This week, there’s a lot of talk going around after Clemson’s defensive issues in the 35-10 win over North Texas. Missed tackles, assignments, and over pursuit were called out by many fans that watched the game Saturday. They watched North Texas amass an astounding 42 minutes of possession along with over 462 yards.
Heading into Week 2, Clemson fans have entered a state of worry and unease. Yes, allowing almost 500 yards to a team like North Texas is unacceptable, and corrections must be made ASAP. Play on the defense needs to be better, that’s for sure.
But, the tiger faithful have no need to panic. Not yet, not now.
It’s only been one game, and there is plenty of rust to shake off for the first game of the season. There are players adjusting to new positions, such as Corico Hawkins to ‘Mike’ linebacker, and the bigger roles taken on by players like Jonathan Willard, making his first career start, having so few snaps last year. The crowded wide receiver position is still a work in progress as well, and separation is gradually becoming evident among this group.
Clemson fans are not realizing another thing: the opposing team was North Texas. There is a reason they have won so few games, despite the NFL caliber running back they have in their backfield. They may have made several big plays and kept possession the ball, but managed only one touchdown and ten points. Our defensive line dominated their line, so they resorted to quick slant passes.
The secondary is the least and most forgotten mentioned unit from the game, and nobody talks about how they managed two interceptions, made by Byron Maxwell and Coty Sensabaugh. Nobody has observed the fact that Clemson’s defensive backs were good in coverage, and the majority of North Texas’s passing yards came through the middle of the field. Very few times were Clemson’s defensive backs beat straight up without going to the middle of the field.
No worry for our defensive backs or defensive line. Not now, not yet.
Next, Clemson’s offense got its big play ability back once the wide receivers finally settled down in the second quarter. The trust in the young receivers followed by a dual threat running attack with Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper allowed a quick strike offense. The defensive lag can be attributed to the defense being on the field too long.
With Clemson had under twenty minutes of possession time, the offense scored quickly, and the defense had little time to rest, having to get back in gear after so few plays on offense. This, coupled with the ball possession philosophy of North Texas, makes for a more tired defense, who despite their exhaustion, still surrendered only ten points, coming up with the big stops when needed. Against a team like North Texas, there was no real worry, even after a first quarter score of 7-0.
So be at ease, tiger faithful. There’s no need to worry. Not now, not yet.