Last year, TE didn’t realize until late that we needed to be a run first team, and that balance for the sake of balance should have been thrown out after game two.
This year, it looks like the strength of the Offense should be our three RBs, followed by TEs, then by a lot of unproven/unproductive receivers, and then by an even less unproven/unproductive QB position. Our O Line will be much better. Our punter will be better than the last six years.
SO….stick with zone-read for most plays or start calling designated point of attack run plays with play action.? I am assuming the coaches will tweak the in place system, hoping that DJ and/or Cade can be more productive than what we saw last year.
I hope you are wrong, but I fear you are right. I think DJ may have lost his confidence, and waiting on him trying to get it back will cost us. I hope I'm wrong, and things click early and often, and the proper adjustments are made to get off to a running head start. I do hope that if DJ isn't the guy, we don't waste a few games until we adjust, however I believe DJ exits the program should he not be "the guy". Time will tell, but I just hope we make adjustments before it costs us. We already have lost some national luster, and I don't want us to lose our hard earned prominence.
Swinney and TE always have wanted to run what they called a smash-mouth spread. Indicating that the running game has always been a focus. We are neither run-first nor pass-first and the idea has been to find what we can exploit in the defense and then have sufficient tools to do that.
If you will think all the way back to the Boyd era, Clemson has relied on five linemen to block whatever the defense was sending (5-8). Yes, the RBs and TEs will "chip" on their way out of the backfield, but the passing game has been based on a 1.5-2.5 second release by the QB. In other words, the OL has not been designed to "block" opponents, just "delay." Thus, the heroics by QBs Boyd, Watson, and Lawrence were based on a type of football chess instead of checkers. Without a QB who was prepared and sufficiently healthy to make quick decisions in the passing game limited the offense last year and most probably was a factor in the number of injuries to WRs. Further, an obviously biased offensive plan results in an obvious counter for defenses. That's like selling a house in the current real estate market hoping to find something better and bigger that's also cheaper.
An offense that uses the pass to put pressure on the D backfield opens up the running game. An offense that can use the run to pull the D front seven toward the line opens up passing game. But if your QB has to make a decision and act in less than 2 seconds, you're in a pickle if the QB can't read the defense OR is physically incapable of throwing with touch.
But I think the most specious part of your argument involves your comments concerning the punter. What are the factors that lead you to believe that 1) our punting has been sub-par (how many punts were or were not downed inside the 20; what was return yardage; were there problems with snaps, handling the snap, the kick?) and that 2) punting will be better this coming year?
Spiers improved the last couple of years. His hang time was decent and we hardly ever had punts returned for any significant distance. Sometimes long punts can turn into disaster. I know little about his replacement, though I believe B.T. has gotten off some good ones.