Clemson Review: Mental Mistakes Cost Us Big
It’s certainly a mixed bag of emotions today amongst the Auburn faithful, which is really unfortunate to see. Message boards and social networks are littered with fans bickering over the game and what it means for the season.
I was at last nights game, and all in all I had a great time. I got to tailgate with my fellow College And Magnolia crew, as well as meet a few other great people. I also got to enjoy the incredible atmosphere that was the Georgia Dome, and I think I lost my voice by the start of the third quarter!
Now, onto the game.
Simply put, there were a lot of good and bad things about this opener. This time around I’m going to put each point into note form, since I think it allows for more easy reading. (I haven’t caught the replay on TV so if I miss a few things, I apologise).
– Frazier looked shaky at times, but overall I was impressed with him considering this is his first start in a brand new system in a big atmosphere. There were times where he just needed to settle down his game, but that comes with first game nerves. Threw a beauty to Blake for the only Auburn touchdown. It was everything I expected out of him.
– The run game was pretty solid. Mason had 14 carries for 106 yards, so he had some good success on the ground. We didn’t see much of Blakely or Grant, and McCalebb was mainly used as an outside runner (which he had some success with).
– Same issue at Wide Receiver. No one but Blake or Lutz is stepping up, at least not right now. We need at least two more guys to step up and help out Kiehl a little bit.
– The Offensive Line was decent, for the most part. Robinson did a good job anchoring the left side, and the run blocking as a whole was good. The pass blocking was inconsistent, but not terrible. It was a decent performance for this brand new group. Avery Young did a very solid job as well.
As a whole, we underachieved offensively, but that was to be expected. I wanted touchdowns as much as anyone else, but Clemson did a good job in defending the pass when we found ourselves in the red zone. The main issue I have, is that there was a severe lack of run plays once we got into the red zone. Trovon Reed failed to get a foot down during a sure touchdown catch. Many ‘what if’s’, but I don’t like playing that game.
– The defensive line was inconsistent. The Defensive Ends were impressive, and got a lot of pressure. Ford and Lemonier are going to do (more) monstrous things this year. I can’t wait to see what unfolds. The Defensive Tackles were poor: they struggled with stopping the run and couldn’t get much pressure on Boyd. The inside of the line must improve.
– I can’t say I was that impressed with the Linebackers. Holland looked good on some plays and poor on some others. Bates had a decent game, and even snagged an impressive pick. Missed tackles plagued this group.
– The Defensive Backs had an iffy game. Clemson didn’t throw down the field as much, and most of the time we were playing zone coverage. Chris Davis had a solid game, could have been a great one had he not given up that touchdown at the very end. Bell was targeted often, and had an ok game. I thought Jermaine Whitehead had a solid game, he positioned himself well and made a few crucial tackles.
Even though we gave up over 500 yards of offence, I still feel like there was improvement defensively. We made a lot of red zone stands and despite conceding that many yards, we did hold them to 26 points and made enough defensive plays to win the game. In the end, the defence just burned out.
The Special Teams play was outstanding. I thought Clark did an excellent job punting and Parkey notched every one of his field goals. Their was pretty much nothing return-wise (for both teams).
Overall, it was a tough loss to take. But I saw a lot of things that I liked, and I hope to see us make some strides next week against Miss. State. Just remember that players and units develop much better through game experience, as opposed to game ones. The tackling improved marginally, but it’s a small step nonetheless.
This was the opener, so just relax a little bit. Still a long season ahead people.