College Football Playoff National Championship: Clemson vs LSU – Live Commentary

Posted: January 14, 2020 in All Things Power Spread

No, I’m not a part of the ESPNU Coaches Film Room, but I will be watching that telecast and commenting live here!

1ST QUARTER

DEFENSE!

Clemson started with a silly trick play that the LSU speedy DBs were all over it!! Think it was true frosh Stingley leading the way!

Huge rollout pass down right sideline Ross for 35! Swing to RB Etienne for 19! FAST HUNH TEMPO BY CLEMSON!!

3rd&8 at LSU 25 and huge Zone Blitz by S Delpit, while dropping defenders off the line from the other side. Knocks Clemson out of FG Range.

Great Punt Spiers. Great Blitz mix by Venables. Knew this was coming.

On 1st down, Burrow scrambled around his own goalline and hit a 38 yd crazy pass to Moss. Called back on OLineman downfield.

After that, Clemson totally suffocated Jefferson on a 3rd down screen pass. LSU punt from 3!

Great Field Position at LSU 42, but Clemson can’t take advantage. Great Zone Blitz again by DC Aranda! He’s doing exactly what I said he would need to do!

Another fantastic punt inside the 5 again by Will Spiers!!

RUN BLITZ VENABLES!! ALMOST SAFETY! 3rd&3 after a pass to Chase. 5 WR -MASSIVE BLITZ UP MIDDLE VENABLES!

Two Joes haven’t seen anything like a Venables D!

Great punt Von Rosengerg 56 yards!!

Now Clemson Offense!

RPO huge play to little used TE Galloway for 42 yds! Great play call OCs Scott/Elliot!

Nice scramble Lawrence off another RPO, then a fantastic Route Design by Scott – a Reverse Mesh to Higgins for 19 -confounding the Cover 3 by LSU!

Now, Travis Etienne in Wildcat for 5 to the 1! And a great RO fake Keeper by Lawrence! TOUCHDOWN!

GREAT GAMEPLAN – SCHEMES BY SCOTT/ELLIOTT!

CLEMSON 7-0

Finally a Completion for a 1st Down by LSU. Marshall for 15. More pressure – sack and 2 Incs!! Venables winning bigtime over Brady right now!

More strong Pressure mix by Aranda – holding his end up on his own Defense!

Suddenly a huge 52 Yd TD Go Route down the sideline LSU!! Chase burned Clemson’s best DB AJ Terrell.

No pressure/Cover1 by Venables and LSU after doing nothing on Offense the whole Quarter explodes to tie the game!!

LSU 7-7

Now, Aranda’s D is struggling in the scheme. Something I was worried about with the young DBs.

D Breakdown and TE Galloway open again for a big play over the middle! RO and RPOs working too for Clemson.

Tons of Tempo – great HUNH by Clemson so far! Etienne 6 yd run and end of Quarter.

2ND QUARTER

Lawrence runs for a first, but then Aranda comes through again with some pressure. 52 yard FG by BT Potter!

Clemson 10-7

Burrow breaks loose for 20 yards. Venables has dialed back the pressure for a minute. Here it comes! Great blitz – I think maniac LB Skalski up the middle – chases Burrows all the way to the sideline. Throws it away.

Great punt again by Von Rosenberg – 44 yds – downed at Clemson 4! Both Punters nailing it – like the Clemson OSU Semifinal!

Scott/Elliot – More amazing Schemes / Play Calls

Great use of Unbalanced OLine in both the passing and running schemes. Unbalanced Left is the RT moved over to join the LT and LG to form a heavy power side. Classic Single Wing alignment from the 1920s!

On the first – Lawrence rolls left behind the line and makes a big throw back across the field to Ross for 24.

On the second – Lawrence gives to Etienne on a RO that again races to the weak side around right end for a 36 yd run!! Speedy LB Chaisson totally fooled!

Then before LSU can get their breath – more HUNH (Hurry Up No Huddle) by Clemson – 7 yd run Etienne.

Then a great 36 yd Flea Flicker Reverse to WR Higgins around Left End (after all the Right End stuff) for a Touchdown!

Again, absolutely FANTASTIC Play Calling and Scheming by Scott/Eliott!!

Clemson 17-7
Another big pass to Chase LSU!

