I did two things when I woke up this morning, I ate a small juice glass full of Peanut M&Ms, then rewatched the ill-fated 4th quarter double pass over, and over. I needed some sweet in my mouth before the bitterness.
Begin by watching O'Cain explain the decision to call that play, for a second time in the game. I know it's after a loss, O'Cain is dejected like the rest of the team, but do you feel like I do? To put it mildly, I'm not inspired by him in the least, and I have absolutely no confidence in him learning from what happened, and getting better as a play caller.
It was just two-man route (Logan leaked out at the end, but that seemed like more of an improvisation on his part). Davis didn't have a simple completion in front of him, usually the point of, and result to good trickeration. Here though, no one on the defense was fooled. Even if it had gone off without a hitch, the options for Davis would've been Coleman streaking up, and across the field from him, and Roberts on the deep post to the middle. Both are difficult throws to ask a wide receiver on the move to make.
Coleman faked a block, then released downfield short of the first down. Dyrell was the home run threat, but was covered tightly. Davis was flushed before Dyrell could break off the defender.
That's unsurprising considering O'Cain called the same play, formation and personnel if I'm not mistaken, in the second quarter. In that instance, a low throw/drop by Thomas/Davis stopped it before it got started. A good defensive coach is going to tell his guys at the half to keep an eye out for it again, and great play caller doesn't try an exact do over. Furthermore, it's no secret Tech likes to run that screen to the receiver, and Clemson was attacking them, so expecting time for the play to develop, which it desperately needs to be successful, is unrealistic.
What did Tech stand to gain from all the risk here? Eight yards to Coleman to then face a second-and-two with the clock running? Or a thirty yard completion to Dyrell who, this season, has been routinely caught from behind? There are much better plays that could accomplish either of those goals without the chance of disaster.
Of all the skill players on the roster, Marcus Davis makes the most sense to execute a double pass. He played QB in high school, and practiced as one early on at Tech, but why take the ball out of Logan's hands. Yes, LT3's been inconsistent this season, however he's been extremely successful playing from behind, especially in the hurry up. He's struggled throwing the touch pass underneath, but when he lets it rip deep, more often than not, it's accurate. Not only that, Roberts is the guy going deep, while Demitri Knowles, the team's burner this season, is on the bench. Corey Fuller who has penchant for turning a short pass up the field for a big gain is tasked with blocking.
The timing of the call had me screaming, "Why?," at my TV. Down 14 late in the 4th quarter is not the time to get cute. O'Cain needed to call bread and butter plays that had a proven history of success to get the offense in rhythm and move down the field. That wasn't the time to take a risk. Do that on a third-and-one when it has already been decided to go for it on fourth down, like on the first series when instead the call was third-and-Logan that everyone saw coming from a mile away.
O'Cain said the play wasn't a "hope and a prayer", but by design it didn't stand a chance to be anything else.