson runs the screen again and its a lot of running for nothing. :30 left and Bama 1 TO. CLemson punts away from Bama and rolls out at the 30. With :19 left and 1 TO can’t imagine we’ll see much from Bama here. Bama has 3 WR to the left and spread formation. WR screen loses a bunch of yardage.
HALFTIME Alabama 14 Clemson 7
- Bama running the ball well
- Bama not passing the ball well
- The Clemson fumble is the difference
- Clemson got 43-yard pass play and 26-yard pass play on its TD drive (69/153 total passing yards on those 2 plays)
|3rd down efficiency||4-11||2-8|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||0-0|
|Yards per pass||6.7||2.5|
|Yards per rush||2.3||6.8|
Clemson starts with the ball at its 27. Short run for 3 to open things. Watson fires it in to #13 again. Bama in zone so he sits down and finds a window. Watson play action and Foster reads it and nearly picks it off. Man I want Foster for GB. Gallman gets the ball ripped out by Anderson and Bama takes over at the Clemson 15. Anderson #22 for Bama is making himself a lot of money tonight.
False start backs Bama up and Tide keep it on the ground to #9. Double move but Clemson CB doesn’t bite on it and incomplete. Clemson would be thrilled to hold Bama to 3. Hurts throws underneath to Howard and Bama at the 10. FG time.
Showing the replay of the fumble and Leggett could have cleaned out the LB and Watson could have kept it and gotten some serious yardage.
Alabama 17 Clemson 7 12:25′ 3rd quarter
Clemson return gets almost nothing as guy slips down and Tigers take over at its 16. QB draw and Watson gets 5. Good call on 1st down to get something going. Nice back shoulder throw from Watson gets the 1st down and some signs of life for Clemson O. Same screen again and it keeps working as Clemson gets 9 on 1st down. Watson doesn’t like the deep shot and Watson scampers for a few and another 1st down. Good down and distance to try and deep shot. Pitch out only gets a couple. Foster blows that up. High throw to the boundary but Williams stretches for it and its 3rd&short. Coaches calling draw and Watson throws short underneath to #13. Last few passes have looked more like an NFL QB but I’m still fine with him in Chicago. Replay review on the catch. Coaches see it trapped and so it will be 4th&1 out of the replay review according to the room. Looks incomplete. I think Clemson has to go for it. 4th&1. I spread out Bama and let Watson make a play. Clemson has 2 WR right and TE out there. Watson in the gun punts it and rolls dead at the Bama 5. Clever. Still loads of time. This feels like Bama about to break out a big play and make this thing 24-7 and put it on ice.
#9 in the backfield stacked up for a short gain. Hurts had WR open at the sticks but Boulware the ILB for Clemson knocks him down and incomplete. 3rd&7. BYU Coach finally chimes in and makes good case for why targeting DQ is dumb. You can get 2 taunting calls before ejection but one rapid hit deemed targeting and you’re gone. 3rd&7 Hurts drops back and under durress he scrambles but Clemson stops him a couple yards shy. On replay, Had WR wide open over the middle that might have been a TD and Hurts under pressure scrambles away. Low snap and brutal punt. Clemson takes over at the Bama 42.
Watson throws underneath. Nice patience from Watson to wait for the window but again low throw and low effort and replay stops it looking to see if its a catch. This one is clean. Nice job by the WR. Not sure the stoppage was warranted there. Thats a catch. Coaches calling for Clemson to throw it to their best WR. interesting idea. Coahces calling zone aread and sure it is. Watson looked like he had a crease and again Bama slams the door. Foster saves a TD with a tackle in the hole. Bama blitzes and Watson tries a throw underneath to Leggett. Watson had #13 open on the post. If Watson keeps his eyes downfield that was an easy throw for a huge gain. But Watson with happy feet and loses eye level. This time Watson finds #13 out of the slot running a slant. Leggett clears out the underneath on a seam route and the slot man is wide open and gets north-south quickly for the TD.
Alabama 17 Clemson 14 7:10′ 3rd Quarter
Bama starts at its 32. Coaches calling for running the ball. I take a shot. Hurts is 8-19 for 49 yards passing. Play action and takes a shot but overthrown. Clemson had the vertical double covered. The “over route” according to the Baylor coach was wide open. But Hurts locked in on the verticla. Solid hit by Boulware to limit that short throw to the big back. Hurts could have run despite Clemson CB closing and Bama WR just flat drops it out near midfield. #&out. Clemson keeps coming close on the punts. Clemson ball at its own 15.