Again, Venables backing off the pressure. Pass to Chase for 16, then from the Slot – vs Terrell again – Chase down right sideline… again… 56 yds!

Soon after, a nice QB Sneak Call – Burrow up gut – Touchdown!

LSU 14-17
COACHES ROOM

The Coaches are on fire! Patterson and Hafley saying that Venables just sticking in that Cover 1 Man Under. Too hard versus these NFL WRs of LSU!

Gundy seems to agree. It’s the same thing OU tried to do. Personally I think it’s lack of pressure. When Venables brings it, he’s been successful.

To LSU’s credit, Brady is running a fast Tempo and it’s not giving Clemson a chance to run any exotic pressures. But Venables needs to find a way.

Clemson has virtually outplayed LSU this whole game, but two huge pass plays and it’s a 3 pt game!

Brady strikes back!

Another good Read Option run. Etienne for 12. But more good pressure from Aranda. He’s really stepped it up for this game, which I said he would have to do!

Another good punt inside 20 by Spiers.

Now the LSU Offense is really starting to feel it! Big time Tempo out of the HUNH and right down the field.

  • Burrow for a 10 yd run
  • RPO Jefferson across middle of field to right flat.
  • RB Edwards-Helaire in the right flat for 23!
  • Now WR Jefferson off on RPO in same right flat vs same defender!
    • RPO Pro Match Up football.
    • 19 Muse is a good S but can’t stay in M2M.
  • Now use the RFlat as a decoy for Chase 14 Yd Touchdown down right sideline!!

Up until this point all the schemes have been advantage Clemson. But good stuff by Aranda and now a great drive called by Brady!

Those 2 big pass plays to Chase not only saved this game for LSU early, but loosened up the inexperienced team. They are flying now!

LSU 21-17

More Tempo and use of Etienne – this time on a pass for 14 yds. But again Aranda’s D comes up big. Two incompletes!

ANOTHER HUGE PUNT SPIERS – 58 YDS!

LSU – 95 YD TD Drive in 3m to end the Half!!

HUGE TEMPO BY LSU! Run 25 by Helaire!

Big sack by TDavis as Venables finally went back to the blitz. 3rd&19 HUGE PASS INTERFERENCE ON CB KENDRICK! Clemson had the play stopped. Bad Pentalty.

From there LSU went right down the field!

  • Chase for 15 RPO.
  • Burrow 2 and 3 yd runs .
  • Another RPO crosser to Jefferson for 9 on 3rd&5.
  • HUGE 3RD&10 30 YD QB DRAW BURROW!! GREAT CALL BRADY!
  • ONE MORE TIME USING THE RIGHT FLAT AS DECOY! MOSS WIDE OPEN TOUCHDOWN!!
    • Kendrick totally blown coverage
    • Played zone with big blitz on other side of field.
    • Should have been in simple Man Coverage

Two huge pass gains and a huge PI Penalty = 21 points for LSU! Schemes favor Clemson, but some big time play calling by Brady to LSU’s NFL Talent at WR!

LSU 28-17

Halftime

So far it’s playing out a lot like I expected. Great schemes by Clemson on both sides of the ball. Plus more Championship Experience helped early.

LSU’s Aranda is calling a good game on Defense with more pressure than what he’s shown most of the year. Brady’s schemes aren’t anything amazing, but the play calling is top notch. His WRs are NFL quality.

I love the Tempo by both teams. It’s pretty obvious that LSU has the talent edge. The Clemson coaches are going to need to maintain the Scheme Edge to have any shot!

3RD QUARTER

Coaches – Saying Burrow has cracked rib?

I think that’s the blitz hit on the TD at the end of the half. Bring more blitz coach!

Right on cue, Venables finally bringing big pressure again! Great call to start the 2nd Half! Maniac LB Skalski again!

Bad interference on PR by LSU. Puts Clemson at 50 yd line to start the 2nd Half!

TEMPO – Clemson right down the field HUNH!

Nice RPO to Higgins for 12! Lawrence 7 yd keep and Facemask on Chaisson.

RO Runs Etienne 5, 6, 3 TOUCHDOWN! Wide open Rodgers for 2pt conversion!

Great start to the 2nd Half by Clemson starts with Venables Blitz Pressure!

