Thursday, 24 September 2009

FEI Week 3; More OL Venting

Clemson up three spots to #11, likely the result of beating the #26 team BC. If BC keeps playing like it did last Saturday, I expect we won't be benefiting from that victory too much longer. For those of you interested, TCU is at #27, so this Saturday should be just another repeat of the BC game, right?

Clemson took a big jump in the Ken Massey aggregate rankings, up at #23 after being #36 last week. TCU tumbled from #10 to #15. It was a rough week for Mountain West schools, and a relatively good week for the ACC. Hey, maybe FEI wasn't terribly wrong after all? Clemson-TCU will give us another data point in the analysis.

Also wanted to draw attention to this excellent post on the offensive line a few days back by DrB. The ClemPson guys are prolific writers, so it might have slipped through unnoticed. Somehow I also missed the post from last year, which is much the same effect. Just to highlight a couple of passages, but really, it should be read in its entirety. Here, when talking about where to spread the blame for the O-line failures:
Whose fault is this? Brad Scott's. He has been OL coach since Spence came on staff. He is regarded as one of the best? By who? Show me who comes calling for him? Brad can recruit in this state, and has built many contacts, but what good does it do us to recruit and not develop? Was that lesson not learned over the last 9 years? If you bring them in and they do nothing, its on the coach. Its either bad evaluation in the beginning, or bad development; either way its on Scott.
In my eyes, in the last 2-3 years Clemson has been plagued by two problems that have absolutely infuriated the fanbase because they shouldn't happen with proper coaching: 1) poor tackling technique on defense and 2) inability to get any kind of push from the offensive line in the run game (we can debate the line play in 2007, there were obviously multiple factors going on there--but I think everyone agrees the level of play on the O-line was well below expectation). Its still early and there have been some relapses (first quarter of the GT game) but problem #1 looks like it is coming under control after one offseason under Kevin Steele. Thank God. Problem #2, however, looks about as bad as ever. There are flashes of ability mixed into every game (even in the BC game), but nothing resembling consistency has materialized.

But to tell the truth, we are not missing assignments altogether...We are BLOCKING the guy we're supposed to hit, but we arent PUSHING him anywhere, that comes down to technique. Its one thing to hit your man, but its another to knock him on his ass...Our technique is what needs work, thats what a coach is there for.
I can't pretend to know the politics in the Clemson athletic department or the football team. But what I can say, and what I tried to point out in my last post below, is that it seems that Swinney has at least some grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of the team and has tried to make changes appropriately (unlike his baffling predecessor). I refuse to believe that he doesn't see the O-line struggles; he's seen the deterioration along the O-line first-hand. Maybe Pearman was brought in as a way to "push" Brad Scott, give him some motivation. But that begs the question as to why he just wasn't removed in the first place, its not like he's got a stable of hand-picked 5-star recruits for 2010. There has to be something going on here that hopefully resolves itself before the start of the next offseason. Or maybe, just maybe, we see some real improvement one of these weeks?

However if Thomas Austin is so good, and Hairston is the "Spiller of the OL" as Dabo says, why do we not have HUGE holes open on the left side and more run plays designed to go there?...This tells me that either Austin and Hairston arent the all-star types they've been made out to be, or Napier is dumb. Its one or the other.
One minor quibble here--it could easily be both.


  1. If the WRs dont start running better routes and getting open I'd be calling for Jeff's head too.

  2. Yeah, I guess I didn't notice it much last year, but this year it looks like a developing problem. Its not like the guys playing now are true freshman, either--most of them have been in the system 2-3 years. That's an indictment of not just Jeff Scott, but the guy he replaced, too. What was his name again?


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