Auburn Tigers v. #2 Clemson Tigers
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL
Score: Clemson 19, Auburn 13
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Deshaun Watson, QB, Junior, #4: Watson was somewhat hit or miss to start the season. It felt as though the pressure from Auburn never allowed Watson to get into a rhythm as a passer; except for the quick game. Watson showed good decision making and strong timing in the three step game; properly identifying open targets against man or zone. Watson also gave a strong effort to extend plays with his legs; he flushed the pocket as needed and did well to keep his eyes down the field and find targets on the move. Watson’s issues came from some poorly placed throws, he had some opportunities outside of 10 yards down the field to make chunk gains but throws were just a bit off.
Mike Williams, WR, RS Junior #7: Welcome back, Mr. Williams! It was great to see a healthy Mike Williams running routes and chasing vertical throws after missing just short of all of the 2015 season. Williams looks thicker this year; which will serve him well winning with physicality at the catch point. Williams slowly took over as the game went on, becoming Watson’s go to target and racking up 9 receptions for nearly 200 receiving yards. Williams was dominant in back shoulder throws; a new dynamic to his skill set that will compliment his vertical skills to create a scary combination. Williams did let a few throws get on top of him, costing him multiple receptions and at least one touchdown, however. Regardless of a handful of drops, the fact that Williams is healthy and running around bodes well for his 2016 effort and prospects as a NFL Draft target.
Wayne Gallman, RB, RS Junior, #9: Gallman had a nice effort this past weekend. He toted the ball for a total of 30 carries; and while his YPC was not a stellar total at just over 4.0, the effort he showed to grind out yardage was certainly admirable. Gallman’s sweet feet were on display to cut and break at the LOS; he was effective in identifying running lanes at the point of attack. Gallman was not notably physical after contact but his active feet did allow him to fall forward more often than he was stacked up and driven back. Speaking of a lack of physicality: Gallman’s pass blocking was not especially hard-nosed but I did love the effort that he put forth and on Clemson’s winning touchdown, his block thrown on a second level blitzer was the difference. The Clemson offensive line taking additional steps forward will yield far better production for Gallman, who did very well for himself to be a key cog in the Tigers offense.
Ben Boulware, MLB, Senior, #10: Perhaps the most impressive part of Boulware as a prospect is he continues to make the most of a limited physical skill set. Boulware is more of a downhill plug player than a space player; but as he continued to show this past weekend the cerebral side of the game allows him to be in a position to make big plays on the college level. Boulware had a critical interception of QB Sean White at the goal line late in the 4th Quarter with the score 19-6 to help seal the game. The throw never should have been made, but Boulware’s recognition allowed him to break early enough to contest and finish the catch. Other than that, Boulware continued to be at his best moving forward and attacking the LOS; he did not show high amounts of lateral range but was physical coming forward and his football IQ allowed him to attack early and beat OL to a spot against the run.
Cordrea Tankersley, CB, RS Senior #25: Tankersley did not have many opportunities to be tested down the field on account of a shoddy effort from the Auburn passing offense. But I did love seeing how active and aggressive Tankersley was at the LOS, registering 2.0 TFL. This aggressiveness and impact is what you want to see from a big, physical corner who is going to be asked to play at the LOS and get his hands on receivers early on.
Carl Lawson, EDGE, RS Junior #55: Lawson might not have filled up the stat sheet like some other pass rushers in the opening week of the season; but he was damn near as dominant as any other defensive lineman. Lawson impressed with twitch ability and short area agility; he was regularly a force in the backfield and caused disruption both against the pass and the run. One can’t help but appreciate how patient Lawson was in space, he did not allow backfield action to compromise his leverage as a run defender. Where Lawson can stand to continue to improve is his functional strength at the point of attack; it will never be his strong point but continued dedication can make him a more well-rounded player. Lawson was a dominant pass rusher who regularly pummeled Watson in the pocket throughout the game.
Montravious Adams, DT Senior #1: Adams showed out well enough as part of a rotation along the defensive front. Adams spent a lot of third downs on the sidelines but when on the field he showed penetration ability to push through contact and square up ball carriers at the point of attack. Adams did not utilize his length particularly well and also failed to inspire with his first reaction to the snap. In spite of these flaws, he still proved to be capable pushing into the backfield thanks to natural power and acceleration. Adams needs to be better at the point of attack to redirect and stack up blockers to be able to cross face but his ability to reset the LOS was visible on Saturday night. Continues to not show viable skills to be a three down prospect in a defensive interior.
Best Players on the Field:
Mike Williams, WR; Carl Lawson, EDGE
Sean White, QB