It would seem some of us have gotten a little spoiled by what this Clemson offense was able to accomplish during its postseason run last season. Trevor Lawrence and this offense was able to push the ball down the field fairly consistently during the CFP games against Notre Dame and Alabama. Those performances led to some expectations that just weren’t very realistic. This offense just is not going to go down the field at will and score every time it possesses the ball. It will be forced to punt from time to time.
Let us all remember that the Tigers were 10-15 on 3rd down against the Tide in the national title game, and 9-18 against ND. Many of those came on 3rd and more than 6, and those are numbers that just aren’t sustainable on a week to week basis. For all the talk on how the offense isn’t clicking, a look at the numbers show this offense is off to its best start in some time.
Let’s be honest, Lawrence was overhyped during the offseason after those postseason performances last year. He had nowhere to go but down. There was just no way to improve upon what he had done as a freshman. All he heard after last season was how he should sit out the next two seasons because he was the best QB prospect to come along in decades, possibly ever. All this despite the fact that he had started just 12 games.
Yes, he has already thrown more picks than he did all of last season, and yes, a couple of them have been terrible decisions. Try finding a QB that doesn’t throw any picks due to bad decisions. Lawrence has a cannon for an arm and can make throws most others can’t, which will lead to some interceptions on occasion. Maybe the problem isn’t in his play, but that he was placed on too high of a pedestal.
Another thing to consider is that through three games this team has never really been threatened. The coaching staff hasn’t come close to showing you their full hand yet. They didn’t last season until we got into the CFP, why would they do things any different this season? When a team is in control of a game, the coaches can use that time to work on things they wouldn’t be able to in a tight, four quarter game. One example would be building depth. The Tigers are lacking experienced depth in a couple of areas and we saw mass substitutions last night that started early on. Of the 72 players that made the trip, 71 got into the game.
It is a marathon, not a sprint, and this staff needs to ensure that this team is peaking in November and December, not in September and October. It should always be about finishing strong, despite how you get out of the gate. After the results of the last 5-6 seasons, this coaching staff has earned the benefit of the doubt. It seems they know what they’re doing.