A Second Look – Clemson
It wasn’t a stellar night at Clemson. The defense played lights out, but that gets none of the attention. For the second week in a row it is the ineptitude of the offense grabbing headlines. Frankly, the offense couldn’t get worse. The line couldn’t protect Jarrett Stidham. Stidham couldn’t/wouldn’t throw the ball. The offense was bailed out on the first drive by penalties on Clemson, and then the defense recovered a fumble inside the 10 and couldn’t convert. There is a lot for Malzahn to work on.
This is where Auburn ranks in major categories after the second week.
OFFENSE – National Rank (SEC Rank)
Rushing – 389 yards – 51st (7th)
Passing – 263 yards – 110th (13th)
Total – 652 yards – 98th (12th)
Scoring – 47 points – 91st (13th)
DEFENSE – National Rank (SEC Rank)
Rushing – 169 yards – 32nd (6th)
Passing – 193 yards – 11th (2nd)
Total – 362 yards – 13th (4th)
Scoring – 21 points – 18th (4th)
Offensively something has to change. The line is struggling to protect the QB, Stidham holds on to the ball way too long, and we need to see more quick slants to get the down the field passing working. Everyone expecting Stidham to be playing at a Heisman level and that hasn’t happened yet.
These 2 plays are the exact same situation. The only difference is about 6 sacks on Stidham. Clearly he is afraid to pull the trigger because he hasn’t developed the trust needed with the offensive line. The first play is what we expected to see from Stidham, the second play is the majority of what we’ve seen, which is the same as the other 10 sacks in the game.
WHAT WE NEED TO SEE GOING FORWARD
Quick slants or drags to make the defense respect the deep ball. We don’t have to throw the ball to Will Hastings every time, but we need to have some simple completions for Stidham to gain his confidence. Simplicity in this offense will go a long way.
Defensively, Jeff Holland lead the way again with another monster game. The defense had 2 bad drives that resulted in TDs. The secondary couldn’t catch a break and didn’t look good before the half. Right after the half, Clemson marched down the field and had an easy score. Kevin Steele is doing a great job managing the defense and calling the right plays at the right time.
This defense is going to be a nightmare for opposing offenses and leads me to think that we should be in a position to win every game until the Iron Bowl. The offense has struggled, the defense has been solid. Malzahn has always taken a while to figure out the offense, last year it didn’t happen until Mississipi State. In 2013 it took a loss at LSU for the offense to figure things out and they made it :13 away from a National Championship. It’s too early in the season to fold on this team. Trust in the coaching staff and the players to execute.
Enough sunshine pumping from me. Enjoy the first week of the NFL season.