The Monday After: Why the Clemson offense has struggled during lackluster start to 2021 season

What’s mistaken with the Clemson offense? It is a query that is been requested lots already this season, as it is the inefficiencies on that facet of the ball that are primarily responsible for the actual fact Clemson won’t attain the College Football Playoff for the primary time for the reason that match’s inception in 2014. The Tigers are 2-2 after shedding 27-21 to NC State in time beyond regulation on Saturday, snapping a 36-game win streak towards groups that weren’t ranked within the AP Prime 25 ballot.

By way of the primary month of the season, Clemson ranks final within the ACC — a convention it has dominated — in factors per sport (21.8), yards per sport (295.5) and yards per play (4.73). Now, the context to those numbers is essential. In a small pattern dimension of 4 video games, a horrible efficiency towards a Georgia protection that has made life depressing for anyone it is confronted can skew issues, and it has. It simply hasn’t skewed issues sufficient to seek out optimism, because the Tigers managed solely 4.3 yards per play whereas scoring 14 factors towards Georgia Tech, and NC State held the Tigers to 4.37 yards per play Saturday.

That is an offense that has gone three-and-out on 41.7% of its offensive possessions this season. That ranks one hundred and fifteenth nationally and final within the ACC — 6.5% behind the following worst crew, Florida State.

As you’d anticipate in issues like this, loads of folks have concepts about what’s mistaken, and there is fact in practically all their concepts. What’s additionally true is that as sophisticated a sport as soccer will be, generally it is extremely rudimentary. You’ll be able to fireplace the offensive coordinator, change the quarterback or set up a wholly new offense, and none of it’s going to matter if you cannot block anyone. 

And, proper now, Clemson cannot block anyone.

The Tigers got here into 2021 with questions on their offensive line, and up to now, not many have been answered. They’ve shaken issues up — three totally different gamers have performed at left guard within the final two weeks — and tried totally different combos, however up to now, few are working to the extent Clemson wants them to be if they will meet expectations.

Clemson is just averaging just one.39 yards earlier than contact. That ranks thirteenth within the ACC (Louisville is at 1.17) and 102nd nationally. D.J. Uiagalelei has been pressured on 29.9% of his dropbacks (61st nationally, ninth in ACC), sacked on 6.6% of them (81st nationally, ninth in ACC) and has had a mean of two.46 seconds to throw the ball earlier than being pressured (81st nationally, eleventh in ACC). Now, the offensive line just isn’t solely responsible for all of those numbers. Uiagalelei appears like he lacks confidence within the pocket and is taking too lengthy to make choices, partially because of a insecurity in his offensive line. Some blame must be placed on receivers and their lack of ability to get open constantly, in addition to offensive coordinator Tony Elliott for not discovering methods to scheme the receivers open.

Nonetheless, whereas all people shares the blame, the offensive line is a typical theme all through, and it is tough to think about something bettering the Clemson offense if the offensive line does not enhance first. The excellent news is {that a} younger offensive line might enhance because the season goes alongside. The unhealthy information is there isn’t any fast repair on the prepared, and issues might worsen earlier than they get higher, too.

Polarizing Group of the Week

Whereas we’re speaking about Clemson, what’s mistaken with the folks voting in polls? Clemson is 2-2, and its lone wins have been a six-point win over Georgia Tech and the evisceration of South Carolina State. But it stays ranked at No. 19 within the Coaches Ballot and No. 25 within the AP Prime 25. I am not shocked by their spot within the Coaches Ballot as a result of the coaches have at all times been extra forgiving of applications like Clemson and present just a little an excessive amount of respect to earlier accomplishments.

However what are AP voters doing? I believed the media was speculated to overreact to issues? The Tigers appeared as excessive as No. 14 on one poll and are nonetheless ranked within the prime 20 by 11 of the ballot’s 62 voters. I might like to know what number of occasions in AP Prime 25 historical past, practically 18% of the voters had one crew of their prime 20, whereas 55% (34 voters) left that very same crew off their poll solely.

I would not be shocked if the Tigers enhance and present themselves to be a top-20 crew on the finish of the season, so I do not suppose anyone placing them there now’s solely out of line. However there are simply so many different groups that need to be ranked forward of Clemson proper now that are not.

Heartbreaking Lack of the Week

When Old Dominion trailed Buffalo 35-7 at halftime on Saturday, it is exhausting to think about there have been many within the Monarchs’ locker room pondering a comeback was potential, but it practically was. The Monarchs stormed again within the second half, shutting out the Bulls and slicing the result in 35-28 with 8:36 left to play. The Monarchs protection would pressure two extra three-and-outs afterward to assist the crew recuperate from a fumble. Then, with simply over three minutes remaining, the Monarchs went on a 10-play, 46-yard drive that completed with a 19-yard cross from D.J. Mack Jr. to Zack Kuntz to chop the result in 35-34.

