CLEMSON - Maybe it's no coincidence that Clemson's recent offensive struggles
began at precisely the same moment the offensive line began to have problems.
Beginning with the Virginia loss three games ago, Tiger quarterbacks - be it
Willie Simmons or Charlie Whitehurst - have been running for their lives more
often than not in passing situations.
And the pressure isn't coming from just one area. Opposing pass rushers are
just as likely to be coming through the interior of Clemson's line as they
are the outside.
Such problems are pointed to by some observers as the chief cause of the
Tigers' recent lack of offensive execution. And though Bowden agrees, he is
reluctant to place all the blame on his front five.
"You have to be careful as a coach how you answer that question," he said.
"No doubt that's one of the things that's a problem in the execution of the
offense. But when you say it, it sounds like you're making excuses."
But the proof seems to be in the stat sheets.
Three times in Clemson's 38-6 loss last Thursday to No. 12 N.C. State, the
Tiger offense was faced with either third-and-one or fourth-and-one. Three
times they lined up tight and tried to gain a first down running right at the
Wolfpack defensive front.
Three times they were denied.
"After a while we were trying not to get in third-and-one," Bowden said.
"That's the first time I've ever been afraid of short yardage. We've always
been over 40 percent on third down conversions, but you're not going to win
if you can't convert short yardage."
Pre-Georgia Game Offensive Line 2-Deep
LT 79 Gary Byrd 6-4 309 *Sr.
70 William Henry 6-4 276 *^Gr
LG 65 Cedric Johnson 6-4 318 *So.
74 Nick Black 6-5 292 *Jr.
C 68 Jermyn Chester 6-2 289 *Jr.
53 Tommy Sharpe 5-11 253 *So
RG 78 Greg Walker 6-5 330 *Jr.
94 Mark Jetton 6-4 245 *Fr.
RT 71 Derrick Brantley 6-4 315 *Sr.
75 Nate Gillespie 6-3 275 *Gr
Current Offensive Line 2-Deep
LT 79 GARY BYRD 6-4 309 *Gr.
64 Chip Myrick 6-4 265 *Fr.
LG 65 CEDRIC JOHNSON 6-4 318 *So.
59 Mark Jetton 6-4 245 *Fr.
C 68 JERMYN CHESTER 6-2 289 *Jr.
53 Tommy Sharpe 6-0 253 *So.
RG 78 GREGORY WALKER 6-5 330 *Jr.
75 Nathan Gillespie 6-3 275 *Gr.
RT 70 WILLIAM HENRY 6-4 276 *^Gr.
57 Vontrell Jamison 6-6 260 *So.
Missing Offensive Lineman
|Brady Washburn - Transferred
Akil Smith - Dismissed
David Haselden - Career ending injuries
Grant Oliver - Left Program
Jason Carroll - Left Program
Jeremy Carroll - Left Program
Derrick Brantley - Season ending injury
Nick Black - Season ending injury
Eric Coleman - Moved from tackle to defense
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the Florence Morning News. He also hosts SportsTalk from 10 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.