How soon we forget. For the first four games of the 2018 season the Clemson offense had major issues getting into a rhythm. Most of that was due to the fact that the coaches were rotating between Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. However, even after Lawrence took over full time and Bryant left to transfer, the offense still had some slow starts. It wasn’t until the postseason that we saw that team play a complete game, and when they did, they sure put on a show.
Clemson fans are constantly reminded about how terrible of a football conference the ACC is. While that is true in some reagards, as the ACC is once again littered with bad football teams, playing in this conference does provide at least some advantages. One being that playing against these weaker teams allows the coaching staff some flexibility in how they manage things, and how they prepare these players for a championship run.
The number of players Clemson coaches are allowing to see time in these games has been well documented. That is the kind of thing that helps in recruiting, but more importantly is helps develop depth. Not just depth, but functional depth. In a season like this one, in which so much of the roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores, the value of having that luxury can not be overstated. If we were seeing Clemson playing games that were competitive into the fourth quarter, we would not be seeing the same kind of liberal substitution patterns. In turn, limiting their ability to develop the functional depth that has played a major role in this programs ascension to the top of the college football mountain. Make no mistake, having that depth has played a major role.
Playing against so many teams that can not come close to matching up from a talent standpoint also allows allows some flexibility in how you gameplan. It affords the staff the opportunity to tinker, so to speak. To mix and match, and find out what works and what doesn’t. To find out each players strengths and weaknesses in live game action, when the pressure is amped up, and not on a practice field. Last but not least, it has an effect on playcalling. Why show your hand if it isn’t necessary? In many instances, the talent disparity alone is enough to win. We didn’t see the playbook really get opened up until the playoff last year.
Contrary to popular opinion, this team does not need style points to get into the playoff, all they need to do is win. This coaching staff knows this. They have designed a formula that works. It has been proven to work. It’s a process, and there is no one better at it than these coaches. If this team is capable of winning a national title, this staff will have them ready. It is a process. Trust in that process.