Outdated Dominion then made a deadly mistake, nonetheless: it celebrated. Gamers ran onto the sphere following the landing and officers flagged them for unsportsmanlike conduct, which turned an extraordinary further level try right into a 35-yard try, and, properly, the 15-yard penalty turned out to be an essential one.

Snacking Choice of the Week

Do not fake you have by no means snacked on the job.

Inventory Recommendation of the Week

BUY — Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights misplaced to Michigan 20-13 on Saturday, however I discovered much more in regards to the crew of their first lack of the season than I did of their three wins. I used to be extremely skeptical of Rutgers’ skill to take care of its 3-0 begin, and never simply because it is Rutgers and anticipated to lose. It was extra the dearth of something promising on offense and over-reliance on turnovers by means of three video games that simply did not appear sustainable. Then Rutgers went and had its greatest offensive efficiency of the season towards Michigan in a loss. Now, I am not telling you to purchase inventory in Rutgers anticipating it to compete within the Large Ten East. Wanting across the division, it is exhausting to think about Rutgers ending larger than sixth, however this crew goes to be a ache within the butt for everyone it performs.

Greg Schiano has this crew enjoying exhausting and believing in itself when it in all probability does not have any proper to, and it makes each snap really feel like a chore for its opponent. Once more, the East appears stronger than common this season, so I do not anticipate Rutgers to win many extra video games this season, however there are indicators of enchancment in all places you look inside the program.

HOLD — West Virginia: The Mountaineers grew to become the most recent crew to move into Norman and make Oklahoma look weak at residence, finally falling 16-13 to the Sooners. They’re now solely 2-2, however their losses are to Oklahoma and a Maryland squad that is undefeated up to now and appears like a possible eight-win crew. In the meantime, WVU has picked up a win over Virginia Tech and performed stable protection. There’s a variety of wiggle room within the Large 12 behind Oklahoma and Texas. Even when Baylor and Oklahoma State are off to a lot stronger begins, I would not be shocked if the Mountaineers end forward of each.

SELL — Wisconsin: I picked the Badgers to win the Large Ten West this season, and whereas the remainder of the division appears mushy sufficient to maintain {that a} life like risk, it is exhausting to carry on to this Badgers inventory any longer. The offense has been horrible, and Paul Chryst wants to think about making a change at quarterback. Graham Mertz was a highly-rated recruit out of highschool, however he is having a tough time dwelling as much as the billing. After throwing for 5 touchdowns in his first profession begin towards Illinois final season, Mertz has thrown 5 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 9 video games since. Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin is just 4-5 in these video games.

Worst Followers of the Week

Throughout the spring, I made a decision to take a seat on a take throughout an episode of The Cover 3 Podcast. We had been discussing spring sport performances, notably the efficiency of Oklahoma backup quarterback Caleb Williams. I stated that Williams was one of the best quarterback on Oklahoma’s roster and may begin forward of Spencer Rattler.

Now, I stated this with my tongue not firmly planted in my cheek however delicately. It was extra my approach of expressing issues about Spencer Rattler. I might by no means seen Williams play in something exterior the Oklahoma spring sport, and I used to be basing my opinion on what I have been informed in regards to the former five-star recruit. On the time, I did not suppose Rattler was nearly as good because the hype surrounding him, and I nonetheless do not.

That stated, I might by no means boo him — or any participant — or chant for Williams if I had been an Oklahoma fan. Sooners followers could possibly be heard chanting “We wish Caleb!” throughout the sport and booing him. It was embarrassing, and Sooners followers who joined in needs to be ashamed of themselves.

Celebration of the Week

A crimson solo cup is the standard signal of “having a superb time” on faculty campuses throughout the nation, and it is easy to grasp why NC State coach Dave Doeren felt like having a superb time Saturday evening.

Faculty Soccer Playoff Projection of the Week

If you happen to do not suppose I thought-about placing 4 SEC groups right here simply to troll, you are mistaken. Although, the way in which this season has began, you can challenge any variety of groups to achieve the Faculty Soccer Playoff proper now and make a coherent argument to defend it. Nonetheless, I am going to proceed to play it safe-ish for now.

  1. Alabama
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Oregon
  4. Georgia

Till the following Monday After! | The Monday After: Why the Clemson offense has struggled throughout lackluster begin to 2021 season


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