When he turned on the tape and watched the loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, safety Nolan Turner knew right away what went wrong in the semifinal game of the College Football Playoff.
Clemson’s defense got exposed.
The Buckeyes’ took advantage of the Tigers’ young defense. They confused them by lining up with the formation to the boundary, then flipping the formation, forcing the defense to quickly adjust, which it did not.
“We just did not play well. We got out physical in that game. We did a very poor job of adjusting and when those two things are wrong, it is not going to look good for you on any given night,” Turner said following Wednesday’s first practice of the Spring. “Those are areas we have to get better in.”
Ohio State totaled a bowl record 639 yards against Clemson’s defense, as it had wide receivers running wide open, or so it seemed, all night. Quarterback Justin Fields threw for 385 yards, while completing 22-of-28 passes and a Sugar Bowl record six touchdowns.
“It was definitely frustrating to be a part of from every aspect,” Turner said.
Buckeyes’ receiver Chris Olave was the one who was running open the most. He caught six passes for 132 yards and scored two touchdowns of nine and 56 yards, the latter being the backbreaker in Clemson’s 49-28 defeat.
“They basically tried to make a young defense move and adjust and flip the formation with some tempo and we did not do a good job with it at any part of the game and that showed,” Turner said. “It was frustrating to be a part of, but we were not prepared or did not prepare the way we should. You know, to give up a bunch of plays like that and having guys running wide open down the field, it is super frustrating. So, that is something we have taken ownership of and have gone back and broken it down. Now we are here to fix it and get better and grow from it and not let that happen again.”
Turner said the evening was a humbling experience, and one they will not forget as they move through the off-season.
“We got exposed and that is what we have to work on. It was obvious, I think, to everybody that watched the game,” he said. “We have to step up. We got guys growing up. With this off-season coming up, we are going to take advantage of it. We are going to get it right.”
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