Elliott says offensive performance is a "step in the right direction"

by - Correspondent -
Kobe Pace celebrates his early touchdown.
Kobe Pace celebrates his early touchdown.

The Clemson offense got back on track, somewhat, on Saturday night inside of Death Valley against Boston College. The offense recorded over 430 yards of total offense and had a balanced attack with over 200 yards rushing and passing in the 19-13 win over the Eagles.

The Tigers did however leave a lot of points on the board. B.T. Potter was 4-of-4 on field goals on the night, all drives that pushed deep into BC’s territory before a dropped pass, a penalty, or another miscue stalled the drive and the Clemson offense was forced to take three points.

Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott thinks his offense took a step forward Saturday against an experienced defense, but they need to get better on third down and convert field goals into touchdowns.

“I definitely think it was a step forward,” Elliott said after the game. “I’m really proud of how the guys battled through. We had some guys go down, but guys stepped up and they battled. Boston College is a really good, experienced defense. We were able to be balanced, we weren’t good enough on third down and we needed to punch that one in when we got down inside the five. Overall, it’s a step in the right direction and I'm just happy for these guys to get some success. We didn’t turn the ball over and we didn’t have any sacks there until the end of the game.”

This was the first game where Kobe Pace was RB1 for the Clemson running backs room. After Will Shipley’s injury last weekend and Lyn-J Dixon’s decision to transfer, Pace was placed atgr the top of the depth chart and had himself a day inside of Death Valley. The sophomore running back carried the ball 19 times for 125 yards and also scored a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter, the longest offensive play the Tigers have had this season. Elliott was pleased with the way Pace played and said that’s what the coaches have been seeing in practice since spring.

“I thought he did a really good job,” Elliott said. “Really proud of how he responded after he had the false start. He caught the ball on the perimeter well for us. He just looked like the guy we all saw coming out of spring ball, he played with real confidence. Hats off to him for the big run, but you don’t rush for 200 yards without the offensive line playing really well and creating holes. What we knew and what we saw from Kobe is the yards after contact, he’s a big guy so when he gets behind his pads he can run real well. Hopefully this is encouragement to him to keep pushing forward, because we’re going to need him.”

DJ Uiagalelei had an alright game, nothing too flashy from the quarterback but he also didn’t turn the ball over either. The sophomore finished the game 13-of-28 for 207 yards and no touchdowns but also rushed the ball 12 times for 50 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per attempt. Elliott hopes that the game gave his quarterback some confidence moving forward after a shaky start to the season.

“For the most part he stood up in the pocket and delivered the ball,” Elliott said. “I know he’s going to want a couple throws back, there were a couple of throws that might have resulted in some touchdowns, but the receivers had some drops too. We knew playing this team they play a lot of cover-one, a lot of man and you’re going to have to throw into tight windows.”

The offense also messed around with the offensive line in the win, switching Matt Bockhorst to guard from center and moving some other players around. It was probably the best showing from the offensive line to date on the season, and Elliott thinks they may have found a good group moving forward.

“We’ve been trying to find the right combination with the right guys,” said Elliott on switching up the line. “Putnam has been playing well and it’s unfortunate that he was out. After evaluating everything we thought it was the right move to give Rayburn a chance at center and move Bock back over to guard. Based on everything we’ve seen so far, I'm really pleased with those guys.”

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