“How was Clemson’s defense beaten last year?”

Good starting piece from Brent Rollins on how Clemson handled (or, perhaps more accurately, didn’t handle Notre Dame’s and Ohio State’s offenses in its two losses last season.

Before diving into that, though, this is a pretty impressive bit of information:

One important thing to remember when watching their defense is the unit returns almost every player and is obviously loaded with talent and experience. In fact, of the 29 players who played at least 100 snaps on defense last fall, only four are no longer on the roster (all lost via transfer, including current Bulldog Derion Kendrick).

They’re experienced.  But also, as Rollins points out, that means Georgia should have a pretty good idea of what it has to handle in the opener.

The main points can be summarized as follows:

  • Tempo.  “Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is well known for his defenses making numerous checks and adjustments based on what an offense shows (see how much they move in most clips), especially even as the play clock winds down. Thus, the Buckeyes worked supremely fast in certain situations.”  Maybe it’s a fine line between signal stealing and just being able to figure out what the offense is going to run based on sets and final formation, but either way, OSU caught Clemson with their collective pants down repeatedly.
  • Tight end usage.  Okay, not gonna lie — this one has me licking my chops.  “While the Buckeyes often used formation and motions to get the ball to their tight ends, the Irish used a lot of crossing routes. This play came against man coverage, but others (including below) against zone off a blitz. I would expect Todd Monken to use a combination of both, especially given the size and versatility of the Bulldog tight ends.”
  • Play action deep shots.  That’s part of the Monken playbook and he’s got (1) the running game to sell those and (2) the quarterback to take those.
  • Handle the blitz.  An area of deep concern for Georgia, given the uncertainty of how the o-line will be set for the opener, as Venables is as blitz-happy a coordinator as you’ll find.  “Venables and the Tigers blitz as much as anyone in college football, from any and all angles/positions. Their overall blitz percentage (40.0) is 12th-most in the Power 5, and that jumps to fourth-most on third down (51.3 percent). They are also quite successful at getting to the quarterback when they do, as they had the fourth-most quarterback pressures in the Power 5 when blitzing.”  That being said, he’ll be challenging the returning quarterback who had the best passer rating against the blitz last season.
  • Winning the line of scrimmage.  Yeah, easier said than done.

That last point is still my number one key to the game.  The team with the o-line that wins the most, wins the game.

If Georgia’s getting north of six-and-a-half yards per rush, we can celebrate early.  Something tells me it’s not gonna be that easy, though.


Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

33 responses to ““How was Clemson’s defense beaten last year?”

  1. 81Dog

    Whatever patterns ND ran against our very good D in 2019 are things Monken should consider stealing, because their TE was wide open a lot. That isn’t a criticism of our D, but a compliment to the Irish. Steal from the best, I say. 😂

    Liked by 6 people

  2. DawgStats

    Tempo = don’t let them steal signs

    Liked by 6 people

  3. MudCat's Mechanic

    That pretty much sums up my suggestions. I don’t think Monken will from what I’ve seen. I’m still bitter from the past.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. theotherdoug

    UGA needs to break the huddle with personnel that can line up for power football or spread out with nobody in the backfield. We have the guys to do it.

    That will force Venables to pick either a run stopping defense or guys that can cover. Monken and JT will feast on the weakness.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    I hope the sign stealing days are over. Word gets around. Move, countermove, etc.


  6. Russ

    I’m confident Monken knows how to take advantage of Venable’s sign stealing. We need tempo and some trickeration to keep them off balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. akascuba

    The team that handles the blitz best will have a decided advantage.

    My concern for the good guys. Who steps up creating havoc on defense. Kirby seems concerned about who’s going to be getting QB pressures. Keeping a spy on the QB don’t allow his feet to get free.

    Monken play fast don’t change personnel until first downs. Don’t allow them to rotate personal whenever possible. JT get the ball where they are most exposed run or pass forget balance. Start fast and never let up till you call the victory formation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. spur21

    Gonna be a tough game but one we can win.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 69Dawg

    If you haven’t seen Brooks Austin’s YouTube site, he is doing a free film breakdown of each of Clemson’s position groups. He has the DB’s up now and he is using the ND game with the new Clemson QB. It was eye opening what ND’s offense did to them. He is scheduled to do more weekly. He take was that their DC wanted as many DB on the field as he could. He showed that with the way Clemson lined up with 6 DB they were run on early and often. They seem to wait for the DC to give them the signal for which way to deploy before the snap, which reminded me of good old 3rd and you know who. ND would snap the ball while literally the whole defense was looking to the side lines.


  10. Munsoning

    The Dawgs’ DL should win the LOS and let AA and the other pass rushing LBs f-ing eat. If Luke can’t get the OL playing up to its talent level, that’ll be a bad sign. Yeah, first game of the season against a really, really good DL, but that room is loaded with former 5- and high-4-stars. Those boys should hold their own.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Munsoning

      I know I’m the 10 millionth GTP commenter to make this comment. Maybe I should get a prize. 10 million commenters can’t be wrong!


  11. RangerRuss

    3rd and Venables?

    Clemson sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. originaluglydawg

    There is little evidence that Clemson is a great team.
    Yeah, they’re a good team. But in the crap did they beat last year? They gobbled down their ACC cupcakes but lost to ND who put up 47 points on them when Lawrence (who I don’t remember playing defense) couldn’t go. They lost to Ohio State, giving up 49 points…the same Ohio State that Alabama put 52 on.
    Clemson gave up an average of 22 points per game in 2020 (admittedly, I didn’t count their game against The Citadel because Georgia didn’t get to play it’s game against an OOC cupcake). Georgia gave an average of 20 points per game. Clemson played GT…Georgia didn’t. Georgia played two top ten teams in the season, Alabama, and Florida. Clemson played ND, who as usual was grossly over rated.
    It’s hard to compare these two teams because of the gross differences in their conference opponents. Esp. in 2020 when out of conference games were so limited.


  13. Doggoned

    Come out in the no-huddle and stay up-tempo till the final minute. Hear the lamentations of their women.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. archiecreek

    Always comes down to turnovers, penalties, and special teams.
    Also, run the toss sweep in the fourth quarter…
    Clemmons and Venables couldn’t stop it in 2014!!

    Liked by 2 people

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