Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy


by - Senior Writer -
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The offense should get better with the return of Deshaun Watson

CLEMSON – Clemson’s open date is coming at a perfect time.

The Tigers were good – very good – defensively against Syracuse last Saturday and I asked defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
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if perhaps the open date is something he would rather avoid considering how well his group is playing. He smiled and said no, that even the defense has a lot of bumps and bruises and could use a week off.

The Tigers were off Sunday, and are off today [Monday] and Tuesday and will return to practice Wednesday as they get ready for the Nov. 6th date at Wake Forest. The Tigers are now third nationally in total defense, are first in tackles for loss and third in sacks. The defense is also first in opponents’ third down conversions – opponents have converted just 28-of-122 attempts for a conversion rate of 22.95%. Louisville is second with 29-of-121 (23.97%).

Next week’s opponent – Wake Forest – is dead last nationally in total offense and it isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility that the Tigers could be first nationally in total defense when the teams meet next week because Louisville (ranked first) hosts FSU this week and Stanford (second) plays against Oregon. I wonder how many times in college football that the nation’s best unit has faced the nation’s worst, because as of right now Wake Forest is dead last (128th) in the nation in total offense. The Demon Deacons are averaging a paltry 213.5 yards per game. Wake is also 125th in scoring offense (14.8 points per game) and 126th in third down conversations (33-for-118, 27.97%).

That’s the good news.

Now, for the bad news, and it is in regards to Clemson’s offense.

Saturday’s showing was, to put it mildly, abysmal.

The coaches can talk all they want about Syracuse’s defense and different fronts and packages, but that kind of showing against a Syracuse team that just doesn’t have a lot of talent doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. This team can get by Wake Forest with that kind of showing, but by how much? Ironically, Syracuse is ranked right behind Wake Forest (42nd and 41st) nationally in total defense. So is 16 or 17 points all we can expect out of this offense in Winston-Salem? Beating a really bad Wake team by ten isn’t gonna cut it with the pollsters, and it’s now obvious that style points on defense can’t overcome the miasma that surrounds the offense.

So what’s wrong with offense? Is it Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Sr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 231
Dublin, OH

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? Is it the offensive line? Is it the playcalling? Maybe, just maybe, it’s all three in some form or fashion.

On his Monday morning conference call, head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said that both of Stoudt’s interceptions were “on” the offensive line and that the line has to protect the quarterback better. Yep, I can agree with that. But this offense has gone ultra-conservative at this point – no reverses, no trickery, no sleight-of-hand stuff. Just basic runs and bubble screens with one or two downfield throws per quarter. Swinney said the bubble screens were an extension of the running game, a running game that is still struggling despite Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 209
Loganville, GA

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’s 100-yard effort Saturday.

I tried – as much as possible while trying to write and keep up with Twitter – during Saturday’s game to watch the offensive line and the running game in particular and there wasn’t a lot to see that was encouraging. Perhaps someone that is smarter than I am can go and look at other teams and tell me how quick they hand off to the running back. Remember the Pistol formation that Clemson went to the last few seasons? Where has that been? In the Pistol, the quarterback lines up four yards behind the center and the running back three yards deeper. The Pistol is designed to let the quarterback read the defense faster, and in certain situations gets the ball out quicker and doesn’t give the defense time to react. Clemson’s handoffs are slow – at least to me – and it seems that even when the offensive line blocks decent, the defense is still swarming to the ball carrier.

Poor blocking, bad snaps, slow developing plays – all have contributed to the offensive woes. The tempo simply hasn’t been there, either, even though we saw glimpses of running a little faster last Saturday. However, you start throwing in interceptions and fumbles on top of all of the above, and you wind up scoring 16 points on a very average Syracuse defense. At home. At night.

So what’s the answer? As easy as it sounds…..Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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. Watson gives the offense a different look and a different feel. There have been times this season when Watson felt pressure, stepped to the side and rifled a throw to some part of the field for a first down and you just kind of shook your head and wondered how he did that. His running ability alone makes the defense a little more cautious, and he’s been really good on deep throws, intermediate throws and short throws. Right now, this offense is limited to the bubble screen and plays around the line of scrimmage. It isn’t all on Stoudt – the offensive line takes part of the blame – but the ultra-conservative play calls and short game are a reflection of what offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
View Full Profile
feels are the limits of the offense and to some extent Stoudt.

Georgia Tech’s defense is bad, but if Watson isn’t back I wonder if the Tigers will be able to score enough points to beat the Jackets in Atlanta. I’ve seen enough of Paul Johnson’s offense to know that even a good defense is gonna give up two or three or more big plays a game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Clemson’s defense play extremely well and still give up 21 points or more. Would Clemson be able to score more than that without Watson? Two or three weeks ago I would have said yes. Now, I’m not so sure.

Get Well Soon Deshaun. This offense needs you.

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Subject (Replies: 41) Author
New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
TigerNet News
Ball control when Cole is in there, mostly running, less
tigeron®
Re: Ball control when Cole is in there, mostly running, less
allorangeallthetime52®
Re: Ball control when Cole is in there, mostly running, less
tmac9wr
Like 2nd half - for get first half***
tigeron®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
Dugatiger®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
92TigerJohn
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
Dugatiger®
I agree with everything...but there is nothing we can do...
Tall_Tiger_Two
Re: I agree with everything...but there is nothing we can do...
TigerHawk76®
Yeah, I have no harsh feelings towards Cole...he does
Tall_Tiger_Two
Re: I agree with everything...but there is nothing we can do...
Dugatiger®
I remember CK complaining about not having the same O
Tall_Tiger_Two
Re: I remember CK complaining about not having the same O
Dugatiger®
Point for using "miasma" in a blog post ...
apextiger®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
scjaw54
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
jarheadtiger®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
1988NC
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
tigertomw
Few can see the brilliance in Chad's double secret ploy ...
Tropical
WEEEE (not too) DEEP....***
AsheTiger
WEEEE
Dr. Nikola Tesla
Which seems to be lost on the dumpers.***
Tiger5
Re: WEEEE (not too) DEEP....***
CoreyRyan®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
fansince72
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
sccrmania1
That fact doesn't fit the agenda with the dumpers.***
Tiger5
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
joebaloba
Man, I don't know if even Deshaun can get us out of this.
BentZero
More quick intermediate throws which Stoudt & OL can handle***
Razzmatazz
downfield blocking could improve too
attheesso®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
clemson15
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
Foothills Tiger
So why does our "hurry-up" O have to look to the sideline?
Tim317
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
I bleed orange
Short yardage
coalman
Re: Short yardage - get out of shotgun to under center
tigeron®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
TigerDrewz
Under center - sounds good to me***
tigeron®
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
HTS1
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
BONNEAU TIGER1
Re: New Story: Open date thoughts: Defense salty, but offense needs a certain someone healthy
OneJedi

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