When Ben Boulware watched the film from the Florida State game, he just sat there shaking his head. For most of the night No. 3 Clemson contained the Seminoles’ star running back, Dalvin Cook. On 17 of his 19 carries, Cook ran for just 56 yards, an average of 3.3 yards per carry.
However, on the other remaining two, he rushed for 113 yards and scored two of his four touchdowns on runs of 43 and 70 yards.
“It is just simple stuff. It is so annoying. It is so correctable,” Boulware said.
Boulware was satisfied with the way the Tigers slowed Cook down throughout the game, but on those two runs he, along with defensive end Christian Wilkins, was too heavy and lost containment on the edges.
Cook did the same thing in the 2015 game when he broke two long runs in the Tigers’ win that afternoon as well.
“We were just getting too heavy on the blocks. I remember the play last year, and we were doing those counter plays, and I fit outside like I was supposed to, but I kind of made the hole too big so he had a lot of wiggle room for T.J. (Green) to fit, so I literally while the play was happening, I knew I wanted to squeeze the hole real tight because I knew Van (Smith) would be fitting inside of me,” Boulware said. “I did not want a bunch of room for him to wiggle. I fit it right, but I put my outside arm on him and I just didn’t … the dude is fast. He cut outside and that was the end of that one.”
That run was Cook’s 70-yard touchdown, which came at the end of the third quarter. Boulware said the same thing happened on his 43-yard run for a score earlier in the quarter as well.
“He just leveraged the ball right and the dude just popped it outside,” the linebacker said.
Though he knew he was fast, Cook’s speed still caught Boulware off guard.
“His second gear … He is Lamar Jackson fast. He is probably faster. His second gear is probably faster than Lamar Jackson,” Boulware said. “I did not realize it going into it that he had that second gear because I leveraged it perfectly. We fit it perfectly, but we were just a little too heavy on it and he was just fast enough to bounce it outside.”