Through three games, Clemson’s offense had shown it was capable of running and throwing to be successful. Following Saturday’s loss to Boston College, the questions are coming fast and furiously about the offense.
Offensive coordinator Rob Spence was brought in to fix the Tigers’ woes on offense. The players and coaches expressed confidence the Tigers would be able to find consistency on offense this year through the running game. On Saturday, it appeared Clemson had no answers running or throwing. The Tigers were did not convert a single third down for the first time since 1978.
The Tigers decided to only test Boston College vertically once. It was a surprising move, considering the success Florida State had throwing in the second half against the Eagles.
“Florida State hit some middle routes, which we had some called. They hit their 6-6 guy on the 20-yard line one time. Other than that, they attacked the middle of the field before they attacked the perimeter. That was more so underneath coverage than it was working corners and deep balls. So it really wasn't throwing downfield attacking corners,”said head coach Tommy Bowden on Sunday.
The Tigers tried to hit Chansi Stuckey and Bobby Williams on 15 yard posts, but both were dropped.
“He (Stuckey) just dropped the ball. It was a catchable ball. We threw one to Curtis. We probably need a couple of more shots vertically. We had Bobby down the middle on the field in overtime. He dropped that one also,” said Bowden.
Bowden began to address some concern that teams will begin playing closer to the line of scrimmage, if the Tigers do not become more vertical.
“Yeah, that was the area Florida State had. He just dropped the ball. It was a catchable ball. We threw one to Curtis. We probably need a couple of more shots vertically. We had Bobby down the middle on the field in overtime. He dropped that one also.”
The offense has very little time to get things fixed. This weekend the Tigers play Wake Forest, a team Clemson has been unable to stop defensively the last three years.
“I think the team has to remember, we don't have cream puff teams we are playing. I mean teams that are traditionally not very good. Mentally we've got to make the players see who they play, and how close they are. We aren't committing a lot of penalties. We are doing some things we can build off of. (Clemson is currently third in the country in fewest penalties committed.) Those are things that will win games. Look at our schedule compared to other team's schedules. (three games against top 25 teams) To me, the biggest thing we have to work on is a way to get more points on the board and third down conversions on both sides,” said Bowden.