RB Onterio McCalebb 23
5’11, 174 lbs.
-Shows good patience and power taking a run that looked like it was going nowhere and picking up 5 yards off of it
-Shows his speed on the edge as he gets a screen pass and gets upfield for a first down
-Bounces run outside and shows off the jets as turns the corner and picks up an easy first down
-Soft hands out of the backfield, makes the receptions look very easy
-Hasn’t been able to break loose as of yet, seems to just be lacking that little something extra
-At his best when allowed to run outside, takes the pitch play and turns on the jets for a quick 12 yard pickup
-One on One v. a DE and it’s not even close as he smokes him for an easy 5 yard gain
Summary: McCalebb has a good night overall, he consistently churned out positive yardage and when he got near the edge he was near impossible to stop without him turning the corner and accelerating away from the defense. Showed some good vision and balance on a number of runs but never really showed the ability to bust through arm tackles and take a five yard run and make it fifty. McCalebb’s longest run of the night was for 20 yards. Meanwhile the quicker Tre Mason was able to use his lateral agility to beat the Clemson defense and went over the century mark with a long of 30.
WR Emory Blake 80
6’2, 197 lbs.
-Wide open in the middle of the field for a TD, the safety just left him out there
-Tremendous job blocking down field on the long run by Mason
-Looks like he lost his balance on his route and was unable to elevate and go get a high throw
-Has been non-existent outside of his one TD grab
-Shows up finally, recognizes coverage and that his QB has escaped the pocket works back to him and gets open for a big first down
-Working the deep hitch and it pays off as he wide open in the middle of the zone
-Can’t bring in a fade throw that was in his hands, looked to mistime his jump
-Big catch over the middle on the post route on final drive
Summary: Yards wise Blake had a big day but nearly half of those came on a big play early in the game where it was a busted coverage. Otherwise the speedy WR was nowhere to be found for almost the entire middle of the game and he struggled to gain separation v. some very athletic Clemson DB’s. Made some nice catches late when he started to work back to his young QB, but it was not enough.
TE Phillip Lutzenkirchen 43
6’5, 250 lbs.
-Brings in a slightly off target pass with some bobble
-Wide open down the seam on a busted coverage off the blitz
-Blown coverage led to a big play, need to see more from him in terms of his routes and ability to gain separation
-Good lead block on run by McCalebb, moved Hall completely out of the play
-Good route off the playaction fake, sold the run fake well by looking like he was going to block
-Staying in and chipping the DE’s on a consistent basis
Summary: Coming into this game I wondered about Lutzenkirchen’s ability to separate and get open at the next level. I wondered this rather loudly and got some flack from Auburn fans for it, but he couldn’t shake the Clemson SAF’s or LB”s tonight on a consistent basis. He has a few nice catches but his routes were not crisp and they needed to be. On the positive side he was very helpful chipping the Clemson’s DE’s as the night wore on was a better blocker than I initially thought. Soft hands and great concentration but you have to get open.
DE Corey Lemonier* 55
6’4, 240 lbs.
-Gets edge and makes the stop on Ellington for a minimal gain
-Crashes down the line to give chase
-Twists on his rush and nearly gets Boyd for a sack, just missed him
-It’s almost as if nobody is even bothering to block him early on, he’s in the backfield with ease for another TFL
-Jumps early and gets called for offsides, he’s all over the snap count early on
-Gets second sack of the game on an effort rush, just never quit and Boyd stepped right up into him
-Limping off the field now, may have gotten dinged up making a tackle-Back out there next drive
-Giving great pursuit even on pass plays
-Deploys a spin move but its negated
-Gets to Boyd a second late but still gets a big hit
-Jumps over the cut block, comes the long way around and gets his second sack of the night
-Closes so quick from within 5 yards
-Star of the game for the Tigers, consistent pressure and presence all night early on
-Giving him the upfield rush and Boyd is immediately stepping up and evading it without much threat at all
Summary: Really a two halves here for Lemonier, in the first half he was near unblockebale and actually led his team in tackles at the half. I don’t believe he recorded a single tackle in the second half and the tenacity and fire was gone. He played less in the second half, as did most of the Auburn DL. Lemonier showed plenty of pass rush potential though displaying speed moves and power moves as he worked again a less than all-star caliber set of OT’s. When he got a shot at the QB, he closed better than player on the field and that’s what I took away from this game with regard to his play.
DE Dee Ford* 95
6’2, 237 lbs.
-Blows by LT on a speed rush and takes down Boyd for a big third down sack
-Closed extremely well as Boyd was rolling away from him
-Showing impressive speed off the edge, getting out of his stance quickly and blowing by the OT
-His first step is the quickest of any DL in this game
-Most improved player by far on the field, he is giving Clemson fits and is forcing Boyd to constantly climb the pocket
-Has gone quiet in the second half, not sure if it’s a blocking scheme change or if he’s tired either way the burst is not there
-Flies off the edge and flushes Boyd but his teammates can’t pick him up
Summary: This was my first long look at Ford, as it was for many people. He was fierce coming off the edge and no player in this game was faster with his first step than Ford. It was evident after the first half the Clemson was going to switch it up with Ford and they dared him to try inside or a power rush, Ford couldn’t adapt and went mostly silent in the second half. The loss of the pass rush for the Tigers very well may have been their undoing in the end.
DE Nosa Eguae* 94
6’3, 262 lbs.
-Gives pursuit on a Boyd scramble, brings him down from behind and forces a fumble, fumble over turned
-Good first step but not quite at the level of Lemonier or Ford
-Tries to dip his shoulder and turn the corner but he just doesn’t appear to have the flexibility to do it
Summary: Came in listed as their third DE but impressed me with his burst and pass rush ability. Not really their beast that Lemonier or Ford were but he applied some good pressure and never really looked over matched. Saw a lot of reps in the second half and delivered a solid contribution.
DT Jeffrey Whitaker* 54
6’4, 301 lbs.
-Getting no push with his bull rush early
-Has been out a good bit while Gabe Wright takes snaps
-Gives Shatley a good pop on contact and get free to disrupt a play
-Struggling to win one on one battles
-Completely winded and getting moved with ease on running plays
Summary: Overall I found Whitaker to be the most disappointing player on the Tigers defense. I found his effort to be solid but there was no pla making and he struggled to get any push. I thought Soph Gabe Wright had a far better game and did more to try and help control the middle. Whitaker played with poor leverage and really stood way too tall coming out of his stance. When you immediately lose the leverage battle its near impossible to win in the trenches.
OLB Darren Bates 25
5’11, 205 lbs.
-Comes up on a Boyd scramble to make a touchdown saving hit
-Comes up the middle on a blitz for a big sack on Boyd
-Delivers a nice hit on a short completion but doesn’t wrap up, Lemonier cleaned it up
-Been banged up a number of times in this one, getting attended to on the field
-Back out on the field tracks down Ellington well on an outside run
-Failure to wrap up costs Bates a sack that could of taken Clemson out of FG range
-Ball goes right through TE’s hands and into Bates arms for an INT
-Great awareness to see the ball and grab it despite going in for the tackle
-Good tackle on Ford to ensure a short gain late in the 4th with his team down
-Could not chase down Ellington on a big run
Summary: Bates is a soldier out on the football field, he plays hard, he usually tackles well and he couldn’t care less about how big you are because he’s going to hit you. In the end a lack of speed and failure to wrap up were this defenses undoing. Bates diagnosis the run extremely well and really did a phenomenal job coming down hill and filling holes. Wish he was just a split second quicker in his reaction to go from making a play stuff to a tackle for loss.