As usual there is a lot of buzz in Clemson about the football program being stacked.
The Tigers will once again be favored to bring home a seventh straight ACC title and are currently one of the favorites to win it all in 2021. However, to achieve all of their goals, Clemson will need better play from its offensive line.
To say that the Tigers offensive line was a weak link during the 2020 season would be an understatement. Although, Dabo Swinney has maintained all spring that he doesn’t think that will be the case in 2021.
The Clemson head coach discussed the potential his team has, including his expectations of the offensive line going into the summer and fall on the Packer and Durham Show on the ACC Network this week.
“I think we’re just so much further along,” Swinney said. “And all those guys were young, we’re a little more battle tested. They’ve got some scars and wounds on them and are a little more thick skinned. We’re more knowledgeable.”
Last season was the first since the Tigers began their current playoff appearance run that the offensive line has been so young, inexperienced, and had such a lack of depth. It showed throughout the season but was never more apparent than in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.
Swinney made no beefs about the fact that is where his team needed the most improvement on offense and he’s optimistic that the Tigers will be 10-11 players deep along the offensive line next season.
“The key for us is going to be the development up front,” Swinney said. “Last year we really had five guys or maybe six that we felt like could win for us at a high level.”
“I’m excited about what we’re going to do this summer and in our camp because I think when we get to September and it’s time to play, we’re gonna have 10 or 11 offensive linemen that can go win for us and that’s what we’re used to. That’s when we’ve been at our best. When we’ve had that type of functional depth in our O well.”
One area the Tigers already know they’ll have plenty of depth at is receiver. A huge problem that plagued Clemson last season was the fact that some of the teams best players at the position couldn’t stay healthy.
“Last year, three of our top five receivers really didn’t play all year,” Swinney said. “Justyn Ross was on the sideline, (Joseph) Ngata and (Frank) Ladson were pretty much out most of the year and only had sporadic moments here or there.”
All three are expected back and should be fully healthy come September and having those guys on the field could be the difference between having a good season or great season.