Foster destroys the jet sweep to Gallman. That had no chance. Clemson screen nicely designed. Fake throw right on screen and throw back to Gallman for the 1st down. Little Lobo triple option look for little gain. I keep waiting for Watson to keep it and run for 6 but he has not done it yet. Coaches circle the RG as trouble spot for Clemson. Watson sacked by Ryan Anderson. He just speeds around the RT and strong hands to get around the edge. 3rd&15 Watson takes over and Watson gets helicoptered and I think he is just short. Foster delivers the key shot. 4th&short. MM clearly goes for it here. But Dabo punts. Only the big hit from Foster stopped the 1st down. Bama takes over at its 20. On replay, Watson gets spun around and lands with the ball on the wrong side.
Big back powers fwd for 6-7 on 1st down. Bama tempo now to try and jump start the O. #9 runs through a tackle from Boulware and its 1st down Bama. But #9 is down. Cramps? hips? thigh? ESPN shows the stat that he has 9 carries for 76 yards. On replay looked like maybe ankle/foot rolled up on. Short throw incomplete to Ridley is ruled cincomplete bu Ridley disagrees. On 2nd&10, Clemson all bite on the screen to the WR and OJ Howard the Bama TE runs the go route and is wide open for an easy TD. #23, the Clemson S took that hook line and sinker and leaves Howard all alone.
I’m saying game over. I don’t think Clemson can score 10 more points against this D.
Alabama 24 Clemson 14 1:53′ 3rd quarter.
Watson takes a shot off of play action and Williams takes a shot into double coverage on Williams. Flag comes in late. That was close. Surprised that DPI got called. Seemed like that was allowed earlier. Williams needs attention but saunters off. Watson keeps it and gets stoned by of course Foster. WR screen adn some nifty running by #8 comes close to the 1st down. He gets it and Clemson goes to tempo. Watson incomplete and everything was off on that throw. This time he gets #8 on a back shoulder. Watson looking left the entire way. Watson throws back to Leggett on a shallow cross and Clemson into the redzone as 3rd quarter winds down. Bubble screen and some slippery running gets close to another 1st down.
Watson on a keeper gets it to 1st& goal. 4 long yards for Clemson here. Be nice to have Mike Williams herer to go get it. Gallman for a couple but Bama covers it up. Pretty flagrant pick by Clemson WR and frees up Williams who adjusts well for the TD. WR takes out both Bama CB and then smartly puts his hands up and officials don’t call OPI. That’s a big break. Because an OPI call backs Clemson up to the 20. TD instead.
Alabama 24 Clemson 21 14:00′ 4th quarter
Short kickoff and Bama fair catches at its own 30. Backup RB runs over the left side for big gain out to the 44. Hurts avoids a big sack and takes a little sack as Clemson pressure blows the play up. Clemson jumps the underneath route as WR doesn’t work back to the ball and Clemson has a chance to break it up. Big 3rd&11 for Bama. Screen should have worked perfectly because Clemson was blitzing but for some reason the TE Howard catches it instead of the RB and he gets tripped up short of the 1st down. If Howard lets it go the RB gets the 1st down easily and perhaps even more.
Blitz right up the middle and #32 gets the snap count just right and Watson has no chance. 2nd&16. Watson locks in on #13 and S reads Watson’s eyes. Fortunately for Clemson, the pass is high and wide #Watson4Chicago and its 3rd&16. Screen? sort of. checkdown to Gallman and Clemson has to punt it back. Not a boomer and Bama gets it at its 42.
Bama wanted the screen but Clemson was ready and underneath WR slipped. RB stacked up and on 3rd down Hurts waited waited waited but ends up just drifting out of bounds. Another 3&out, but Bama controlling field position. Punt rolls out at the 20. They show the replay and if Hurts anticipates Howard coming open he could have thrown it early enough and gotten the 1st down throwing back from the far hash. But Hurts looking to the right and doesn’t look back left until its too late.
1st down Watson wants to draw as WR are covered. Watson makes the wrong read and because pressure he hurries it and incomplete instead of hitting Leggett over the middle. 3rd&7 for Clemson and Tigers burn their first TO. Watson doesn’t anticipate well evidently. He should have seen Leggett open over the middle. Watson hits #13out of the slot and basically uncovered as CB just late. Williams tries to fight back for the ball and there is no flag. Along the Clemson sideline. Tough no call for Clemson. That sure looked like DPI. Watson nearly sacked for a big loss by Ryan Anderson and escapes enough to throw it long and out of bounds. Gets some punishment for his troubles. On 3rd&10 Clemson TE Leggett drops the 1st down. Leggett seemed to slow up to signal he was wide open and he reaches but can’t bring it in despite getting both hands on it. Remember that drop.
Alabama 24 Clemson 21 7:36′ 4th quarter
I think Bama drives and chews clock here and kicks a FG for the final margin. Hurts hands off and maybe 2-3 on 1st down. Hurts rolls right and has to throw it away. Everybody covered up and Hurts has nowhere to go with it. Screen to the actual target? Hurts goes for the home run down the right sideline and incomplete. 11th punt according to ESPN. Wow. Clemson guy signals fair catch and then slips down and the roll costs the Tigers another 10 yards or so. Clemson at its own 11.
