Before last Thursday all the talk was how Clemson would match up with NC State’s defensive line. The talk was well warranted as the Wolfpack likely has three future day one draft picks starting in their front four. Clemson’s offensive line used the Thursday night stage to make a statement of their own.
Clemson put together one of the most dominating balanced attacks in Tommy Bowden’s tenure as head coach. The Tigers rushed for 244 yards and passed for 246 yards. Whether through the air or on the ground, the Tigers’ offensive line controlled the game.
It was a performance Clemson had been waiting almost four years to see. The last two recruiting classes have been heavily focused on rebuilding the offensive line. This offensive line was built up as maybe Bowden’s best offensive line. The offensive line was ready to have the challenge of having the game on their shoulders.
“We just know that Coach Spence puts games in our hands. The offensive line, it starts with us. We like it like that. We love when he runs the ball, that is what we live for, that is what we practice for. It was the mentality we had going against a good defensive line,” said junior right tackle Marion Dukes.
“Half of it is the scheme, and half of it is our mentality. We go into the game with an attitude that we are going to run the ball,” said Dukes referring to the Tiger’s recent success.
Barry Richardson did not hesitate, when asked about the Tigers success on offense.
“I would say the offensive line. All of his plays and trickery, everything seems to work. He has everything worked out in his mind. He tells us what to do. We don’t know what is going on in the backfield, we just block,” said Richardson.
When Richardson watched Toledo last year, he was confident the offense was going to work at Clemson.
“I have total confidence it is going to work. I saw him at Toledo (Spence). They weren’t a real good team, I mean they didn’t have the skills we have, but they still managed to put points up,” said Richardson.
Dukes also commented on just how difficult it actually was for the offensive lineman to pick up the new system under Spence.
“It wasn’t that bad. There was times when you would get frustrated cause you wouldn’t understand. It was different from Coach O’Cain, but we expected something different. It was a learning experience,” said Dukes.