Lack of running success, inconsistency mark Tiger offense on Saturday

by - Senior Writer -

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – A Clemson offense that looked explosive earlier this season now looks pedestrian at best, and Saturday’s lackluster performance at North Carolina is all the more frustrating because the Tigers finally found some big plays out of their receivers, but struggled to run the football.

Clemson outgained North Carolina 305 yards to 255, and ran the same number of plays as the Heels (66), but four more drops, penalties at inopportune times, and an inability to run the football [27 rushes for 91 yards] cost the Tigers in Saturday’s 21-16 loss.

Quarterback Kyle Parker, who finished 21-for-38 for 214 yards and a touchdown, said that the situation is even more confusing because of how talented the team is.

“ I think this is probably more frustrating because this is one of the best teams I’ve been on here and it’s not turning out the way we wanted, but with that being said it’s still one of the best teams,” Parker said after game. “We’ve got a lot of talent and we play tough- no one’s out there quitting and no one is out there that doesn’t need to be out there. There are just a few things we need to do better in order to win- once we get that figured out, I think we’ll be a pretty good football team.”

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier said lack execution hurt the offense at key times, as well as the lack of a rushing attack.

“I think we had some drives, put together some drives, but ultimately at some point in those positions we didn’t execute and we didn’t convert third downs,” Napier said. Every plan that we have is going to start with rushing the ball effectively. I’ve got to do a better job putting our players in a position to run it more effectively. I haven’t seen the tape yet. I’m sure there are some technical things we can fix. We rushed the ball 27 times for 91 yards, and I think we have to rush the ball more effectively than that.”

Clemson threw 39 passes [one was by running back Jamie Harper], and ran the ball just 27 times, but Napier said the passing game was a struggle as well.

“Given the way they were playing us, I think we had trouble,” Napier said. “We did have some drops today. I think Kyle managed the game today and did what we asked him to do. We struggled. We just struggled in the passing game. We gave some guys some chances. I think we’re going to have to go back and look at if we do have some guys that can do that [make plays] for us.

“I think I can do a better job and give some guys some more opportunities in a game. That may help us run the ball more effectively. We didn’t turn the ball over. Third down was about average- about where you want to be. There are three or four more plays there that we’ve gotta make. We moved the ball and then sputtered late. It’s execution. It’s coaching.”

Right tackle Landon Walker said he couldn’t give a reason for the Tigers’ struggles.

“We have to regroup as a team,” Walker said. “We’ve got to do a lot of soul searching this week, and a lot of guys need to decide if they want to finish out the season in a good way or just let it go and I don’t think we have that type of players on this team. We’re just going to get back to work on Monday. We just have to figure it out. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Freshman wide receiver DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins got his first collegiate start on Saturday and snared seven passes for 46 yards, and added a 31-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. He said, however, that his performance is indicative of the entire team – a great play followed by a lack of execution.

“I just wanted to come out when I’m called on and perform to the best of my abilities,” Hopkins said. “I had a couple of bad plays- a couple of drops, but overall I think I did well. I’m just trying to come out and help out my team when they need me. We’re better than our 2-3 record. We just have to come out and play to our potential.”

Parker said that being so close and still losing – for three consecutive games – frustrates everyone.

“Obviously, everyone is frustrated. We’ve just been so close to winning all of these football games and doing so well,” Parker said. “We just have to put ourselves in a position to win. I think the receivers played better, and we threw and caught the ball a little better. We just have to put it all together. I think the biggest thing is we had a chance to put drives together and we just couldn’t keep it going.

“They weren’t letting us bust out that 70 or 80-yard run. We just need to play consistent. We’re not going to give up- everyone’s got a lot of fight and enjoys playing the game so we’re going to have to come out here and play well in order to get this thing turned around. There’s really not one thing to point at. It’s just frustrating to put yourself in a position to win the game three weeks in a row and come up short. It’s tough to come back from that especially when you’re letting yourself down and the fans down. Our guys are going to keep fighting and putting in the work and doing all we can to be successful.”

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Subject (Replies: 25) Author
Lack of running success, inconsistency mark Tiger offense on Saturday
What the University needs to understand is...
Prime T. Tiger
There was a lack of running success because Ellington had
And we only ran it 23 times total...
Todays "Gameplan" = throw 40+ times against the 85th rush D
CM Shack
Lack of running attempts...
How much more obvious can it get???
Mr. Hood not sure if you even watched the game
Re: Mr. Hood not sure if you even watched the game
No offense, but if that is the case, then why the headline?
Ellington is one Classy Dude...***
CM Shack
Thanks for asking the hard questions
Wow! Thanks for asking the question! Napier is incompetent***
Gentlemen, here is your answer per your story Mr. Hood...
The most effective Defense Ellington will face all year...
CM Shack
Uh, you have to call run plays with Ellington in the game
Sadly, Billy is the only person who has'nt figued this out.****
CM Shack
I'm happy out team doesn't quit anymore but.......
Bowden did not have a problem with his teams quitting his
Re: Lack of running success, inconsistency mark Tiger offense on Saturday
Re: Lack of running success, inconsistency mark Tiger offense on Saturday
tobias funke
Lack of Game Plan & Coaching Experience Dooms Tigers.
nail, meet hammer***
Gentlemen, here is your answer per your story Mr. Hood...
Tough to gain rushing yards when you don't call running

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