Screen to Gallman who cuts it back for 9.5. Now I go tempo if I’m Clemson. Leggett did enough to on the block to spring an extra 5 yards. Watson keeps it the whole way and ridden into his own bench but gets the 1st down. Watson fits one into a tight window to Leggett. As coaches note, same play that Howard busted for Bama for big TD. Except Bama S stays home and its a gain of 12 instead of a TD. Nice design. Mike Williams goes up and gets it over Humphrey as 2 Top 15 picks jockey for position. Bama gets hit with unsportsmanlike conduct and tack on another 15. A rush of blood to his head and takes a swing at Clemson OL. Clemson in the redzone. Play under review and its a clear catch no idea what this replay official is doing? what a waste of time. 10000% a catch. All this does is let Bama catch its breath. Watson around the end and bounces it outside twice. Watson soars from the 6 into the endzone. I guess he stepped out inches short but again replay official stops it. Replay shows the call on the field was correct and ball is inside the 1. Can the Bama D rise up? I think you have to go big and smash Bama. Foster and friends are too fast that I’d be worried anything east-west gets bottled up. Gallman takes it in and Clemson has the lead. Gallman finds a crease between LG and C who double up nicely on #94 for Bama and LT gets just enough of Jonathan Allen on a cut block to get Clemson in.
Clemson 28 Alabama 24 4:38′ left 4th quarter
Lot of time left for Bama no need to get away from it. Bama O has struggled ever since big #9 went out. Hurts looks for a shot and can’t find anything so he throws it away. Coaches circle 2 Bama guys wide open underneath that would have been nice gains but Hurts doesn’t see it. Boulware reads the screen the entire way and the completion loses yardage and keeps the clock moving. Now its 3rd&16. Pocket collapsing and Hurts floats one dangerously across his body over the middle and its complete. 4th&1 from MM range at their own 41. Has to be a sneak. Handoff squirts through with no trouble. DE slips down opening the hole through the left side. If #91 keeps his feet he might stone him. That dangerous throw on 3rd&16 was ridiculous and got Bama in position to go for it. Under 3′ and Bama needs a TD. Double pass and #13 hits OJ Howard down to the Clemson 30. Good coverage. Middle opens and Hurts explodes through the middle avoiding a sack and nobody on Clemson bothers to tackle him. Touchdown Tide.
Alabama 31 Clemson 28 2:07′ 4th Quarter
Clemson has 2 TOs. Clemson tripped up at shoestring tackle at the 35. If he shakes that off…..maybe #39 rides him down eventually. maybe.
Safe throw on 1st down gets 5? Little quick out to Leggett. Bama brings heat and Williams and goes up and does what he does. That wasn’t bad coverage. That’s just a large human being going up and making a play. again. Clemson tries a hook-and-lateral for some reaosn and Bama is able to slow it up but Clemson now down to the 33. Watson tries to scramble but Ryan Anderson stops him or Watson is in a very makeable FG position. There wasn’t much help behind him. Simple pitch-and-catch to #13 and Clemson at the Bama 26. Clemson spikes it for some reason even though they have 2 TOs left. Dumb. Bama brings blitz and Watson finds Legget inside the 10. That was great anticipation that Watson had not shown previously. Bama is always in his face but he is standing tall now. :14 left and I think everybody is expecting a jump ball to #7 here and then another shot to the endzone. Kelvin Benjamin style to win the national title. That slippery #13 might swim in his wake for something too? That’s where I’d look. Watson overthrows Leggett smartly because he wasn’t open. Williams knocked down and DPI called. Ball at the 2 yard line since foul deemed to be in the endzone. :05 left. Watson rolls out and hits #13 on another pick play and TD CLEMSON FOR THE WIN!!!! This pick play was probably legal. #13 inside and the outside WR drove off the line of scrimmage inside but falls down so he doesn’t get an OPI call. I don’t see a foul there on Clemson. #13 runs a flat route and is wide open for the game winner.
Clemson 35 Alabama 31 :01 left 4th quarter
Clemson tries onside and they recovered it with the little dribble up the middle. Not sure why Clemson didn’t squib it deeper in case Bama reacted better and recovers it.
FINAL Clemson 35 Alabama 31
- Clemson had 99 snaps
- Bama had 66 snaps
- Bama 2-15 on 3rd down; Clemson 7-18 3rd down
- Bama O struggled and couldn’t put the game away when #9 got hurt
- Penalties hurt Bama big time. Missed OPI on Clemson TD looms large of course
|3rd down efficiency||7-18||2-15|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||1-1|
|Yards per pass||7.4||4.8|
|Yards per rush||2.2||6.5|