NOTEBOOK: Clearing up a few key plays

CLEMSON – The Clemson football team did its best in practice Monday night to forget about Saturday's tough loss to Boston College and focus on South Carolina. However, there are lingering thoughts of the Eagles and the two big plays in the final two minutes.

One of those players that can't seem to erase the bad memories is safety Chris Clemons, who was the player that let Boston College receiver Rich Gunnell roam free to catch the game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan with less than two minutes to play.

Clemons said the initial call was a two-deep zone and that he was in the right spot until Ryan started rolling to his right. When that happened, Clemons freelanced and left his spot to pick up the tight end in the middle of the field.

"I was supposed to be deep, but when the quarterback started scrambling, I just found a man," he said. "(Gunnell) stopped and ran a hitch and when the quarterback scrambled, the tight end started going towards the middle, so I just found a man."

Ryan told his receivers at halftime that members of the Clemson secondary had a bad habit of leaving their post whenever he broke free of the pocket. So he told them that when he starts running around that they need to break deep.

Thus, when Ryan scrambled to his right on the fateful play, Gunnell broke off his hitch route and went past cornerback Crezdon Butler, who let him go because Clemmons was supposed to be there as his backup.

But Clemons was nowhere to be found and Gunnell scored.

"I was hoping that he'd drop it or something," Clemons said. "It's still tough right now."

Snap problems: Two key plays that went against Clemson were a result of two bad snaps from center Thomas Austin to quarterback Cullen Harper. One of the snaps flew over Harper's head, while the other went straight up and hit Austin in the rear.

Offensive line coach Brad Scott said the snap that went airborne was a result of Austin trying to get into his blocking assignment too early and that the sophomore got a little anxious and in a hurry, which caused the ball to sail.

The other snap that hit Austin in the rear was the one that hurt the Tigers the most because it took place on third-and-goal from just inside the 2-yard line.

Believe it or not, Scott says that bad snap was a product of miscommunication.

"Quite frankly, he thought the quarterback was under center," Scott said. "It was kind of loud and in the heat of the moment and it's a play that we run under center an in the shotgun, both, and that the time he thought the quarterback was under center."

Seems as though it would be pretty evident if a man has his hands resting against that particular area of your body, but maybe that's not the case after all.

Not as it appears: Offensive tackle Christian Capote wound up being the scapegoat early for giving up the sack at the end of the game that forced the Tigers to try a 55-yard field goal. But like Butler with the game-winning touchdown reception for Boston College, looks can be deceiving.

The Eagles ran a delayed cornerback blitz and television replays show Capote almost whiffing on the block of the cornerback. But as it turns out, Scott said that defender wasn't Capote's responsibility and that he was just trying to cover up somebody else's mistake.

Tailback C.J. Spiller was supposed to protect Harper, but he left the pocket and went into a pass pattern, which left the quarterback exposed. As they say, now you know the rest of the story.

Quick hits: Wide receiver Aaron Kelly didn't practice Monday night due to a bruised knee, but he will practice Tuesday. … The right shoulder of Harper appears to be fine as he ran the entire practice with the first team and threw his normal amount of passes. He landed on hit hard Saturday night and had a stinger. …

Head coach Tommy Bowden said that his team has shown up to play with guts and effort in every single game and that he doesn't see Saturday's game against South Carolina being any different. … Bowden said he was as proud of his team's effort against the Eagles as he's ever been of any team. Top Stories