Clemson 25 – 28
Coaches Room – Reading my stuff??

They keep talking about Venables has to blitz. It’s pressure that LSU hasn’t had to deal with all year. Venables got burned in the 1st Half when he sat back in deep zones!

Thank you! I agree! Also, as good as the LSU Oline is at both run and pass blocking, they struggle with exotic blitzes from speedy DBs/LBs.

More pressure, another sack. This time by speedy LB Simmons! 3rd&2 after another catch by Chase. Pass in flat to Helaire broken up by S Nolan Turner who ended OSU’s hopes a week ago!

Another RPO pass to Ross 11yds. Again, some tricky coveage/pressure by Aranda. Inc to Higgins!

Huge Drive LSU – Targeting Ejection Skalski!

Burrow another QB Run on a busted play and with possible cracked rib!

3rd&11 HUGE BLITZ CLEMSON – QUICK WR SCREEN CHASE FOR 43 YDS! Clemson players all over it, but couldn’t bring Chase down. Great Play Call Timing and Execution once again!

All the HUNH Tempo is wearing down the Clemson Defense. That’s why all the near miss tackles.

Another controversial Targeting Ejection on 7 yd pass Jefferson. This time Clemson isn’t the beneficiary as in the Semifinal game.

Moss in left flat TD. More Tempo.

LSU 35-25
Coaches Room – Targeting – LSU Offensive PI

Mike Gundy has been going off all game on the PI penalties that should be called on the big LSU WRs!

It’s true that they have been pushing around the Clemson DBs all game. On the last TD, Chase seemed to interfere with CB Kendrick who was trying to get out on Moss.

Hafley saying that you will never get those calls. Gundy doesn’t agree. Either way, a very Pro Style use of Pro Style WRs by Brady.

There was also a lot of talk about the Targeting penalties in today’s game.

As someone who played HS and College Football, I know how hard it is to keep the head up at all times. Especially in the heat of battle.

A lot of these hits are not intentional. Not the one against Wade of Ohio State. Not the one tonight against Skalski. Penalty is fine. Ejection is not.

Interception by LSU’s top CB Fulton, but he was holding onto the jersey. Pass Interference. Then more great pressure / coverage mix by Aranda.

Blitz that caused Lawerence to throw incomplete. Then on 3rd&16, a change to Quarters Coverage from Cover 2 – what I call 24 – 2 look to before the snap. Confused Lawerence.

Another big pass play versus a tiring Clemson D. Jefferson for 35 yds! Then Chase 1on1 down the sideline again, but this time he dropped a perfect pass by Burrow.

Nice Phantom Blitz by Venables, anticipating the WR Screen. Stopped short of the 1st down. I think Venables is starting figure out Brady’s play calling patterns a bit.

York missed a 45 yd FG. Special Teams Advantage Clemson.

Again more great D Schemes and Play Calling by Aranda. Mixing Coverage and Pressure. Stopping the RO Run game now too.

4TH QUARTER

More Tempo from LSU – Clemson gassed
  • 5 yd run Helaire.
  • 15 yd catch Helaire.
  • 13 yd catch Moss.
  • 8 yd catch Jefferson.
  • 6 yd run Helaire.
  • Marshall 24 yd catch TOUCHDOWN!

Good coverage on Marshall – but it’s NFL vs College. Marshall just won an easy jump ball for him.

LSU eating up yds with a standard Pro Spread – West Coast Offense – Attack.

The Power Spread advantage is with the Tempo. LSU is using a simple enough PS Pro scheme to enable a very quick No Huddle scheme.

Uncomplicated, simple execution. With NFL WRs and a possible NFL QB and OLine.

LSU 42-25
Coaches Room – LSU an NFL Offense

Coaches basically saying that Clemson has ran good schemes, but basically just doesn’t have the talent to match the LSU WRs.

I said it in my Live Commentary, but I did think OSU had the only chance, because they had NFL quality DBs.

I thought that Clemson had a chance because of excellent schemes and some strong coaching, but they didn’t take enough advantage of their early advantage tonight.

Now they look tired. Huge win versus OSU and all the Tempo by LSU wearing them down.

Plus a ton of credit to LSU Dave Aranda. He brought the heat. Really on his game tonight.

