Halftime Analysis: Clemson's Orange and White Game

After the first half of play in the Orange and White game at Memorial Stadium, the White squad trails in a low-scoring contest for Clemson.
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Rusty play has to be expected when watching any FBS spring game.

Heading into halftime, poor quarterback play has been noticeable for both sides and the Orange team leads the White 10-0 after two quarters.

Halftime Analysis:

  • As alluded to in the All Clemson Show: Spring Game Preview, Kobe Pace showed in just the first drive what he could offer in the run game but was brought back down to earth on a badly tracked pitch from D.J. Uiagalelei. First glance gave the assumption of a bad pitch, but replay confirms. Pace has to do better securing the football.
  • The Orange defense has dominated the White in the first half only allowing 65 passing yards and 15 rushing yards on 15 attempts (-17 rushing yards came on Taisun Phommachanh sack).
  • Need to see more of Will Shipley in the second half used a ton of times as a decoy against the White team; he finally got a healthy dose of carries once Hunter Helms replaced Phommachanh and has to continue into the third and fourth.
  • Uiagalelei might have been the first half talk on a normal day, but even the Hawaiian phenom seemed off on some routine passes and was a few inches from an interception more than once.
  • Phommachanh has been the ultimate demise for the White's offense. Not converting on a near red-zone turnover is a killer for any offense, but going three-and-out with a punt on a chance like this cannot happen moving forward through this spring game and the rest of the season.
  • Guarding the 'freak of nature,' wide receiver Ajou Ajou, according to Clemson head coach Swinney; for most of the first half, freshman Nate Wiggins has stepped up to the plate guarding No. 11 in White, almost coming up with an interception late in the first quarter. Wiggins will hear how finishing plays is critical after dropping the potential turnover but is a great bright spot for an already thin Tigers secondary.
  • Defensively, minus a few big early showings from Pace, Clemson has shown signs of improvement in the run game, where defensive tackle Bryan Bresee said he was focusing the most on improvement. When the Tigers can go best-on-best with opposing teams, these defenders in the trenches will be a massive problem.
  • The score may be close, but offensively the White team has been abysmal with only 80 total yards through two quarters of play, most of which came in the last four minutes of first-half play.
  • With Lannden Zanders out, Tyler Venables stepped up to the plate at safety, leading the White defense in tackles and sacks with six and three, respectively. Only a sophomore, the son of Brent Venables is making a case for minutes at safety in 2021.
  • Offensive line play for both teams just hasn't been up to par. With six total sacks (three for both sides), the front five has a lot of room to improve but also has a long way to go before September.
  • Looking for another option at tight end with Braden Galloway out, Jaelyn Lay has had a massive first 30 minutes and could find himself in a close contest for playing time with Davis Allen. Lay finished the half with five catches for 34 yards, tying Joseph Ngata for a team-high in receptions and yards.
  • Punter Will Spiers has done his job better than almost any Tiger in the first half.

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