Clemson looks down. LSU just rearing back and coming hard at Lawrence now. To his credit, Lawrence completes a 12 yd pass to Ross. Then interference on Vincent.

Then Lawrence hits a beat up Higgins for a 48 yd TD Pass! Called back – for, get this – Offensive PI on Higgins! LOL. After all the hand chucking by LSU WRs all game long!

Now LSU just running out the clock, but still with a No Huddle Power Spread Scheme. Spread alignment, but 4 straight runs Helaire for 31 yds.

That big OLine is loving this power game.

Venables son gets a sack! Punt LSU to Clemson 15.

Big pass Lawrence to Higgins over the middle for 21. Big fight from those two! Clemson has went out of the game a couple of times with injuries.

Next play Lawerence on the run, smacked by Delpit, fumble recovered by freshman Stingley! Game Set Match.

COACHES WRAP – While LSU Runs out the clock

Mike Gundy took over at the end. Said that Clemson had a great plan and schemes, but they were outmanned. LSU 3 NFL WRs. QB and OLine as well.

Everyone agreed. OSU was the other best team of the year and would have been a better match up.

OK. They didn’t say that. 🙂

Derek Mason is saying that it was a really great game. Offense and Defense.

Shout out to Gary Patterson, who let others talk more this year.

Last couple of years Patterson dominated the conversation. He’s a great listen – smart and knows so much – but this time he worked with the others better.

LSU 42-25

I should have stuck with my initial pick on this one. I knew it right after I changed it.

Clemson simply not one of the two best teams this year

I talked with my buddy Justin right after I posted my preview. He was adamant that LSU can’t be stopped. This was their year he said. I said – I agree – I should change my pick back. He laughed.

Justin said that Clemson had to go up by 17+ points to win. They came close, but didn’t fully capitalize on their early success. LSU started their comeback from 10 points down. Justin’s forecast proved correct.

The big argument Justin made was pretty simple. Clemson hadn’t played anyone significant all year and when they did – OSU – they looked like they were going to get killed.

If not for some ludicrous plays and calls two weeks ago, the two teams playing tonight would have been the two best teams all year long. Ohio State and LSU.

Schemes

The reason I changed my pick was my underwhelment of the scheme of Joe Brady and my respect for Clemson’s schemes. Not only Venables on defense, but the improvement of late by their OCs.

I was wary of Aranda it didn’t surprise me that he stepped up big time tonight. He was the overlooked start of the game.

But say what I will about Brady, he still runs a decent PS Pro scheme. It may not be cutting edge, but with his Tempo and Play Calling + all the talent LSU has on Offense this year, it’s very effective.

In a way, I hate to pick Clemson. This is probably going to end up being their least talented team in many years.

Power Spread – 2019 College Football Playoffs – National Championship Preveiw

In the end, Clemson had the better gameplan/schemes. The coaching room agreed and it showed early in the game. It showed again at the start of the 2nd Half.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough. They didn’t have the talent to match. I knew this and didn’t stick with it because i get enamored by great schemes.

Power Spread is everywhere now

Ten years ago, I would have called Joe Brady’s Offensive Scheme cutting edge amazing! All the vertical passing, set up with horizontal passes, power runs and all kinds of Tempo and Misdirection.

Brady’s use of Space is excellent as is his Play Calling(Time) and Match Up(Team) exploration. Sounds amazing right? Except a lot of coaches are doing it now.

Truth be told, Ryan Day’s PS Pro is more innovative at this point in time. Others as well. Even Clemson coaches are experimenting with some of what I’d call PS 2020.

Early on, I loved Clemson’s Unbalanced Lines, Mesh Constraints, Reverse runs and screens, etc. You don’t see this in Brady’s Offense.

What you see is Classic PS Pro that Joe Moorhead innovated. Throw in some Sean Payton misdirection pass game and it works! Especially when you can call a good game and have great talent at your disposal.

Best Team Won

LSU was the best team this year. They proved it all year long. OSU should have been their opponent, but I still think LSU would have won.

Amazing year by everyone on that team starting with Ed Orgeron through to Steve Ensminger. Great game tonight by Dave Aranda.

LSU had a ton of talent back this year and it showed. Congrats!

~PS

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